Reasons to visit Hong Kong in 2017
Author: Janice Leung Hayes
Photography: Getty images (Hong Kong)
Sleep: Little Tai Hang
Though it's close to Causeway Bay, the retail heart of Hong Kong Island, the neighbourhood of Tai Hang has an appealing village vibe and lots of cafés and restaurants. The area is best explored from Little Tai Hang - most of its 91 rooms have views of Victoria Park and Hong Kong Harbour. The styling is Mid-Century modern, with accents of mustard, navy and dark timber, and downstairs is Second Draft, a modern Chinese gastropub with 20 craft beers on tap, many of them local; food is by Happy Paradise's May Chow.
98 Tung Lo Wan Rd, Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's skyline.
You'd think that brunch options in Hong Kong would be a little more diverse than eggs Benny and Champagne, but Asian options beyond yum cha have been fairly slim - until Kaum. Designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, the menu at this restaurant, part of the Indonesian hotel and club empire Potato Head, features the diverse cuisines of tribes scattered across the Indonesian archipelago. Almost as soon as you sit down for weekend brunch, the first plates hit the table - they might include gulai telor aceh (braised soft-boiled egg in a mild Acehnese coconut milk curry sauce) and gado gado with cashew nut and peanut sauce. The extension of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) line revitalised Hong Kong Island's western side, and Potato Head, in the neighbourhood of Sai Ying Pun, is at the centre of the action. Ask to be seated in the lounge for the best people-watching vantage. Brunch is from 11am to 4pm.
100 Third St, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong.
A selection from the menu at Kuam.
Power lunch: Mercato
Best known for its rowdy bars and clubs, Lan Kwai Fong (or LKF, as it's known locally) has California Tower as its new heart, a 27-storey restaurant and retail complex close to Central MTR. Mercato, by French-American dining magnate Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is the eighth-floor place to shake hands over produce-driven Italianate plates of endive, sugar snap and parmesan salad, and ricotta agnolotti by J-G protégé Anthony Burd.
8/F, California Tower, 32 D'Aguilar St, Central, Hong Kong.
Dinner: Happy Paradise
May Chow, named Asia's best female chef this year, has been on a roll. Her newest project, one of three eateries she runs in Hong Kong and abroad, is this modern Cantonese restaurant celebrating Hong Kong-style kitsch, with John Javier, previously of Sydney's Master, in the kitchen. Dim blue and pink lights bounce off pearlescent mosaic wall tiles and stainless-steel bar stools, giving the place a retro purplish glow. You'd almost expect the staff to start a karaoke session, if they weren't already too busy serving dishes such as scallop cheung fun, where the rice noodle is replaced by sheets made entirely of scallop, and slow-cooked chicken with chrysanthemum, rice puffs and Shaoxing wine, a claw dangling from the side of the plate as if to entice diners to dig in. Start or finish with cocktails - the Durian Painkiller, if you're feeling brave.
UG/F 52-56 Staunton St, Central, Hong Kong, +852 28 162 118
Madame White Snake cocktail at Happy Paradise.
Drinks: Bar De Luxe
Cocktail fiends visiting Tokyo will likely have Bar High Five in Ginza on their list, such is the magnetic attraction of owner-bartender Hidetsugu Ueno's top-notch drinks and distinctive style of service - consummate Japanese bartending skills with a dash of rock 'n' roll from the Elvis school. His new project, Bar De Luxe, is in Attire House, a bespoke men's tailor and barber shop. Behind the bar is Ueno's protégé Yuriko Naganuma, who shakes and stirs concoctions such as The Hidden Gem - with a base of Japanese whisky (more precisely, Nikka from the Barrel) and a liqueur made with yomogi, Japanese mugwort. Expect to see plenty of Japanese bottles on the shelves, from whisky to sake to cherry-blossom liqueur.
29-30F, 8 Wyndham St, Central, Hong Kong.
Coming soon:The Murray
Built in 1969, this office block is one of the city's best examples of Modernist architecture, and by year's end the building in Central will be transformed into a 25-storey hotel with more than 300 rooms and a range of dining and drinking venues, including a rooftop bar and high-end Chinese restaurant. The Murray's distinctive angled recessed windows will allow plenty of light into generously sized rooms, many of which will be more than 50 square metres - a true luxury in crowded Hong Kong.
22 Cotton Tree Dr, Central, Hong Kong.