The latest edition of the Hong Kong and Macau Michelin Guide was controversial for its timing – why now during Hong Kong’s first proper lockdown, when there was so little cause for celebration and following a year of on-going disruption to the hospitality industry, cried critics. But, at a virtual ceremony on the 27 January 2021, there was cause for happiness for a handful of restaurants that were given raised levels of recognition – two new two-stars, and seven new one-star restaurants in Hong Kong, and one new one-star in Macau.
Restaurants that bear Michelin stars are not necessarily the most happening places in town but to win a star the kitchen needs to be playing at the top of its game, fizzing with flair and consistency. Yes, a certain level of refinement and perhaps luxury is expected and (hopefully) impeccable service too, but it’s what’s going on in the kitchen that really matters, and that is why the chefs who earn these stars care about them so much.
Artisitic presentation catches the eye at Vicky Lau's Tate Dining Room
Notable additions in 2021 included Olivier Elzer’s L’Envol and Vicky Lau’s Tate Dining Room, which both climbed to the second rung of the Michelin ladder.
While, to the surprise of some, Belon lost its star following the departure of chef Daniel Calvert, and Lei Garden in Mongkok saw its star taken away, some lost their place on the roll of honour as they closed their doors forever including Pierre, Tenku Ryugin and The Tasting Room.
Misuhiro Araki climbing the Michelin ladder again, this time in Hong Kong
No surprises, however, that sushi supremo The Araki opened its account with one star – Mitsuhiro Araki’s previous restaurants in London and Tokyo both held three stars.
Sharing a neighbourhood, but different, both Zuicho and Yardbird were graced with shiny new stars for their hip offerings. Not to be eclipsed, Agustin Balbi’s Ando received recognition for his European take on contemporary Japanese cuisine.
Yè Shanghai Kowloon (main picture) and Man Ho at JW Marriott, following its stylish makeover, both joined in the fun at the one star level. But perhaps the greatest cheer was heard in Sheung Wan at The Chairman, which finally received a star.
Luxury ingredients all part of the phenomenal package at L'Envol