Top 5 Gastropubs
Marco Pierre White takes exception to the term "gastropub", saying that it reminds him of gastroenteritis. But there is no denying that the gastropub, a place that serves upscale versions of standard pub fare such as fish and chips or pies, has entered the culinary lexicon and now occupies as firm a place as a steakhouse. No matter what you call them, we have a lot of love for the gastropub. After all, what's not to love about gourmet burgers, or artisanal sausage with silky mash? And so, in honour of all things British in the year of the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, we give you our Top 5 gastropubs in Hong Kong.
Opened since 1963 and only allowing women in since 1990, The Chinnery at the Mandarin Oriental is the epitome of the British pub. However, what makes it as gastropub - and one of our Top 5, no less - is that the food here is just so damn tasty. Featuring a simple menu of pub classics, all the dishes are made with the best quality produce and utmost skill. The bread and butter pudding, bangers and mash, fish and chips, chicken tikka makhani, you can’t go wrong with any of them. To complete the experience, order one of the 120 varieties of whiskies, or a chilled draft beer, which to this day is still served in a custom-made silver tankard.
1/F Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road, Central. Tel: +852 2825-4009.
We have heard a few murmurs of discontent ever since the basement pub at The Excelsior in Causeway Bay re-opened: long-time regulars were disoriented by the “snazzing” up of the place. Replacing some of the well-worn wooden timber with a red and black motif, we didn’t think the renovations were much more than superficial. But surely even the grumpiest and most nostalgic of punters must admit that the food at Dickens remains of a high standard. We personally love the organic beef burger with hot English mayo and tomato chutney; as well as juicy Cumberland sausage with mash. Of course, the national British dish curry, is well-represented at Dickens’ curry lunch buffet. There is even a sweet pear cider to wash it all down with.
Basement, The Excelsior, 281 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay. Tel: +852 2837-6782.
We’ve always loved the decoration of The Pawn: there is hardly a more enjoyable spot in Hong Kong to while the day away than on its terrace, watching the trams slowly go by. However, it is only since new chef Anthony Fletcher’s appointment earlier this year that we have also started going for the food. Previously at Tom Aikens in London, we love the little tweaks that chef Fletcher has imposed on the menu. Among our favourite dishes are a mackerel salad with walnuts, smoked bacon and a soft poached egg and for your main, the wild vendee pigeon, which is a beautiful thinly sliced pigeon breast spread out over celeriac, potato, orange, greens and a swoosh of vibrant beetroot puree across the plate. To end, the peanut crumble-coated pineapple with chocolate creme and edible flowers is not only beautiful, but also delicious.
62 Johnston Road, Wan Chai. Tel: +852 2866-3444.
Definitely the fanciest of all the gastropubs in Hong Kong, naturally as it is a joint effort from designer menswear label Dunhill and the members-only Kee Club. The décor is like a modern men’s club, with dark leather banquettes and couches, and a giant British bulldog dominating. However, one wall of large windows allows in copious light in the daytime, and provides a pretty view of the lit-up Central buildings at night. Alfie’s uses a lot of British produce in the menu, from Devon sausages to Dorset crabs. Our favourite time to visit Alfie’s is during the weekend brunch, where we can choose between our two favourites: the fish and chips or the full English breakfast with West Country-style pork sausage, black pudding, poached egg, Hollandaise, baked beans, tomato, mushroom and an English muffin. Healthy it is certainly not, but you can’t beat it for satisfaction.
1/F Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central. Tel: +852 2530-4422.
To learn how to make fish and chips Alfie’s-style, watch our video here.
The Globe was once a small pub on Hollywood Road, filled with regulars, smoke, a jukebox and football matches on television. Ever since it moved to its much larger and much nicer location on Graham Street in 2009 however, it has definitely moved into the category of a gastropub. The menu includes pies of the day, ploughman’s platter, scotch egg and pork hock terrine. The food is delicious, but we also love the casual camaderie of the communal tables, the living room area with its couches and board games, as well as its truly impressive selection of lagers and ales, including the locally brewed Typhoon T8.
45-53 Graham Street, Central. Tel: +852 2543-1941.
Read more about artisanal beers here, as well as an in-depth look at Typhoon Brewery’s operations over in Lantau.