Table for one? These Hong Kong restaurants are perfect for solo dining
17 Feb 2020
Well, that’s Valentine’s Day done for another year. Real talk though: a romantic dinner on any night of the year can be great, but there’s also nothing quite like a bit of self-love (no, not like that – get your mind out of the gutter please). Taking yourself out for dinner can be one of life’s greatest simple pleasures – no potential for awkward conversation, no arguing over the bill, and, perhaps more importantly, no obligation to share your meal.
That said, Hong Kong is home to some excellent places for next time you want to take yourself out on the best date of all: a solo date. Here are Hong Kong’s best restaurants to head to next time you feel like treating yourself. Because you deserve it.
A long-standing WOM fave, Black Sheep Restaurants’ iconic steak frites joint has a lot going for it as far as solo dining goes. With its no reservations policy, it’s usually hard to get a table at either the Central or TST dining room without enduring a bit of a wait. Arriving solo, however, can often snag you a seat at the lively bar without having to wait as long (if at all) – it also means you can have as many serves of the completely addictive free-flow fries without being judged. The lack of menu – the only thing they serve is a trimmed entrecote steak with a special house sauce, a green salad with walnuts, and those French fries (HK$318) – means that the hardest decision you’ll have to make is whether or not to have another glass of wine.
Staying in? Good news – La Vache have announced that their limited-time steak baguette will be available through February.
La Vache, 48 Peel Street, Central, +852 2880 0248; lavache.com.hk
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While the name of JIA Group’s latest venture refers to its singular, ingredient-driven menu, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that it’s also the perfect invitation to treat yourself to a solo dining experience. Helmed by chef Ricardo Chaneton, a former head chef of Restaurant Mirazur (no.1, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019) who also trained under Quique Dacosta, the On Lan Street restaurant showcases premium seasonal ingredients via a contemporary French tasting menu for lunch (HK$520 for 4 courses, HK$1,080 for 7 courses) and dinner ((HK$1,280 for 8–10 courses), complemented by a thoughtful wine list centred on vintages from Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Grab a seat at the roomy, stainless steel chef’s counter for a front row seat to the action, and tuck into signature dishes like Ocean Crudo, a seafood appetiser featuring Hokkaido scallops and sea urchin, Spanish Carabinero prawn and Brittany oysters, and Miéral Pigeon/Mole, in which the pigeon from Bresse, France, is aged in-house for five days, roasted on the bone and served mid-rare, and accompanied by a luxurious Mexican-style mole, created in-house with 26 spices.
Mono, 5/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, +852 2506 8676; www.mono.hk
Hot pot for one? Yes please. Japanese chain On-Yasai, with four locations throughout Hong Kong, is making it easier to do hot pot exactly how you like it. With a menu featuring premium ingredients from around the world, including Wagyu beef, Kumamoto pork, imported Japanese veggies and more, perfect for plunging into the great selection of soup bases like the signature salty yuzu soup with collagen. There are also great deals for lunch here, with individual sets starting from just HK$88.
On-Yasai, various locations including Shop 29, LG1, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, +852 3106 4218; onyasai.com.hk
Get your (food) geek on: the progressive, thought-provoking development kitchen of acclaimed British chef Simon Rogan, Aulis is the perfect setting for an evening with your number one. The 12-seat dining room – which, in a wonderfully acrobatic bit of spin, bills itself as a ‘multifunctional, hi-tech space and creative hub’ – is, effectively, an up-close-and-personal, behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of a fine dining kitchen, where you can preview dishes before they hit the menu at the adjacent Roganic (Rogan’s more traditional dining room). The eight-to-ten course menu (HK$1,280) changes constantly, and the creative team of chefs is within arm’s reach to guide you every step of the way.
Aulis, UG08, Sino Plaza, 255 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, +852 2817 8383; www.roganic.com.hk
The bar counter at Michelin-starred Belon (no.15 – and with a bullet – Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019) could just be one of Hong Kong’s best-kept fine dining secrets. Not only do the uber-cool neo-Parisian vibes and friendly, knowledgeable staff make you feel right at home, but you also never know who you might bump into while you’re there – the Elgin Street counter has become a favourite for many a visiting international chef as they do the rounds of cult Hong Kong eateries.
Whether you bump into someone there or not, you’re guaranteed a good time as baby-faced head chef Daniel Calvert and his crew guide you through a French-inspired menu that pairs premium produce with exquisite technical skills.
Belon, 41 Elgin Street, Central, +852 2152 2872; belonsoho.com
It may be a fair bit more casual than the rest of the places on this list, but this sushi chain is absolutely worthy of consideration. Billing itself as Hong Kong’s first ‘standing restaurant’, stay for as little or as long as you like at Sushi Tachi as you find a corner of your own and tuck into signatures like a mini uni don, grilled olive flounder sushi, and seared butter red shrimp, with prices starting at HK$118 for six pieces of sushi, and rice bowls for the same price with five pieces of fish. The made-to-order dishes are made using premium ingredients sourced directly from Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji fish market, with rice from Fukui prefecture – one of the country’s most renowned producers – mixed with premium red vinegar that brings out the best in the fresh fish by balancing out the natural oiliness. The menu also updates according to what’s in season, so if it’s not already, Sushi Tachi could soon become a regular stop for lunch or dinner.
Sushi Tachi, various locations including Shop D, G/F, Cameron Plaza, 23 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; www.facebook.com/SushiTachiHK
Helmed by Jack Law, a protégé of celebrated chef Umberto Bombana, what Causeway Bay pasta bar Involtini might lack in size it absolutely makes up for in quality. With a focus on fresh, handmade pasta complemented by high-quality, seasonal, imported ingredients, Involtini is perfect for a carb fix for lunch or dinner. The cosy black-and-white setting is framed by its open kitchen, where pull up a chair and sit back with a front row seat as the kitchen team plates up up à la minute dishes such as the handmade tagliolini carbonara (HK$168), orecchiette with homemade sausage in ’nduja spicy tomato sauce (HK$198). There’s a modest dessert selection, too, with tried and true faves like red wine-poached pear with vanilla gelato and tiramisu (both HK$78) a great way to round things off.
Involtini, 11/F, The L Square, 459-462 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, +852 2658 2128; www.involtiniconcept.com