Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Binge - Worthy Watering Holes and New Grazing Pastures

You got to hand it to the Club and Restaurant owners in Hong Kong! They truly understand 'cool' and the whole 'after-hours' party vibe thingy and they make every pulsating effort to maximise space and location when it comes to living it up in square-foot starved Hong Kong. 

If you are looking for somewhere new to see and be seen at, then such is SHORE, the latest and newest in Hong Kong's elite Club scene featuring a sprawling (by HK standards) 10,000 sq foot split level bar and restaurant that will open this September on the 3rd and 4th floor of L Place at 139 Queen's Road Central.

The venue also has a 1800 sq ft outdoor lounge and looks set to be the next hip and happening party venue. (I can already hear the glasses clinking!) So if you are looking for an excuse to slip on that slinky Summer backless number matched with your grossly expensive and under-utilised Manolos then take your royal self and the girlies for a drinky poo at this spot. Expect a drink list that includes fine wines, premium champers, exotica cocktails coupled with salad platters, starters and grill items to nibble on. The actual food, we hear, is not bad either with seafood and succulent dry-aged steaks from around the globe prepared by Executive Chef Jason Black who has been heading Hong Kong’s Zest and Frog Face Fish restaurants since 2005.

There are two zones in the restaurant aptly called ‘Onshore’ and ‘Offshore’, separated by a winding staircase in the centre. Designer Kinney Chan has adopted natural materials like wood and granite with soothing tones including ‘underwater’ ocean blue to conceptualize the onshore and offshore themes. DJs play from 8pm nightly. Call (852) 29151638 for reservations.

Not too far away and also in Central at 208 Hollywood Road, check out our Singapore homegirl, Yenn Wong's (founder of JIA Boutique Hotels) latest venture called 208 Duecento Otto, a neighbourhood restaurant and bar inspired by the New York style Italian eatery and bar concept. This two-storied 4000 sq foot venue was formerly a meat storage warehouse is named after its street number at 208 Hollywood Road and  combines a lively bar downstairs serving delicious aperitivs, cocktails, an excellent wine list, including over 20 by the glass and a selection of Italian wines paired with pizzas and antipasti for casual all-day dining. A more intimate upstairs dining room that seats 90 with a private dining area for 18 offers both indoor and  outdoor seating that overlooks Hollywood Road. 

Nothing like a Chef called Vinny to complete that Italiano mafiaso feel. Executive Chef Vinny Lauria  comes to Hong Kong from the renowned Babbo New York – consistently heralded as one of New York’s favourite restaurants.  Vinny brings a New York interpretation of rustic Italian cuisine including his signature Napolitana pizzas that follow in the tradition of Yenn’s award-winning Italian restaurant at JIA Shanghai, Issimo. 

Worth a trip even if it is just to oogle at the design which was put together by Turkish design company Autoban. 208 is the company's first Asian interior design project and they were named “Best Young Designers" by Wallpaper* in 2004 and subsequently designed the Witt Istanbul Suites, a Condé Nast Traveller Hot List hotel in 2009. Love the raw materials that permeate the venue – steel pillars, marble table tops and solid walnut floors and ceiling. The interior walls are covered in specially designed blue and white ceramic tiles printed with Chinese illustrations. Playful and interesting Autoban furnishings add a whimsical element to the space. On the bar table, Italian words narrate the traditional recipe for Italian pizza. 

The 4,000 square foot restaurant and bar seats up to 90 for dining, and has a cosy private dining room for up to 18 people on its lower level. 208 Duecento Otto opens its bar on 11 May, with food service including pizzas and antipasti for casual dining over drinks. Call  +(852) 2549 0208 for reservations. See: www.208.com.hk

- Elaine


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