Hong Kong’s top new restaurants for 2015

Chefs at Hong Kong's new Michelin-starred and award-winning restaurants turn up the heat

First published in 2009, the Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau edition highlights the twin cities' obsession for global gourmet cuisine. Venues range from Cantonese and Japanese to French, Indian and beyond. While several restaurants have had a firm hold on its stars year after year, the list simply keeps growing. We talk to 2015's first-time winners and see what's cooking.

Akrame

Akrame Benallal of Restaurant Akrame says that his kitchen is an extension of himself. When we asked him for five key ingredients that he would use to create a spring menu, he chose asparagus, strawberry, raspberry, green peas and spinach, and, to add a personal touch, his sensitivity.

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Just 33 years old, Chef Benallal's first restaurant in Paris now holds two Michelin stars. With his unique approach to cuisine, his Hong Kong outpost garnered its first star less than a year after opening. It was a valuable recognition of his team's work, he said, and it gave him new energy and motivation.

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What is it like for a lauded chef like him to be a diner? He recounted an amazing experience in Tokyo's Kikunoi. Everything from interior design to the dishes was consistent and simply exquisite. Indeed, he believes that a holistic approach developed by chefs will be the next big thing in food. So, come inside Akrame and savour the distinctive cuisine here, echoed by the down-to-earth yet contemporary décor.

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ON Dining Kitchen & Lounge

Next up is Philippe Orrico from ON Dining Kitchen & Lounge, which follows the success of his one-Michelin-starred restaurant, Upper Modern Bistro. Five ingredients distinguish his ideal spring menu: tomato, flowers, olive oil, peach and lobster. You are invited to ON's interactive dining kitchen for a closer look. Chef Orrico explains,“The proximity of the kitchen to the guests is key in engaging them in the fun and excitement of delivering great food.” Being awarded a Michelin star has definitely been a positive influence, but the most important goal for him is still creating a wonderful culinary experience for his customers.

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And what better way to create an amazing experience than having had one himself as a diner? He once spent five hours at Chicago's Alinea beciuase the food was so good he forgot them time. You might just feel the same way at ON, where you will  be carried away by the Mediterranean flavours.

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When asked about the future of cuisine, Chef Orrico says it will go one of two ways: one is technique-based and high-end, while the other is going to be very traditional with a strong influence from comfort food – an intriguing thought best deliberated over his dishes at ON.

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Seasons by Olivier E.

With a grandfather who was chef to the last Tsar of Russia, Seasons Chef Oliver Elzer is no stranger to culinary excellence. He garnered Michelin stars not only for many restaurants in France, but also for Pierre and L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong. The Michelin accolade gave him motivation to push himself harder, as recognition also elevated his brand image.

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Chef Elzer chose green pea, fresh goat cheese, strawberry, asparagus and tomato as the key ingredients for spring. Every season, he creates new visions of French cuisine which he hopes to introduce to a wider audience, as French dining becomes more casual in the future.

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Indeed, the appeal of his cuisine is hard to resist. “Perfection is fleeting, and everything has a hidden layer of further refinement,” explained the chef. And just like his discovery of a great Cantonese classic – crispy, succulent roasted goose drumsticks – you too will without doubt enjoy discovering his signature dishes at Seasons.

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Tate Dining Room and Bar

Though Tate Dining Room and Bar already has had a firm hold on its Michelin star, Vicky Lau, chef and owner, has just been named Veuve Clicquot Asia's Best Female Chef 2015. She saw it as an invitation for more opportunities, spotlighting her quest of better cooking techniques and creating unique dishes.

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She recalled the incredible dish 'Oysters & Pearl' at New York's Per Se which was an inspiration for her. We, on the other hand, saw her cuisine as anything but commonplace, a reflection of her Western experience, education and Hong Kong roots. When asked about what she would use to create a spring menu, she surprised us with firefly squid, sakura ebi, bamboo shoots, fiddlehead fern and berry.

tateagedmandarinseabassAs people's understanding and needs for wholesome, natural foods becomes evermore important to cater for Lau hopes to see more restaurants focus on quality, local produce and speciality dishes. With chefs like Vicky Lau and her colleagues creating new tastes, Hong Kong's dining scene certainly has a bright future.

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1 Seasons by Olivier E.
2 ON Dining Kitchen & Lounge
3 Restaurant Akramé
4 Tate Dining Room and Bar