Agora, a Spanish-inspired dining space by Hong Kong-based chef Antonio Oviedo, has opened in Hong Kong’s Tai Kwun heritage area.
Oviedo is teaming up with JIA restaurant group for the Spanish fine dining concept.
Oviedo, a Madrileño who has most recently been helming Wan Chai’s award-winning and popular 22 Ships dining space, will work with restaurant manager Anton Marquez to create contemporary tasting menus. During the launch phase, Agora will be open for dinner only, serving a ten-course seasonal degustation ‘Menú Gran Agora’, featuring seasonal ingredients sourced as much as possible from Spain.
Regional highlights include verdial, an extra virgin olive oil cultivated in Málaga, served with wheat and red wine butter, along with choricero chilli pepper, a dehydrated variety of Spanish red pepper, served with crayfish and nectarine.
The Mediterranean-styled interior has been designed by Hong Kong-based Collective Studio and features a red-and-white marble arch entryway influenced by the rustic aljibe, a curved ceiling and terracotta bricks paving the walls. The 24-seat space will feature a private dining room as well as individual tables and a chef’s counter.
Agora will be working with World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organisation providing meals to disadvantaged communities following natural disasters.
Agora, Shop 14, G/F D Hall, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central Hong Kong; +852 2316 2005.
Italian dining space 208 Duecento Otto on Hong Kong’s Hollywood Road has transformed into Ramato.
After a decade of service, the popular Italian restaurant closed its doors in February, just as Hong Kong’s ‘fifth wave’ pandemic restrictions were beginning to bite. It has now been soft-opened as Ramato following a refurbishment.
‘Ramato’, a name inspired by the Italian ramato tomato grown in the Puglia region of Italy, aims for casual family-style charm and traditional southern Italian fare in a relaxed setting.
Chef Antimo Maria Merone has created a menu inspired by his Italian nonna’s dinner table when he was growing up, with signature dishes such as bruschetta, sauteed clams, homemade pappardelle ragu and sharing dishes including 1.5kg baked sea bass, king prawns and Australian wagyu ribeye steaks.
Desserts include the creamy Italian classic Tiramisu, a refreshing limoncello baba and comforting deep-fried Sicilian cannoli.
The Hollywood Road space has been updated by JIA restaurant group from its 208 days with bold wallpaper and a terrace format. The downstairs bar boasts a specially commissioned hand-painted mural of Napoli by artist Elsa Jeandediu, and the stairway to the level one Sicilian lemon garden influenced-dining room features portraits by emerging Ghanian artist, Wahab Saheed.
A Naples native, chef Antimo has previously worked in establishments including Hong Kong’s Michelin-starred L’Altro, Umberto Bombana’s 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo in Macau and he opened Michelin-recommended Estro with JIA Group in 2021.
Ramato, 208 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2549 0208.
Mustard Bar & Grill
Mustard Bar & Grill has opened on Electric Road in Tin Hau.
The casual surf and turf destination boasts alfresco dining in Causeway Bay’s up-and-coming neighbouring hood.
The space is the brainchild of chef-turned-restaurateur Kong Wai Sing, who began his career in the kitchen of a cha chaan teng at the tender age of 16 before moving on to the five-star Marco Polo Hotel. At Epicurean dining group he worked at Lily & Bloom before moving to Melbourne, Australia. He returned to Hong Kong to open Mustard Café in 2014 and Tipsy restaurant and bar in 2017.
Mustard Bar & Grill sits on the third floor of The New Place, just a few minutes’ stroll from Tin Hau MTR station. The venue seats 130 diners across indoor and outdoor settings.
Comfy rattan chairs and marble-topped tables are laid out on the terrace and balcony areas, while inside there’s booth-style leather seating around a standalone marble and glass cocktail bar. Families are welcome, and (outside) so is the family pooch.
Laid-back, easy-eating ‘surf’ starters include grilled octopus, steak tartare, crab cakes and scallops. The ‘turf’ element runs to Australian Wagyu, Australian grass-fed ribeye and porterhouse, US prime grain-fed 200 days sirloin and US prime ribeye.
Retro favourites on the pudding menu include apple crumble, baked Alaska and panna cotta.
Mustard Bar & Grill is currently running a daytime special, the ‘Daily Chill Time Promo’, which runs from 12 to 7pm every day, including weekends, and offers two bottles of wine for HK$438 per set menu.
The ‘Daily Lunch Set with Free-Flow’ runs from 12 to 3pm every day and costs from HK$138 for a two-course set meal. Choices on the set menu range from pastas such as duck ragu linguine and scallop and prawn ink spaghetti, to burgers, ribeye and sea bass. The free-flow option is an additional HK$148 and includes red, white and sparkling wine.
Mustard Bar & Grill, 3/F, The New Place, 68-70 Electric Road, Tin Hau, Hong Kong; +852 3462 2700.
More moves for the Tai Kwun heritage complex in Hong Kong’s Central with the opening of Cantina.
Aqua Restaurant Group is behind the modern Italian restaurant which sits adjacent to sister restaurant, The Chinese Library.
The relaxed, sharing plate ethos of Cantina is a move away from the more formal British fare of Statement which was the former occupier of the space, with sunny, seasonally-inspired dishes from Italy.
Cantina means ‘canteen’ which is just what this space used to be when Tai Kwun served as Hong Kong’s Police Headquarters building. The colonial era police officers’ mess was located on the first floor and was a place for “casual lunches and sometime more rowdy merrymaking”, according to Aqua Group.
Cantina’s dishes focus on traditional cooking techniques using traditional recipes with a lot of taste and (natch) plenty of free-flow.
Cantina is helmed by Sicilian native, chef Luca Schiavone, whose resume includes head chef at Cecconi’s in London’s Mayfair as well as head chef at London’s Michelin-starred Zafferano and Shoreditch House dining spots.
Schiavone landed in Hong Kong earlier this year and has created a menu developed alongside executive chef Andrea Mura of Aqua’s H Zentre dining room in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The dishes are designed for sharing in small or large formats and come laden with handmade pastas, risottos and signature thin-crust pizzas. Start with cicchetti, small plates of Venetian-inspired bites, and move on to stand out menu items include Sicilian red prawn carpaccio, squid ink dough pizza, flamed salt-baked sea bass and cavatelli pasta, miniature pasta shells paired with pork ribs, beef flank and fennel sausage and slow-braised in a rich tomato sauce.
Cantina, Police Headquarters Block 01, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2848 300.
Shake Shack has opened a seventh Hong Kong venue.
Shake Shack at Citygate outlets in Tung Chung launched on May 9.
The 4,000sqft space offers indoor and outdoor seating as well as an exclusive menu with a few new dishes.
There’s a limited-time only Avocado Bacon Menu including two brand new burgers, the Avocado Bacon Burger and the Avocado Bacon Chicken.
There’s also an exclusive new concrete (a dense, frozen custard for the uninitiated); the ‘Tung Chung Pop Trail’ which features vanilla frozen custard blended with salted caramel sauce, peanut butter and Shan Shau Jok peanut brittle topped with caramel popcorn. Five percent of sales from the Tung Chung Pop Trail will be donated to InspiringHK Sports Foundation.
The new venue has partnered with local artist Bo Law to create a permanent ‘in-shack’ mural. The artwork is inspired by the surrounding natural landscape.
Shake Shack, Unit G20, G/F, Citygate Outlets, 20 Tat Tung Road, Tung Chung, Hong Kong.
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