“Stuck” in Hong Kong? Travel round the world with 8 hidden and not-so-hidden cafes

There are many hidden and not-so-hidden coffee places in Hong Kong … here we share with you 8 special ones that reflect a diverse range of cultural and culinary influences from our address book …

  1. Visit Mount Fuji at Grandmama Café in Tsim Sha Tsui (or “TST”) (176 Nathan Road, Jordan is the nearest MTR stop). We like the Mount Fuji drink made using butterfly pea tea (the deliciously edible mountain has a white top and a pale blue base) as well as the “Lion Rock” dessert with HK-style milk tea flavoured ice-cream, and the no-theme-but-very-delicious sweet corn cream cake and the kombucha. The place is filled with retro touches as well …
  2. Drop by Café “Lonely Paisley” and admire the wood-block large world map on one of its walls …Café Paisley was created by its owner to bring the feeling of travelling to different places around the globe and the menu is rather global, including pasta with Argentinian shrimp in chimichurri (Argentinian pesto) sauce, Turkish breakfast (with Turkish simit [a circular bread encrusted with typically sesame seeds]), and a “fusion” dish of Indian pani puri that goes with Thai Tom Yam Goong sauce. For those who want to laze around, try to get one of the three “tapchans” each of which can seat up to 6 and where you can enjoy the Arabic water pipes (known variously as hookah, shisha or goza). The café was started by four backpackers, and fans of the Lonely Planet series of guidebooks would find it fun that the “Lonely” in this café’s name comes indeed from that famous backpackers’ bible.  (182A Fuk Wa St, Sham Shui Po).
  3. Even 10 years ago, no one would have recommended cafes in Sham Shui Po but we now have a very good cluster in this district that used to be where the textiles industry was based. Loop Kulture combines a café with a “green” no-packaging grocery, and is a great place to just chill. Its signature “Loop” coffee is made with some special coconut water and iced coconut milk, the caramelized banana pain perdu (French toast) is sumptuous and comes with Earl Grey gelato, while the avocado with figs on sourdough come with fig-flavoured gelato.  The place is filled with plants and a sense of space.  (G/F, 90 Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po).
  4. Get some antipodean vibe (with a small twist) at TIL in Saiyingpun. The café’s décor is a retro palette of brick red and white, with arched windows that lets in ample natural light, and “TIL” stands for “Today is long” which seems almost prescient given the last 18 months of Covid! The café does coffee in the Aussie way, offering items like “long mac topped up”.  But they also have their own signature “Expresso tonic” made from tonic water, orange juice and expresso, and with a hint of caramelized orange peel, and you can drink yours with their croffles (cross between croissant and waffle).  Most of the coffee is served in a specially made Japanese pottery-cup, the menu has two sections, “Short Day” and “Long Day”, and beans are from Small Batch in Melbourne.  (172 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun).
  5. Calling itself a “coffee and design studio”, Bone Studio is a heavily Japanese-influenced café founded by Boni Chow, with the name referencing “the hardest part of a human” and her wish to create a “place where we put our greatest effort to gain a kind of life we want to live” and where there is “something special”. With delicious items like honey apple toast, Hokkaido crepe cake with tangerine and marshmallow croissant waffle with Japanese vanilla pod ice-cream (or “croffle”), this is a popular place for those in-the-know especially residents in this Mid-levels neighbourhood.(G/F, 38 Bonham Road, Mid-Levels, or 4 minutes’ walk from Sai Ying Pun MTR Exit C).
  6. You can get a signature Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” foam on your coffee, you can gawk at Andy Warhol prints on the walls, or actually enjoy coffee made from beans that are sourced from Melbourne’s Seven Seeds. What more do you wish for? Lex Coffee aptly calls itself an art-fe or art café.  (100, Belchers Street, Kennedy Town).
  7. Nggy &. The name is quite a cute riddle and the place is a hidden gem! It started as Nggy’s Kitchen inside PMQ making some unforgettable jams and has now expanded into this independent cafe.  Everything made by Nggy is creative as well as delicious.  Our favourite of their jams is (local) lychee & chrysanthemum, but there’s ume and tangerine peel, passionfruit and jasmine, amongst other fascinating and delicious choices.  Amongst the things we love are their Floating Cloud Oyakodon (baked soufflé egg white with salted koji chicken and fried rice), the Guanyin tea cream cake with figs, and the white Mount Fuji panna cotta.  (Shop A, 6-8 Second St, Sai Ying Pun).
  8. Finally, for a slightly different fix, you can get your own brand of artisan bagels at bagel by 404 Lot Fine, in Mongkok. This tiny bagel shop is super popular! They make over 30 types of bagels, including green tea bagel with white chocolate mochi filling, kimchi with cheese, and Y.  These guys are clearly passionate about creative and artistic bagel-making and the flour is from Japan. (G/F, 10 Soy Street, Mong Kok).