My Saturday begins quite early with a hike at the reservoirs in Tai Tam Country Park, just a short drive from my apartment. Hong Kong is a place of cultural juxtapositions and the forested landscape is unexpected in a city of skyscrapers. I’ll walk for about an hour, then go home, freshen up and head to Mak’s Noodle in Central. This restaurant only serves wonton noodle soup and is a slice of Hong Kong heritage – it has been in the same family for generations; that’s very appealing in a city so focused on dynamism and change.
After lunch I’ll check out the latest art exhibitions. Ben Brown Fine Arts, which shows contemporary work like Candida Höfer’s photographs of empty institutional and public spaces, is a favourite. It’s in the beaux arts style Pedder Building, which is the last-surviving pre-second world war building on the street, so being here is a way of touching a different time in history.
I’m a member of the Hong Kong Golf & Tennis Academy in Sai Kung and I try to spend some time there on Saturday afternoon. Ideally, I’ll go for a session on the driving range so I can engage with the open space and greenery, but if time’s short I’ll just have a sports massage at the Fivelements wellness centre.
Supper is with a few close friends at The Chinnery at the Mandarin Oriental back in Central. It’s quite small, with a very English, lounge-like quality that I find nostalgic, having been educated in England – they even serve Boddingtons-battered fish and chips and chicken tikka curry. After dinner we’ll go for drinks at The Upper House, which was the first hotel I designed, back in 2009. If the weather’s fine, we’ll be at The Lawn, a secluded outdoor space on the sixth floor, but if not we go to Café Gray Bar on the 49th – the views of Hong Kong and Kowloon are amazing – and sip on iced lemon tea.
On Sunday I get up around 9.30am and go for a swim in my apartment block before setting off for breakfast at Cheung Hing, a traditional tea house in Happy Valley. It opened in 1951 and has an almost Bauhaus style – the pale green and grey mosaic tiles are quintessential 1950s Hong Kong. I have a milk tea and homemade pineapple buns filled with scrambled egg or thick ham.
Lunch is always at my parents’ house in Mid-Levels with my sister, niece and nephew. It’s a casual thing – we usually eat congee with herbs and pan-fried noodles – but I enjoy the tradition; it’s a bit of normality for me. Afterwards, I often go shopping at Pacific Place, where I’ll browse through the art and photography books at Kelly & Walsh and the homewares at Lane Crawford. I recently bought a beautiful porcelain teapot there with an intricate woven rattan base by Chinese artisan brand Shang Xia. Then I’ll go round the corner for a flat white at Elephant Grounds. It’s like a shack, with lots of reclaimed wood and plants, but it is very curated and speaks volumes about urban style.
The Red Sugar rooftop bar at the Kerry Hotel is my new place for an early evening Talisker with friends. The roof juts out into Victoria Harbour and the bar has a 270-degree view, so it’s a fantastic place to watch the sunset. Later we’ll go for crispy chicken or baked crab at Fook Lam Moon, another Hong Kong institution, which has been serving traditional Cantonese food since the 1940s.
I aim to be home by 10pm. My apartment is on the south side of the city, between Repulse and Deep Water bays, so I have an immaculate view of the oceanfront. I like to end the weekend on the balcony, looking at the reflections and preparing myself for the week ahead.