One of Hong Kong’s newest restaurants, Estro was created by such a level of celebrated talent that it could have been a problematic enterprise and a painful process. Michelin-star chef Antimo Maria Merone, multiple award-winning restaurant operator, founder and CEO of JIA, Yenn Wong, and highly acclaimed architect and designer André Fu, each have an impressive CV.
And if celebrity TV-chefs, cantankerous starchitects and ruthless business moguls were the rule rather than the exceptions promoted for the sake of publicity, the Estro players merited fame and accolades could have led to unhealthy ego and uncompromising inflexibility. However, in the case of Estro, the Hong Kong-based trio seems to have found a common path from the start. Perhaps there were auspicious omens at play, as JIA means ‘home’ in Mandarin and Estro means ‘inspiration’ in Italian.
The result is indeed an ‘inspired home’, a sexily eclectic Italian salotto, a sitting room in a traditional Neapolitan villa with its eccentric past and busy present. In fact, everything from design to menu at Estro seems to be a combination of several aspects. And by being so, it is a reflection of life itself. Not black and white, but shades of many colours.
At Estro, the colour scheme is rich and autumnal, and the form language curvy and slightly crazy. Large-patterned wallpapers, richly textured velvets and painted walls are accented by coloured marble, cast-iron gates, mid-century modernist wood and even murals created by Hong Kong-based Elsa Jean de Dieu.
We love the residential feel that is decidedly opulent but not ostentatious. The space appears to be a result of years of disparate collecting and accumulating, yet the focus is unmistakeably on eating, food and enjoyment, not on the surroundings. Very Italian indeed.
Estro is the first independent restaurant for Naples-born chef Merone who first arrived in Hong Kong in 2012 to work alongside chef Philippe Leveille of the highly regarded L’Altro. He has now returned to Hong Kong from Macau where he served as executive chef of 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana from 2014 to 2020 earning the restaurant its first Michelin star. This time, his first task in Hong Kong was to helm the first pop up restaurant at Tatler Dining Kitchen at Haus in cooperation with JIA Group’s Yenn Wong.
Singapore-born Yenn Wong founded the JIA hospitality group in 2010 with Italian restaurant 208 Duocento Otto. Since then, she has become a significant player in Hong Kong’s dining scene operating 12 restaurants including Michelin-starred Duddell’s and Louise, and Chinese, Thai, French and Spanish concepts such as Ando, Chachawan and Potato Head.
Hong Kong-born architect and designer André Fu holds a Masters in Architecture degree from Cambridge University. He’s known for opulent luxury environments, especially hotels and restaurants around the globe. These include Villa La Coste in Provence, The Berkeley in London, St Regis Hotel in Hong Kong, Hotel The Mitsui in Kyoto. He launched product and accessory brand André Fu Living in 2019. Tuija Seipell
Estro is located at Level 2, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong.