February 22 2013
“Saturday is the only day I can enjoy a lazy breakfast at home. Living on the southern part of Hong Kong island means I have wonderful sea views, so I sit on my terrace with a pot of English breakfast tea and some toast and read the local Chinese newspaper, Sing Tao. My home is in a very private spot near a beautiful beach, where I live with my wife, Anita, our children, Stefanie, 25, and Nicholas, 20, my mother, May, and BJ, our beagle.
I get up around 8am and exercise in my home gym – usually a run on the treadmill – before breakfast. I’m a very sporty person and love all kinds of watersports. I recently bought a 65ft Monte Carlo motor yacht named Bella Vita, and the skipper takes us round to Stanley Market in the morning. We get off at the pier and go to Si Yik – a small local store selling milk tea, French toast and excellent noodles – then motor to one of the outlying islands. My favourite is Lamma, where I visit the street market to buy cookies, then walk over the hill to the other side to rejoin the yacht. Sometimes we go for a swim in one of the bays then have lunch at Rainbow Seafood Restaurant, which serves very fresh shrimp, caught and cooked on the spot. Or we might stop off on top of the hill at Kin Hing Tofu Dessert, a store selling delicious bean curd in sweet syrup that has been made by the same lady for 50 years. We’ll get home around 4pm, when I’ll take the dog for a walk.
I also really enjoy driving my sports cars at the weekend. My latest toy is an Aston Martin Virage, and I also have a Ferrari F430, a Porsche Panamera and a Hummer H3. I’m fascinated by their design – both the interior and exterior details. I’ll drive out to the countryside at Tai Tam or Shek O, where I’ll take a stroll, or, if I’ve brought my bike with me on the Hummer, do some cycling.
In the evening I take my mother out for dinner, as I never get a chance in the week. We either eat Chinese food at the Michelin-starred Dynasty in the Renaissance hotel in Wanchai, or go to one of my own eateries. I’m a partner in 1957 & Co, which owns three restaurants – Thai, Japanese and Italian – all in the same building in Causeway Bay. I’ve always been interested in food and I’d like to spend some time learning how to cook seriously.
On Sunday I get up at 8am and drive to the office in Kowloon Bay, where I’ll spend a couple of hours preparing for the week ahead. Then I’ll drive out to the New Territories for a simple lunch with Anita at Guong Shing Ice Cafe in Sheung Shui, where we have its signature red-bean ice and an egg sandwich, or Hebe One O One in Sai Kung for mussels and pasta.
After lunch we often go to the shopping malls on Hong Kong island – IFC and Pacific Place. Men don’t usually enjoy shopping, but I’m one of the exceptions. I love looking at the interior design – the furniture, lighting, graphics and window displays. For me, the actual products come last. I’m also interested in contemporary Chinese and French art and work by Korean and Japanese artists, so I might go to Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery to see what’s new. Or if there’s an art fair on we’ll take a look, even if I don’t buy anything. But when I do it’s always something I really love, rather than an investment.
Sometimes we have friends round for dinner at home on Sunday evening. Maybe a barbecue on the terrace, which we can do nine months of the year thanks to the weather. Life is short and I think it’s important to enjoy every aspect of your lifestyle. That also includes work, so I’ll be in bed before midnight to make the most of the coming week.”