The latest duo of exciting new concepts by Leading Nation’s Gerald Li and Kevin Poon
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<<5th July, 2021 – Hong Kong>> MARGO, an intimate brasserie-style modern European dining concept headlined by Chef Mario Paecke (former Chef de Cuisine of SOMM and Sous Chef of 2-MICHELIN-starred Amber), is now open at The Galleria at 9 Queen’s Road, Central. Hidden away on MARGO’s mezzanine level is KYLE & BAIN, the new American martini bar concept helmed by Leading Nation’s multi-award-winning Beverage Director, John Nugent, who led The Diplomat to achieve #20 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021, as well as the London Essence’s Best New Opening Award 2021.
Introducing MARGO by Chef de Cuisine Mario Paecke
MARGO sets an intimate dining scene with elegance and finesse. Helmed by Chef de Cuisine Mario Paecke, former Chef de Cuisine of SOMM and Sous Chef of Amber at Landmark Mandarin Oriental, the restaurant tells a vibrant story of modern European cuisine with eccentricity, flamboyance, and style.
Presenting a European-inspired menu, Chef Mario strives to serve quintessential dishes that are light and fresh on the palate. By enhancing the natural flavors of high-quality ingredients, the restaurant offers contemporary European cuisine with German influences from Chef Mario’s native origins. Signature “häppchen” (snacks in German) and dishes include Croquettes (HK$118) with Alexandre Polmard beef carpaccio and truffle crème, inspired by Chef Mario’s East German upbringing where fries did not exist during his childhood; Rainbow Trout Confit(HK$258) with a hearty, German home-style potato salad using Bavarian potatoes, grilled leek and tangy pickled radish; a sweet and savory Seasonal Salad (HK$178) with rhubarb, German Belper Knolle cheese, and local pepper and honey from the same farm; and 12-month local Tilapia (HK$378) served with Chef Mario’s favorite verbena-champagne sauce, and served with complementing grilled peach, mash potatoes and chanterelle mushrooms. Königsberger Klopse (HK$430), or German meatballs in creamy caper sauce, is a popular dish originating from northern Germany. Chef Mario recreates this beloved national dish with his mother’s pig and beef meatballs recipe, paired with Bavarian potatoes, the luxurious fresh Norwegian langoustine tails, and creamy caper sauce. The crowd-favorite Ozaki Rump Steak Frites (HK$480) uses a renowned wagyu beef from a small farm in Japan’s Miyazaki prefecture that is the same used in WagyuMafia, served with fried thick-cut potato chips and a kale salad and roasted garlic lemon dressing.
Desserts and pastries are created by the talented local Pastry Chef, Eane Wong, who has specialized in Japanese-influenced artisanal viennoiserie infused with traditional French techniques. The leading force behind Elephant Grounds Roastery’s critically acclaimed pastries for more than 6 years, Eane now helms the pastry kitchen of MARGO as Executive Pastry Chef. Delectable signature sweets include Apple Vanilla Tatin (HK$128), Caramel Banana Meringue (HK$128) and White Peach & Jasmine Tea Crumble (HK$128) with yogurt sorbet.
Enjoy the brasserie-style dishes at MARGO with a selection of curated wines by the bottle or glass, all hand-picked by experienced Head Sommelier Elvis Lo, a certified sommelier of 6 years and French Wine Scholar graduate from Wine Scholar Guild.
An intimate Chef’s Counter experience will also be introduced at MARGO during the latter stages of the opening. The counter will comfortably seat four guests at a time, providing the opportunity to enjoy front-row seats to a highly interactive tasting menu curated by Chef Mario.
Introducing KYLE & BAIN by Beverage Director John Nugent
Hidden away in MARGO’s mezzanine level, KYLE & BAIN is the latest whimsical speakeasy cocktail bar headed by Leading Nation’s Beverage Director John Nugent, his second cocktail bar in Hong Kong continuing the success of The Diplomat. Hidden away in the mezzanine of MARGO, KYLE & BAIN is Hong Kong’s very first specialty American Martini Bar that unravels the mystery of the American Martini by deconstructing history’s best-kept secrets on how to make it.
In the late 1800’s of colonial Hong Kong, ice was once a luxury. In order to escape the humid embrace of the South Asian climate, giant ice blocks were shipped at vast expenses from the frozen ponds of New England, passing the Cape of Good Hope, before finally reaching its destination at the Fragrant Harbour. It wasn’t until two entrepreneurs and inventors William Kyle & John Bain patented the first ice machine, that ice became an affordable commodity in Hong Kong.
Paying homage to ice machine inventors William Kyle & John Bain, John Nugent – Beverage Director of Leading Nations and Head Mixologist of KYLE & BAIN – infuses the Ice House Street concept bar with colonial-inspired creations, offering a neighborhood gastropub for Martini lovers to call their second home. Signature cocktails include the Spumoni (HK$140), a blend of Campari, Grappa, Szechuan pepper, white balsamic, and Grecian grapefruit soda; a proper American Martini by way of K&B Martini (HK$140), created with the exact ingredients of 60ml Plymouth gin, 10ml Mancino Secco, 10ml Dolin Blanc, 10ml filtered water, a teaspoon of cider vinegar, and a refreshing squeeze of Amalfi lemon; and Gimlet (HK$140), a cocktail made with Genever, Japanese Gin, Mastiha, Salad Cordial, Star Anise, and homemade “Truffled Lime”. The cocktail menu also features premium classics such as a Negroni and Manhattan, a rotating list of creative martinis, and an extensive spirits list including vodka, agave, sugarcane, world whiskeys, and brandy.
Restaurant & Bar Interior Design by M.R. Studio
Collaborating with Hong Kong-based M.R. Studio, Leading Nation’s founder Gerald Li and Kevin Poon sought to create a brasserie for Chef Paecke to continue honing his Michelin-starred craft. The harmonious dining area is toned with natural elements of wood and verdant greenery. Patrons are greeted with an oversize moss wall, as they descend to an open dining room. Coral pink plush banquettes are adorned with white Terrazzo marble tables in warm undertones. This playful, hip and modern design primes the focus on cuisine served in elegance, as the bright and inviting space sparks conversations.
Behind the opaque sliding doors upstairs from MARGO lies the opulent Martini Bar – Kyle & Bain. Amber lighting sets the ambiance with relaxing palettes of Egyptian blue chairs to ornate plush sofa seats. The inviting space brings the focus to the brass bar, a converging area for drinks and conversations. The lighting is designed to place further emphasis on the bar as a focal point with an intimate ambiance.
MARGO has now officially soft open for lunch and dinner and KYLE & BAIN has now also soft open for drinks from 6pm-midnight.
Helmed by Chef de Cuisine Mario Paecke, MARGO tells a vibrant story of modern European cuisine with eccentricity, flamboyance, and style. The brasserie-style restaurant proudly offers a curated wine selection by Sommelier Elvis Lo, to pair with contemporary yet comforting dishes inspired by Chef Mario’s native origins in Germany. Margo, a venture by Leading Nation, is now open at 9 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong.
Restaurant Contact – Margo
Address: Shop 6, 9 Queens Road, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 2130 7731
Instagram: @margo.hkg @MarioPaecke_Photography
ABOUT KYLE & BAIN
Tucked away in Margo’s mezzanine level, KYLE & BAIN is the whimsical speakeasy cocktail bar headed by Leading Nation’s Beverage Director John Nugent. As Hong Kong’s very first specialty American Martini Bar, KYLE & BAIN unravels the mystery of the American Martini by deconstructing history’s best-kept secrets on how to make it. KYLE & BAIN is an homage to ice machine inventors, William Kyle & John Bain, the lesser-known heroes of colonial history who made ice an affordable commodity in Hong Kong.
Bar Contact – Kyle & Bain
Address: Shop 6, 9 Queens Road, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 2222 2345
Instagram: @kyleandbain @jpnuge
About LEADING NATION
Founded in 2016 by entrepreneurs Gerald Li and Kevin Poon, Leading Nation is a Hong Kong-based hospitality group specialising in eclectic F&B concepts with a focus on quality, craftsmanship and design, leading to unique culinary experiences.
Leading Nations Hospitality portfolio includes stand-alone concepts such as La Rambla by Catalunya – located in Hong Kong’s iconic International Finance Centre, Wagyumafia Hong Kong – the first international outpost of top Chef Hisato Hamada’s wagyu-centric concept; and The Diplomat, recently voted as one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars. Driving shop growth are multi-location brands Morty’s (American Deli), Mashi No Mashi (Wagyu Ramen), and Elephant Grounds (Lifestyle Specialty Cafe).
As key players in the international Art and Fashion scene, co-founder Kevin brings an urban appeal to fine dining, while partner Gerald’s strategic approach to operations and keen sense of culinary trends places the group at the forefront of Hong Kong’s dining scene.