HK Magazine Archive

Hairy Crab Season is Inbound, Grappa's Returns, and the Peak gets a Rockabilly Japanese Joint

This week's new and noted restaurants. 

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 September, 2016, 3:46pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 5:27pm

Behold the Hairy Crab
We’re just on the cusp of hairy crab season, and these furry little critters are about to invade our dining tables—from Groupon deals as low as $30 per crab (surprisingly not too shabby: simply steam at home on a bed of perilla leaves with ginger) to $2,000 epic hairy crab tasting menus. For the crème de la crème, make a reservation at two-Michelin-starred Yan Toh Heen, which is celebrating the best catch from Yangcheng Lake in an eight-course hairy crab degustation ($2,488 plus 10 percent, available Oct 14-Dec 10). Conceived by guest chef Wang Bo and Yan Toh Heen executive chef Lau Yiu Fai, the labor-intensive dishes (some take up to a half-hour to pick enough meat for just one serving) blew us away, with a number of different preparations to highlight the flavor of the crab: from crispy taro dumplings with seafood and hairy crabmeat roe; to hairy crabmeat roe and bird’s nest soup with lobster and vegetables; and tender garoupa filet with, you guessed it, more hairy crabmeat and roe. The most innovative dish is the last course: glutinous rice dumpling soup with a fried purple sweet potato stuffed with crabmeat—subtly sweet, delicate and a delicious ending to a meal that only comes around once a year.
Lower Level, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Rd., Kowloon, 2313-2323

Grappa’s is Back 
In Hong Kong, it’s out with the old and in with the new… unless the new happens to be the reincarnation of one of Hong Kong’s oldest Italian restaurants. Following in the footsteps of Dan Ryan’s, Grappa’s Ristorante was the latest institution to get booted from Pacific Place last month, closing down after 26 years of service. But grieve not: They’ve popped up again at a new venue with the same staff—and an expanded menu and wine list. The new Grappa’s QRE combines the old décor—including the signature hand-painted mural and vintage Italian wine and liqueur posters—with new elements such as wooden airplane propellers as ceiling fans and a vintage Italian Vespa above the pizza kitchen. While signature dishes remain, you can look out for a few new items, including the “QRE house pizza” with green olives, potatoes and pepperoni; the slow-roasted suckling pig with grapes; and the Haagen-Dazs ice cream with 30-year-old balsamic vinegar. The bar has also been extended to include the largest selection of Amarone in Hong Kong, a unique dry and full-bodied Italian wine from the Valpolicella region of Italy. 
G/F, 18 Queen’s Rd. East, Wan Chai, 2868-0086.

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Mama Mia
A fun new eatery from Epicurean Group has just opened at The Peak, and if the name is anything to go by, we’re in for a good time. Fujiyama Mama (try saying that three times fast) fuses western culture and Japanese cuisine with dishes such as the “Mama Teriyaki Cobb Salad” with teriyaki chicken and garlic mayonnaise ($98); “Rock ‘n’ Roll Don” made with tuna and crab mixed with a spicy soy sauce ($138); and kimchi gyoza “lollipops” served with a lemon garlic mayo ($68). Other parts of the 10-category à la carte menu stick close to traditional Japanese cuisine, with dedicated sections for sashimi and sushi, maki rolls, cold dishes, and the “Fujiyama Sashimi 5 Kinds” which includes a selection of toro, tuna, botan shrimp, hamachi and salmon. Part-izakaya, part-robata grill, Fujiyama Mama has also built up an impressive drinks selection to go along with bar snacks: choose from sake, shochu, umeshu, beer or the “Cider Rita,” featuring an upside-down bottle of Somersby apple cider or Asahi beer with your choice of a fruity flavor injection.
Shop 4, Level 2, The Peak Tower, 2870-0800.