Unceremoniously wedged into a one-hour slot during the work day, lunch rarely gets the respect it deserves, with many resorting to a sandwich hastily wolfed down at their desk. Thankfully, the wealth of lunch options in Hong Kong makes it easy to add a spark of gastronomic excitement to the middle of your day (and there’s no excuse not to). Keep reading for our pick of the 10 best lunch spots below.
Conveniently located at the tip of Ship street, just sidestepping the hustle and bustle of Wan Chai, is grill and smokehouse restaurant Mr. Brown, whose new 3-course lunch menu (HK$160 p.p.) offers a refined midday serving of Head Chef Asher Goldstein’s boldly-flavoured dishes in an intimate wood-lined space primed for business meetings and casual gatherings alike. With three appetizers and six main dishes to choose from (including a light dessert), diners can revel in the rustic reverence of wood-fired cooking with the fresh nuances of Mediterranean ingredients. Such flavours in harmony include the smoky roasted eggplant carpaccio with yoghurt and burnt green chilli, the whipped mackerel cream with salmon roe and a warm homemade pretzel, and the utterly satisfying smoked chicken thigh smothered in tahini and tomato.
G/F, 9 Ship Street, Wan Chai; 3101 1081
Peruvian-Chinese food might sound like a strange mix, yet it has a very real grounding in the Chinese diaspora who first settled in Peru in the mid-1800s as coolies and manual labourers. Today, their descendants are well-integrated into Peruvian society and their hybrid cuisine is the focus of Chifa, a Central eatery whose lunch menu (HK$148 p.p.) is a great way to break away from your usual açaí bowl. Start off with a selection of Peruvian-style dim sum before moving on to the more substantial grill and wok dishes, which feature classics like chaufa (a word borrowed from the Cantonese chow fan, or fried rice) and lomo saltado stir-fry.
26 Peel St, Central; 2311 1815
Don’t let the unfinished concrete walls and flimsy plywood door of this Vietnamese noodle joint fool you – Cô Thành is a proven crowd-pleaser thanks to its authentic soup noodles, which restaurateur Brian Woo perfected during an apprenticeship at popular Anthony Bourdain-approved Saigon food stall, The Lunch Lady. Chow down on the bún bò Huế with an iced Vietnamese drip coffee to start your afternoon off right.
2-4 Kau U Fong, Central
This chic basement venue is the brainchild of award-winning ramen chefs Hayashi Takao and Matsumura Takahiro. The focus here is on the soup bases, which incorporate hybrid aigamo ‘rice’ duck, organic Tanba chicken, and artisanally-harvested kagome khumbu kelp. Go for the Premium Cubism ramen and Matsu Hayashi dumplings, dipped in their signature chilli sauce.
B/F, Yuen Yick Building, 27-29 Wellington Street, Central
Blink and you’ll miss this flexitarian favourite, hidden behind a market stall in a Central laneway. Customers can order from a selection of wraps, sliders or salads, combining elements like quinoa, beetroot and roasted vegetables, with cajun or pesto chicken and crispy sweet potato fries. Making up for a lack of seating, this eatery’s generous portions will satisfy even the most ardent meat lovers.
G/F, 26 Lee Yuen Street West, Central
Salad fiends will appreciate the salad buffet bar at Spiga, as well as the cold cuts, soups, bread and desserts, all included in the HK$188 lunch buffet offering. Pasta, pizza and meatier mains can be added at an additional cost. For those with more flexible schedules, the connected outdoor bar, Portico, makes for the perfect place to enjoy a post-lunch coffee.
3/F, LHT Tower, 31 Queen’s Road Central, Central
The latest venture in his 50-year-long career, Chef Kihachi Kumagai’s LUMI condenses his French-Japanese culinary philosophy into the approach of ‘borderless cuisine.’ Kumagai’s creations are surprising and delightful in their blending of influences, utilising premium ingredients like Kobe beef, Sendai miso, and sea urchins from Hokkaido. Abundant in natural light and profusions of bouquets, LUMI makes for a solid choice for business lunches.
Shop 301, 3/F, Pacific Place, Admiralty
For some quiet time in the middle of the city, head to Honbo for their scrumptious burgers and sweet potato fries, and to soak in the relaxed vibes of the Star Street Precinct. Made from locally-sourced ingredients and served between potato milk buns, the Cheese Burger is hard to beat – better yet, the lunch set includes a side and a drink too.
6 Sun Street, Wan Chai
A welcome addition to the city’s contemporary Indian restaurant scene, Daarukhana offers an unbeatable three-course menu for HK$158. Created by the former chef de cuisine of New Delhi’s Indian Accent, Valice Francis, the menu is a marriage of Indian and Western influences – the Chilean Sea Bass Moilee succinctly demonstrates this ethos.
1/F, Tai Yip Building, 141 Thomson Road, Wan Chai
Save this Northern Spanish restaurant for that special celebratory team lunch – its lush interiors (by Spanish designer Rocio Martinez) and lavish lunch set menu with appetizer buffet and dessert never fail to raise team spirits. Order the Rainbow Trout with Iberian ham and almond sauce for some authentic rustic flavours.
G/F, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
A perennial lunchtime favourite, office crowds flock to Kikusan for affordable and dependable Japanese options – be sure to arrive early or else expect a wait. The Kikusan Roll, which layers uni and crab roe atop tuna maki rolls, is a must-try, as is the Layer Pork Cutlet with Rice.
Shop 1301, 13/F, Hysan Place, Causeway Bay
Tucked away inside K11, Atum Restaurant offers cuisine inspired by the world-famous Noma at a much more affordable price point, and the lunch set is a great bargain. Alongside reliable pasta choices, meatier options include pan-fried barramundi and Australian ribeye with caramelised apple.
Shop 101B, 1/F, K11 Art Mall, Tsim Sha Tsui
EditorVogue Hong Kong
CreditHeader image courtesy of The Optimist