Tiny Tai Hang is on its way to becoming an enclave in the truest sense of the word. The dozen streets stretching out from Tung Lo Wan Road between Queen’s College and the Central Library is nearly as distinct from other neighbourhoods as Macau is from Hong Kong. A foodie haven, Tai Hang attracted attention from developments looking to capture the casual, laid back vibe that defines the area — among them the chic Warrenwoods, The Warren, the upcoming Jones Hive by Henderson Land and the unnamed tower across the street from it. The neighbourhood now boasts its own serviced apartment (at 118 Tung Lo Wan Road) and will soon feature a high-rise hotel (at the corner of Lin Fa Kung St West and Tung Lo Wan). Tai Hang is officially on the radar.
Chinese Recreation Club
Founded in 1910, the Chinese Recreation Club started life with roughly 140 members, keen to make sport a regular part of their lives. One hundred years on, the club has a permanent home near Tai Hang and comprehensive facilities for members to indulge their passions in. Now open to all, membership has its privileges — and a steep fee.
Opened in1957, Victoria Park may not be as large as Central Park or as grand as Hyde Park, but it’s the park where thousands of Hongkongers take advantage of its central lawn, tennis courts, pool, bandstand, running track, multiple football pitches, basketball courts and 19 open hectares in the city centre.
Lin Fa Kung Temple
Anchoring Tai Hang at the corner of Lily Street and Lin Fa Kung Street West, the mid-19th century Ling Ka Fung Temple — the Temple of the Lotus — is worth a look for its unique architecture: the octagonal double-eaved front hall, arched terrace, left and right-side entrances. A shrine to merciful Kwun Yam, Lin Fa still hosts Fire Dragon Dances each year, followed by a parade in the eighth lunar month.
The Meat Square
When it comes time for your next barbeque pick up your sustainable seafood and hormone-free beef, chicken and lamb from The Meat Square. The shop (which delivers) also offers some Halal foods and fresh oysters, and a constant supply of new products — like organic Irish salmon.
Every neighbourhood worth its salt has a gourmet deli for the foodies that live nearby: Central has independent delis and supermarkets to choose from; Il Bel Paese is picking up the slack elsewhere. In Tai Hang, Fresh Gourmet fills the gap with imported cheeses and meats, a fine wine selection, a range of grocery items and Iberico ham sitting behind the counter ready to cut. No more trips all the way to Citysuper.
Indie designer Baron Moon and his partners wouldn’t be out of place on hip Haven Street, but the tiny shop and workshop fits right in in Tai Hang. Microwave’s speciality is redesigned vintage Japanese clothing for the super chic. Beyond simply reselling items, Moon and Co. re-imagine each piece to come up with something totally new.
BlissHIVE Bakery Café
This bright and lively café could serve as a welcome mat given its spot near Tung Lo Wan Road on the edge of Tai Hang and reliable spins on café classics: all butter croissants, gluten free cakes and hearty sandwiches. High ceilings, natural wood and stainless steel accents give BlissHIVE a modern, chic feel for lazy coffee breaks.
A French style café and wine bar, Les Pucelles prides itself on its classic red motif and dim, intimate lighting, the perfect complement to the walls filled with French vintages, beckoning for a relaxing drink. Super low-key and done up so perfectly it wouldn’t be out of place in a Parisian arrondissement, Le Pucelles is too classy to be called a “watering hole” but is still causal enough to fit the bill.
About as trendy as it gets, Lab Made earned its reputation on the strength of its liquid nitrogen ice cream, the latest in the (some would say unholy) marriage between science and gastronomy. Super smooth with less cream and frozen on the spot for maximum freshness, you can debate with friends about the “taste” of the universal element.
A retro Americana style pub with excellent burgers, Stones also serves up a great brunch and stocks a nice list of craft beers. The ideal neighbourhood diner, due to its relative isolation Stones’ open storefront makes it welcoming and easy to while away days or nights. Come for the food, stay for the comfy red banquettes.
Ramen Lai isn’t really this 1970s style ramen bar’s name; it just has no English name. Operated by executive chef Kobayashi Koji, who drops in to from his Tokyo restaurants several times each year to share his new recipes, Ramen Lai allows diners to customise their noodles. Select how you want them cooked or order extra toppings for perfect soup every time. Coming soon: oxtail, in an oxtail broth.
You can never go wrong with fresh handmade pasta and a bottle of good Chianti, and No.5 Italian doesn’t disappoint. Michelin-recommended, No.5 oozes personality and a limited menu makes ordering easy — not that it’s easy to choose between the delicious pastas and nearly perfect Roman pizzas.
Hidden away on the first floor of The Warren, it’s a good thing Nocte Tapas has a neon owl in its window announcing its presence. Spanish more than simply tapas, Nocte is a little slice of Barcelona in Hong Kong, and also features some creative tipples. A tapas bar worth the effort of tracking down.
Seafood isn’t hard to get in Hong Kong but Fishful Season emphasises fresh, so be prepared for one of your cravings to be sold out depending on when you dine. A small menu with a strong wine list, the staff is helpful and friendly, and the restaurant is so little don’t be surprised to find yourself making friends with the diners beside you.
Sushi, teppanyaki and yakitori are common on the Hong Kong dining scene, but people often overlook the pleasure of yakiniku, Japanese grill, in favour of Korean barbeque. The high quality Japanese meats on the intimate Niku Niku’s menu give newcomers a fine introduction to the meal and veterans will feel right at home.