April 25th always puts a smile on my face, not because it's commemorative to me in any way, but because it reminds me of a very classic scene in one of my favourite movies - Miss Congeniality. When Miss Cheryl "Rhode Island" was asked to describe her idea of a perfect date, she replied "That's a tough one. I'd have to say April 25th. Because it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket"!
This classic quote from the movie has inspired me to share with you my favourite al fresco dining spots. After all, who would want to dine outdoors when it's boiling hot or freezing cold?
With its large terrace covered in greenery and decorated with light-coloured furniture, this place is an oasis hidden in our concrete jungle. The relaxing vibe of the decor makes the terrace a perfect spot for afternoon picnics on the weekend. You can sip on a glass of chilled rosé while nibbling on the restaurant's famous Prawns Fritters or Honey Pepper Wings. I highly recommend their Roasted "Beer Can" Chicken, which is enough to be shared between 2 if you're hungry or between 4 if you're just itching for an afternoon snack. The terrace also transforms into a shisha lounge at night thanks to the collaboration with Boba Bear. There is something incredibly magical about the brightly coloured light-up shisha pipes and the clouds of smoke in the setting of this secret garden.
Address: 4/F, 20-22 Granville Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
PMQ has always been a fascinating area to explore - you never know what you will stumble upon when wandering in and out of the little shops featuring fashion pieces created by underrated local designers. After walking up and down 5, 6 flights of stairs, it is great to stop and grab a bite at any of their cafes and restaurants, and my favourite has got to be Aberdeen Street Social. The outdoor area of the restaurant is partly hidden by the tall old trees that give so much character to Hollywood Road. The area is relatively quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of other parts of Central and Soho, which makes it a great spot for catching up with friends over a long meal or a quick drink. I highly recommend trying their signature cocktail God Save The Gin, which is a funky concoction of Beefeater 24, Apple Cinnamon Syrup, Lemon Juice and Homemade English Breakfast Soda. For a quick bite, I usually go for their popular Lobster Roll - the lobster meat is always tender, succulent and seasoned to perfection.
Address: G/F, JPC, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St, Hong Kong
Conveniently located in Causeway Bay, Seafood Room is another spot that provides a quiet escape right in the middle of our busy city. As its name suggests, the restaurant's menu is primarily focused on seafood and finds inspiration from Asian, Mediterranean and South American cuisines. The spacious outdoor terrace is a beautiful rooftop bar that gives diners a stunning 270-degree view of Victoria harbour. For martini lovers, I recommend you to try the Salt Marsh Martini - a dirty martini created with vodka distilled from milk mixed with nori seaweed for an extra savoury umami flavour. The drink goes really well with their Mushroom & Smoked Scamorz Bruschetta and Fritto Miso, a garlic bread bruschetta topped with flash fried squid, shrimp, zucchini and chive sauce. This is a great place to visit on weekends as they have live DJs dropping beats every Friday and Saturday evening for you to dance the night away!
Address: 26/F, Tower 535, 535 Jaffe Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
This is the one for buffet lovers - The Market's menu is inspired by iconic food markets found in Europe and Asia and offers everything from Italian antipasti to Malaysian Laksa. By using the finest produce, The Market has won the OpenRice accolade for best buffet in the city. The space offers lunch and dinner buffets, as well as an afternoon tea buffet during the weekend. The open kitchens serve up the finest international dishes, all prepared by chefs from their respective countries. On top of the wonderful food selection, I visit The Market for its outdoor dining area, which is beautifully decorated with a classic vibe of resort luxe. My favourite items to grab from the buffet are the juicy Roasted Lamb Rack and the rich, fragrant Shrimp Laksa.
Address: 2/F, Hotel ICON, 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
The Continental needs no introduction to brunch enthusiasts, I myself come here often on weekends for long relaxing (sometimes boozey) brunches to catch up with friends and family. The gorgeous outdoor garden terrace is completely hidden away from the city even though the restaurant is centrally located in Admiralty. It provides the perfect setting for me to catch the sun on the weekend while munching on my Cast Iron "Double Stack" Pancakes. With so many office buildings nearby, The Continental's garden terrace is also a great spot to hit for a quick after-work drink. My personal favourite is the morbidly named Strangled Parrot (Tanqueray shaken with Chocolate Absinthe, basil, lime and pepper), which pairs perfectly with the Spiced Boneless Chicken Wings that comes with a light homemade yoghurt dip.
Address: Unit 406, L4, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong