Left: Aged black vinegar sweet and sour pork at Mott 32
Below: Salad of raw girolles, spinach, aged Parmesan and crème fraîche at Spring
Hong Kong, China It’s commonplace for a restaurant in the
United States to draw inspiration from places in Europe or Asia, but rare for the imitation to go in reverse. But that’s what has happened here. Mott 32—located in Hong Kong’s Central District and honored as “Best New Restaurant 2015” by Hong Kong Tatler—takes its name from the address of New York City’s first Chinese convenience store, which opened in Chinatown in 1851. It draws part of its design inspiration from the industrial buildings in New York as well, fused with Hong Kong’s colorful, imperial look. The result is high style that’s subtle, intricate and atmospherically lit in a low, romantic light.
Spring London, U.K.
The menu is primarily Cantonese with touches of Beijing and Sichuan, driven heavily by farmto-table ingredients. The dishes are traditional but with modern spins like black truffles in the kurobuta pork and quail egg siu mai, as well as barbecue Iberico pork with yellow mountain honey. Regulars know to order the Peking duck in advance; the apple wood–roasted duck is prepared over 48 hours in a custom-designed oven and drying fridge to create succulent meat and perfectly crisp skin. Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4a Des Voeux Road, Central, +852 2885 8688, mott32.com
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In the crush of openings in this energetic, big-city restaurant scene—one that is sometimes more obsessed with the celebrities in attendance than the creations on the plate—Spring is a refreshing change. The bright, airy, serene restaurant located in a wing of the grand nineteenthcentury Somerset House feels like a garden, with ceramic blossoms by Brazilian artist Valeria Nascimento on one wall and a winter garden atrium as the centerpiece. This environment should feel familiar to chef Skye Gyngell, who won a Michelin star at The Café of garden center Petersham Nurseries and then temporarily withdrew from sight (and the pressure of that star) in 2012. Spring’s opening is a double emergence: a room opening to the public after 150 years of use as office space and a chef returning to the restaurant world with a place that’s wholly her own. Gyngell’s approach is seasonal to the extreme. “I shop at Marylebone Farmers Market, Maltby Street and Spa Terminus and gain cooking inspiration just walking through the market stalls,” she says. That translates into daily changing menus featuring dishes such as roasted squab with slow-cooked chard, warm Chianti and anchovy dressing; scallops with polenta, agretti and salsa rossa; and a salad of fennel, blood oranges, hazelnuts and pink radicchio. Gyngell wanted an intimate place where she could control all the elements and make her own ice cream. And here she has it. In the casual Salon area of the restaurant, you can sample her skill in blending unique flavors like Marsala and fig. Somerset House, New Wing, Lancaster Place, +44 20 3011 0115, springrestaurant.co.uk ONELIFE
3/30/15 10:19 AM
Published on Apr 15, 2015