Eclectic Japonism: Two Hong Kong icons—the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and restaurant group Maximal Concepts—have teamed up to deliver The Aubrey, an eclectic new dining and drinking destination that’s sure to take the city by storm. Located on the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, the restaurant takes over the space formerly occupied by Pierre.
Look & Feel: The Aubrey takes design inspiration from Japonism, the Japanese-inspired art movement that swept Europe in the 19th century. The experience is like walking into the home of an eccentric globe-trotting European—appropriate since the restaurant’s tagline is “the journey of a hungry mind”—so guests enter through a hallway lined with wood panels and captivating prints and illustrations. Inside, there are more prints and curious objets d’art everywhere you look, as well as a wealth of different, separated, seating areas.
The Aubrey is as much a bar as a restaurant, so the first part of the restaurant is dominated by the main bar and high tables—it’s the place to be for happy hour. On the other side of the restaurant, there’s a space inspired by the conservatory of traditional English manor homes—complete with plants, palm fronds, and bird motifs—while the back room is a discrete, wood-paneled oasis reminiscent of London’s gentlemen’s clubs and transforms quickly into a private dining space. Despite the restaurant’s location offering sweeping views of Victoria Harbour, somewhere along the design process, someone made the bold decision to cover most of that up with more wood paneling and sash windows—but, the peek-a-boo views these offers works within the context of the restaurant.
On the Menu: Do yourself a favor and start your experience at The Aubrey sitting at the main bar where Devender Seghal—formerly of Otto e Mezzo Bombana—whips up killer cocktails, many of them infused with very seasonal produce. We start with a round of Two Bishops, a complex, refreshing signature cocktail made with aged rum, Rye, citrus, Matcha, and milk that cleanses the palate for the meal ahead. There’s also a hefty wine menu featuring unique sparkling sakes and over 50 Champagnes.
For food, menus here offer a modern spin on recognizable Japanese fare. We kick things off with a trio of starters, but the clear—if surprising—winner is the Agadashi Tofu with mushroom ankake, a flavorsome, earthy dish. For the main event, we sample the Nigiri Omakase platter, which features six types of nigiri, including prawn, tuna, and mackerel. It’s all light, fresh, and a tribute to the art of Edomae sushi. We also try the Saikyo Miso Sablefish. Inspired by black cod dish that’s popular in Japanese restaurants the world over, this dish boasts similar umami flavors, but the use of sablefish adds an extra layer of sustainability, a major focus for Maximal Concepts.
To finish, we dig into the White Miso Souffle, which is light, not too sweet, and a great way to end the meal.
Jeng: The atmosphere, the design, the cocktails…this restaurant is a much-needed shot in the arm for Hong Kong’s flailing F&B industry—and locals know it, which is why tables here are booked out through April.
Not So Jeng: Honestly, there’s nothing to complain about here. Maximal Concepts always seem to hit the nail on the head with the restaurant concepts, and an assist by the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong has only helped to create a great space.
Meet the Chef: Formerly of Michelin-starred Shinji by Kanaseka in Macau, Chef Yukihito Tomiyama brings his extensive skills and knowledge of Japanese cooking and Edomae sushi to the menu at The Aubrey.
FYI: There’s an Omakase Bar that will be offering full cocktail flights; an Champagne and Sake bar is hidden in The Aubrey’s depths; and afternoon tea is in the works, too.
Check out Hong Kong’s newest restaurants and bars here.
This writeup was based on a complimentary media tasting. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.