Your September Restaurant, Coffee Shop and Bar Inspiration
Travel writer, Sarah Richard landed in Hong Kong just 6 months ago, but since then has discovered more about the city than many of us who’ve lived here for years! Her latest column for The HK HUB sees her eating and drinking her way around Hong Kong and sharing her favourite spots with us.
It’s summer in Hong Kong and it’s HOT. When hopping from an air conditioned office to an air conditioned café to an air conditioned restaurant becomes a sport in itself, there’s no time for wandering around looking for the next hot (cool) spot. So I’ve done the leg work for you, here’s my recommendations on where to eat and drink in Hong Kong this month.
Where to Eat
Wan Chai gets a bad rep from those that don’t really know it, but in my opinion, it has restaurants that rival many in more popular areas like Soho and Central and Ham & Sherry is definitely one of them.
Jason Atherton seems to have dominated the HK F&B scene in recent years, now with three restaurants in his Hong Kong empire, all with unique, individual atmospheres. The Spanish inspired tapas bar is honestly one of the best spots in town, think classics like Ham Croquettes accompanied by more adventurous dishes like squid ink aioli and braised ox tongue. Boasting Asia largest Sherry list, you won’t fall short on great tasting drinks to go with your food. Not that into sherry? Oh don’t worry.. they are hiding a BIG secret that you really won’t want to miss out on. But you’ll have to wait until you get to the ‘where to drink’ section to find out more…
We all love a good bowl of Pho and Noodle Mi know that, this Vietnamese noodle bar in the heart of Sheung Wan needs to be on your next lunch break list. I’ve eaten here three times this month and it is simple, great tasting cheap food that ticks all the boxes for lunch or dinner.
The soft shell crab summer rolls are to die for and the green papaya salad with shrimps gives you that health kick you need after a big weekend. It is quite a small space and can get crowded so try and avoid peak times, or order delivery through Food Panda. Meals rarely come to over $100 each.
Because sometimes you need to get out of those bright lights and head to the beach and get yourself some fresh seafood and jazz.
Just 20 (Yes TWENTY, all you lot caught in the central bubble) minutes away from the bustling city you will arrive in Repulse Bay. A land of white sand, lifeguard towers and seafood! The latest addition to the exciting new developments over at ‘The Pulse’ is SHOKU a Japanese Binchotan Grill.
Centered around a flaming grill to cook the freshly caught fish on, diners enjoy a relaxed open air experience in the main restaurant, while others can get more of an intimate experience in private rooms. Every Thursday from 7:30pm there is live beachside jazz to accompany your new favorite cocktail ‘Glittery Sun’ (a cocktail made with gold!) as well as during brunch on Sundays from 1pm.
Meat is also big on the menu with their Prime Wagyu Ribeye being something dreams are made of. However, my personal favorite was the signature chilled homemade Korean kimchi noodles with ‘binchotan’ udon. And to think you thought we were all about the urban scene here in Hong Kong. We can do beach side chilled evenings just like another of you other exotic beach countries!
The story of K-Roll goes from the co-owner owner and doting mother: “It all started with a 6-year old’s Lunch box in 2011. I couldn’t understand why Oli was so hungry everyday even though she came home with her lunch box empty. Oli finally confessed that she had been sharing her Korean food with her friends at school everyday. Her classmates couldn’t get enough of Korean kimbap (K-Roll). She begged me for weeks to open a restaurant so that her friends could eat as much as they wanted.”
Well, thank you Oli, because your mum has created the perfect healthy hangout for us foodies. The portions are great and the ingredients are so fresh. Go for the tofu Bibimap (pictured above).
Ok, I am obsessed with this place. And that’s a big thing coming from me, only having taken back up eating meat a few months ago. My former vegetarian self would be holding her head in shame. Two words: CORN DOGS. And not just any corn dogs: CHUBBY CORN DOGS aka pork sausage, corn meal , smokey ketchup, pale ale mustard and sambal mayo.
I’d be lying if I was to say I hadn’t been dreaming of them ever since. They also do an amazing ‘build your own Bao’ which I had with soft shell crab big enough to be a meal on it’s own. Seriously the food here rocks, but the cocktails really took me by surprise. Think avocado smoothie WITH alcohol, frozen strawberry daiquiri with a chocolate ring and liquid desserts in the form of creme brûlée and toasted marshmallows. I would come here just for a drink, but then, I don’t think I could go with out ordering those corn dogs. Also let’s not ignore they have a pretty impressive beer collection, bringing you the best of the best from all around the world.
Where to Drink
Tucked away on Shin Hing street just opposite PMQ, The Mixing Bowl is an asset to this cute little street, alluring customers in with the smell of fresh coffee. They do a great healthy brunch on Sundays and it is a good place for some one on one time. Not the place to head for a girlie catch up though as the atmosphere is fairly relaxed and quiet.
I love getting to explore new place in Hong Kong and my first time heading to HKU was to head to Teakah’s newest branch after hearing it was a great place to work from. With the same concept as their other branches however with a substantial amount of extra space. Such a great place to work from, with fast wifi and plug sockets along with great tea and tasty cakes.
Dead-End Coffee 72 Po Hing Fong, Sheung Wan
Simple: great coffee, nice location, relaxed open and friendly. All the ingredients you need for your next new coffee hangout. Fairly priced too.
Who doesn’t love a Gin bar in Hong Kong? And Ping Pong is the ultimate. Serving every gin you can imagine (and then some) in huge glasses making you feel like you have turned into Alice from Alice In Wonderland. A tad on the pricey side, but great for special occasions or to impress friends visiting.
And here is the secret you have all been waiting for (if you haven’t already been distracted by any of the other bars and restaurants) Ham & Sherry have been hiding this little gem for far too long and its time to let it out into the wild.
‘Back Bar’ is a secret bar in Ham & Sherry that has only been known about through local insiders until now. Hiding behind 2 way mirrors at the ‘back’ of Ham & Sherry, the bar can only be accessed by leaving and entering through a side alley ( you know how much we all love walking through side alleys here in HK).
They have the best cocktails in Wan Chai, maybe even Hong Kong. Bar manager Ryan Nightingale, a Diageo’s World Class 2015 bartending contender has created an exciting innovative cocktail list based on a map of the world. Each continent has its own unique cocktail with surprises coming from every corner. At one moment you are drinking from a Russian doll, at the next a tea cup. If you try out one new bar this month, let it be Back Bar. You are guaranteed to be impressed.
Sarah is a 26 year old professional world wanderer. Four years ago, she left the UK and everything that offered security and routine in exchange for a life of constant excitement and adventure. Through working as a Scuba Dive Instructor, freelance writer and running her blog www.coffeewithasliceoflife.com she now leads a life as a full time digital nomad. Based in Hong Kong you will most likely bump into her typing away on her laptop in one of the city latest coffee shops.