Anyone willing to venture east of Ladies’ Street in Mongkok will discover a new world of dining emerging in the shadow of the forthcoming Skypark. Co-developed by New World Development and the Urban Renewal Authority Skypark, at the corner of Fa Yuen and Nelson Streets is a stone’s throw from tucked away Hak Po Street — quickly turning into a foodie’s dream corner. The 26-storey tower will offer 439 flats in a development with an eye towards leisure and sport, complemented by new retail and the redeveloped Macpherson Stadium. The project incorporates a breezeway set back from Nelson Street to maximise the microclimate, making the busy shopping corridor more welcoming. For its part, New World is continuing its artisanal design theme and including a residents’ clubhouse designed by Amsterdam’s concrete, landscape design by Adrian L Norman and original art by Beijing-based Zhao Yao. It’s not your mother’s Mongkok anymore.
❶ TAP The Ale Project
TAP may not be Hong Kong’s only local craft brew pub, but it’s certainly one of the best. Fans of the suds cram the tiny bistro to the rafters almost every night — revellers spill out onto the street — sampling a creative selection of homemade brews. Often seasonal and always fresh, the local beer styles and flavours should make Hongkongers proud. Young Master’s Rye on Wood is particularly innovative. TAP carries a range of imports by the bottle for the less adventurous, and whatever you do, don’t miss their signature, fresh baked beer bread and clever Hong Kong spins on pub grub.
❷ WOFT Juz Craft
If tiny TAP is packed, just around the corner is WOFT, another craft beer specialist that also serves up tapas and shisha in an al fresco setting. If you’re looking for a more Western menu to go with your beer, this is the place, which offers highly respectable fondue, Eggs Benedict and burgers. And though it is more Western, there is still some novel thinking going into the menu; the tapas are huge. Best of all, it’s open late in late night Mongkok.
❸ Knockbox Coffee Company
Of course not everyone wants to imbibe when they step out for a drink. To the rescue is the Knockbox, a much need addition to Mongkok’s coffee landscape. Steps from TAP, Knockbox has its origins in trendy Sheung Wan, but is defined by its unpretentious, coffee-focused drinks; don’t expect to order anything other than small and large. Coffee here is fair trade, fresh roasted and each cup of heavenly, caffeinated java is hand brewed. All the nibbles you’d expect from a coffee shop are here alongside the staggering range of coffee options.
❹ He She Eat
Though a branch is open in Causeway Bay, the intimate Mongkok shop feels more like a find. Marrying Western and local flavours and styles in their creative desserts, the open concept kitchen makes it easy to watch the chefs meticulously construct their sweets. He She is the spot to hit when the sweet tooth bug bites late at night or you feel like a crème brûlée or a cheesecake without paying five-star hotel prices.
❺ Joyful Dessert House
Competition on this corner of teeming Mongkok for the dessert crowd is fierce, so every little bit that makes an eatery stand out counts. Bigger and roomier, with outdoor space, than some of its neighbours, Joyful Dessert House revels in its Asian flavours and ingredients, so if you’re looking for something with a green tea taste, this is the spot for you. Nonetheless, the individual chocolate fondue wisely doesn’t stray from traditional dippers.
❻ Next Station Dessert
One of the more creative dessertiers in a crowded field — try the nougat mousse or the tasting flight featuring cucumber wasabi shaved ice — is Next Station, a roomy spot that’s big on waffles and likes to serve up its fare with serious flourish. This is also one of the strip’s more relaxed spots; the staff won’t rush diners out the door in record time, so savouring and sharing is easy.