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Bird Kingdom Group Expands Despite Hong Kong’s Restaurant Turmoil
While trade restrictions on Hong Kong’s restaurant and hospitality venues during the COVID-19 pandemic have spelled the end for many eateries during the past year, one local operator has been steadily expanding its portfolio.
Bird Kingdom Group has celebrated Spring by opening its eighth outlet in the city, hot-pot eatery Annex, located alongside the flagship Chinese fine-dining room Man Hing at the Greater China Club in D2 Place One, at Lai Chi Kok.
The restaurant group positions itself as focusing on quality and the company says it has no plans to slow down its expansion this year, pandemic or not.
The company’s seventh restaurant, Sushi Hakucho, a “cosy omakase hideaway” located at Minden Avenue in Tsim Sha Tsui, has also just celebrated its opening.
The other brands are Japanese-style Umai, Kido and Ramen Cubism, Peony Garden – a venue Bird Kingdom bills as reviving nostalgic Hong Kong classic dishes in a contemporary style – and Spanish-themed Rustico.
Described as a sister restaurant to Man Hong, Annex is managed by the same executive chef, Chan Wai Teng, who brings a premium experience to popular Hong Kong comfort food.
“Artisanal hotpots with prized international ingredients and signature exemplary service are a cut above the familiar,” the company explains.
Pricing ranges from HKD248 (US$32) for a Chinese Medicine Broth or a Sichuan Hot Spice Broth through to a special opening dish, Deluxe Assorted Dried Seafood Soup at HKD1688 ($217), discounted as an opening special from the usual HKD3288 ($423), which features a range of premium seafood including abalone, fish maw and sea cucumber.
Another of Teng’s specialties is a whole Canadian Geoduck Clam priced at HKD 588 ($76).
Sushi Hakucho Grand Opening
Here chef Harada Mokoto introduces new seasonal spring specialties fresh from his home on Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu – including Kumamoto Tako (Octopus), Rock Oyster, Murasaki Uni and Iidako – along with Ainame from Fukuoka and Katsuo from Shinkoku.
In accordance with omakase tradition, menus are ‘chef’s choice’ using the finest available ingredients, with three lunch selections offered, priced at HKD488 ($63), HKD768 ($99) and HKD1298 ($167). Omakase dinner set showcases range from HKD980 to HKD1580 ($126 to $203).
Refined Dining at Man Hing
At Man Hing, executive Chef Teng has curated a flower-themed ‘Spring Menu’ at Greater China Club’s Chinese fine dining room Man Hing, to mark the onset of the new season.
More than 15 new specialties also keep good health in mind – infused with traditional ingredients like osmanthus and chrysanthemum to detoxify and boost immune systems. The Spring Menu includes Chicken Tofu Pudding with Seeds of Heaven, a reinterpretation of the iconic Sichuan Chicken Tofu Pudding, Deep-fried Crispy Fish Maw with Saffron Sauce, Sakura-flavoured Smoked Silky Fowl Egg and Roasted Boneless Duck Feet Wrapped with BBQ Pork, Chicken Liver, Chinese Ham and Taro.
Kushikatsu Skewers and Beer Paired at Umai
Beer with ‘kushikatsu’ is a Japanese experience deeply rooted in a ‘nomikai’ drinking party and ‘kampai’ (cheers) culture of Japan.
So in line with the fun tradition, Umai – described as a “playful Japanese-style ‘after work’ izakaya bistro” – has matched deep-fried ‘kushikatsu’ skewers that include seasonal vegetables and fruits with craft beers.
The new menu, launching on April 9, was designed by guest chef Kimura Junichiro, head chef at popular sister restaurant Kido. It includes a giant 30cm Tiger Prawn Katsu, Tokyo Bay Abalone Kushiage, Hokkaido Snow Crab Leg Tempura, Shrimp and Bitter Melon Roll Kushiage, Kibinago Hiraki Kushiage, Kinboshi Saga Pork Katsu, and Hokkaido Yongen Pork Katsu.
Chargrill Menu at Kido
Meanwhile, at Kido, Bird Kingdom has created a Fukuoka-style ‘hakata-ku’ skewer bar – one of the few restaurants in Hong Kong allowed the unique aromas and smoked perfection of a charcoal grill, over odourless high carbon ‘binchotan’ charcoal made from Japanese oak, prized by chefs worldwide.
The convivial Japanese comfort food cafe in Tsim Sha Tsui has nine new specialties by executive chef Kimura Junichiro – headlined by two prized signatures, Korean Style Wagyu Beef Tataki and Miyazaki Style Chargrilled Amatake Chicken.
Coriander Season at Ramen Cubism
Across the harbour in Central, Bird Kingdon’s Ramen Cubism is marking spring by celebrating the floral aroma and tart flavour of coriander, a garnish loved by many if not by all, also known as Chinese parsley.
Ramen master chef Hayashi Takao has created a Coriander Ramen Collection, featuring specialties such as Kagoshima A4 Wagyu Beef & Coriander Ramen in premium soya-flavoured clear broth – which combines wagyu and ramen – and Osaka-style ramen Coriander & Fresh Tomato Soup, a favourite from the chef’s home town.
Meanwhile, Peony Garden has adopted coriander as a theme as well, along with a menu of nostalgic local desserts.
Rustico, a Spanish option
The one non-Asian restaurant in Bird Kingdom Group’s collection of eateries is the Rustic Spanish tapas and wine bar, which among other specialties has adopted the Catalan air-drying tradition of curing pork and lamb.