John Anthony — Hong Kong, China
John Anthony was apparently the first Chinese man to become a British citizen in 1805. Arriving in London’s Limehouse as an employee of the East India Company, he provided lodgings and food to Chinese sailors and eventually founded the quarter’s Chinatown. In naming its new dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong after Anthony, local restaurateurs Maximal Concepts have turned a neat sleight of hand by repatriating history.
With subtle wit, Hong Kong-based studio Linehouse has transformed a basement space in Causeway Bay into bright and colourful dining room of greens, pinks and blues, whose conceit is a British tea hall turned Chinese canteen. The East and West touches are delicately done, particularly in the use of rattan screens, old-fashioned sliding security grilles, wicker furniture, terracotta tiles rescued from abandoned rural Chinese homes, and vaulted spaces that recall a dockland warehouse, alongside tiles of hand-painted poppies and capuchin monkeys, and bathrooms swathed in stylised renderings and shades that evoke the spice trade.
In the kitchen, meanwhile, executive chef Saito Chu delivers Cantonese grilled flavours and imaginatively conceived dim sum such as the normally pork dish char siu reinterpreted with Wagyu and a sauce of shredded scallions, and xiaolongbao dumplings filled with black squid ink soup. §