#theWanderlist: Art Pops With Food at BIBO
When I first started writing this blog about four years ago, one of the initial goals with theWanderlister+ was to elevate Hong Kong’s cool subculture must-sees to a level where everyone who was interested about the city’s most stylishly cool and creative hotspots, can find it easily. When theWanderlister+ began, there were a few options for a blog post, and now many years later… I can’t even keep track of what this city has now on offer. This is how much Hong Kong has changed over time, and now I am in a situation where i’m only blogging about new restaurants like Nouveau French restaurants like BIBO months since it opened its snazzy gold doors in April. That said, I wish I’ve covered it sooner. Here’s why.
BIBO is one one of those “Wanderlister-ish” destination restaurants i’ve been wanting to try for a long time, but the obvious pile up of flashy street art (as could be seen through the restaurant’s shopfront windows on Upper Lascar Row aka. Cat Street) just seemed too intimidating and overwhelming. However, whoever the owners of BIBO are, they definitely paid quite a hefty sum to get some of the world’s “IT” pop-street artists to work on some site-specific pieces in the space. While Facebook Hong Kong is making controversy as news spreads regarding their practice of seemingly ripping off of local artists’ works to serve their interior design, BIBO meanwhile makes proud statements that they paid for their art which is admirable. The Global artists on display here are not only given a permanent stage in the city, but they are being compensated for their equally visible work.
Facebook has works that look like the King of Kowloon’s on their walls, but BIBO has an actual piece by the deceased local artist! And for sure Hong Kong makes Facebook makes way more moolah than Bibo can ever see from this city.
Other works at BIBO that are impactful, include a huge etched portrait in concrete by Vhills aka Alexandre Farto. And to the right of that some stylistic graffiti work by German artist, Stohead.
A major presence in the main dining room and visible from the lane outside is a large timber sculpture from KAWS. I thought it was a tad ostentatious when passing by, but after sitting in the dining room, I realised that its big scale actually works for the space.
Several other pieces to note are some video-game inspired graphics by guerilla artist, Invader, as well as a few quiet pieces by Banksy.
Men, if you use the urinal, you’ll be having an intimate moment with a Damien Hirst’s pills.
Outside the WC’s… a rare hand drawing by deceased American artist, Keith Haring.
And even up to now, according to management, there are still new acquisitions only days or weeks old, as the space’s design and decor is apparently in a constant state of flux based on acquisition and inclusion of new pieces. Accent works by Murakami, Kusama, Basquiat, and Shepard Fairy line the bar and the library reading areas.
If you’re a fan of BIBO’s bar and cocktails like I am, you’ll be having another moment with JR’s pensive eyes. JR was last in the city via a collaborative show with Galerie Perrotin here.
There’s just so much visual stimuli here. It’s great actually. Like this work by Jonone.
If I have to be critical about something, and I believe there’s always room for improvement about everything… it’s that there needs to be work thats representational of Hong Kong’s own art scene, NOW. And like the food and the wine (which are amazing by the way), everything at BIBO is an imported culture of “cool”. That’s my only gripe, which is an important point to make.
I went to a press dinner with lifestyle writer extraordinaire, Johannes Pong, and my friend Ann-Marie, who is a secret chef and a critical foodie, and she and I both agreed, the food and service at BIBO is completely excellent. And she is super critical, so I trust her view on everything food.
Everything on offer is the work of Chef Mutaro Balde (formerly of Alain Ducasse at The Plaza Athenee) who is in charge of creating food that is French, Continental, Playful, and Innovative. Highlights of our meal include a very tasty Vegetarian Salad made of figs, artichokes, and asparagus, an anchovy and parmesan mac and cheese, and the l’oeuf mayo’ which is an egg with creamy yolk. We also tried something called ‘la Saint Jacques’ which is a dish of scallops with fresh pesto garnish, and a ‘foie gras poele’, a foie gras pan seared on grenadine-poached rhubarb.
BIBO has a comprehensive wine list and an amazing house sommelier by the name of Wallace Lo, who recently won Best Sommelier of Hong Kong 2014. Price wise, if you were to do dinner from starters to dessert, and pair it all with wine, a night at BIBO can set you back at about 1500-2000 HKD a person. That said, the food and the ‘underground art gallery’ ambiance are worth the visit if you’re looking to create a unique urban dinner experience for yourself.
We’re all definitely returning real soon.
EAT BIBO . GF 163 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan . T: +852-256 3188