Hidden at the end of a nondescript alleyway in Lan Kwai Fong, Roji is a sparkling izakaya infused with French accents, offering a relaxed and carefree escape in the heart of Central. Simply named “Tomatoes”, their delightful yet unassuming tomato dish combines fresh and sweet oxheart, cherry and jubilee tomatoes with a zesty kombu dashi dressing with ponzu, pickled onions and shiso. The bright and balanced plate is also a nutrient powerhouse: iodine-rich kombu assists thyroid function and pickled onions aid digestion while opening up the palette. But it is the tomatoes that truly make the dish shine while packing a nutritious punch. Tomatoes are anti-inflammatory and high in the antioxidant lycopene, which is enhanced through the preparation of the dish blanching process. Owner Agnes says, “It is a simple dish, yet meticulously and intentionally prepared to bring out the best of each ingredient. With its vibrant, elegant flavours, this cross cultural dish perfectly defines Roji and everything we have to offer.”
G/F 20A D’Aguilar St, Lan Kwai Fong, Central; facebook.com/roji.hongkong
This buzzing new eatery and bar is the brainchild of three of Hong Kong’s industry veterans – Bikal Ghale, Ashok Lama, and Ganga Gurung – who put their minds together to create a new neighborhood haunt that merges refined eats with delightful cocktails in a dynamic atmosphere. The mixed beet salad is a personal favourite of Chef Ashok – “Beetroot is one of the most underrated vegetables of all.” The chef works closely with local farmers, emphasising that now is the season to enjoy beetroots. “Because of Hong Kong’s tropical climate, our beetroots are full of sweetness and earthy flavours. They are also wonderfully nutritious.” Indeed, beetroots are an excellent source of fibre, potassium, and vitamin C, bringing about a host of nutritional benefits. Chef Ashok combines the star ingredient with red onions, red chard, lemon crema and toasted mixed nuts, the earthy and grounded flavours of the beetroot elevated and brightened with the lemon, with the toasted nuts adding delightful texture and crunch.
G/F, 11 Elgin St, Central; instagram.com/hungrypalhk
Candour is one of two new openings from the recently established hospitality group, Common Abode, with a bar-lounge concept harnessing the spirit and charm of the Siren – a half-woman, half-bird creature known for her alluring voice. The gastropub will take residence on 65 Peel Street, while the electric and versatile space is perfectly represented in the restaurant’s signature “Candour Salad”. In this dish, crispy taro adds a satisfying crunch while black garlic dressing brings potent flavour and umami. Yet, it is the tamarind glazed carrots that are the star of the show, the bright sweetness of the vegetable perfectly drawn out by the tamarind. Aside from adding their signature crunch, carrots are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, while also famously known for their ability to improve eyesight thanks to their high concentrations of beta carotene. Chef Karisa Cheque noted, “ I really love this dish because of the combination of flavours that come from the bitterness of the arugula, the sweetness from the tamarind-glazed vegetables that brings extra texture and colours to the dish.”
65 Peel Street, Soho; candourbar.com
Photography by Samantha Sin with styling by Ella Wong