Stretching between the trendy PMQ and Gough Street is the staircase that makes up Shin Hing Street. Sitting on the blurry border between SoHo and Sheung Wan, Shin Hing’s uneven stairs and gleefully mismatched storefronts create a quiet (there are a lot of residences above the ground floor boutiques), chill corner with a little of everything. Depending on which way you’re coming from you’ll recognise its starting point by the end of the queue from the legendary Ngau Kei during the daytime, and by the clusters of diners paused on the steps at night. Either way, this is where the westward push from Central started, and it’s still worth a look.
Starting at the top, the first spot to stop for an interesting glass of wine is La Cabane (B/F 97 Hollywood Rd, www.lacabane.hk), a funky wine cellar specialising in organic, biodynamic and natural wines and cheeses. A sister to the bistro farther along Hollywood, La Cabane is ideal for a relaxed, eye-opening happy hour beverage for adventurous wine lovers and novices alike.
Across the street and down the steps is Neo (10 Shin Hing St, www.neocc.hk), a proper cocktail bar and the newest addition to the area. Cool beyond belief (visitors are welcomed with a foosball table), Neo prides itself on its array of boutique and artisanal spirits, rotating DJs and chic bar bites. And though it’s super-hip, Neo isn’t unwelcoming, and before long it could easily morph into a neighbourhood hangout. Also? Arcade games.
For a more refined drinking experience, there’s French-focused gastro wine bar Figaro (2 Shin Hing St, www.figaro.com.hk). Serving tapas-sized classic French fare, Figaro is a good place to start a French wine journey. Sticking with France, for a more substantial meal that combines elegance with a casual attitude it’s back up the steps to Cocotte (9 Shin Hing St, www.cocotte.hk), for brunch or dinner. The menu at Cocotte is diverse: everything from foie gras, to trout and turbot, guinea fowl and truffle risotto to staples like bouillabaisse Marseillaise is represented. No matter what time of day it is, a stop at Munchies (4 Shin Hing St, www.munchies.hk) might be in order. Serving up hand made, organic and (if you believe it) GMO-free sweets in a pet-friendly boutique, Munchies is out to prove that decadent indulgences like ice cream, doughnuts and cookies can be made ethically — which will alleviate the guilt over your waistline.
If you’re looking to be more industrious, then it’s off to The Mixing Bowl (5 Shin Hing St, www.themixingbowlhk.com) and Yoga Bambam (10 Shin Hing St, www.yogabambam.com) for all manner of life lessons. The Mixing Bowl, in addition to serving breakfast, lunch, great snacks and better coffee, doles out baking lessons for kids and adults alike — in scones, cakes, Hong Kong stalwarts and cupcakes among others. The Mixing Bowl aims to cultivate an appreciation for fresh bread at home, and after you’ve taken the first loaf from your own oven there’s no going back to the supermarket. Naturally all those sweets demand you pay attention to your body at some point so it’s off to Yoga Bambam for specialised and ultra-attentive yoga practice in a chic and personalised space. The upside here is the studio has no monthly membership, so you pay only for the classes you take.
Finally, as a way to feed your cultural appetite, Galerie Ora-Ora (G/F 7 Shin Hing St, www.ora-ora.com) has made a name for itself with contemporary inks and sculptures by emerging Asian talent, among them Yayoi Kusama, Xiao Xu and Jun June-mo. Down the alley from Ora-Ora is Artouch (89-95 Hollywood Rd, www.artouchk.com), run by a local tattooist and artist, and which is a classic, independent gallery also dedicated to spreading the word on new talent. Artouch goes a step further by also presenting educational seminars, workshops and talks as well as music, drama and film nights in an effort to widen the cultural landscape. Shin Hing is a small street, but it’s a packed one.