5 dishes we loved this week from CHAAT, ThinkWine and more
Best Bites is a recap of the exceptional dishes we’ve had over the past week: those that have renewed our love for established places; caught our attention during a new opening; or freshly impressed by the creativity and skill of Hong Kong’s talented chefs. From casual street snacks to meticulously prepared tasting menus, these are the best dishes to try in Hong Kong, and the plates we recommend you make a trip special for.
Here are the best dishes we’ve dined and savored this week:
Preface Coffee & Wine
The dish: Classic Chicken Consomme with Vegetables (HK $ 40)
More simply an incubator for coding and tech workshops complemented by delicious portions of coffee (see: their location in Tin Hau) and wine (see: their central location), the brand new flagship of Preface Coffee & Wine at Causeway Bay now does food too, with day and night menus run by F&B chef Ambrose Chiang.
Not, perhaps, the most exciting item on the menu, Classic Chicken Consumed with Vegetables was a surprising success for me. I am, apparently, a soup person now. From a quick Google search, a consomme is a clarified broth with egg whites. I’m not sure what this means (maybe a bit like a washed-milk situation?) – but it’s so unbelievably good. You feel healthy, you feel like the kind of thing that “nourishes”; the kind of thing you would want to sip on on a chilly evening; first, politely, with a spoon. Then slurp. Then tilt, with the ten fingers cradling the ceramic, directly into your mouth. Something your mom would like you to tweak at the end of a meal. Chiang’s version is freshly boiled with seasonal vegetables for over six hours each day and topped with a pinch of chives. – Joey Wong, editor
Preface Coffee and Wine, G / F – 5 / F, 11 Sharp Street East, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2371 4738
The dish: Tandoori Beef Cheek (HK $ 308)
CHAAT is a restaurant. CHAAT is a fine Indian restaurant. CHAAT is a fine Indian restaurant in the Rosewood Hong Kong. CHAAT is a fine Indian restaurant in Rosewood Hong Kong with a two month waiting list. A two month waiting list! It’s not even an easy waiting list to put in a two-month line, as my friend John Chong can attest (let him know if you have a free seat or two he’s good company) – but a two-month waiting list, however.
That’s a lot, reader. And I tend to be skeptical of waiting lists, because I saw how you lined up for Blue Bottle Coffee when it opened at Central. (His fiiiiiin.)
But I will say this. There is a reason for this waiting list, and it is a good reason. CHAAT, it’s two great months. Three months, even. Four ! CHAAT is one of the best meals I have had in a long time. You’ve probably heard of the baked samosa with jackfruit meat, which gets the ball rolling. The Panchphoran BBQ Pork (with Tamarind! Kokum! Mustard!) Slaps hard enough to be any chef’s signature dish, and the Butter Chicken is a small but satisfying staple. But, like the final panel in one of those Vince McMahon memes, it was the model beef cheeks above, served with yogurt, chili and cinnamon that absolutely made me.
I can’t get you into CHAAT. I’m not even sure I can get into CHAAT. But I know this: if someone invites you, you accept. You get a bunch of stuff. You share it with the people at your table. You come home happy. And you repeat this process as often as you can. –– Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
CHAAT, 5 / F, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 5239 9220
Think about wine
The dish: Mont d’Or baked (250 HK $)
God – I almost shed a tear when this dish arrived. Mont d’Or holds a very special place in my heart. I tasted this divine cheese for the first time when I was a teenager in France, and it is a taste that I have never forgotten; rich and sweet with a slight acidity, greedy devoured with a spoon or delicately balanced on a slice of baguette, whatever you do, forget the audience, put it in you while it’s hot. They also raise the stakes here by throwing garlic cloves in the bubbling goodness. And don’t forget to ask wine veteran and ThinkWine founder Romain Loriot for his recommendation for a deal.
Bonus: Once a week, starting next week, ThinkWine will team up with various restaurants in town (think Frantzen’s Kitchen, Chachawan, Musubi Hiro, and 22 Ships) to launch pop-ups from 6 p.m. to late, serving up Special snacks (ranging from HK $ 60- HK $ 150 each) to pair with their specially curated wine selection. –– Sandra Kwong, features editor
ThinkWine, 2 / F LL Tower, 2 Shelley Street, Central, +852 2886 3121
Ying Jee Club
The dish: Crispy pork belly with golden garlic (part of the tasting menu starting at HK $ 1,380 for six courses)
Convincing that a Best Bite dish contains pork belly is not difficult. Not hard at all! Whatever its preparation, the porcine ingredient always succeeds in seducing amateurs. This was the case at the Ying Jee Club, which, although specializing in authentic Cantonese gastronomy, did not take place with a crispy pork belly typical of the siu mei Sort you happily soak in mustard, tasted in cubes with a crispy top skin and a juicy, meaty bottom, but something new, different and very tasty. What a crispy pork belly should always be from now on, I say.
It’s sliced into wide, thin slices, breaded in a crisp, golden crust, which the chef shares with a mixture of salted egg yolk that gives it the distinct crackle and umami exterior. Sealed within the tasty coat was the tenderest pork belly you’ve ever eaten. I feel like he needs some sort of dip (while we’re here, the Ying Jee Club’s homemade garlic and chili sauce is incredibly addictive –– yes, I tried to ask for a pot) but in fact the nuanced flavors of the crispy pork belly are further refined with the skillful preparation of Chef Siu Hin-chi, from just cooking the creamy pork to the sweet, winged aftertaste and the crust fried in controlled oil. The only disappointment is that it only came on a plate for two. I would do the tasting menu just for another date with this dish. –– Lorria Sahmet, editor
Ying Jee Club, Boutique G05, 107-108, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2801 6682
The dish: Multi-tuna sushi roll (Omakase starts at HK $ 680 for lunch, HK $ 1,380 for dinner)
There is beauty in the transience of the omakase; each visit brings back a new discovery, a new crush. It’s a meal to be savored, but it’s also a calm and spellbinding performance to watch. The seasonal dishes are always a delight – we had lightly seared shirako that day – and I assumed they would be my favorite, but the humble sushi roll, last in our lineup, blew me away.
The preparation makes it all the more exciting: a square of nori is laid flat and softly stuffed with the chef’s soy rice and pearl mixture, then comes four different cuts of tuna, homemade pickled radishes and a sprig of seafood. new onions. The last step is the rolling; a skillful and practiced movement that exemplifies the years of refined skill of the conductor. The bite, a bigger one than your regular sushi roll, reminds me exactly why regular omakase is a staple in my culinary journey. We always come out completely sated, but impatient for the next visit. –– SK
Sushi Namaken, Shop A, 2 / F, Hundred City Center, 7-17 Amoy Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2117 1829