It survived a world war, Japanese invasion, revolutions and social upheavals. It even survived Sars. But at the end of the month, Jimmy’s Kitchen will serve its last chicken kiev and baked Alaska at its Wyndham Street location. Established in Wan Chai in 1928, the restaurant has been, for me, a reliable constant in Hong Kong’s ever-changing F&B landscape. While the food and service may not be the city’s best, nor the decor the most à la mode , there is a certain thrill to dining in an establishment that has been in existence (in various premises) for almost a century. The oldest restaurant “brand” still operating in China is Peking duck restaurant Bian Yi Fang, in Beijing. Founded during the Ming dynasty, specifically in the 14th year of the Yongle era (1416), it began as a food processing workshop where live chickens and ducks were slaughtered for restaurants and grand houses. It then ventured into roasting ducks and chickens, which became very popular. For more than 400 years, business continued to grow and by the 19th century imitators calling themselves Bian Yi Fang began appearing in Beijing. In response, the original Bian Yi Fang added the word “old” ( lao ) to its name to highlight the fact that it was the real thing. In 1855, a new Bian Yi Fang, located in Beijing’s Qianmen district, poached the head chef of Old Bian Yi Fang. Business thrived and in time, its Peking duck became world famous. Today, the Bian Yi Fang in Qianmen is the sole remaining restaurant bearing the famous name following the insolvencies of all other Bian Yi Fangs, including the original. Shanghai’s Wang Bao He, famous for its hairy crabs, was founded in the ninth year of the Qianlong era (1744). Like Bian Yi Fang, it did not start out as a restaurant. Founded in Shaoxing, in Zhejiang, Wang Bao He was originally a maker and seller of huangjiu , the region’s famous amber coloured rice wine, which it exported to Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Qingdao, and further afield to Japan and Southeast Asia. Wang Bao He moved in 1936 to its present Fuzhou Road premises, where it operated a restaurant in addition to its wine business. It also rented out stalls in its shop to hawkers selling hairy crabs, which diners could buy to be steamed in the restaurant kitchen. The crustaceans, fat with delicious roe, would be served with Wang Bao He’s huangjiu , a tipple that pairs perfectly. Today, Wang Bao He is more famous for its hairy crabs than the rice wine it still brews. Just because an old restaurant has the allure of history it doesn’t mean the food will be good. Likewise, new eateries aren’t always overhyped joints serving expensive rubbish to people inveigled by “influencers”. While I like diversity and change, and am adventurous when it comes to food, it is comforting to return to familiar establishments. Given the insane cost of operating a restaurant in Hong Kong, an enormous portion of which goes to rapacious landlords, old eateries are few and far between. If you want to stay with a place that will remain in business for longer than five minutes, start by finding a restaurant that owns, rather than rents, its premises. It will save you much disappointment and frustration later.