Wong Chuk Hang may not have the modern, stylish veneer of Central or the youthful vibe of Mong Kok, but lurking in its dozens of industrial buildings are some of the city’s best kept secrets — though they won’t stay that way for long once the MTR opens. Food distributors, printers and workshops still exist, but in between each are art galleries, creative restaurants and chic fashion outlets that thrive thanks to lower rents (for now) and the space to breathe. Nestled between Shouson Hill and Ap Lei Chau, Wong Chuk Hang demands a bit of effort, but it’s worth it.
L’hotel Island South
When time is tight but you really need to get away, try a staycation at L’hotel Island South and use it as a base to explore the industrial chic of resurgent Wong Chuk Hang. Slip off to Aberdeen Country Park, Ocean Park or ride the freight elevators to retail and dining discoveries. Of course, you can stay at the hotel and indulge in the panoramic views of the south side from a peaceful perch above it.
55 Wong Chuk Hang Road
The concrete walls of Wong Chuk Hang house dozens of small art spaces, some of which are annexes of established galleries in tony Central, but Spring sets the gold standard. Cavernous and inviting, Spring is an independent initiative to experiment with how we see art, relate to it and consume it. The gallery hosts residencies, seminars and exhibitions across disciplines by local and international artists. Drop in any time.
3/F Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road
The outlying islands aren’t the only spots to find Hong Kong’s lingering archaeology. The rock carvings north of Nam Fung Road may be modest, but they’re worth a look. Located next to a dry riverbed, the stylised carvings are believed to date at least to the Ming Dynasty.
If you’re working in the area or planning to move to the South Side, keep Culinart on speed dial. As a caterer its Chef’s Table and cocktail service are the perfect way to impress at functions both intimate and sprawling. As the provider of nearly tailor-made cooking classes — ideal for a group of curious friends or a themed office function or team-building exercise — Culinart manages to demystify fine dining and celebrate it at the same time.
22B Kwai Bo Industrial Building, 40 Wong Chuk Hang Road
Bursting with colour, this blissfully eclectic housewares and lifestyle retailer is probably able to meet whatever odd requirement you may have. As the name suggests, Mirth doesn’t take itself too seriously — yarn, china and toys all get floor space among other items — but its carefully sourced stock is a refreshing, welcome addition to the interiors landscape. While you’re there drop by its partner shop, My Wine Man, for the best prices in Hong Kong on a great selection of Australian and New Zealand wines.
Mezzanine BT Centre, 23 Wong Chuk Hang Road
If Mirth is too quirky, drop into Establo and check out its diverse and well priced range of Scandinavian designs by Artek, Hay, punt, vitra, Normann, Gubi and many more. During May, the shop’s Louis Poulsen promotion will feature the brand’s signature lighting design.
4C/D Kwai Bo Industrial Building, 40 Wong Chuk Hang Road
And if the Scandinavians are too stark and Mirth is still too… mirthful, try European vintage specialist Casa Capriz, whose one-of-a-kind stock offers one of the best vintage collections in the city. Originally located in Chai Wan, a Casa Capriz branch now shares a chic space with fashion showroom Ed1tus, taking advantage of Wong Chuk Hang’s burgeoning fashion hub status. It’s one-stop shopping for all your stylish needs.
16/F Shui Ki Industrial Building, 18 Wong Chuk Hang Road
Tucked in the corner of Lane Crawford’s home showroom in the rejuvenated BAT building, Sensory Zero marries clever, creative bites with good strong coffee and serves it in one of the area’s coolest spaces. Drop in at the bustling lunch hour for a set or linger later in the day over a cappuccino.
G/F One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road
One of the first to take advantage of Wong Chuk Hang’s increasingly hip cachet, Elephant Grounds has branches in Causeway Bay and NoHo, but this warehouse location is the most engaging for the senses. Savour the smell of fresh ground coffee upon entry and browse the lifestyle accessories and novelties for sale by the bar. You can choose your brew method too.
1/F The Factory, 1 Yip Fat Street
This low-key eatery is a haven for those seeking a decent vegetarian nosh. Coffee, food and dessert are all on offer, but for anyone looking to walk the walk, Mum’s most peculiar legacy is its yoga and lunch combo package. Check with Mum to see when the next one is scheduled.
G/F One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road
The Yally Building provides one of the most authentic warehouse experiences going, and the ride up to 3/3rds is almost as memorable as eating there. An open kitchen is complemented by a wall of windows offering great views of Wong Chuk Hang, and the rotating menu boasts stellar salads, sandwiches, pizzas and more. Weekdays are packed with area locals but it’s worth the effort to head down for brunch on the weekends.
22D Yally Industrial Building, 6 Yip Fat Street