The Conservatory, newest and brightest entrant to the restaurant scene in our central square, turns out to be owned by a Clear Water Bay couple. Kim Minards and Robert Cooper, who live in Chan Uk village, bought the business from Datta, who used to run it as Grande and now concentrates on his new place Big Fish.
The Conservatory is the eighth restaurant in a chain called Enoteca Group run by Kim as Managing Director. Kim said she and Rob designed the decor themselves. “We tried for a colonial verandah feel, an outdoor indoor feel.” The white neon Conservatory sign, so strong it almost dominates the square, is marred by a tatty sign saying “operated by Grande Group”. This is temporary, Kim said. There solely until the licensing authorities are satisfied. The rent is $90,000 plus.
The restaurant has the highest ceiling probably in Sai Kung as the mezzanine floor has been removed. Banana leaf wallpaper, green and white panelling, black girders and fans complete the colonial look. Kim said the restaurant has about 40 seats, 20 in and 20 out.
Asked how they have sought to differentiate The Conservatory from its many competitors, Kim said, “They are all really family oriented. We have tried to create a special place where you can go with your partner and have a glass of wine and a more grown-up experience.” The concept is small plates to nosh from with your wine. On prices, Kim said, “We thought we needed to price down in keeping with the village feel of Sai Kung.” Tapas dishes are priced from $58 to 108, pizzas from $118 to 158 and platters $248.
Kim and Rob started Enoteca Group in 2005. She is English but brought up in South Africa; he’s from London. The couple are controlling shareholders of Enoteca Group, but share ownership of some of the restaurants with investors. They have restaurants called Enoteca in Soho and Quarry Bay, Iberico & Co in Soho and Yoho, plus others named Cicada, The Parish, The Phoenix and now The Conservatory.