I worked for restaurant groups and different FB projects for more than 10 years so I have witnessed a lot, but that also leads me to be very sceptical about new restaurants. I am a relatively good cook, so I tend to go out for things I don’t normally cook at home.
My recent favourite restaurant is a small joint called MM Kitchen (Tai On Building, 57-58 Shau Kei Wan Road, Sai Wan Ho, tel: 9256 9993). They use no MSG and there are only about 10 items on the menu and 16 seats. The owner, Mrs Fan, is basically a tai-tai, but she loves seeing people enjoy her food. Her daily specials are recollections of her mother’s home cooking. The daily soup is to die for. The taste and the tradition, heritage, stories behind the food simply have no comparison.
For overseas friends, I normally will take them to Lantau, to see the giant Buddha and breathtaking Tai O, which is a must-see. In Tai O, you can’t miss the amazing local seafood and the most authentic locally made ingredient, the shrimp paste. There are a few local restaurants there and I go to Tai O Lian Heung Restaurant (52 Kat Hing Street, Tai O, tel: 2985 7313) most of the times. Of course, you need to take a closer look at the mini aquarium at the entrance to check out the seafood.
Another recommendation came from an accidental visit. Last year, I was in Hysan Place and all the restaurants were packed except one, the then newly opened Ming Bistro (shop 1401, 14/F Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2180 6578). So I gave it a try and I really loved it. Not many restaurants claiming to have pan-provincial get good comments, but Ming Bistro has good dim sum and dishes from Guangdong, Sichuan, Shanghai, Beijing and even Taiwan. Open all day, it has a Western ambience, which is unusual. If you are looking for a relatively quiet place to have decent dim sum, this is the place, although reservations are highly recommended.
I don’t believe in the guides that give stars to restaurants because for me it is more like a game than a solid system. That is the reason why I like Sushi Mori Tomoaki (Seabright Plaza, 8-23 Shell Street, North Point, tel: 2979 5977). Chef Mori wants no publicity and to only concentrate on his craft. In the original setting it had more than 30 seats, but he trimmed the whole place into half early this year. Favourite Hong Kong restaurants of Philippe Orrico, chef and Nomad Dining founder
Now it has only 12 to 15 seats in the evening. His omakase – about HK$2,000 per head – has extraordinary quality in terms of ingredients and the special sushi vinegar he uses. When I asked him why he learned to make all these special sushi rice bowls in the first place, he said, “Because I just want to make it for my wife”. You know instantly that there is a lot of love in his sushi.