Mott 32: duck, dimsum, and drama
Few underground locations in Hong Kong are as sleek-looking as Mott 32, located at the basement of Central’s Standard Chartered Building. Descend the spiral staircase lined with glittering faceted mirrors and find a cavernous 7,500 square foot venue housed beneath. The original structure of the site invites a layout that accommodates dining experiences of varying character and intimacy, including private rooms well-suited for corporate functions and entertainment.
In collaboration with Maximal Concepts, award- winning Hong Kong designer Joyce Wang has created a cinematic space inspired by the bank’s former life as a storage facility and the people who frequented it. New York industrial chic and accents of Chinese imperial glamour work in harmony, setting the scene for a modern take on Chinese cuisine. Across the dramatised interior of the restaurant, an air of intrigue is cast over the dark and grand décor while a dim glow issues (albeit too subtly) from lights fixtures above. In the recesses of the high ceiling, one might find mid-century American chandeliers or curious abacus-inspired lighting. Meanwhile, concrete surfaces and decorative brickwork figure alongside silk embroidered walls. Peppering the venue are architectural details recalling vaults and their antiquated treasures, including a hypnotic display of Chinese paintbrushes in the “Tangerine Room”. The central dining area is spaciously laid-out and designed with a view of the culinary experts at work in the semi-open kitchen. The restaurant’s special air-drying duck fridge and custom-built brick oven feature prominently as the promise of roast duck wafts through the air.
Mott 32 brings a contemporary flair to classic Chinese cuisine. Revolving around the region of Canton with signature dishes from Beijing and Sichuan, the menu modernises familiar dishes with a delicate twist. Take for instance the clever substitute of ingredients in the Karabuta pork with soft quail egg and black truffle Siu Mai. Char Siu (roasted meat), a Hong Kong favourite, gets an elevated treatment. The result? Barbecue Pluma Iberico pork accented with yellow mountain honey, caramelised on the outside. Perhaps the recipe that best celebrates age-old techniques and innovation is the Apple Wood Roasted 42 Days Peking Duck. Sourced with a farm-to-table approach, the 2 kg bird is prepped over 48 hours and cured with a special marinating technique. Hand carved with the Mott signature cut designed to lock in all the juices. The food is presented simply, though utmost care has evidently gone into selecting the finest ingredients for an original refreshing taste. Under the keen direction of Executive Chef Lee Man Sing, who earned his first Michelin Star while working at the Mandarin Oriental, Mott 32’s kitchen brigade delivers a modern authentic take on traditional Chinese fine-dining.
While reservations are easily made, it is recommended to do so early to secure a table. Mott 32 is an ideal choice to introduce guests from out of town to an updated version of Chinese cuisine, though expect to pay a little more than a regular Chinese restaurant in Central.