Hong Kong's 10 Best Restaurants of 2015
Why it's the best: Previously chef de cuisine at Ryugin, chef Hideaki Sato brings his painstaking attention to detail and passion for his craft to Ta Vie, a restaurant that blends his classical French training with the Japanese ingredients he’s built his name on. With an eight-course degustation available at $1,880 a head, dinner here is a pricey treat, but it’s worth it from start to finish. Ingenious techniques combined with subtle flavorings and fresh, seasonal treats take you on a culinary journey—just make sure you’re strapped in for the ride.
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Why it's the best: Hot on the heels of his success at Upper Modern Bistro, Chef Philippe Orrico grabbed the attention of the Michelin man again with this sophisticated new venture. The appointment of the coveted star last month confirmed what we already knew—that chef Orrico can create that wow factor in the kitchen, marrying classic flavors in exciting combinations that are familiar yet new all at once. Don’t miss the amped-up beef and tuna tartare, or the flawless 63-degree egg with frog legs and pearl barley in a comté emulsion.
Why it's the best: We weren’t sure what to expect from chef Willy Trullas Moreno’s more casual, pigeon-bespattered successor to FoFo, but we were charmed right off the bat by the twinkling fairy lights and colorful setting that makes you want to stay the night for a glass of sangria or three. The menu may not break any new boundaries—one of the tastiest items is a variation on the original “explosive” smoked salmon bags at FoFo—but it’s consistently tasty, from the Valencian paella to the huevos rotos broken eggs which are some of the best we’ve had in Hong Kong.
Why it's the best: In a town dominated by fantastic, dirt-cheap Chinese food on every street corner, is it even worth shelling out more than $100 for char siu and fried rice? Yes, when it comes to Tycoon Tann, the trendy contemporary Chinese restaurant-bar that’s nailed a winning combination of classic and cool. Covering three stories of prime real estate space on Wellington Street, Tycoon Tann does avant-garde fine dining with a classical Chinese foundation, plating up char siu made with Hungarian Mangalica hog, crispy salted chicken and crunchy fried rice with abalone, shrimp and conpoy. Don’t leave without trying the refreshing Chinese-inspired cocktails from the ground floor Mod Bar.
Why it's the best: In an increasingly saturated restaurant scene, a new cuisine is likely to pique our interests right away. Luckily, El Mercado deserves the attention it’s received as Hong Kong’s first Nikkei restaurant, serving Japanese-Peruvian fusion (who knew?). From seared beef nigiri with banana-flavored rice to the ceviche with ohnibe fish and sweet potato, the interplay of textures and combinations here is addictive. The dish that really made our eyes pop? A plump Japanese oyster with lime and squid ink foam, with a tart house-blend of leche de tigre ceviche marinade poured over just before serving.
Why it's the best: What happens when you bring together one of Hong Kong’s best chefs (Vicky Cheng from Liberty Private Works) and most renowned mixologists (Antonio Lai from Quinary)? A groundbreaking concept bringing something new and daring to the restaurant scene: Cocktail pairings that feature ingredients working just as well on the plate as they do in a glass, making for a seamless experience. An open show kitchen lets you ogle over an army of trained chefs meticulously plating your food, from tuna belly with burnt cucumber jelly to sous-vide pigeon with smoked eel, pigeon blood and cabbage. Occupying the top two floors of The Wellington, Vea serves up only one tasting menu at a time, and serves it well.
A version of this article appears in the December 11, 2015 issue of HK Magazine as Top Tables 2015.