I love hilly cities, and Hong Kong has some stunning vistas. I went to several places just to catch the view and this post is just for them. They’re all on this map.
The tallest building in Hong Kong is the International Commerce Centre (ICC), in Yau Ma Tei with 118 floors making it 490 meters high. Built in 2010 it’s the tenth highest building in the world.
Its position at the western entrance to Victoria Harbour means that it has fantastic views over most of Kowloon and over to Hong Kong Island. It was a bit hazy on the day I went but you could still see a lot.
Immediately over the water from it is the second highest building, the International Finance Centre (IFC), which you can just about see on this photo.
It’s mainly an office block but there’s a very posh shopping mall (Armani, Chanel, De Beers etc) at the bottom and some bars and restaurants at the top. I went to this place on floor 101…
Dragon Seal (Advanced B+), Shop C, 101/F, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Yau Ma Tei, www.dragonsealhk.com
A very posh restaurant that I probably couldn’t afford or get into in the evenings, but they did a relatively cheap set menu for lunch (HK$440 including the service charge, around £43).
I was seated in the bar area rather than the main restaurant but I still had a pretty good view out over the harbour. It must look even more amazing at night.
I kicked off with a well-made mojito.
I remember the food generally being very nice (B/B+) but I didn’t grade the dishes sorry.
‘Steamed Pork Dumpling with Sliced Abalone’, ‘Turnip Cake with Dry Shrimps & Preserved Sausages’ and ‘Deep Fried Taro Cubes’.
‘Shredded Bamboo Shoot in Sichuan Style’.
‘Winter Melon Ball with Hawthorn Sauce’.
‘Roasted Crispy Pork Belly’.
‘Double Boiled “Dragon Seal” Soup’.
‘Grilled King Fish Fillet with Herbs’.
‘Stewed Vegetable with Fresh Bean Curd’, the veg being pak choi (loved this).
‘Fried Rice with Minced Wagyu Beef’.
The food was lovely visually, and the flavours were pretty good overall, but not amazing.
A visit to the loo provided some great views from the other side of the building. Click to enlarge.
You can see videos here and here.
After lunch I was planning to go to the Ozone Bar www.ritzcarlton.com, on floor 118 which is technically the highest bar in the world, but discovered it wasn’t open until 5pm.
I could also have gone to Sky100, the viewing deck on the hundredth floor, but forking out around £16 for a similar view to the one I’d just had in Dragon Seal one floor above didn’t appeal once I did the math. Admission to Sky100 costs more than a drink at Ozone, and Ozone is eighteen floors higher.
It’s a shame that you can’t have similar experiences over the harbour at the International Finance Centre (IFC), but it’s almost entirely given over to offices although when writing this (ie too late) I discovered the 55th floor is open to the public.
The IFC complex is actually two towers (known as 1IFC and 2IFC), a hotel and a shopping mall. 2IFC is the taller tower of the two and it’s my favourite skyscraper in HK.
I just love its sleek lines.
If you take the lift up to the roof of the IFC Mall you’ll find a few bars and restaurants that have great views over the harbor, and of 2IFC towering above you.
Here’s another posh restaurant with a great view of the harbour…
Above & Beyond (Advanced B+), 28/F, Hotel Icon, 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, www.hotel-icon.com
This Conran designed restaurant gets an entry in ‘1001 Restaurants You Must Experience Before You Die’ which praises the food (Cantonese classics) very highly.
I was mainly here for the views though. Click to enlarge.
To keep costs down again I went for lunch and had the set menu for HK$298, about £29. Also again, I didn’t grade it, but it was very good (B+/A).
I began with ‘Honey-glazed Barbecued Kagoshima Pork’.
And followed on with ‘Steamed Pork Dumplings with Porcini’ and ‘Steamed Mushroom Dumpling with Bamboo Piths’.
‘Baked Whole Abalone Tart with Diced Chicken’.
‘Braised Fish Maw Soup with Shredded Sea Cucumber, Mushroom and Bamboo Shoots’.
‘Steamed Garoupa Fillet with Yunnan Ham and Shredded Mushrooms’.
‘Wok-fried Seasonal Vegetables with Garlic’.
‘Fried Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf’.
And a nice healthy dessert, the name of which I don’t recall, sorry.
The cocktails are good here too.
All the food was great. I just wish I was rich enough to explore their à la carte offerings which must be amazing.
This last place is a restaurant but you can treat it as a bar as most people do.
Eyebar (Intermediate B+), 63 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, www.elite-concepts.com
I haven’t heard anything about the food except that they do free bar bites during their ‘Sunset Hour’ (6-9pm) when it’s also 30% off Martinis.
You’ll need to arrive earlier than that to snag the better seats on the bar terrace. They all have stunning views of lower Kowloon and Hong Kong island on the other side of Victoria Harbour.
Click to enlarge.
You get a great view of a residential skyscraper nearby called ‘The Masterpiece’. I would kill for one of those apartments!
The view looking up at The Masterpiece is quite impressive too.
Felix Restaurant (Advanced B?), 28/F, The Peninsula, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
This very posh hotel restaurant is apparently the place to watch fireworks on NYE. I went in 2012 for a pricey drink at the bar and the view at night is stunning. The Starck designed loos also have fantastic views of the downtown cityscape.
More about architecture in later posts.