Restaurant Find: Mott 32 Hong Kong
Located in the basement of one of Hong Kong’s Central tower buildings, enter down the spiralling mirrored and heavy-chained staircase into a vibrant welcome of afro- soul, lively funk music, and smooth jazz into the dimly-lit Mott 32 Hong Kong.
Industrial chic meets tradition and heritage, Mott 32 is a celebration of east meets west with tall loft-like ceilings and an industrial feeling reminiscent of the early New York ‘Five Points’ era, albeit without the wild corruption and poverty. Titled in memory of New York’s first Chinese convenience store in 1851 at 32 Mott Street, a pivotal time marking the Chinese migration and settlement in New York. It’s a contemporary take on culture and luxury dining of modern-meets-traditional Cantonese, Sichuan and Beijing cuisines.
Designed by Hong Kong-based interior designer Joyce Wang, particular attention has been found through their recent ‘World Interior of The Year’ in 2014. Their brilliance to adapt a previous basement storage facility into a naturally-lit dining space is fascinating, retaining an intimate yet casual and open atmosphere. Creating a centralised and inviting circular seating area, with separate private or sectioned themed rooms each with their own character; from silk-embroidered walls, to a bar inspired by Chinese apothecary. Dark wood, copper panels and dark leather dominate the spaces, with touches of key Chinese design themes from straw-latticed chairs, Shanghai-style brickwork, and even one room dedicated to an absolutely mesmerising array of various traditional Chinese paintbrushes.
As designer Joyce Wang explained, “Food always comes before design…” we shortly started with the crab and caviar soul dumplings and classic dim sum, the Kurobuta pork, quail egg and black truffle siu mei could not go wrong. Next, their signature smoked black cod, with a side of autéed asparagus, water chestnuts and gingko nuts. Prior booking for their renowned peking duck is required, and is spectacularly showcased in a glass refrigerated holding panel for guests.
Whilst Chet Baker’s smooth sounds played from the bar, a perfect choice of cocktail was their Old Harbour, the Mott 32 take on the Old Fashioned, including Hakushu whiskey, chrysanthemum, goji berry grapefruit bitters and Rittenhouse rye.
For dessert, the soy ice cream with strawberries presented an auspicious balancing act. Both sweet and salty, the smooth texture really did feel like velvet on the tongue. A perfect way to end the night.
But there’s more in the details. The graffiti-covered walls include a mural paying homage to Anna Wong, the first Chinese-American actress, and quotes to reflect a more philosophical view of life, “When you are really old, but really happy.”
Mott 32 Hong Kong
Standard Chartered Bank Building
4-4A Des Voeux Road Central
+852 2885 8688
(All photos courtesy of Mott 32 Hong Kong. Feature image photographed by Joyce Wang.)