New openings, new menus and new chefs all combine with established favourites to lend an international buzz to Hong Kong’s busy Wan Chai district this winter. Here’s seven foodie news nuggets you should know about. Which Hong Kong restaurant is serving up the best Christmas eats? 22 Ships The food has always been good at 22 Ships but now, with chef Antonio Oviedo at the helm, it is outstanding. Oviedo presents a blackboard menu of classic Spanish fare that changes daily, elevated to a new level with modern presentation and techniques. Each dish is visually stunning, with the wow factor extending to the taste, highlighting Oviedo’s background in Michelin-starred restaurants. Favourites included the rusa and sea urchin on toast, a play on a traditional tapas, with potato salad on crispbread dressed with mayonnaise and a generous topping of Hokkaido sea urchin, and ajoblanco and sardines with grapes – a sublime combination. Carabineros prawns, salmorreta paella and the slow-cooked roasted suckling pig are among the flavoursome dishes. The burnt basque cheesecake and made-to-order sangria are both contenders for best in town. 22 Ship Street, Wan Chai, 2555 0722 Gunpowder Indian RestoBar From the owners of legendary Gaylord comes Gunpowder, serving traditional authentic Indian flavours in a modern, playful way; for example, its tasty IndiSum options, where Indian street food meets dim sum. The signature dish is the Gunpowder chicken – crunchy fried chicken marinated in Gunpowder spice served with Gunpowder dipping sauce. Popular in southern India, the milagai podi (spice powder) is a blend of roasted lentils, chillies, curry leaves and sesame seeds (pair this with a Gunpowder Negroni). Other delicious IndiSum dishes include peri peri scallops, colonel’s Scotch eggs featuring spiced lamb and a shot of whisky, and Bollywood bravas – Bombay spiced potatoes with a Spanish twist. The Same Same but Different selection features cuisine combinations such as penne butter chicken and masala Hakka noodles. Also on offer are tender tandoori options, complex curries and flavour-packed biryani specialities. 18 Ship Street, Wan Chai, 2827 7777 How much would you pay to have a Nobu or Ramsay restaurant in your building? Ruam Classic Thai dishes are at the heart of Ruam, a convivial space to linger in thanks in part to its terrace dining and tropical lounge. Begin with a signature Thai-inspired cocktail paired with some bar snacks such as the tender pork belly skewers or the fragrant fish cakes seasoned with red curry. The pomelo salad with prawns stands out due to the roasted coconut while the duck leg curry with lychee features confit duck – it goes well with the made-to-order roti. To round out the meal, sample the vegetarian pad see ew (wok-fried rice noodles with kale) or the pad thai with prawn. The banana roti with coconut ice cream is a comforting finish. There is also a free-flow brunch while the “feed me” set dinner offers great value. J Residence, 60 Johnston Road (Ship Street entrance), 3160 8535 La Piola La Piola stays true to the Italian dishes it serves, with a reliance on authentic tastes and elegant simplicity highlighting premium ingredients. From the comprehensive menu, the Alba veal carpaccio is a perfect example: thin rounds of veal garnished with Parmesan shavings and celery leaf (a regional touch) finished with a drizzle of oil, lemon and sea salt. Comforting options include the grilled cheese wrapped in speck, which oozes deliciously, and any pizza, with six tempting choices. More cheesy goodness can be found in the Alba-style ravioli filled with Castelmagno finished with butter and sage, or the risotto. We also enjoyed grass-fed strip loin and jiggly panna cotta. The restaurant is also popular for an after-work glass of wine or signature spritz with a cold cuts platter. G/F, 60A-66 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, 2806 1028 The end of 2020, finally? 23 Hong Kong restaurants to celebrate NYE with a bang The Pawn The Pawn is now taking a more Mediterranean focus with its latest à la carte menu. New dishes include beef tartare with quail egg, condiments and crispy yam, and a juicy Earl Grey tea smoke-infused whole roast yellow chicken paired with a side of deep-fried cauliflower and shaved Parmesan. The signature langoustine sashimi with shredded shiso, olive oil and lemon – an outstanding dish – rightly remains on the menu. Also remaining on the menu is the popular linguine with red prawn and a touch of chilli. Save room for a new dessert simply titled Chocolate, which combines plain chocolate, mandarin sorbet and gel, cocoa nib tuiles and almond biscuit. Brunching on the balcony is popular on weekends and is a great way to enjoy the new items on offer. 62 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, 2866 3444 Himalaya Restaurant Himalaya has been serving Nepalese and Indian dishes since 2007. For this visit we focused on dishes from Nepal. We began with momos (dumplings) – for which the restaurant is noted – choosing chicken that went perfectly with the complex piquant tomato chutney. Also displaying complexity was the black lentil dal with a soup-like consistency, deep smoky notes and a variety of vegetables and herbs. The barbecued chicken sekuwa (skewer) was tender with a tangy citrus finish offset with onion. Many regulars come for the curries, including one with traditional mutton, or for the value-for-money buffet showcasing a variety of bestselling dishes. Pair these with a beer from Nepal or a mango lassi. 1/F, 22-30 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai, 2527 5899 13 new Hong Kong restaurants and menus to try this Christmas Bakehouse A hotspot from the beginning, Gregoire Michaud’s Bakehouse is as popular as ever with its artisan mantra of “made in-house and crafted by hand with passion, using the finest quality ingredients”. The egg dishes, such as shakshuka, avocado Benedict and the French toast and waffles, are popular any time of the day. There is also a set lunch. Other signature dishes on the menu include the Cubano, a clever balance of taste and texture with toasted bread filled with slow-braised pork, country ham, Gruyère, mustard and pickle; and the impressive chicken sandwich, hot crispy chicken topped with slaw inside a soft milk bun – both deeply satisfying. Their portobello fries are delicious with a Sriracha mayo adding some zing. Leave room for a sweet treat or buy a pastry to go from the takeaway counter . 14 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai (no phone) Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .