Private Kitchens: TBLS.

This was just one of the two desserts on private kitchen TBLS‘s June tasting menu. Isn’t it beautiful?

Jasmine Tea Party: Jasmine Tea Panna Cotta, Strawberry Water, Milk Chocolate Mochi Ravioli

With the most expensive real estate in the world, it’s almost impossible to open (or keep open) a restaurant here. To fight back against landlords constantly raising rents, lots of chefs have opened restaurants in residential buildings called private kitchens. They offer diners incredibly intimate experiences at a reduced price. Oftentimes they are also B.Y.O.B. which cuts the check as well.

Soup & Sandwich: Fennel and Green Apple Soup, Pulled Pork Sandwich with Pickled Watermelon Skin

They save money by offering just one set menu, avoiding costly street-level rent (sometimes even operating out of their home), bypassing government licensing and regulations, and skipping marketing costs–they rely completely on word of mouth.

Summer Risotto: Rabbit and Leek Risotto, Fried Carrot Chips

Private Kitchens were born out of the 1997 financial crisis and the 2003 SARS epidemic, when lots of chefs were out of jobs.

Ocean Beets: Slow Cooked Ocean Trout, Asparagus, Beet and Truffle Vinaigrette, Corn Foam

I hate to add to its popularity and agree with the critics, but TBLS was really an incredible meal.

Berry Good Duck: Pan Seared Duck Breast, Buckwheat, Dried Figs, Mixed Berry Chutney, Shaved Endive Salad

Although he is Vietnamese, Chef Que Vinh Dang has trained with the best in New York and his monthly changing menu reflects that. The six-course menu for $580HK could be Vietnamese (his mom taught him a lot of what he knows), American comfort food, Mexican, or tapas themed.

PB&J Macaroon Sandwich: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Jam, Macaroons

The restaurant is at the top of a rickety elevator and has just four tables, a few stools, and a nice outdoor terrace.

Chef Que Van Dinh introduced every course to us and couldn't have been nicer!

All of the dishes we had were a 9+ and the atmosphere and experience was at both hip and intimate. I’d highly recommend it for a special occasion!

The small restaurant seats just 16 people a night.

TBLS. 7/F, 31 Hollywood Rd, Central, 2544 3433. Mon-Sat 6pm-11pm. To reserve, call four months ahead.

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