It’s bursting with hip dining spots, hole-in-the wall nibble joints and trendy cocktail bars, but just which bars and restaurants should you be heading to in Kennedy Town? Named after a former Hong Kong governor (no, not those Kennedys), it’s become the latest great neighbourhood for a night out. Now with its own MTR station, it’s even easier to get to than before, although we still fancy taking the ol’ ‘ding ding’ now and again.
This charming bistro on Forbes Street does mainly French wine and small plates while doubling as a wine shop. For a different kind of night out, the upstairs wine cellar and tasting room can be reserved for private occasions for up to eight guests to sample the more than 130 bottles of wines on hand. Downstairs offers tapas, set lunch or brunch and a lengthy wine list with something to please white or red lovers. There’s also classic bubbles on the menu, with a quirky cartoon message from Napoleon if you’re having trouble deciding: In victory, you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it.
Where: G/F, 42 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2453 9873, or
As the name will lead you to believe, this cafe does coffee and waffles, but they also have a full menu serving up plenty of savouries. We’ll admit, though, we always come here for those fluffy and sweet Belgian waffles and a great cup of hand-drip coffee. The waffles are delicious plain, but the menu choices of strawberries, chocolate sauce and whipped cream will taunt you to go all out. If you’re wondering where to throw your child’s birthday party next, they do fun ‘lollipop waffles’ complete with dipping sauces and toppings for the kids to eat and make a happy mess of.
Where: G/F, Shop 9, New Fortune House, 4-8 North Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2855 8890
There are days when comforting food without the fuss is all we care about: enter Piccolo. Classic Italian pizzas done the thin crust way and the usual pasta fare are doled out daily in satisfying portions for eating in or out. We stand by their signature pizzas – the pancetta made with an Italian soft egg and the prosciutto di parma with rocket and shaved parmesan are both delicious, but with close to 20 other kinds on the menu, you are spoiled for choice.
Where: Shop 1, Davis Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2824 2000, or
We found it! Proper English-style fish and chips in HK! And who would have thought it would come courtesy of a Singapore-owned restaurant? Crispy beer-battered fish with thick-cut chips (not fries) that we’ve always loved in UK pubs, doused with malt vinegar and served with mushy peas that we actually ate instead of leaving on our plate. Sometimes we show up to Fish & Chick with fish on the brain, but then we get a whiff of the succulent rotisserie chicken, juices dripping and wooing us, so we end up going for that instead with a side of mashed potatoes and corn. The chicken is marinated overnight and it shows, each bite tender and juicy. They also do a good variety of pan-fried fresh fish and great starters – the Fisherman’s Basket has a bit of everything (calamari, oysters, crab croquettes, prawns and baby fish) if you’re having trouble deciding. Nibble away outside while people watching along the waterfront.
Where: Shop 6, G/F, 25 New Praya, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2974 0088 or [email protected]shandchick.co
Newly opened in July, Little Creatures brews craft beer daily in an impressive venue. When you walk in you can’t miss the five hectolitre brewery producing the various beers served up in front at the bar or in the large dining area. They like to get creative with their beer, which means unique brews infused with everything from orange peels to chillies made with their pilsner, IPA and various ales (also sold to take home). The beer tasting paddle – at a reasonable $100 – is a good way to see what you like, with six generous pours of their beers to glug down. Paired with appetising sharing plates like baby tempura vegetables or cured meats (Serrano ham, chorizo, pâté with house pickles) you could happily be there all night or day – they open 7 days a week at 8 am and breakfast (a simple menu featuring steak and eggs, omelettes, smoked salmon hash) is offered until noon.
Where: Shop 1, G/F New Fortune House, 5A New Praya, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2833 5611 or [email protected]
If you know London at all, you’ve probably heard of the hipster area Shoreditch, so you’d assume this place does British food – and you’d assume correctly. Dubbed an ‘urban eatery and battlecruiser’, their food is indeed inspired by UK cuisine. They serve traditional roasts with all the trimmings on weekends and public holidays, and of course, the full English breakfast. This plate is heaping with fat bangers, bacon, perfectly made scrambled eggs, baked beans and black pudding. You can also get your scotch eggs here, Welsh rarebit and we’re happy to report, one of the best sticky toffee puddings we’ve had.
Where: 18 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2242 3777
The decor is typical of many new restaurants popping up around town these days – wood and metal in a warehouse-style setting – so there’s nothing to get too excited about there. But we found it to be a good starting point for a night out as they have great starters for sharing, which include superfood dishes like beetroot two ways (baked beets, freshly pickled beetroot and goat’s cheese with crisp homemade sesame crackers) and roasted cauliflower hummus, so we don’t feel as guilty when we order their famed cocktails. But the fresh Praya Cooler, made with white rum, avocado sorbet and guava juice, can’t be that bad for us, can it? There are 25 more cocktails to choose from starting at $68, so good luck choosing as they all look pretty damn good.
Where: 33 Praya, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2543 1238 or book online
The old brick facade and dark wooden interior will have you feeling like you’ve entered an old brasserie down one of Brussels’ famed alleyways. The feel is very Belgian, down to the specialised glassware for each beer, which is one of the main draws. There’s a good selection here of the best Belgian dark ales to fruitier tipples like Lindemans’ Pecheresse, a sweet peach lambic beer that we were so happy to see on the menu. And if you’ve haven’t had a Kwak yet, do order one if only for the reaction from your friends when they see it arrive at the table in its specialised wooden drinking contraption. Plus, it goes down nicely with moules et frites, the classic combination of mussels and fries that no good Belgian restaurant could operate without serving. If you’re just coming for drinks, you can keep yourself happily filled all night with starters like scrumptious croquettes (the four pieces they give are never enough) and a tasty mixed sausage platter.
Where: Shop B2 & C, G/F, 25-33 Hau Wo Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2817 7717
It can get loud in here, as Forbes 36’s spacious venue has several big screen TVs throughout showing the latest live sporting events from Premier League football to Formula One, but that’s to be expected from a sports bar. Slide into one of their comfy booths for the standard pub grub of chicken wings, nachos, pizza, burgers and a mouth-watering French onion soup which took us by surprise. There’s an extended drinks menu complete with shooters and cocktails, plus plenty of draught beer to indulge in before you stumble home via the MTR located conveniently across the street.
Where: G/F, 36 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2813 5335 or
Fugazi is inspired by the Japanese izakaya, casual pubs for after-work drinking and eating. The focus here isn’t just on Japanese food though, as they offer Asian treats like Korean fried chicken and heaping bowls of Malaysian laksa too. Skip the beer and pair it with sweet and cooling Malaysian milk tea. But if alcohol is what you’re after, of course they have sake and beers, which go nicely with their ‘on the stick’ menu of Asian skewers like teriyaki chicken and a refreshing grilled pineapple with sea salt. All served against an urban backdrop of cool street art-adorned walls.
Where: G/F, 21 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2817 7377
Good luck walking by and not being dragged in when you spot the colourful ice cream and toppings people walk out with from here. The brightly coloured shop is also eye-catching and the kids will be drawn to the cute cartoon monkeys saying hello at the window. Of course, the main draw is behind the glass and there are boundless flavours of soft serve, sorbet and premium ice cream to lick up plus thick, sweet shakes and macarons in varieties you’re probably not used to (parma ham and melon or foie gras and caramelised apple). The Himalayan, made with vanilla soft serve, caramel sauce and Himalayan rock salt is divine but we aren’t too sure about the Caviar Explosion – yes, that’s lumpfish caviar plopped on top of soft serve. We’ll stick with the plethora of cookies, candies and chocolate as our toppings instead.
Where: 78-86 Catchick Street
Contact: 2362 0822
Here’s a twist on the usual Mexican restaurant: Mexican cuisine made with Japanese ingredients and cooking techniques. We were intrigued to say the least, and we love our tacos, so what could be in store? This place is often packed and as they don’t take bookings, some patience will be required, so don’t arrive on an entirely empty stomach (note they’re closed Mondays). However, when it comes time to chowing down, you will be rewarded abundantly as the food here is good – sometimes we feel the portions are a bit on the small side but thankfully, they are rewarding in flavour and presentation. Tacos start at $40 (the flavours in the marinated pork one with pineapple and tomatillo were heavenly together) and go up to $88 for the Nozaki beef taco with guacamole and shishito pepper, which is worth the price jump. There’s also Japanese-Mexican fusion starters to keep you satisfied along with filling tostadas (spicy lobster and avocado go very well together, we learned). Japanese craft beers and a tequila list as long as your arm will keep you there for awhile.
Where: 1B-1C New Praya (on the corner of North Street), Kennedy Town
Contact: 2606 0588 (no reservations)
More than a cafe, this sprawling space is an indoor play area for your kids, your local butcher and florist shops, ice cream parlour and sometimes during the week, a yoga studio. Oh and yes, you can also park yourself down for some food and drink in the bright wooden interior with splashes of green and plants and flowers throughout. The lunch menu is a steal at $128 and offers a choice of starter (the Australian beef rissoles with caramelised onions are amazing), main (half BBQ chicken and chips if you’re feeling hungry is a good choice) and yummy banoffee cake for dessert. Kids’ dishes are priced at $75 and come in the form of mini burgers and pizza, mac and cheese and the usual child-friendly picks. You can easily spend hours here doing some of the weekly shop and catching up with friends over coffee as your little ones play a round of mini golf nearby.
Where: On Fat Building, 57-59 Cadogan Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2591 0328 or [email protected]
Fresco Dim Sum
No need to trek to Kowloon for good dim sum that won’t hurt your wallet, this pleasing little restaurant a short walk from the MTR consistently delivers. The easy-to-read English menu makes ordering a snap but if you’re wondering what some of the choices are, the friendly staff will help you out. Order up steaming basket after basket of assorted dumplings, spring rolls and fluffy buns – they make a mean creamy custard one.
Where: Shop A, Fook On Mansion, G/F, 23-25 North Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2581 0303
It’s true what everyone’s saying – these are some of the best ribs we’ve ever had in Hong Kong. We had bits of sticky barbecue sauce on various parts of our body after we finished off our plates of tender, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs smoked in hickory and apple wood chips. Our cheeks were smeared with barbecue sauce that for once wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet like we often experience at BBQ places, and it had hints of smoky flavour for a nice balance. We didn’t really come up for air as we chewed on the Canadian AAA beef short rib, trying not too look too gluttonous as we licked the bones (this place is definitely for meat lovers). The sides of crispy skinny fries and a refreshingly light coleslaw that isn’t bogged down with tons of mayonnaise and made with bits of pear and beetroot are perfect accompaniments. The one downside is the venue is a bit small, but hopefully with more fans comes expansion. We certainly will be back, maybe with our own bibs to be safe.
Where: Shop J, G/F, May Sun Building, 1 Smithfield, Kennedy Town
Contact: 3956 4213
This good-looking, neon-lit dining locale has something for the vegetarian, or ‘vanimal’: a resilient, dynamic creature characterised by its primitive, natural and instinctive diet of naturally-grown vegetables, herbs, seeds and fruit. If this sounds like you, do pop by the bold environs of this strictly veggie-loving establishment for some eclectic signature cocktails and innovative cuisine. The latter, like the cocktails, are beautifully presented, particularly the bento lunch trays which beckon you to a fancy Kyoto eatery with their individual stoneware bursting with colourful bites like pumpkin and apple soup and kaffir lime saffron vegetable curry.
Where: Shop 1, Cadogan, 150 Belcher’s Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2872 8880
Catch focuses on seafood and fresh, seasonal produce and they serve it in a warm, airy setting (sitting by the sliding doors facing the street is a lovely spot on a cool evening). They’re known for their crab boil, a pot jam-packed with market crab, clams, mussels, sweet corn, chorizo and potato, perfect for sharing. But if you feel like crab yet can’t be bothered to crack through shell, go for the crab burger on a brioche bun with chipotle mayo, pickled cabbage and fries. Meat eaters and vegetarians will still find something for their palates on the menu too, including ribeye steak and mushroom and spinach risotto, but for sure, here, the main dish is fish.
Where: G/F, Catchick Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2855 1289 or book online
Shiba is just the sort of place to hide away after a long day, when all you fancy is some quality booze and light bites, in this case, of the Japanese variety. You will feel like you’ve been transplanted to Japan as you look around this authentic kushiyaki (grilled skewer) restaurant, with a bar stocking more than 30 different sakes and craft beers (wasabi and white truffle are just two of the special brews) flown in from Niigata Prefecture. Order plate after plate of skewers (we usually get seconds of the beef and cheese rolls and sweet potato skewers) to soak up the Japanese tipples.
Where: 11 Smithfield, Kennedy Town
Contact: 3568 2425
You may pass the Ethos shop front and find yourself scratching your head: is this a clothing store? An event space? A restaurant? Well, yes, yes, and yes. Billing itself as a ‘progressive lifestyle platform’, Ethos is split into three different venues offering apparel, cuisine, decor and events. The design scheme is minimalist and industrial, with wood and concrete throughout. To the left is where you want to head for the food, all exquisitely presented and well-portioned. Savoury crêpes (mixed mushroom, crab or a sumptuous baked seafood) and sweet ones (green tea, mixed berry or mango) are perfect with their frothy cappuccinos, and bigger plates will hit the spot when you’re looking for more. It’s nice to find an all day breakfast offered somewhere that isn’t in a pub, and isn’t a heart attack on a plate. Ethos’ all-day breakfast affair has just the right amount of sausage, egg and chips, with a Portobello mushroom thrown in for good measure. We didn’t even miss the baked beans.
Where: 93, 97, 99 Hill Road, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2833 2127 or [email protected]
A perfect spot for those seeking something cosy and romantic, especially if you can grab one of the sofas for yourself and plop down for a night imbibing wines and nibbling on fine cheeses. The French cheese platter comes with a wonderful assortment of cheese with grapes, walnuts, plums and biscuits – it’s a meal in itself but pace yourself for their desserts at the end because they are not to be missed. The cannelés de Bordeaux et macarons assortis (mini Bordeaux sponge and assorted macaroons) are exquisite and you’ll battle to order them or the rich chocolate mousse, so you may end up going for both like we did. A main menu including classic French fare like frog legs and coq au vin is also available for a sit-down dinner but we found the tables to be on the small side.
Where: Shop. 71 G/F, Cadogan Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2817 2112 or
You don’t come here for a chic setting and hip art installations, which feature in many Kennedy Town eateries. No, you come to this long standing, unpretentious hole-in-the-wall for decent, affordable Indian food. It’s a bit small inside and the furniture will remind you of an old doctor’s office waiting room, but don’t let that get in the way of your stomach. In fact, we find the mom and pop-type Indian restaurants always deliver the best food while avoiding inflated prices. Their signature tandoori lamb leg dish is marinated for 24 hours, and can feed you and up to six friends (four if you’re really hungry). There’s also a host of other meat, seafood and vegetable dishes to cover the table with. Baskets of garlic naan are a must.
Where: Shop A, G/F, 27-31 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2872 6900 or [email protected]
Colourful bowls of bibimbap and bite-size kimbab rice rolls are the main draws in this cheap and cheerful eatery. There isn’t much elbow room for dining in, so you may prefer to get yours to go. Grab some fried chicken, Korean-style, paired with cucumber and red cabbage salad, along with the requisite spicy and sweet sauces for dipping, and head out to the waterfront for a naughty seaside treat.
Where: 25-33 Hau Wo Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2728 2000
A good bet for a rollicking night out with a big group, Tequila on Davis can pack them in and offer a fun atmosphere with filling food. Nothing too fancy here, but if you’re in the mood for staple Mexican plates like burritos, enchiladas and fajitas you’ll get a good selection. The nacho platters come piled high with cheese, black beans, pico de gallo and a choice of chicken, beef, or for a nice change, chorizo. Munch away with your mates while sipping ice-cold margaritas in a plethora of Tequila choices and fruit flavours.
Where: G/F, 1 Davis Street, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2818 1766 or [email protected]
In a space a little bigger than some people’s living rooms, Bresola promotes itself as an Italian restaurant but the busy menu of pastas and pizzas also lists fish and chips, burgers and nachos. It’s an old favourite of locals who go for the friendly vibe and cozy feel, with simple decor that makes you feel at home. They’re sometimes shut for private functions, so it’s a good idea to check ahead.
Where: 78-86 Catchick Street, Yue On Building, G/F, Kennedy Town
Contact: 2485 2345
Nancy Matos is a lifestyle and culture writer from Vancouver, Canada currently based in Hong Kong and London.