Hot Cuisine

At these hip eateries it’s all about fun

By: Gary Bowerman

Too many upscale eateries, pressured to create dazzling dining experiences, forget that food should be fun. But in Hong Kong, a city that boasts one of the world’s most vibrant dining scenes, two recent openings have upped the “wow’’ factor for fun-seeking foodies.

Hutong is a northern Chinese restaurant from the same owners as the high-class eateries Aqua Tokyo and Aqua Roma, and the chic Aqua Spirit bar, which draws a consistently hip cocktail crowd for the strong drinks and sensational views. Located in the same Tsim Sha Tsui skyscraper, Hutong similarly does not disappoint. Its traditional Chinese interior and innovative cuisine complements its panoramic 28th-floor views of Victoria Harbor.

A circular stone entrance gives way to dark wood tables, floors and screens, silk curtains and large bird cages that lend the ambience of a backstreet Beijing courtyard restaurant albeit a beautifully designed one.

But the menu here is nothing like you’d find in a Beijing alleyway, in fact it smoothly bridges the generations, bringing a contemporary twist to northern Chinese favorites. Dishes such as braised prawns with tangerine and steamed bamboo clams in rose-petal wine reveal both careful improvisation and deference to Hutong’s traditional culinary forebears.

Hutong is one of those restaurants where your eyes are always darting from the exquisitely crafted meal on your plate, to Hong Kong’s beautiful people sharing the dining experience, to the jaw-dropping views below.

If you think funky retro is not a concept you would associate with fine dining, think again. Opened last September in the Lan Kwai Fong drinking and dining district, The Cavern is a modern take on the legendary Liverpool club that spawned The Beatles.

This one, though, offers more than music.

Hong Kong’s “first supper club” is currently the hottest ticket in town. The decor is an eye-popping 21st-century take on a 1960’s nightclub, complete with swirling, kaleidoscopic graphics and Formica tables. The moody lighting adds an intimate feel, with the bar area, video screens and restaurant seating focused around a dance floor and split-level stage.

But the music comes later first the food. The set four-course dinner has a fusion feel nothing Chinese here. Entrees include Cajun tuna with braised leaks and gumbo sauce, and beef fillet with oxtail potato hash and smoked paprika sauce.

After dinner, it’s time for some live music. First up was Australia’s Sixtiesmania Showband in their outrageous outfits and a set of covers that they honed in Las Vegas. Then, with the audience warmed up, house band, The Rolling Bones, hit the stage for some lusty interpretations of pop classics.

Really. When was dinner ever this much fun?


Hutong One Peking Road, 28th floor, Tsim Sha Tsui
$175 for two with wine

The Cavern
Lan Kwai Fong Tower
33 Wyndham Street (entrance on D’Aguilar Street), Central
$50 per person set menu