There’s so much of the same when it comes to restaurants in Hong Kong that finding “the best” really is pot luck.
Mercifully, after stupidly welcoming a shipload of so-called “celebrity chefs” and Michelin chefs from bankrupt countries and many locals with shit for brains investing in restaurants where they are the “stars” plus boring and cloned Thai, “French”, “Spanglish” and the flavor of the day- Peruvian and Greek restaurants- Hong Kong consumers and even pretentious foodies who wouldn’t know a pasta from a Pesto- are returning to your typical local cooking.
It’s why people are queuing up to get into NORTHERN DUMPLINGS at 259, Queen’s Road East where, as we are creatures of habit, had to be taken kicking and screaming by a German friend who is new to Hong Kong- and really knows her food.
Once there and being where this famous brand makes “downtown” feel uptown with simple round tables, stools and a variety of dumplings- fresh, large and filled with pork, mutton and prawns and, for breakfast, pork and watercress dumplings in hot and spicy soup.
It really makes one wonder why someone doesn’t just start one of those pop-up restaurants which are becoming so popular- the answer to not paying exorbitant rents- and simply serve local favorites like chow fan (fried rice), char siu fan (barbecued pork and rice) and traditional local tuck instead of all this fusion/confusion nonsense.
All this pretentiousness and Asians pretending to be what they’re not, and moving into culinary territory they know nothing about, is both stupid and embarrassing as it’s fooling no one.
It’s like being overnight “wine connoisseurs” without knowing a good red from a flat one- and that shocker we have witnessed, first hand, where unfinished glasses of wine are poured back into bottles and served again. Gasp!
Moving along, when those who own Middle Eastern restaurants rave like girls with a crush about the chef of another Middle Eastern restaurant, well, the cuisine just must be awesome. And the rave reviews about the culinary skills of the chef at the Lebanese restaurant called SUMAC in Aberthnot Road keep rolling in quicker than falafels on speed.
We knew the chef when he was wasted at the ill-conceived, way too expensive and now closed Marouche Grill on Elgin Street and he gets two thumbs up along with a couple of humps. His Sautéed Liver dish- not everyone’s favorite- is incredible.
Having said this, as with any other type of cuisine, Hong Kong overflows with Lebanese restaurants, some, of course, far better than the others- and with SUMUC the best by a long kebab.
If absolutely hammered and pretty much legless and needing some food to eat on the spot or take away, you won’t get any better than THE KEBAB HOUSE down Cochrane Street and within spitting distance of all those samey same House thumping clubs along Wyndham Street.
For us, take those bloody nasty Nigerian coke dealers away from the area which the local gendarmes do nothing about, and this takeaway joint is the best “club” in town- and with the addition of a very inexpensive menu comprising very filling and extremely tasty kebabs, biryanis and curries.
So, why is it a “club”? Well, it’s open until 10am and, while waiting for your food, it really is pot luck as to who- and what- you might pick up as the place is right next to Drop- one of the better Clubs and where very pretty and/or very drunk and friendly things come stumbling out into the light while Warren Zevon sings Werewolves Of London.
It’s a real people watching place- the good, the bad and the fugly- and full of surprises as opposite to The Kebab House is Marouche, the popular Lebanese restaurant owned by our good friend Mr Sharma, below, who even recorded a song for us, while next door are smaller clubs like Gekko and The Buddha Lounge- stomping grounds for those Nigerian pusher men.
To be continued…