Afternoon high tea at K11 MUSEA’s Fortnum & Mason. Photo sourced from Fortnum & Mason’s Facebook page.
Van Gogh’s The Starry Night printed on a cappuccino at CURATOR BY LEX ART CAFÉ. Photo sourced from Curator’s Facebook page.
A rich and warm treat inherited from Hokkien Prawn Mee made of prawn heads by local fishermen after WWII, enhanced with lobster, pork belly and mussels with extra garnish of a soft-boiled egg and authentic sambal sauce. Photo sourced from YumMee’s Facebook page.
Within the age of social media where photographs are currency, the question that arises is how to communicate activities that require the use of the other senses? Millennials may have the upper hand with photographing daily life—their skill and quickness to record has left a deep imprint upon the commercial industry. In response, gastronomy has evolved and adapted to keep up with this consumer group.
TEXT: Camilla Russell
IMAGES: Courtesy of various
K11 MUSEA boasts over 65 restaurants that perfectly exemplify the importance of delicious cuisine in a curated marketing strategy. The restaurants pay respect to Hong Kong’s multicultural heritage and tradition, with gastronomic creations and artisan menus serving as the common ground amongst the selected dining venues. It also should be mentioned that many restaurants at K11 MUSEA are gifted with breath-taking views of the Victoria Harbour waterfront, which alone will elevate any dining-out experience!
As a culinary catalogue, it is interesting to see the number of certain types of cuisine available. Japanese cuisine, for example, is in high demand. GINZA, which first opened in Hong Kong in 1981, is now found at K11 MUSEA and invokes all the flash and glamour of the 80s. TIRPSE offers another Japanese-inspired menu, combining Japanese and French ingredients, paired with a Eurasian chic décor.
There is the colourful CURATOR BY LEX ART CAFÉ, which boasts coffee with foam replicating famous paintings. Van Gogh’s The Starry Night (1889) fits surprisingly well atop a cappuccino! Meanwhile, the Avobar celebrates everything avocado under sun. Their menu features only avocado-based dishes such as the Avocado Burger, which replaces the burger bun with avocado.
Featuring super foods like avocados in a menu is valuable for restaurants, as it inspires traffic flow from a large demograph: millennials, the health conscious, women, vegetarians, and the list goes on. Millennials in particular are a savvy group of consumers, and their desire to record daily life as visual diaries through online platforms such as Instagram make them an ideal group to promote a restaurant’s selection.
Restaurants like YumMee are also designed for millennial customers, with wanderlust and travel the inspiration behind the menu of this pan-Asian noodle house. The exotic names of dishes—Kuala Lumpur Lobster Seafood Prawn Noodles and Bangkok Boat Noodles—are a tell-tale. YumMee’s food will convince any nomad dreamer to plan their next holiday the moment international travel is available again. Pair that with artisanal ice cream from Per Piacere, and the trip will be booked, bought, and ready to fly!
Gastronomy is also influenced by history, and many dishes exist because of past cultural traditions. A key example is Hong Kong’s diverse range of places to enjoy afternoon high tea. Both the Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental hotels are known for their curated high tea menus. Comparatively, K11 MUSEA’s Artisan Lounge, located in the lobby of the luxury retail complex, serves a high-end afternoon tea. Hailed as the living and dining room of K11 MUSEA, the restaurant embodies the creativity and elegance of the surrounding environment.
Another restaurant famous for their afternoon high tea is the legendary Fortnum & Mason who have five sites in London. Their flagship restaurant Fortnum 181 and shop at K11 MUSEA is their very first offering outside the United Kingdom. Their popularity is undeniable: the afternoon high tea at their restaurant is fully booked for the next few months! To commemorate their opening, Chinese artist Zhang Enli created a special collection entitled Tea Garden. Inspired by maps, his designs reference the contours of tea plantations in Hunan and outlying islands of Hong Kong. Created in collaboration with London-based designer Jane Carr, the collection features the Hong Kong Exclusive Musea Blend Tea, as well as limited edition silk scarves and artist-signed prints.
A few other restaurants at K11 MUSEA also feature a MUSEA-inspired dish or drink. This desire to create a brand new item reveals attention to detail and a desire for a culinary challenge that highlights gastronomy’s important relationship with the arts. A photograph can be visually telling, but it most certainly does not possess a scent, sound, or taste. In order to fully appreciate a meal, it is better to have the full culinary experience, in person. Great photos will invite people to a restaurant, but it is always the artisanal menus and delicious cuisine that will inspire them to stay.