Review4 new Hong Kong restaurants reviewed: homestyle Cantonese Yuè, French/Japanese refinement at Bifteck, and meaty treats boiled at Liu’s Chonqing Hotpot or cooked over a fire at Fireside

Roasted slow cooked Japanese A5 Wagyu done the Bifteck way, at the new Hong Kong restaurant. Photo: Bifteck

Curious about the latest restaurant openings and whether they’re worth your hard-earned dollars? We checked out some of the latest additions to Hong Kong’s dining scene: Yuè in Times Square where a Fook Lam Moon alum is at the helm; Japanese steakhouse Bifteck over in Wan Chai’s QRE; famous mainland chain Liu’s Chongqing Hotpot in Festival Walk and open fire concept, Fireside, in Central’s H Code. Scroll down to see our take on these new openings.

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Shop 1301, Food Forum, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay

Usually, the idea of a traditional Cantonese restaurant would be a streetside building in a historic district like Wan Chai or Tsim Sha Tsui, but as chefs strike out on their own, it’s inevitable that some gems are going to start popping up at malls. A case in point is Yuè on the 13th floor of Times Square’s Food Forum. An alum of the famous Fook Lam Moon, chef Au-Yeung Chung Kei has had a reputation among the city’s foodies for decades so we were looking forward to what classic dishes we could sample from such an esteemed chef.

We started with a pan-fried Japanese yam in soy sauce (HK$118). Usually used in soups and stewed, this slightly crisp, savoury version whetted our appetite for the night. Next up, the superior bird’s nest, steamed milk, egg white and crabmeat (HK$380) is a large portion of nourishing TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) ingredients, which we loved. Another traditional ingredient, pomelo pith, is marinated with dried shrimp roe and abalone sauce (HK$148), providing a soft texture that soaked up the umami of the shellfish sauce.

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Our favourite was the deep-fried crispy chicken with scallions (HK$388 for half portion). While the chicken was undoubtedly crispy and tender, the scallion sauce was aromatic and made the difference. We also enjoyed pan-fried fish head, Shunde style (HK$288), a dish for those who have the acquired taste. The sweet and sour pork in aged vinegar (HK$238) is also a crowd pleaser. As a tribute to the season, we were served crab roe with fried rice in claypot (HK$298); the sound of the fat and carbs sizzling in a pot was music to our ears. Traditional Cantonese has firmly planted its flag in Times Square.


23/F, QRE, 202 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai

Japanese A5 Kobe wine tenderloin. Photo: Bifteck

While the world starts brushing away the tendrils of lockdown blues, entering Hong Kong still requires enduring a lengthy quarantine period. Residents of the city can only wait for restrictions to relax so we can easily travel again, but we can still go on a journey of flavours with new restaurants opening around the city. An interesting addition is Japanese-French steakhouse Bifteck in Wan Chai, touting Japanese meats and produce with French flair.

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Natural light floods the dining room, which has huge windows running along two walls. Granite-coloured marble with minimalist tableware gives this place the understated elegance of modern Japanese and French cuisine.

We started our meal with an A5 Wagyu tataki roll, with Spanish red prawn and amaebi tartare, lobster jelly and pumpkin mousse (HK$268). The perfectly pink Wagyu wrapped around sweet raw shrimps and a dot of pumpkin sauce was sumptuously refreshing.

One of the highlights of the evening came in the second course, comprising slow-cooked roasted Japanese A5 rump Wagyu consommé and black truffle (HK$438). The beef stock had a buttery fragrance while the slivers of radish, asparagus and onion added interest on the palate. The pièce de résistance was the Japanese A5 snow-aged Wagyu (sold at market price). Yukimuro is an ancient Japanese method of storing food in snow and coincidentally, ages meat in a low-temperature, high-humidity environment, and results in a rich, mellow and melt-in-your-mouth consistency to the beef. The ingredient is rich and best sampled in small portions.

With all the meat on the menu, the grilled Spanish red prawn udon cherry tomato confit and spicy prawn oil (HK$448) came as a wonderful reprieve; the roasted pineapple with wasabi sorbet (HK$78) for dessert was also refreshing. The creative spin and refinement on meat and seafood at Bifteck is something different to sink your teeth into.

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Liu’s Chongqing Hotpot

Units UG-37 & 38, Level UG, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong

Hand-carved beef platter. Photo: Liu’s Chongqing Hotpot

Opening under Gaia Group is Liu’s Chonqing Hotpot, and it brings with it a tongue-tingling and tantalising mala hotpot for spice lovers. Apart from the usual sauce accoutrements like minced garlic, chillies and soy sauce, Liu’s provides each customer with a portion of sesame oil to add into the sauce, cutting through the spiciness of the mala soup base.

For our soup base, we ordered the duo pot with Liu’s signature mala spicy soup on one side and fragrant coconut chicken soup (HK$216) on the other. Although the coconut soup was mellow and had tender pieces of coconut, our favourite of the two was the mala soup, as it was chock-full of flavour from Sichuan peppercorns, dried chillies and tallow.

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While we were presented with classic add-ins like fish tofu (HK$58), fresh sea prawns (HK$148) and an assorted vegetable platter (HK$128), the star add-in by far was the fresh hand-carved beef platter (HK$498). It consisted of a choice of beef brisket cartilage, baby ribs, chuck, neck, rib eye and hanger steak. Each cut had a distinctive texture that was utterly satisfying to the palate.

Unexpectedly, the sweet potato flat noodles (HK$28) were also highly enjoyable as they were delightfully bouncy and chewy. Apart from the mala spicy broth, local Chongqing dishes such as thinly sliced beef tripe (HK$98) were also served, which had a slightly crisp texture once they absorbed the hotpot broths.

Most people usually associate hotpots with a down-to-earth meal, but Liu’s Chongqing Hotpot elevates the dining experience with its authentic flavours that transport the diner to Chongqing. As the saying goes, the more guests you bring with you, the merrier your hotpot experience will be.

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5/F, The Steps, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central

Aged Rubia Gallega beef and Coffin Bay oyster tartare, with Hokkaido sea urchin and aged fat trimming. Photo: Fireside

Open-fire cooking is gaining popularity around the world, especially Southern-style barbecue from the US, fuelled by prominent restaurants like Firedoor in Sydney and our very own smokehouse, Smoke & Barrel, on Wyndham Street.

Our interest was piqued when an open-fire concept was launched in the very much enclosed H Code building. Counter seating surrounds the action where wood-fire stoves and all sorts of sauces and meats bubble and grill away. The exhaust system at Fireside must be top of the range because we did not feel any heat nor were we overwhelmed by the fumes, although seated by the counter.

We were treated to the set menu (HK$1,090) and our favourites included sautéed celtuce over embers in bacon and onion dashi. It might seem flippant to mention a vegetable dish at a grill restaurant, but the bacon and onion broth with a crunchy celtuce is a marriage made in heaven. We also loved the aged Rubia Gallega beef and Coffin Bay oyster tartare with sea urchin and aged fat trimmings. The esteemed beef in itself is a treat but the addition of coveted ingredients just pushes the decadence to a new level.

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The grilled aged threadfish was a bit of a surprise as the local fish retained its distinct muddy flavour, but is grilled rather than steamed. It is tasty but we just could not shake the feeling that we needed some ginger and shallot with it. Lastly, we were served the 30-day bone-in Cacheca steak; again it was delicious, but we were hoping for something with more of a wow factor.

By Central standards, the Fireside menu is positively wallet-friendly and the place is great for meeting friends. And, be impressed by the death-defying skills of chefs working over an open fire.

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  • Fook Lam Moon alumni chef Au-Yeung Chung Kei has opened Yuè in Times Square, while mainland chain Liu’s Chongqing Hotpot has popped up in Festival Walk
  • Fireside, in Central’s H Code, is an on-trend open fire eatery in the tradition of Smoke & Barrel, and Sydney’s Firedoor