End of an Era

Today marks the end of an era. M at the fringe, one of Hong Kong’s first free-standing restaurants serving gourmet Western cuisine, will serve its last orders tonight. When it opened in November 1989, most of the fine dining establishments in the then British colony were located in five-star hotels. Now they are to be found all over town.

“We did not want to reproduce another hotel-style restaurant, but rather create something individual and with character. We wanted an interesting, good, down-to-earth restaurant that served excellent European food in atmospheric surroundings,” says the restaurant’s owner, Michelle Garnaut.

Twenty years on, the stylish eatery is hunting for new digs. It has been forced to evacuate its current premises in the historic Hong Kong Fringe Club on Lower Albert Road . The Dairy Farm Building, which is its official name, will undergo lengthy and extensive renovation to comply with new Government regulations.

The building dates back to 1913 and is one of the few historic landmarks left in Central, its role as a former ice storage depot giving its name to the street.

In the meantime, the M Restaurant Group is continuing to look for a new Hong Kong venue for its flagship restaurant. “We have been offered many locations but as yet have simply not found the right one to take M at the Fringe into the next chapter,” said owner Michelle Garnaut. “But our search continues and we urge our many loyal fans everywhere to watch for further news.” she says.

M at the Fringe is part of the M Restaurant Group. In 1999, it opened M on the Bund in Shanghai, the first gourmet restaurant to open in China’s most populous city since the communist took over the mainland in 1949. It opened its second restaurant in China earlier this year. Named Capital M, it overlooks Tiananmen Square in the heart of the Chinese capital, Beijing.

“These are exciting times for our company,” Garnaut says. “And we will continue to look for another special location to take M into a new era, and hopefully find our new home for another 20 years. Watch this space…”

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