Hospitality team Black Sheep Restaurants is entering the next chapter of its story by breathing new life into one of Hong Kong’s architectural icons, the Magistracy. The historic building is set for a renaissance with the debut of phase one of the restorations and the opening of two new venues this September.
Black Sheep Restaurants has been granted an extraordinary honour. They will be giving The Magistracy, one of the hundred declared monuments in Hong Kong, a new life after having it has remained dormant for four decades. As custodians of culture, this is an opportunity to do work that pays homage to a piece of the city’s history, connecting Hong Kong’s present and future to its past.
It is a momentous step for the ground-breaking hospitality team; this will be the first time Black Sheep Restaurants have undertaken a project of this magnitude.
Opening in three phases, this multi-storey venue will be home to many different stories, all shaped by a team of all-star hospitality experts. Launching in mid-September, phase one will introduce the over-arching master-concept: The Magistracy, Hong Kong’s historic judicial house reimagined through thoughtful hospitality stories.
Once known as Hong Kong’s Supreme Court, in 1979, after over 100 years, The Central Magistracy was decommissioned and ceased its judiciary functions in 1984, thus ending its chapter in history.
It lay dormant for the next 40-plus years, its hallways empty and standing as a silent reminder of the city’s past. Now, Black Sheep Restaurants, as a Hong Kong-born hospitality team embracing the opportunity to transform the monument into a space whose foundation is dedicated to world-class storytelling and hospitality.
The Magistracy will become one of the city’s few restaurant heritage sites, with the first two openings from Black Sheep Restaurants, Magistracy Dining Room and Botanical Garden. Helmed by MICHELIN-starred Executive Chef Matthew Kirkley, Magistracy Dining Room is inspired by timeless London restaurants, bringing all the charm and quintessential savoir-faire of these iconic institutions to the heart of Hong Kong.
In collaboration with world-renowned designer Joyce Wang of her eponymous Joyce Wang Studios, Black Sheep Restaurants has built a space rich in colours and textured accents.
The classic dining room sits on the first floor of the historic building, where curved banquettes stretch across the restaurant floor in deep reds and blues paired with oversized, comfortable armchairs. Gracing the walls, custom tapestries hang on the intricate panelling, while hand-woven rugs provide a luxurious anchor to the space.
Golden accent lamps are scattered throughout the room, with solid iron-rod and wooden stations tucked along the walls; a spiral wooden staircase leads guests to an intimate, semi-private dining balcony overlooking the majestic space.
Modernity is an after-thought in the room, welcomed only in the guests who join or in the small moments of functionality, but found nowhere in the classic décor or soaring vaulted ceilings of the room; echoes of the building’s history at the forefront of the experience as guests are pulled back in time. Spilling out onto the terrace alongside the majestic dining room is the Botanical Garden, a lush space overflowing with green foliage reminiscent of British heritage gardens where guests will find respite in the form of the city’s finest gin and tonics.
Black Sheep Restaurants co-founder Syed Asim Hussain said, “This is a chance to demonstrate that we are more than just restaurateurs, that at the heart of what we do is storytelling – we are custodians of culture. We feel a responsibility on our shoulders to the city to do something here that will connect Hong Kong’s past and present with its future.”
Adding, “We have been working tirelessly behind the curtains, and it feels serendipitous that we are unveiling The Magistracy as the city returns to life. This place doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the city itself, but it is our job to bring it back from the forgotten for people to enjoy and continue its story into the city’s future. We know we have been given the keys to Hong Kong’s comeback story with this project.”
The Magistracy will be home to two restaurants, three bars, four private dining rooms, an elevated sports room and an expansive wine cellar and will lend itself to hosting intimate tastings and dinners housing Hong Kong’s most extensive collection of Old-World wines.
To keep up to date with Black Sheep Restaurant’s The Magistracy, visit www.themagistracyhongkong.com.
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