TRAVEL SERIES || A Day In Hong Kong
Pen contributor post-WHITE WEB.jpg

Our vision is to take you on day trips to cities around the world. Featuring the best local hangouts so you can experience life like a local on your adventures. Join us for A Day In Hong Kong.

SOCIAL + SHARE || 22 Ships

22 Ship St, Wan Chai

On a cloudy Thursday afternoon, I ventured onto the side streets lined with high rise towers in the heavy, oppressive heat Hong Kong locals are well-accustomed to. Today I will be meeting with Linzi from JIA Group, who would take us on a foodie tour through several restaurants within the group. 

Our first stop was 22 Ships, and if you were passing by in a hurry you wouldn't notice any signage, except for the bright red canopy and the posters on the window with the restaurant name. I head inside with an iced-tea in hand and was greeted by Linzi and Executive Chef Aaron Gillespie. Aaron was ready to whip up a refreshing appetizer, signature of the share plates you would see at 22 Ships, and a pitcher of tasty Sangria with finely-diced fruits. I was soon presented with a beautifully plated Scallop Ceviche with yuzu and Chinese radish, perfect on a hot summer day.

Pendulum Magazine - A Day In Hong Kong

This is the place to go with a friend to catch up over tasty food and drinks. Regular patrons love 22 Ships for its friendly, unpretentious vibe and I can see why since Chef Aaron is warm, friendly and great to chat with. Passionate, talented and tattooed, Aaron has been working at 22 Ships since May 2016 and has made friends with numerous locals in this time. 

Tip from Linzi: Visit during lunch hour when it's not as busy as dinner time to make sure you get a seat!

ART + FINE DINING || Duddell's 3rd Floor

Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central

Pendulum Magazine - A Day In Hong Kong - Duddell's

Be prepared for a sensational mix of art, culture and fine dining. The restaurant is located on the third floor, and before reaching the reception area, you first past by an art exhibition in the entry corridor. Duddell's is described as a cultural and social destination for those who share an appreciation for the arts and you can see art integrated into the core of the restaurant decor and dining experience. Founded by hospitality entrepreneur Yenn Wong, Duddell's has its own dedicated art manager, curating a year-round programme to engage with art enthusiasts. Dining at Duddell's gives you the feeling of walking into an art collector's home with much to discover. 

Pendulum Magazine - A Day in Hong Kong - Duddell's

From the furnishings to the decorated walls and 2000 sq-ft outdoor terrace space on the fourth floor, every item in Duddell's is an art piece, with a purpose and value-add to the space. 

Beside the art and design, the food is also phenomenal, with the restaurant receiving its first Michelin Star within 5 months of its grand opening in May 2013, and its second Michelin Star following closely in 2014. Executive Chef Fung Man-Ip, previously of Mott 32, now leads the culinary team at Duddell's.

Pendulum Magazine - Chef Fung Man-Ip - Duddell's Hong Kong

The first floor is a fine dining restaurant, open for lunch and dinner serving exquisite menu items such as the Fried Local Lobster with Salted Egg Yolk and Pumpkin we were treated to. Crispy on the outside, with layers of flavour as the salted egg yolk envelops the fresh lobster with unparalleled flavour. It's a definite treat for your taste buds and it didn't take long for Linzi and I to polish off the dinner-sized plate.

Fried Local Lobster with Salted Egg Yolk and Pumpkin

ART + SOCIALIZING || Duddell's 4th Floor

Level 4, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central

Pendulum Magazine - Duddell's Salon Hong Kong

The Salon section of Duddell's has such a unique and different vibe from its third floor counterpart that it warrants its own separate section. Here the feeling is much more laid back, with businessmen, students, tourists huddled around low tables in comfortable arm chairs in the lounge area. The various furniture pieces and interior decor give the space a more hip, modern ambience; with dim-sum and drinks served all day until 12am, it's no wonder the spot is popular for social gatherings. 

Need a breath of fresh air? Step outside onto the spacious terrace, lined with lush greenery and decorated with whimsical lights and eclectic furniture; this is where the party moves to as the sun sets and the welcomed summer breeze arrives in the evening.

Pendulum Magazine - Duddell's Hong Kong Outdoor Terrace
Pendulum Magazine - Duddell's Salon Hong Kong



Ground floor, Upton, 345 Des Voeux Road West

As we ventured to our final stop in an air-conditioned taxi, we left the hip Wan Chai district and headed into the older Shek Tong Tsui district. Linzi explained this is one of the older districts which is now attracting more innovative restaurants because of the more affordable rent.

Rhoda's exterior design is captivating - a facade of geometric lines offering the comfort of symmetry crafted into the polished, sliding wooden doors. The interior features a central bar, with giant washing machine cylinders repurposed into lighting pieces for the restaurant. 


RHODA offers simple, delicious dishes cooked over the charcoal grill and aims to bring back family meal-times and the fading custom of conversation over good meals. The seating areas offer privacy and intimacy, with nooks and booths for those who rejoice in conversation over a good meal.

The charcoal grill is featured in an open kitchen at the back of the restaurant, and the surrounding bar with its designed heating lamps help to keep meals warm as diners engage in conversation. 

Pendulum Magazine - RHODA Hong Kong JIA Group
Pendulum Magazine - Chef Nate Green Rhoda

Chef Nate Green, named "Young Chef of The Year" by the Restaurant Association in UK and previously Executive Chef at 22 Ships and Ham & Sherry, sat down with us to chat about his passion for culinary innovation. From the way he talks about his process and criteria for selecting ingredients for each of the dishes on the menu, the energy is contagious; it is evident that he is passionate about serving his guests a great meal, offering premium ingredients at a fair price paired with the best-tasting wines, whereas other eateries would gladly take a markup on the food and pair your meal with the most expensive wine. 

Raw beef, ox heart, fillet & bavette, oyster emulsion, Sturia caviar

Raw beef, ox heart, fillet & bavette, oyster emulsion, Sturia caviar

Dine at Rhoda and you can easily feel the sincerity, innovation, and care Chef Nate Green invests to ensure a memorable dining experience. You will remember the food for its creativity and delectable taste. Until now, I still yearn for the taste of the house made warm bread, the Hokkaido scallop baked with sake and yuzu, and the amazing cheesecake with an other-worldly texture. We wrapped our day with a glass of wine (our third), and parted ways in the early evening as the streets started to get crowded with commuters getting off work.

This day tour fully portrayed the diversity of restaurants in the JIA Group's portfolio, from Cantonese cuisine fine dining, to tapas share plates in a cozy environment, and an innovative eatery setting new standards with its dedication and passion to serving up a great meal. 

Clockwise from top right:

  1. Organic Secret Garden kale, anchovy dressing, garlic croutons

  2. Vanilla Cheesecake, black cherries (this is to die for!)

  3. Baked Hokkaido scallop, shiso, sake, yuzu, miso butter

  4. Chef Nate Green preparing a dish