Hong Kong

Spain meets Japan on a plate via an unconventional Argentinian chef


On the Pass

Agustin Ferrando Balbi

Pastry Chef

Arnaud Labbe

A less conventional journey: Despite not speaking the language, Argentinian chef Agustin Balbi chose to hone his culinary skills in Japan, instead of following his peers along the well-trodden path to the kitchens of Europe. There, he worked at acclaimed establishments Zurriola, Nihonryori Ryugin and Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros, and was named one of the top 10 young chefs in Japan by S.Pellegrino.

Defying geographical boundaries: Balbi moved to Hong Kong in 2016 to open Japanese restaurant Haku but realised he didn’t want to be defined by a single cuisine. That led to Ando, where the chef-owner could create his own culinary language. The restaurant beautifully fuses elements of Spain, Italy, Argentina and Japan on the plate and in the sleek, minimalist interiors.   

Contemporary nostalgia: The menu takes diners on a journey through moments, memories and people in Balbi’s life. Departure refers to his move to Japan and features a seasonal selection of five raw fish dishes that encompass sweet, sour, spicy, bitter and umami flavour profiles. The star dish, Sin Lola, is a tribute to his grandmother. It’s a superbly comforting rice stew made with ingredients such as chorizo and abalone, or clams and sake.

Charity begins in the kitchen: Ando donates 1 per cent of every bill to the More Good Foundation, a local food charity. Balbi also hosts an event at the restaurant each month to prepare food boxes for More Good.


1F, Somptueux Central, 52 Wellington St, Central, Hong Kong

+852 9161 8697 Visit Ando's Website Visit Ando on Instagram