Hong Kong: Irish Restaurant to Open in Kennedy Town

Food and Beverage

An Irish eatery is the latest restaurant to open in Kennedy Town, which is rapidly turning into one of Hong Kong’s most exciting dining out destinations. Will it find favours with the yuppies in the hood?

Kennedy Town on Hong Kong Island is increasingly becoming a foodie hotspot as ever higher rents in Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo force restauranteurs to look further and further afield for storefronts that are affordable.

Next in line is an Irish eatery, which will have little in common with the ubiquitous Irish pubs that are scattered about Hong Kong.

Forget dark wood panelling, green leatherette bar stools, and cartoons of leprechauns on the paper napkins. Kinsale will have a decidedly contemporary feel. It opens in mid-August 2014. 

Described as ‘approachable’, the menu features what Cathal calls ‘family-focused comfort food’.    

Named after the a quaint seaport in County Cork on the Irish coast, Kinsale is the brain child of Cathal Kiely, whose Solas, Kila, Rula Bula, and Rayne have won favour with diners over the last 9 years. 

“As a resident of Kennedy Town, and one who eats out often with my own family, I wanted to create something that delivered on a ‘neighbourhood’ experience,” Cathal says.

“For me that meant it had to be service orientated to the point where the staff know clients names, great value, and with food interesting enough for people to visit often without getting bored.”    

My only question is, will there be corn beef and cabbage on the menu?


Kinsale, Shop 3, G/F, New Fortune House, 3-5 New Praya, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong. Telephone: (852) 2796-6004. 


2 Replies to “Hong Kong: Irish Restaurant to Open in Kennedy Town”

  1. My wife and I took our son to Kinsale last night after reading a positive review about it, one that in particular had great comments about their signature burger–our son was keen to try it. However, the reality was well south of that described in that glowing review.
    First, the positive things:
    – nicely decorated and airy restaurant
    – friendly staff
    – food we actually managed to get was pleasantly good
    Next, the attempts to order dinner at Kinsale: we first tried to order their signature burger for our son, as he was much looking forward to trying it, but were told, “Oh, we’ve been out of burgers since lunchtime.” My son instead ordered another entree with a side of french fries, only to learn that “Sorry, we’re out of fries, that’s why we have no burgers” (didn’t try to pursue the logic behind that one). For my part, I ordered their mushroom sandwich, which sounded wonderful. The waitress came back ten minutes later to say, “Sorry, we’re out of the mushroom sandwich too.” I gave up and asked politely, “Perhaps you could just show me what you *do* actually have.” Out of the eight or so entrees on their menu, the waitress pointed four items as still available, but as none of them appealed to me, I gave up and ordered a side dish instead.
    In an era where even the smallest office or business has a laser printer, what was keeping Kinsale from printing up a one-off menu for an evening like last night where half their entrees were not available? Customers are *not* impressed with a fancy, lengthy menu where a serious fraction of the items are not available, and where customers have to play “twenty questions” to figure out what they actually *do* have. Same comment for the rear side of the menu (drinks)–see comment below.
    Other things that didn’t work at Kinsale:
    – Waiters repeatedly forgot requests (e.g., for water), and had to be reminded more than once. Folks, maybe order pads are not “trendy”, but having to remind wait staff is far more off-putting.
    – Items were brought in seemingly random order–e.g., side dish for a main was brought with an appetizer, but the other appetizer was brought after the entrees started arriving
    – They serve drinks…or maybe not: before eating, we tried to order a whiskey from their drinks menu, but were told by the waitress that, “Since we only just got our liquor license two days ago, we don’t have most of the whiskies on the menu.” Ok, plan B: tried to order a cocktail from their menu, only to learn that “Sorry, we don’t have any cocktails available tonight.” Basically, we were told, they had a few open bottles of wine, so wine by the glass was possible.
    – There was a floor manager orbiting the restaurant and chatting up customers, but I confess I found it silly to have someone come to our table near the end of a hilariously botched meal to say, in effect, “Hi guys, I hope you’re having a simply super time!”. Instead try being honest and say, “I’m sorry we’ve had bumps in our service tonight, folks, and hope you might give us the chance to make it up to you another time.” We didn’t bother talking to this guy, as he seemed oblivious to all the things going wrong. It was this that made us think that most of the problems at Kinsale arise from problems working-level management and coordination. An orchestra without a conductor, so to speak.
    I fully respect and appreciate that running a restaurant is tough work. However, in the fiercely competitive HK restaurant arena, where many in the restaurant sector bemoan that the average restaurant life span is often little more than a year or two, it is baffling to be three weeks past opening and still be misfiring to the degree we experienced last night.
    Bottom line, for us: loved the concept, but not going back to spend $$$ unless we have reliable feedback from friends that Kinsale has got their act together.

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