Mott 32

Standard Chartered Bank Building 4-4a

Des Voeux Road

Central, Hong Kong

Tel.+ 852 28858688

The food:

Dry fried squid, sweet chili, lime zest sauce

Pork belly salad rolls, garlic and chili dressing

Deep fried diced cod fillet, golden garlic, spiced salt

Braised oxtail, turnip, homemade Chow Hau sauce

Barbecue prime Iberico pork with yellow mountain honey

Fried glutinous rice, preserved sausage, dried shrimp

The wines:

2013 Carrick Dry Riesling Central Otago


2012 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 


Mott 32 is currently one of Hong Kong’s hottest dining destinations, located in the dark but atmospheric basement of the Standard Chartered Bank Building. The restaurant is named in honor of 32 Mott Street, reportedly the site of the first Chinese convenience store to open in New York City in 1851. At Mott 32, the food is a modern (but not fusion) take on mainly Cantonese specialties, along with a few Sichuan and Beijing dishes as well. The restaurant specializes in carefully sourced first rate ingredients and the objective is to let them shine on their own, bringing out the flavors of each. Even though it is an extremely large, almost cavernous space, with plenty of tables and packed nightly with a bustling energetic and loud crowd, the acoustics are remarkably good. You can talk to your dinner companions without having to yell or to strain your ears in order to hear what they might be saying. Chalk one up for the designers, Maximal Concepts and Joyce Wang, the former with a proven track record in designing fine Hong Kong eating establishments such as the Brickhouse, and the latter an emerging design talent who has already met with international acclaim.

Dish of the night: Pork belly salad rolls, garlic and chili dressing

My two appetizers were probably the best dishes of the night. The dry fried squid, sweet chili, lime zest sauce were perfectly fried, not at all greasy and benefited greatly from the lift provided by the lime zest sauce. Even better were the pork belly salad rolls, garlic and chili dressing, a smorgasbord of different aromas and flavors each allowed to sing its tune on its own but at the same time blending beautifully into a harmonious whole. This dish showcased considerable culinary skill, and I was impressed. I paired these with the lovely 2013 Carrick Dry Riesling Central Otago, bright and juicy, with perfumed aromas and flavors of jasmine, white peach and tropical fruits. In retrospect, it was probably just a little too dry for the dishes I had chosen, but it did match very well with the salad rolls. My next wine choice proved better suited for the dishes that followed. The 2012 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Dundee Hills is drinking beautifully, offering light and lively but pure Pinot Noir flavors that paired well with the sweet and spicy ingredients of the pork, rice and oxtail dishes that came next. Actually, I was a little less impressed by the mains: the much praised barbecue prime Iberico pork with yellow mountain honey, though perfectly fine and amazingly tender, lacked lift, and the intensely sweet honey camouflaged the pork’s flavor. The braised oxtails were lovely, but not especially memorable for a Roman (where oxtails are a way of life), even allowing for the fundamental differences in preparation.


The Wines and Barbecue prime Iberico pork with yellow mountain honey

Overall, I found Mott’s 32 menu to be varied and highly interesting, but also found some of the flavors muted and less precise than I might have expected from a similarly lauded restaurant. The wine list is also not especially deep either in choices or vintages. That said, service was extremely professional, quick and polite, and I had a great time overall. Mott 32 is beautiful to look at, fun to eat in, and a wonderful place to spend an evening. I look forward to going there again, and again.

--Ian D'Agata