Oct 18, 2007|
There was never a reason to go to the Kowloon MTR station. Nestled among a bunch of ugly residential buildings, the surrounding area resembled a ghost town. So developers did what they do whenever there’s a wasted bit of real estate – they built a huge mall on it. Elements, which opened earlier this month, is filled with chic designer stores and 33 restaurants, many of which are worth the visit alone. Be afraid, IFC. Be very afraid.
On the roof of Elements (3/F) is a garden, with an area that houses eight bars and restaurants. This alfresco dining area is the highlight of Elements.
R009, 3/F, 2196-8123
The ninetysevengroup’s latest addition is a Spanish restaurant, decked out in colorful mosaic tiles.
The food: Try the fig carpaccio with Serrano ham, octopus with potato and paprika. Make sure you line your stomach - besides sangria, the manager recommended a huge range of Jerez, a traditional Southern European tipple, to pair with each dish.
R008, 3/F, 2810-8585
Internationally renowned chef Greg Malouf and his excellent Mediterranean dishes at Olive in SoHo are so popular, so it's of little wonder that restaurant group Dining Concepts has opened a new restaurant here named after him. Born in Melbourne of Lebanese descent, Malouf is one of the top Lebanese chefs in the world. The first floor of the restaurant is for casual mezze - a selection of small dishes taken with drinks - while the upstairs is for fine dining.
The food: Exquisite mains include crispy honey and orange blossom pork hock with butternut pumpkin tagine, and clay pot roasted free-range chicken with couscous and Turkish sausage.
Price guide: $$-$$$
R002-3, 3/F, 3743-1421
The popular Japanese restaurant from New York has opened its first Asian outlet here. Designer Yasumichi Morita has shied away from Japanese minimalism in favor of a striking gold and red design, highlighted by the handmade kimono-patterned ceiling and 88 bamboo lamps from Kyoto, each costing a staggering $10,000.
The food: Megu is also all about organic, seasonal dining. The menu is largely traditional Japanese, though with a modern touch. Don’t miss the grilled smelt shishamo fish with roe flown in from Hokkaido and blue fin toro with avocado and wasabi sauce, ravioli style.
Price guide: $$$$
If you’ve burned out your gold card shopping, try one of these more affordable outlets.
Shop 1028B, 1/F, 2955-5113
Billed as a Cantonese eatery that prizes itself on its wonton noodles, the menu reads like an upscale cha chaan teng. Western iced coffees are on offer as well as your dim sum staples like pan fried turnip rice cakes.
The food: Their take on Hainan chicken rice and marinated cucumbers is served charmingly in a wooden barrel and as tasty as any you might find in town. Traditional har gau, or shrimp dumplings, are served pan fried with a champagne-lobster dipping sauce on the side.
Price guide: $-$$
Shop 1028A, 1/F, 2609-1898
Sala means “pavilion” in Thai, and indeed, most of the tables are all separate roofed gazebos with comfy cushions for you to lounge on. Too bad it’s within the mall and not one of the alfresco restaurants outside. Thai cooks and staff guarantee authenticity.
The food: Seafood is their specialty. Fiery favorites include tiger prawns stir-fried with curry sauce and fried mussels with chili paste. Skip the tom yum kung in favor of the hot and sour tTom yum nam sai, a clear seafood broth.
Price guide: $$
Shop 2103-2104, 2/F, 2204-3268
Or “Tou Ming Si Kou”, which translates to “Crystalline Ideas” in Cantonese. It’s the second outlet opened by Liuligongfang - the atelier for modern Chinese glassware – after the success of the first one in the upmarket Xintiandi area in Shanghai. It’s Chinese cuisine with a Western twist. Liuligongfang custom-makes their utensils asw well – each piece comes with unique glass decorations. It’s worth having a meal there just to check out the intricate tableware.
The food: Try the fresh crabmeat in “red suit," a chilled, hollowed-out tomato stuffed with egg white and god-knows-what. Don’t miss the chicken soup with pear and dried scallop – cooked for 10 hours to extract the essence.
Shop 2002, 2/F, 2196-8696
This is the sister of popular Lotus on Pottinger Street, haven of brilliant cocktails and modern Thai dishes. Husk’s concept is essentially a more casual Lotus, with long, comfy benches. It’s right by the Grand Cinema, so it's great for drinks while waiting for your fashionably-late friends.
The food: The menu is similar to Lotus. Bartender Manoj makes the same tasty cocktails, but with a twist – try their virgin Mule, a healthy lime drink packed with herby cilantro. Signature dishes include the crispy salmon salad and the masaman red curry lamb shank.
Price range: $-$$