Hong Kong has a multitude of places in which to eat, drink and shop, but as a result of the population density and most businesses’ desire to capitalise on this, there are very few places that are quiet and unhurried enough that you can head to should you have an hour or two to kill before meeting up with a friend or before an appointment. This list is for those of you out there who want a place to relax, read and/or do some peaceful Web surfing (because who doesn’t love a hour spent catching up on Foodie?). I suppose you could also do some work, but these homey havens and serene sanctuaries are for the unhurried – and a stressed-out patron would be somewhat out of place.
Photo credit: @dreamercyrus
In the old ice vault of the heritage site that now houses Fringe Club lies Fringe Vault, a peaceful venue considering its location, which, when not hosting book launches, poetry readings and the like, is a spacious spot for some coffee and a bite to eat. Despite its use as a multipurpose venue, its tables aren’t stacked on top of one another and it’s never overcrowded. It comes with the necessary plug points and Wi-Fi to make it the perfect place to camp out and make yourself at home whilst you wait for whatever it is that gave you the good fortune of this alone time. Since it’s a heritage site, the original white-tiled walls and architectural features have been maintained over the past hundred years or so, something that not many places can boast in Hong Kong.
2 Lower Albert Road, Central, 2521 7251
Photo credit: @bagoes_hk
Polygon Cafe in Sai Ying Pun (with a new branch opened recently in Sheung Wan) is perfect for those who need a pooch-friendly break whilst walking the dog – or those enthusiastic enough about your canine companions to want a place where you can make some furry friends. Not only is it dog friendly, but it also has indoor and outdoor seating with a cool breeze that makes it comfortable and cosy on the hottest of days. The café is a standout for tea (which they take care to prepare at specific temperatures depending on your selection) and coffee. It’s a great place to chill and chat too, but based on its size, it’s unlikely to get too loud. No wonder it’s called polygon when it’s in such great shape!
Sai Ying Pun: 14 Second Street, 2915 8878
Sheung Wan: 40–44 Bonham Strand
Photo credit: @sheepsbutler
Tsim Chai Kee Noodle
Now, Tsim Chai Kee, if any of you know the one on Wellington Street in Central, is quite the opposite of a place you would likely want to go to relax and read. With its wonton soup as delightful as it is, it’s no wonder it’s so busy – so why has it made the list? Well, for those of you who are avid Foodie readers, you’ll likely know that there is a second, hidden location (which you’ll have to find for yourself!). The second location, despite having wontons and fish balls exactly the same as its busy counterpart, is a quiet haven where you can eat your noodle soup in peace and tranquillity. It’s only about a five-minute walk from the original outlet and is the ideal place to eat wholesome, delicious food and read a book. I so deeply want to let you in on the location, but this place truly is a sanctuary, and only those willing to do the work for their wontons should have the privilege of knowing about it.
You’ll have to find it for yourself!
Photo credit: @sarah_jphk
OpenDoor Cafe + Courtyard
Located in Sai Ying Pun, OpenDoor C+C is as hip a place to hang as any. Not only is the interior relaxed, considered and creative, but the menu is also something to behold. With all the drinks you would expect of a café, and then such items as turmeric almond milk latte to change things up a bit, this place likes to think outside the box. If you need a spot to escape from the hellish heat or the relentless rain, this cosy café should have an open door. They also support artists by acting as a location for them to display their work, providing great decor and ensuring that the café always has something fresh for you to take in.
120 Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, 3460 3880
Photo credit: @petitfeilee
Interval Coffee Bar
This minimalist, clean-cut café in Central is a spacious place to relax, sit back and unwind. Interval’s space feels surprisingly open thanks to the large windows, colour scheme and the fact that, well, they had the compassion to not pack as many seats in there as possible. With a small yet delicious menu and a combo (hot black or white coffee and a pastry) that costs under $50, you could happily spend an hour or so waiting there with a book in hand and a croissant in belly. If this is the interval, I don’t think I’ll return to the main event.
33 Wellington Street, Central, 2570 7568
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