Hottest new restaurants in January 2019

by: Angie Kwon, Editor
09 Jan 2019

New year’s resolution number one: eat more this year than last year? We’re here to help you with that. Here’s our first guide of the year to the newest restaurants in town. Happy new year everyone!
Hotal Colombo
Hotal Colombo is not a hotel or a mini supermarket however it seems from the outside. And it’s not spelt wrong either, the name takes inspiration from the vibrant eateries on the streets of Colombo (Sri Lanka). The pink walls, the groceries at the window and the vintage doors, this new joint-- is a curious place. The "hotal" part of it, spelt in the local tongue, is meant to establish a hospitable accepting “everyone is welcome” vibe, and this new resto, Hotal Colombo is vibing to it. They’re aiming to create a warm vacuum: of sunny Baila tunes, cheerful welcomes and servers in tropical print shirts and an open kitchen. But the food, the food is its centre. We were lucky to have a taste of one of their chicken kothu dishes, just before their launch, while we're not sure if this dish will be on the menu, we’ve got to say, it’s nothing like we’ve had before, so, so very good. Their menu includes the bone marrow varuval with pol roti, a veal bone marrow slow cokked with tomatoes, black pepper and curry leaves, and served with a pol roti,  a whole-wheat flatbread with fresh coconut flesh and fried on a traditional flat-top grill ‘tawa’. Other highlights include the fish kari, a bowl of amazing caobia served in a coconut milk sauce with a punch. 31 Elgin Street, SoHo, 2488 8863;
Frank’s is a nod to the neighbourhood Italian American joints in New York-- garlic knots, vodka pasta and classic Italian sub sandwiches (Spiderman Homecoming anyone?). While they don’t have garlic knots, they do have gnocco frittos, pillows of deep-fried bread, much like a beignet, topped with parmesan and served with a rich tomato-based dipping sauce. But what we’re really excited about is their Italian subs stuffed to the brim with housemade fillings (we’re yet to know all the fillings that will be available, but we assure you, the bread for these subs look absolutely incredible.) As Franks soft-opened in December, we managed to fit the vodka pasta in Franks into our 50 best dishes of 2018 article here.  Harilela House, G/F & 1/F, No. 79 Wyndham St, Central, 2320 0585;

Ask for Alonzo
Is Alonzo the real chef’s name? We aren’t sure of it yet, but Alonzo is meant to be a shy and passionate chef passionate with his Southern Italian cooking. He likes being a little cheeky with his homely pastas, adding a touch of the big city into them. Highlights include the Tuscan Meatballs made with housemade tomato napolitana sauce and topped with parmesan shavings. Other homely favourites include the carbonara fettuccine and the burrata cheese with basil dressing. But what really caught our eye is the grilled “chivasso” tomino cheese wrapped in spec hams with grilled zucchini, artichokes and peppers.  G/F, 18 Hoi Kwong Street, Quarry Bay
SHE is a new Chinese contemporary restaurant at Lane Crawford ifc. SHE takes traditional Chinese dishes with a modern, healthier, twist. A great choice to take your folks, the menu covers all our favourite dishes of char siu, salt pepper crispy tofu and double-boiled fish maw soup. Notably flashier dishes include the whole lobster ma po tofu and the rose gold har gao. Portion A of Shop 3025-3026 & 3031-3066, Level 3, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, 2110 0153;
From the same peeps who brought you ICHU PERU, comes ESTIATORIA KEIA, a hip new restaurant reinterpreting traditional Greek recipes. From Greek ceviche and Greek sashimi (excited about this), to classic spreads of tzatziki, spicy feta and hummus, and warm plates of grilled meatballs, saganaki cheese and baby squid with bottarga. Mains include hearty portions of pasta and seafood dishes including whole roasted lobster and traditional meat fare of rack of lamb and ribeye. The dessert menu has incredible traditional choices of loukoumades (they’re like doughnuts), walnut cake, lemon semolina, tsoureki brioche.  2/F H Queen’s 80 Queen’s Road, Central, 2677 7737 ;

As the winter gets colder, pizza cravings are at an all-time high. Just in time, FINI is a upcoming NY-style pizza joint with a classic open-flame oven, along with a selection of pasta dishes of generous portions. Some of the highlights that caught our eye are the airy deep-fried pizza gnocco fritto and pappardelle nose-to-tail bolo, an all-time favourite from mother-restaurant Linguini Fini. It hasn't opened quite yet, but so far it seems they Stone Nullah Tavern that is currently at their location will be making way for them sometime this winter. 69 Stone Nullah Ln, Wan Chai

Pica Pica
Chuuuuu! Actually, it means “a little bit of this, a little of that” in Spanish. A new tapas bar in Sheung Wan, all their dishes are meant to be served family style. From a ‘lazy’ Spanish omelette to the red prawn hot dog (reminiscent to a lobster brioche roll but with a red prawn), all the dishes are funky and playful--- much like their name. Note, they’ve also got authentic house-made sangria. 317-321 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan ;

Craving avo toast? VEDA is down to be the next hip go-to for vegetarians and plant-based diners of Hong Kong. Soon to be opening in mid-January, we got a sneak peek to the honest and artisanal vegetarian fare by Chef Hetty McKinnon. Check out our review of it here. Ovolo Central, Arbuthnot Road, 2, 3755 3000;
Deliveroo Food Market
If you walked down High Street recently and saw a brightly lit new opening looking a bit like a laundromat, it’s probably Deliveroo’s innovation “Deliveroo Food Market”. It’s not really a restaurant, more like a little hub that hosts tiny kitchens for projects from already existing restaurants or from completely new start-up restaurant concepts (that have yet to be in a concrete space). So now when you’ve got some serious Beef & Liberty burger cravings, Western district-ers don’t have to go all the way to Central. 58 High Street.

Holy Eats
What’s with all these crazy names this month? Holy Eats is another one of them, possibly a play of the cheeky turdy term, Holy Eats, the restaurant takes inspiration from tattoo art and street culture. It’s a hip little place in Elgin Street with a nice menu of small plates ranging from ceviche, chorizo mussels, beef tartare, ribs and cajun chicken. G/F, 23 Elgin Street, Central, 2890 2892

Angie Kwon