Hong Kong

Coveted, comforting French cooking by one of Asia’s best-loved chefs


On the Pass

David Lai

Hidden gem: Down a hidden laneway and surrounded by rowdy bars, wet markets and antique shops, Neighborhood is – at first glance – an unlikely gourmand’s destination. Yet diners come from all over town for a taste of chef-owner David Lai’s seemingly simple and mostly French cooking. With no website, marketing and even no Instagram account, the restaurant still books out weeks in advance.

Behind the pass: Lai trained and worked at fine dining restaurants in San Francisco and in his hometown Hong Kong, including Spoon by Alain Ducasse, but was first inspired to cook by Alice Waters at Chez Panisse when he was studying art history at the University of California, Berkeley. Her seasonal, produce-first philosophy was, and remains, instrumental to Neighborhood’s fare. Lai’s relaxed approach to fine food was exemplified in an interview with CNN, when he said, “The first thing people ask is what kind of food do you serve? But at this point in my career, the easiest answer is I just cook what I want.”

Order ahead: To maximise your highly sought-after booking at Neighborhood, order one of the large platters for sharing in advance. The shining star of these is a salt-baked chicken, served with rice in a creamy yellow wine and morel mushroom sauce.

BYO allowed: The wine list is as compact and well-considered as the food offering, with under-the-radar labels selected by consultants Reeze Choi and Wallace Lo of Somm’s Philosophy. Diners are also welcome to bring a bottle from their own collection, under the restaurant’s very reasonable corkage policy.


61 Hollywood Rd, Central, Hong Kong

+852 2617 0891