Singaporean Chef Barry Quek delights guests with a taste of the Lion City at Whey, his most recent restaurant opening since helming Beet in 2020. Although one may not associate Singaporean fare with refined dining, Quek delights with thoughtful and inventive dishes that encapsulate the flavours of his hometown with luxurious enhancements. The curry laksa konjac rice sees a traditional Singaporean favourite, laksa, recreated with konjac rice. Fresh laksa leaf is folded into rice and topped with ghost shrimp, “see hum” blood cockles and garlic crisps for a medley of textures and flavours. “My girlfriend and I love to eat laksa with rice when we enjoy it at home”, says Quek. “It’s not as fancy as the one at Whey but there’s something about the sauce coating every grain that makes it so satisfying, mouthful after mouthful.”
UG/F, 198 Wellington St, Central; whey.hk
Bentori is a brand new yakitori joint concealed in an alley adjacent to the revitalised Central Market. “You wouldn’t know what you would find until you set foot on this alley. It’s almost like treasure hunting”, says founder and general manager Regan Yeung. The cosy space, serving authentic Japanese yakitori, seamlessly transitions throughout the day from a relaxed and approachable daytime spot to one buzzing with vibrancy and energy at night. The foie gras rice is a luxurious yet comforting dish, where Hungarian foie gras is grilled until crispy and golden on the outside, and then paired with Japanese rice. “Simple but elegant, this dish symbolises the cooking philosophy of Bentori – nothing too fancy, just quality and authentic food cooked with devotion and sophistication.”
G/F, 10 Tit Hong Lane, Central; @bentori_hk
Censu is the very first independent venture of Shun Sato, the decorated Chef formerly helming the kitchens at Belon, Ho Lee Fook and Fukuro. The space, designed by JAMO Associates, is a tranquil sanctuary tucked away on Gough street, with wabi-sabi-inspired interiors that also borrow elements from Sato’s grandmother’s home in Sendai. Every element of Censu reflects Sato’s careful curation, intention and innovation, and Chef’s “unigiri” dish is but one example of this. A traditional Japanese onigiri is grilled, topped with uni, and served in a broth of abalone dashi. The dish is then mixed tableside for an end result resembling a risotto: the grilled rice mixes with the potent, flavourful dashi to give an al-dente chew reminiscent of the Italian rice dish, while the pieces of uni add bursts of umami with every bite.
28-30 Gough St, Mid-Levels; @censu_hk