One hundred and seventy two years ago the British first hoisted the Union Jack above our rocky little outcrop in the South China Sea bringing an influx of bold young Brits trying to make their fortune out in the East. A century and a half later, in 1997, we stood in Victoria Harbour waving goodbye as those Brits sailed off into the sunset on the Royal Yacht Britannia leaving a trail of empty gin bottles and cucumber sandwich crusts in their wake. Or so we thought…
Seventeen years on, the Brits are back in full glory — from milliners who hat Ascot ladies to the owners of Prince Harry’s favourite nightclub, with purveyors of ditsy-floral tea towels in between. But, 2014’s biggest Brit takeover has been in the kitchen, a Brit bakeover if you will. So, today we’re off on a jolly jaunt around the city to take in what’s cooking in the Kong kitchens flying the Union Jack…
The Kitchen: The Pawn
The Brit: Tom Aikens
What’s Cooking? Much-adored restaurant and bar, The Pawn is upping the ante on its authentic British drinking and dining experience in collaboration with Tom Aikens, the UK’s youngest ever 2-Michelin starred Chef. Expect a total interior renovation of the historic building and rooftop, along with a mouthwatering new menu and a dual themed bar space. Although the restaurant won’t officially be open until next week, The Pawn has created a series of three short teaser movies to whet diner’s appetites. The first and second videos have already been revealed and the final one can be found via social media this week under the hashtag #THEWAITISOVER.
The Kitchen: The Continental
The Brit: Rowley Leigh
What’s Cooking? Swire Hotels standalone flagship restaurant, The Continental, officially opened its gleaming doors in Pacific Place this month to rave reviews. The menu has been created by British Chef, Restaurateur and Food Writer Rowley Leigh and is based on the experience a diner would have in the grand cafés of Europe. Signature dishes include Griddled scallops with chestnut purée, shiso and lemon, Steamed grouper with clams and seaweed butter, Beef carpaccio with shaved Foie Gras, watercress, fig jam and sourdough toast, and Half rack of Australian lamb with black pepper and garlic. In Leigh’s own words “It’s a lot French, a little Italian and a British sensibility,” and from what we’ve heard, it’s set to be one of the hottest tables in town this autumn.
The Kitchen: Bread Street Kitchen & Bar
The Brit: Gordon Ramsay
What’s Cooking? A far cry from Hell’s Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay was in town a few weeks ago to launch his first ever Hong Kong venture Bread Street Kitchen & Bar. This sparkling vintage-inspired brasserie overlooking Lan Kwai Fong serves up British classics with an Asian twist like Honey glazed beef short ribs with pomelos, scallions, and sesame seeds and Tamarind spiced chicken wings and features an interactive bar area where mixologists shake up custom cocktails to your taste.
The Kitchen: Jamie’s Italian
The Brit: Jamie Oliver
What’s Cooking? After years of rumors and speculation, “The Naked Chef” and father of the UK’s food revolution has broken ground in Hong Kong with an outpost of his upbeat casual Jamie’s Italian in new foodie hotspot Soundwill Plaza in Causeway Bay. Expect fresh family-style dishes, platters of cured meats, hearty homemade pastas with seasonal ingredients like pumpkin panzerotti and truffle tagliatelle and decadent desserts like the Epic Brownie with salted caramel gelato at incredibly reasonable prices.
The Kitchen: Aberdeen Street Social
The Brit: Jason Atherton
What’s Cooking? After winning the hearts of HK diners with his first two dining spots 22 Ships and Ham & Sherry, Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton opened his first signature restaurant Aberdeen Street Social this past summer. The sprawling duplex space in the PMQ with an outdoor terrace opening out onto a rare grassy lawn continues to surprise and delight with traditional British fare upstairs and craft cocktails, snacks and desserts downstairs. What unique culinary adventure Mr. Atherton will take HKers on next is anyone’s guess.