Turn a corner, press a button, know a guy — hunting down secret bars and eateries is half the fun. To guide your quest for the most hush-worthy gems in Hong Kong and Macau, we’ve knocked on a few unmarked doors only to find gorgeous interiors and remarkable cocktails with food and service to match — we almost hate to share them with you.
This Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant is the most exclusive eatery at the storied Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, boasting the largest collection of Krug champagne in Asia. Once you have a reservation in hand, approach The Chinnery bar, where a server will guide you through a swinging door, into a staff hallway and around the kitchen.
A few more steps and you’ll find yourself in The Krug Room, where a welcome glass of Krug Grande Cuvée awaits. The marble sharing table, curved corners and gold chandeliers make the intimate room feel more like a glamorous car on the Orient Express than a restaurant. Normally, you have to rent out the entire room to enjoy an experience here, but on Thursdays and Saturdays, couples can share the 12-seat table with other hungry guests.
Though it can take up to a month to snag a coveted reservation, it’s worth the wait. This is the experimental playground of executive chef Robin Zavou, who presents an imaginative, seasonal tasting menu that’s designed to pair with various bottles of Krug.
This spring’s flavorful new offerings feature premium ingredients, such as sea urchin, scallops, abalone and braised pork belly — a delight for epicures seeking an unforgettable experience.
If you’ve been to PDT (Please Don’t Tell) in New York, then you already have an idea of what to expect from this trendy speakeasy. Opened in 2018 at Five-Star Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, the cheeky cocktail lounge can be found within MO Bar on the hotel’s ground floor.
Head up the flight of stairs at the back of the room and step into the mock phone booth. Pick up the phone, dial the number of your choice and a door will open to reveal an intimate bar kitted out with herringbone-patterned wood ceilings, spacious banquette seating and a jungle of taxidermic animals.
Along with contemporary cocktails like a Mezcal Mule and the locally inspired Milky Tea Punch (a mix of rum, Hennessy VSOP, tea, condensed milk and bitters), the menu also presents a shortlist of Asian-inspired bar bites and hot dogs — acclaimed chef Richard Ekkebus has given these humble snacks a gourmet makeover.
Prolific Hong Kong mixologist Antonio Lai has been busy — he’s opened more than a half dozen bars since 2012 and this speakeasy (which debuted in spring 2018) is the latest. Hidden on the third floor of Forbes Travel Guide Recommended The Pottinger, Hong Kong, the cocktail lounge lies behind the facade of a hotel suite.
To “check in,” you’ll need to request a key card from The Envoy (another one of Lai’s watering holes) next door. Once inside, a long thin bar lined with rich wood furniture and antique accessories create a Victorian vibe.
While you can order all kinds of classics, we’d recommend trying the creative “invisible” cocktails, such as the Crystal Old Fashioned. Lai redistills flavors (peanut butter, bourbon, banana, wood chips and so on) into a clear liquid that looks like water, but tastes like the real deal.
Across the Pearl River Delta, Five-Star Altira Macau recently unveiled a new focus for its beloved Italian restaurant. The Five-Star venue has long been a go-to for fresh pasta, but chef de cuisine Helder Amaral has pivoted toward his personal roots in Portuguese and French gastronomy with a brand-new menu.
Standouts include tender Loire Valley white asparagus with white spider crab and golden osetra white pearl caviar, and Denaux veal ravioli served with confit onions, quail egg, fresh morel mushrooms and a mountain of truffles.
Walk into Aurora and you’ll be greeted with a vibrant open dining room that’s ringed by floor-to-ceiling windows. But what many diners don’t know is there are several secret dining nooks peppered around the restaurant.
First, there’s the glass-enclosed wine cellar, which you can reserve for special occasions. Then there’s a private marble-clad couple’s alcove set to the right by the bar. And the jewel in the crown is the Yi Pavilion just off the terrace, which seats up to 15 people and boasts 270-degree views of Macau.
Tucked away to the left of the main entrance, Five-Star Sushi Mizumi is a hidden gem of an eatery, boasting the same whimsical interiors as the larger dining room, but with just an intimate 14 seats.
The contemporary restaurant feels bright and optimistic, with a gorgeous installation of silver origami cranes floating above a hinoki cypress wood sushi counter. Keeping with the Japanese aesthetic, the restaurants asks you to put your trust in the chef’s hands for an omakase meal.
The master sushi chefs craft each bite in front of your eyes, making this an incredibly intimate experience. While details change day to day, the omakase menu typically includes a light appetizer, sashimi, sushi and a delicate dessert. To enhance every bite, a sake sommelier is on hand to suggest a pairing to go with each course.