Few fine dining locations are infused with as much progressive and rich cultural heritage as Hong Kong’s newest luxury restaurant, The Magistracy Dining Room. During its storied past, the legendary Judicial House, home to the luxury venue, has witnessed numerous historical events, including the incarceration of former Vietnamese leader Ho Chi-minh, near catastrophic bomb damage during the Second World War, and the trials of the 1967 Hong Kong rioters. The riots alone served as the catalyst for widespread and lasting social reforms in the region, with numerous discussions about rights, social needs, and individual responsibilities taking place within the Judicial House’s walls. In Hong Kong, where legacy and ancestorial heritage are often supreme determiners of social behaviour, The Magistracy Dining Room stands as a beacon of the resurgent need for the recognition of spaces and events of historical significance.
The Magistracy Dining Room is the first of a planned series of rejuvenation and restoration initiatives at the Judicial House marking a momentous effort to restore thoughtful storytelling about Hong Kong’s history and the challenges and successes that have shaped the policies guiding the country today. Owned by the renowned Black Sheep hospitality company, the venues represent an acknowledgement of the influence of colonial history on Asian cultures. For Black Sheep Founder, Syed Asim Hussain, the opportunity to create new avenues for historical story telling was both challenging and rewarding: “When we took this project on pre-pandemic, it was already a tremendous undertaking. The complexity of the project is unlike anything we’ve ever done, and, alongside that, there was this heavy sense of importance tied to it. This is a piece of the city’s history, and we were being given the keys and the opportunity to begin its next chapter. That itself is a daunting challenge, just doing the space and the history of this landmark justice.”
Respect for the space and its impact of Hong Kong history was clear during the design process. In acknowledgement of the life-changing, often despairing events within its walls, Hussain worked with one of the city’s premiere feng shui masters to ensure renewed positive energy was encouraged and welcomed into the venue while still remaining in harmony with the building’s past.
Designed by Joyce Wang Studios, The Dining Room finds aesthetic appeal and balance with Joyce Wang’s subtle finesse for luxury combined with a careful dance between modernisation and the protection of the heritage of the building. Working closely with the Antiquities and Monuments Office, the new restaurant enhances the building’s architectural features with deep colours and textures, high vaulted ceilings, and richly panelled walls that frame the grand history of the location.
In a testament to Hong Kong’s controversial colonial history, The Magistracy Dining Room draws refined inspirations from the global legacy and gastronomy of London’s oldest restaurants, such as the Savoy Grill, Wiltons, Bentley’s, and The Ivy. Reframing London food with exceptional talent is renowned Executive Chef Matthew Kirkley.
An enthusiastic lover of all aspects of the culinary arts, Chef Kirkley ensures the luxurious menu can stand up to the reputation of the most influential of London restaurants. With his keen sensitivity to ingredients and thoughtfully elevated execution, Chef Kirkley’s elegant menu is nostalgic for British comforts without being simple or unremarkable.
Kirkley’s experience in the global culinary scene is without reproach. Trained by the world’s most iconic culinary institutes, including The Fat Duck and Le Gavroche in London and Le Meurice in Paris, Kirkley’s journey to excellence led him invariably to three-Michelin star Joël Robuchon and San Francisco’s COI. Over his career, Kirkley has been awarded ten Michelin stars, a testament not only to his perception and talent but also to his unwavering zeal and dedication to his craft.
The Magistracy Dining Room’s menu features a welcome collaboration of traditional and contemporary London-inspired offerings. With an exquisite array of seafood, guests are never without their favourites. From the Ossetra, Daurenki, and Beluga caviar to Osiblue prawns, Petrossian Tsar-cut Smoked Salmon, or Chilled Whole Brittany Blue Lobster, Chef Kirkley’s finesse with seafood is evident through an elevated balance of flavours. Meat seekers will find memorable grass-fed Blonde d’Aquitaine steak tartar or American midwest flavoured Prime Rib among the offerings.
Through the rich and exceptional menu and the landmark venue, each meal becomes an unforgettable culinary journey steeped in the best of both British and Hong Kong heritage.