We all knew Kennedy Town’s status days as an isolated, end-of-the-line neighbourhood were numbered as soon as the MTR announced it was moving in. Early adopters of K-Town cool have been major developers who erected towers like the Cadogan, Manhattan Heights, The Merton and The Belcher’s. Serviced residences at Skyla, the redeveloped tong lau, the Tung Fat Building and Wheelock’s Lexington Hill soon followed. Up next up is Sun Hung Kai Properties’ forthcoming Imperial Kennedy at 68 Belcher’s, a lavish 38-storey project complete with a decadent clubhouse and price tags that flirt with $50 million. In Kennedy Town. Times have indeed changed. And despite its relatively minor presence, Catchick Street is emerging as the tie that binds the best the area has to offer together.
Belcher Bay Park
Head to Kennedy Town proper if you’re looking or a swimming pool, but in the meantime, Belcher Bay Park is a relaxing, tucked away corner for lounging with a book or a morning jog.
Lung Fu Shan Country Park
Midway between Western district and Mid-Levels, Lung Fu Shan is the SAR’s smallest and most underrated park. It includes the historic Pinewood Battery and other war ruins, several picnic areas and some of Hong Kong’s most diverse native flora and fauna.
Smithfield Sports Centre
If Central’s too far away, the Smithfield Sports Centre is a handy substitute for expensive gym memberships and it’s much closer. Facilities include a workout room, squash, basketball, badminton and volleyball courts, archery range, children’s playroom and a dance room.
From the mind of the gastronomes that brought us Yardbird, this deli and grocer has quickly become a neighbourhood staple for its innovative take-away meals, artisanal products and boutique Japanese liquors. Come for its specialised service and menus, come back for the quality food and drink it’s easy to get hooked on. Perfect for anti-cooking Sundays.
Run Run Shaw Heritage House
A little off the path is this restored 1924 water supplies department engineers’ residence, now a bookstore with a great selection of local history and architecture tomes. Up the hill behind the Belcher’s, Heritage House is worth browsing in for getting a look at the restoration work and the early-20th century building alone.
You can tell a neighbourhood is truly becoming just that when coffee shops start to proliferate. One of the latest is Lex Coffee, a small but bustling haunt with respectable brew and even more respectable sweets and snacks to go with it. Modern and sleek, Lex is the kind of bright and artsy spot you can get lost in for hours.
This Belgian waffle house has some of K-Town’s best coffee, and a great magazine selection that encourages multiple cups and a long, leisurely mid-day break. With its classic café vibe and easy-going staff, it’s easy for a drink to turn into lunch or dinner without even realising it. careful though: Waffling Beans is packed on weekends.
The Cofftea Shop
This Italian-style caffeine house is the perfect spot for coffee lovers who aren’t interested in decaf or low-fat, or anything with a “ppé” on the end of its name. Sure, you can probably find something like that, but the emphasis here is on unadulterated java, lovingly made by hand without fancy machinery that inspires mass production. Cofftea serves up one of the best espressos you’ll find in Hong Kong.
On the ground floor of one of the area’s newest and swankiest residential addresses, Chino is all about Mexican food with an Asian twist. Serving up familiar dishes from Mexico recreated with regional ingredients, the casual-cool eatery has mastered the art of fusion food without going overboard into baffling.
Bulldogs Bar + Grill
This is a classier, more casual iteration of the legendary Bulldogs outlets located in TST and Wanchai, in step with Kennedy Town’s rising food profile. Perched on the Praya with a view of Stonecutter’s Bridge across the water, this Bulldog’s prides itself on its classic pub grub, modern décor and breezy, al fresco vibe stemming from its waterfront location. Ironically, a rare treat on Hong Kong Island.
Inspired by London’s trendy East End, this steakhouse and diner with good (if limited) beer options and even better design, Shoreditch is turning into a local watering hole that welcomes diners through its giant windows that bring the street inside. Homey and a little rustic, if you’re looking for an old school Sunday roast, this is your spot.
Sun Hing is dim sum how it should be done: cheap, with copious amounts of tea and in a local, unassuming hole in the wall. Popular with students and late night diners for its crazy overnight hours (they’re open 3am to 4pm) Sun Hing’s dim sum is delicious and reasonably priced, and the late night revellers that wander in after a night on the town provide some of the city’s best people watching.
Craft Brew & Co
Anyone who’s tipped a pint at Craft Brew’s Central or Sai Ying Pun locations knows what to expect from its forthcoming Catchick location: challenging burgers, crispy chips and gourmet sausages to wash down with one of 15 boutique beers on tap and 30 in bottles. The Catchick Street location will be open just in time for the holidays at the end of November.