You enter into the Chartered Bank building – either feeling at ease in a monolithic womb to cash or a sort of annoyance at how much extra money exists to build all this ugly marble 🙂 Then you go down, and down, and down past mirrors and columns and you feel yourself defending into the nether worlds where the real jewels are kept … Mott 32 is a true beauty. With and extraordinary interior by Joice Wang (winner of the 2014 restaurant interior design award).
We sat at the bar and wandered around taking in the opulence. Our bar tender was skilled and quite charming (we did come back for a 2nd cocktail and tried for the same young man). Unfortuneatly the rest of the staff bordered on rude, to the extent that they would follow us to the restroom and trying to prevent one on looking around and actually enjoying the space. It did not make any sense as the restaurant is so beautiful; and a main reason why anyone was there.
The food menu for us was a bit too traditional with their signature peking duck and mountains of pork (a smell permitted the dining area); therefore, we concentrated on the liquid menu 🙂
Mott’s 32 cocktail menu is fantastic. As we find in most cities we visit, the menues seem to be born out of NY, LA or London. The menu here was created by an American, who used Asian twists. The flavours are truly local, extensively creative and with a perfect balance. My Old Fashioned was quite new fashioned, and infinitely drinkable!
Pure Veggie House is fantastic! Not very easy to find, but one of those gems when you do. I mean, we would NEVER have found this place on our own. A local friend brought us here – which involved a taxi ride up the hill to a nondescript corner; a narrow lobby and elevator up one of the ‘chopstick’ buildings and then we finally spilled out into a vegetarian oasis.
Hong Kong has a verticality that is beyond what I was able to imagine – and this was after we had been to Tokyo – where you routinely head to a 4th floor for retail. Pure Veggie House, may not have been the highest floor we visited (we topped out at the non-blog worthy hotels 110th floor bar) – but considering that it was situated on top of a mountain to begin with – it may have been the highest in overall elevation 🙂
Each dish was lovingly crafted with ingredients cultivated from the restaurants very own ‘Kang Zhi Yuan Ecological Farm’. Sauces, spices, flavors sung. In Hong Kong, we found the few vegetarian spots to be the best, as the food was much less greasy and much more palatable. So grab a taxi and head “up” to the Pure Veggie House 🙂
Hong Kong’s Little Bao is a lunch counter for dinner, pot-heads paradise designed by Sean-Dix.
A Bao is the Chinese version of sandwich and it is one of those yummy cultural joys that has texture to match taste. The soft squishiness of the rice bread combined with the fried crunchiness of the filling is a match that is hard not to crave.
The version at Little Bao is as good as it gets – and for us was a one time pleasure as we try to avoid the deeply fried foods.
Side dishes to delight over included:
Brussel Sprouts with Fish sauce caramel, chili, peanut, lime & fried shallots
Truffle Fries with Shiitake tempeh, truffle mayo and pickled daikon
Sesame Caesar Salad with Indian lettuce, fried dace, black bean & panko
The Truffle fries looked like scrumptious heart-stoppers. We couldn’t go that decadent – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t !
Fish Tempura, tamarind palm sugar glaze, pickled lemongrass fennel salad
Sloppy Chan, braised shiitake tempeh, truffle mayo, sweet pickled daikon, fried shallot – did not photograph well
In the middle of the city, on the edge of the Hong Kong Park, nested inside the Tea Museum sits one of the most accessible, and easily missed, restaurants we found in Hong Kong. We gave it the brush off as a tourist spot several times before a friend invited us and we discovered what we had been un-imaginatively ignoring!
Offering vegetarian dim sum for lunch and dinner you can order freely from the menu without worrying about a pool of grease or wondering what animal part is going to be snuck in – great for selective eaters like ourselves. Service is very curt and reservations are a must, but overall our favorite food in Hong Kong.
Hazel and Hershey is one of those places that we wanted to love … it’s small, has a cute side patio, nice places to sit, decent enough service, WIFI, magazines …. in short everything you want in a coffee shop. And besides coffee, they sell all sort of coffee related paraphernalia – and I mean all sorts! So it is obvious they are way into coffee. And I think that may be the issue; In ‘trying so hard’, they lose some of the ease and joy that is actually drinking the coffee; no matter how much energy you put in the making of it.
I mean – if you are staying close, then it is the best brew in the short radius; however we found ourselves trekking the extra 15 min walk to get to Fuel for a better cup; albeit in a more corporate atmosphere.
Definitely stay away from americanos – as we found out is the case in most of Hong Kong’s coffee shops, they are not great. Instead we would suggest the Flat White or the excellent Piccolos.
If you are looking to make a hobby of it; Hazel & Hershey offers barista and aficionado classes.