Happy New Year one and all from beautiful Sydney! I am still completely bewildered as to how last year went by so quickly! Truth be told, I’m still finding it a little hard to believe that it has now been 15 years since 2000! But anyway, 2014 was another excellent year, not only on a personal scale, but also on a foodie scale.
To reflect a little on what’s gone on this past year, firstly, in February, The Dim Sum Diaries underwent a bit of a facelift. The new site, which I hope you’ll all agree is much better than the old, was designed by the lovely team at Passion Digital in London. With the new site came a weekly newsletter (if you’re not on the mailing list, please subscribe), more recipes and more reviews.
In April 2014, The Dim Sum Diaries turned three! It was celebrated with a small dinner with close friends at one of my favourite restaurants, Stone Nullah Tavern. Yet again I received an overwhelming number of congratulatory messages from all my lovely readers. Thank you all for your encouragement and for staying loyal to this humble little blog!
I tried and tested well over 100 restaurants, mainly in Hong Kong, but also in Sydney, London and Hanoi, and of course that’s only counting the ones that I actually reviewed! A few weeks ago I posted my shortlist of 20 of my favourite restaurants of 2014 and asked you all to comment on your favourite from that list. The response was incredible! I’ll get to that soon, but firstly, here is my list of the top 10 restaurants that I reviewed in 2014, in the order in which I reviewed them:
This is one of my favourite hangouts in Soho. It’s a place where people can go for a glass or two of Italian wine at the bar, or enjoy an array of gorgeous, fresh Italian dishes…or both. Whether you’re looking for a date night spot or a place to go with a group of girlfriends, 121BC is that place.
42-44 Peel Street, Central. +852 2395 0200
This fun little Japanese restaurant specialises in Omakase, which essentially means chef’s menu; you’ll get small plate after small plate of whatever your particular chef wishes to serve you that night, making it so much more than just a sushi restaurant. The space is small and intimate, where diners can form a personal relationship with the chef, so it seems almost like a private kitchen that is bound to impress.
9/F, Stanley 11, 11 Stanley Street, Central. +852 2521 0008
Following the rule of “nourishing gastronomy,” NUR serves food that is fresh and light, created with local, seasonal ingredients that leave you feeling satisfied without feeling uncomfortably full. Each dish is so beautifully presented, complementing the gorgeous, casual yet elegant space. I recommend asking for a table on the balcony if you can get one, particularly if it’s a special occasion.
3/F, Lyndhurst Tower, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central. +852 2871 9993
At this quirky little place tucked away with no signage in Kennedy Town, you are bound to have one of the most fun nights you’ll ever have. After all, there aren’t many restaurants in which you’ll find a dressing up box (or rail in this case) and a giant swing. The menu offers “funky fusion flavours” – predominantly Japanese dishes with a fun twist, all designed for sharing. I’ve been a number of times this year and have left with a huge smile on my face and a satisfied belly.
G/F, Sincere Western House, 48 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town. +852 2817 3808
This gorgeous, cosy little French restaurant aims to take the stiffness out of French dining, in order to make it more casual, fun and chic. With a focus on seasonal ingredients and a “less is more” philosophy, Cocotte takes classic French dishes and gives them a cheeky, modern twist. The food is seriously good, perfect for a casual dinner or a special date night.
9 Shin Hing Street, Central. +852 2568 8857
One of my absolute favourites that never fails to impress, Ho Lee Fook is high on my list of recommendations, especially for people visiting Hong Kong. Aside from having a funny name, Ho Lee Fook also serves some delicious food; classic Chinese flavours are reinterpreted with a modern Western twist.
G/F, 1-5 Elgin Street, Central. +852 2810 0860
For times when you’re looking for a smaller, more intimate and less touristy dim sum restaurant, Ding Dim 1968 fits the bill. The master chef has been making dim sum since 1968 (hence the name), when he was only 14 years old! The menu uses no MSG, everything is made by hand every day and, for those with a more adventurous palate, there are some interesting variations on traditional dumplings.
14 Elgin Street, Central. +852 9698 1968
Although there are a lot of Spanish tapas restaurants in Hong Kong, Fofo is one of the best that I’ve been to in Hong Kong. Dishes are not only expertly presented, but also creative and delicious, although, naturally, prices will reflect this. Start the night with a cocktail on the rooftop, overlooking our beautiful city.
20/F, M88, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central. +852 2900 2009
This is without a doubt my favourite French restaurant in Hong Kong. The food is exquisite, the service excellent and, since it’s affiliated with the wine shop Winebeast, wines are very affordable. It’s a cosy little spot with only 25 seats, yet rather than feeling cramped, you get the sense that you’re eating at a lovely, lively bistro in the heart of Paris. Order the steak tartare; you won’t regret it.
G/F, 15 McGregor Street, Wan Chai. +852 2479 6833
If you like Mexican food and Japanese food, you’ll definitely enjoy CHINO. The chef was formerly executive chef at Nobu Hong Kong and it shows: it’s basically Mexican food with an Asian twist that’s served with chopsticks. The food is excellent and the service is outstanding, definitely a new favourite.
1B-1C New Praya, Kennedy Town. +852 2606 0588
People’s Choice Award
I absolutely loved seeing all these votes come through, so thank you to everyone who took the time to comment. There were a few clear favourites, all of which also made it onto my top 10, so it’s nice to see that my readers and I are on the same page!
Cocotte took 11% of the vote
Le Bistro Winebeast took 34% of the vote
But without a doubt, taking 42% of the vote, the People’s Choice Award goes to………CHINO!!
I’m looking forward to another food-filled year ahead, starting with a selection of Sydney restaurants, followed by many Hong Kong restaurants that I haven’t yet got round to trying, and of course more that are yet to open! If you’d like to recommend any restaurants that you think I should try, drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I’m always delighted to hear from my readers! Let it be an excellent year for us all, filled with love, happiness and delicious food!