Summer came and went. Then it came again and went swiftly after. 2016 has officially been the craziest year for weather in Hong Kong, but for people like me (people that prefer eating and drinking to outdoor activities) it has been pretty perfect. The mad dash into a cafe when the heavens open, and the long drawn-out lunches have left me with lots to write about, so without further ado I present to you your hideouts for September.
Everyone needs a new favourite healthy cafe once in a while, and mine was Fresca on Hollywood for a long time (it still is my favourite take away place). I’m a sucker, along with the rest of you, for a fresh healthy salad for lunch to pretend I’m not going to ruin it all with a few glasses of wine at happy hour later. The Elephas salad bar is dreamy and irresistible, so I resisted nothing, and went in hungry and came out far too full. As well as the salad bar, that changes daily, I also tried the Crispy Vermicelli with Chicken & Omelette in Sweet Chilli Sauce, Roasted Norwegian Salmon, Pomelo & Grapefruit Salad. As healthy as I was trying to be I just couldn’t resist their dessert selection which was staring at me throughout my lunch, so I dived into the Chocolate and Avocado Brownie and Vegan Carrot Cake like there was no tomorrow. Washed down with a Blueberry Booster (blueberries, dates, almond butter, chia seed, lemon juice, banana, red apple, flax seed, coconut water) I definitely consumed 10 time the number of calories I was hoping for and felt all the better for it!
Shop 118 Hong Kong Plaza, 188 Connaught Road West / 28383979
I’ve never been a huge fan of Thai restaurants in Hong Kong, we can’t quite seem to put our finger on it here (with the exception of Cha Cha Wan), so I’m always keen to try a new one out to see if it can change all that. Samsen is a Thai street food concept by celebrated chef Adam Cliff and his partner Bella Kong, with the aim to bring bold flavours from Thailand to our bowls here in HK. Setting up shop in one of my faviourte parts of Wan Chai, it’s sure to get attention from the drunk Stone Nullah Tavern crowd and the hungry after work crowd. But is the food as good as the location? If I’m honest, it did not blow me away. The menu is fairly limited, and not very creative, however, what is put in front of you is authentic, tasty Thai food, and there’s no denying that. It’s definitely a no frills kind of place, and I like it for that. If you are looking for Thai street food (unfortunately with a high price tag) then I’d definitely recommend coming here on your next trip to Stone Nullah Lane.
68 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai / 2234 0001
Located in the heart of the busy commercial centre on Queen’s Road Central, Gaucho is famous for its steaks and ceviche, claiming to want to “add a touch of Argentine culinary and cultural passion to Hong Kong’s dining scene”. I have to be honest, I’m a little steaked out at the moment, after last month’s meat heavy roundup so I decided to come here for brunch instead, hoping for something a bit lighter. Their new bottomless brunch menu offers unlimited dishes (from a selection on the menu) for 2 hours plus juices and soft drinks for $450 a head. Dishes include Steak & Eggs with Churrasco de Cuadril with a Fried Egg, Smashed Avocado on Toast (with or without pancetta), Bacon Sandwich and Blueberry Pancakes to name a few. While the steak wasn’t the light meal I was hoping for, the quality was great, and the portion not too large, so I could easily fit in every expat’s favourite – the smashed avo. If you fancy getting boozy you can include unlimited Veuve Cliquot champagne for an extra $200!
Gaucho Hong Kong, 5th Floor, LHT Tower, 31 Queen’s Road Central / 2386 8090
Shop C&D G/F 38 Forbes St, Kennedy Town / 2855 0810
I’m into my 2nd year of living in the 852 now, and I’ve been lucky enough to have some of my wonderful friends from all around come to visit. And of course, when they visit, they say “I’ll leave it down to you on where to go, you know the best places”. While I am honoured they think I know this city like the back of my hand, I really don’t, and even with my obsession with the F&B industry I still struggle to take them somewhere new and exciting every time. So my life becomes a lot easier when awesome places like Alto pop up and offer everything my friends are looking for. Located in the new V Point tower in Causeway Bay, Alto boasts breathtaking views over the city, all from 31 floors above the craziness. Featuring a classic grill menu with a modern twist, dishes like Grilled Asparagus with Black Truffle Butter, Garlic Smashed Potato and Brussel Sprouts with Bacon Cranberry and Apple, you don’t have to come here just for the meat! But it’s all about the views here. Uninterrupted views of the best city in the world. You’re sure to impress with this new hideout!
31/F, V Point, 18 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay / 2603 7181
Where to Drink
This month I’ve been cutting down on the booze. A, because I actually spent most of the month exploring Indonesia, and B. because, well just because. So I’ve been turning back to my trusty coffee shops, and Elephant Grounds is one I cannot keep myself away from. Especially the one in Wan Chai. The coffee is great, and for anyone that knows me, that means a lot, and the space is one you can sit in for hours, working, socialising, and even eating (thanks to their new dinner menu). And let’s not get started on their ice cream sandwiches. If you haven’t had one yet, then you haven’t lived. Enough said.
8 Wing Fung St, Wan Chai
Another one of my favourites, now with 3 locations around the city, there’s no excuse for buying bad coffee. I love bringing visitors here as it has it all; good coffee, good service, and of course their famous smashed avo. And I have to admit when I want my Western food hit I always head here. Their location in Central is pretty busy, but if you grab a space upstairs you can easily while away the afternoon in coffee heaven. Also, try out their Sheung Wan location if you are looking for a spot for a meeting or to catch up with friends.
G/F, 18 Cochrane St, Central
And there’s me saying I was laying off the alcohol, and I go and write about a champagne party. Ok, to give me some credit, I actually visited Cabana last month, but didn’t have time to tell you about it. Here’s a situation you never knew existed; a rooftop bar in Hong Kong, overlooking the beach, with Japanese baths, cabins, loungers, DJ’s and champagne. But it does. And it’s pretty awesome. Every Saturday and Sunday ( 3 -7pm ) Cabana opens their doors to the HK party go-ers for a daytime drinking session you won’t forget. Your $580 entrance fee includes 1 guest, 1 bottle of Champagne, soft drinks, and access to the Japanese baths & towel service. Watch the sunset over the beach with a glass of bubbles in your hand, and your friends by your side. This is the Hong Kong life.
Rooftop, Lobby A, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay / 2889 5939
Now you know where to eat, and where to drink, check out our events roundup to figure out what to do!
Sarah is a 27 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’s latest coffee shops.