Loyal Dining: Wan Chai’s nostalgic eatery
Nostalgia is in. From the Starbucks replica teahouse on Duddell Street, to the crockery pop-up shops sprouting up all over town selling noodle bowls with old-style patterns, there’s a growing appreciation of yesteryear’s designs.
Loyal Bar and Dining fit the bill, owners BMA Catering Management dedicated to ensuring that when the eatery moved from its former Central location after six years to its new digs on Tonnochy Road in Wan Chai, that the sense of old-style Hong Kong was preserved – in the design, decor and menu.
They’ve created a nostalgic lifestyle destination, providing a true Hong Kong experience “infused with the city’s unique history and traditions,” right down to the cuisine and cocktails.
The name Loyal Dining is drawn from a play on words Loi Lo, a Cantonese saying which refers to the exquisite imported goods from the West that became popular during the colonial Hong Kong in the 1960s and 1970s.
“I wanted to bring the nostalgic flavours of Hong Kong that embrace traditional history and East-meets-West culture, especially the uniquely Hong Kong soy sauce Western-style of cooking to Hong Kongers and international visitors,” explains Cherry Lo, executive director of BMA Catering Management. “We want to re-introduce Hong Kong’s classic dishes and create the feeling reminiscent of the sweet old days, while younger generation can also have a taste of old times.”
In both the cosy ground-floor bar and the upstairs seated restaurant, the design uses tones, materials and textures to immediately evoke a sense of 50 years ago.
Created by Maggie Mo of Pasha Design, the relaxing, sophisticated Loyal Dining and Loyal Bar are finished in a retro, yet contemporary, style with the use of warm tones and nostalgic green-oil leather banquettes throughout the whole interior. Hanging above the restaurant is a row of antique chandeliers that lights up the space, complemented by the plaid wallpaper and champagne color mirror, together with olive green oil leather sofas, marble table and a stylish semi-private room surrounded by glass panels of embolden Loyal Dining monogram.
Stepping into Loyal Bar, the stunning backlit onyx glass bar table is contrasted with the green oil leather banquettes, golden lights and table trimmings. These elements all create a classic yet stylish atmosphere, highlighting the restaurant and bar’s overall nostalgic feel.
The 900 sqft space seats 75 people in the Loyal Bar and spacious 2250 square foot restaurant can seat 126 people for dining. Guests may opt for the semi-private dining room that seat over 30 people for parties and events.
The sense of nostalgia is carefully extended to the food with a mix of traditional British-era Chinese-Western cross-over dishes – all served in plates which match the green hues of the restaurant’s decor.
Loyal Bar offers a host of new classic Hong Kong cocktails include Loyal Iced Tea, inspired by iced lemon tea, a much-loved favorite of locals, but a mixed with vodka and rum. The Ovaltine Fizz is a mixture of Baileys, Kahlua and Ovaltine, while The Joy in Childhood is made with rum, Kahlua, coke and chocolate ice-cream, which Loyal Bar hopes will evoke happy childhood memories of milk bars and Saturday afternoon treats.
Similarly, the accompanying snack – Deep-fried Prawn Toast and Special Thick Toast, much loved by Hong Kong actor Chow Yun Fat, who enjoyed it with preserved bean curd and sugar together with peanut butter.
In the more intimate restaurant Loyal Dining, executive chef Liu Chi Hung has created a menu which fits the theme of revisiting the colonial era when East meets West.
“We hope to bring back Hong Kong classic dining experience abounding in tradition and history. Our menu takes a classic approach to Hong Kong cuisine with a pinch of creativity,” he says.
Signature dishes include Loyal Chicken Wings simmered in homemade sweet soya sauce, Crispy Pigeon, Baked Kurobuta Pork Chop with fried rice and sunny-side up egg, and Seared Foie Gras and Homemade BBQ Pork.
Liu has added new dishes for the new location – such as the Souffle with Beef Ribs Curry Rice, which draws inspiration from souffle, a childhood favourite. Another is Loyal’s Deep-Fried Fish Fingers in Sweet Corn Sauce – fish fried tender and golden enhanced by homemade corn sauce extracted from freshly squeezed corn juice, finished with puff pastry which adds texture and dimension.
Loyal Bar and Loyal Dining are located at 7 Tonnochy Road, Wan Chai.
* This feature originally appeared in Inside Retail Hong Kong’s quarterly magazine edition. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital editions.