March 7th, 2012
The newly opened ( August 2011) ARMANI/AQUA restaurant is the result of the fortuitous collaboration between legendary Italian fashion and design icon – Giorgio Armani, and the acclaimed Hong Kong-based Aqua Restaurant Group, founded by David Yeo. Located within the building housing the Hong Kong retail emporiums of the ARMANI brands, the new restaurant occupies the large space that previously was home to the Armani Bar.
The interior of the stylish restaurant showcases the elegant minimalism that is synonymous with Armani, and is exquisitely complimented by the culinary style of Aqua- which features the combination – but not fusion- of contemporary Japanese and Italian cuisines. ARMANI/AQUA presents a discerning Hong Kong clientele with a uniquely fashionable dining experience- blending an interior suffused with the signature Armani style, and the delectable assemblage of dishes created in the separate Japanese and Italian kitchens.
And the collaboration is not limited to the ARMANI/AQUA alone- directly adjoining is the stunning ARMANI/PRIVE– a sensuous, chic indoor /outdoor space- featuring both a lounge club and terrace bar. (see review article) Together the venues have become “the” place to see and be seen in Hong Kong- attracting a fashionable and eclectic crowd.
The 2nd floor entrance lobby for ARMANI/AQUA and ARMANI/PRIVE
Front reception of ARMANI / AQUA
The entrance to ARMANI/AQUA is accessed by a dedicated escalator from the first floor of the ARMANI emporium within Chater House. The separate entrances to ARMANI/AQUA and ARMANI/PRIVE are at either end of a large open lobby area. Guests entering the restaurant experience a theatrical moment as twin dark glass doors swish aside and reveal the softly lighted “catwalk” passageway leading inside. At the far end, a second set of dark glass doors open to reveal the dining room- and the stunning central bar.
The main room is spaciously laid out- with both elegant dining booths and table settings – and in a section behind the bar area- the large Sushi counter. At the far end of the dining space a private dining room is encased in glass with vistas over the bustling Hong Kong streets outside.
The dramatic passageway leading into the restaurant- a soft red glow lights the vaulted ceilings and “catwalk”- with sliding dark glass doors at either end
The bar faces directly onto the entrance – with an elegant, lighted golden onyx counter
The main restaurant seating- with the signature “Armani” pared-back minimalist style
The glass enclosed private dining room- overlooking Central Hong Kong streetscape
The culinary offering at ARMANI/AQUA draws on the specialties of the Aqua Restaurant Group- serving dishes from both contemporary Japanese and Italian cuisines- created by teams in separate kitchens. The Italian cuisine is an authentic representation of a contemporary, primarily north Italian cuisine- with Milano being the creative home of Armani. The Italian kitchen is under the direction of Chef Ernesto Tonetto who has cooked in several Michelin starred restaurants in Italy. He describes his cooking as “Pure Italian style”- adapting classic Milanese dishes with a modern twist. Authenticity is assured by using fresh ingredients flown in from Italy several times per week. Signature dishes include Code di scampi al timo con melone e salsa di pesche gialle – Pan fried Scampi tails, paired with cantaloupe melon; Risotto alla Milanese classico- Classic Milanese risotto with bone marrow and red wine sauce; and I miei casoncelli alla Bergamasca- Executive chef‘s home made pasta envelopes filled with Italian sausage.
Aqua Group Executive Chef Tatsuya Iwahashi prepared the Japanese menu for ARMANI/AQUA- an intrinsically Japanese cuisine style with a contemporary update, emphasising quality fresh ingredients- exquisitely presented. The Sushi counter serves innovative sushi and sashimi dishes- prepared in front of diners by the sushi chefs. Signature dishes include- Yaki o-toro maki/ grilled fatty-tuna; Sea bream and asparagus with black truffle fresh mango; and Charcoal grilled Angus rib eye with sweet soy and mirin essence.
The Sushi counter is directly behind the front bar
Sushi chefs preparing dishes behind the counter
Address: 2nd Floor, Chater House, 8 Connaught Road, Central. Hong Kong
MTR: Central station – 5 minutes walk
Reservations: +852. 3583 2828
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/aqua.hongkong
Dress code: Smart casual
Monday to Sunday 11:30 am ~ 11:30 pm
Review article on ARMANI /PRIVE