With the state of the world we live in today, it’s no wonder some of us want to escape to the simpler times of the past. Molecular gastronomy, degustation menus, dining in the dark – diners today are offered a countless variety of cuisines and dining concepts from which to choose. But as dining continues to grow in sophistication, some restaurateurs are opting to strip it all back, tapping into society’s nostalgia. These restaurant owners are going back to the good ol’ days of simple menus offering classic comfort foods, all the while ensuring it is Instagram-worthy by installing decor reminiscent of Old Hong Kong.
Cafe Match Box
Photo credit: chopstixfix
Cha chaan tengs are quintessentially Hong Kong; they represent a traditional style of dining that has existed for many generations. Cafe Match Box, which has two locations in Causeway Bay, takes patrons back in time with its old-school 14-seater minibus interior design and a menu consisting of Hong Kong comfort foods such as ham and macaroni soup. Diners can get easily carried away by the retro decor and knick-knacks while listening to 60s Cantopop. The Fashion Walk location also has a ping-pong table at the front, reminding diners of their childhood when outdoor active sports were the source of fun before the introduction of mobile phones and video games.
Shop C and D, G/F, 57 Paterson Street, Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, 2868 0363
Sai Ying Pun is a trendy district home to multiple restaurants and bars embracing the old, local style of Hong Kong. Swiss Cafe is one of the businesses in the area playing homage to retro Hong Kong. The restaurant is styled with small white-and-green tiles, watercolour paintings typical of advertisements from the 1970s and old fans hanging from the ceiling.
Shop 1–2, G/F, Liang Ga Building, 296 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Ying Pun, 3568 3560
Kam Kee Cafe
Kam Kee Cafe adds a modern twist to the nostalgia. Featuring small square tiles and glass petitions mimicking old-school cha chaang tengs, the restaurant has added cushioned benches and big tables to make the dining experience more comfortable than that of the olden days. Just like Swiss Cafe, Kam Kee established in Sai Ying Pun before expanding to other districts in Hong Kong.
Shop G9, G/F, Temple Mall South, 103 Ching Tak Street, Wong Tai Sin, 3905 3238
Lee Lo Mei
Once you step inside Lee Lo Mei, you'll be instantly absorbed by the decor, which transports guests back to 1970s Hong Kong. From wooden foldable tables and assorted coloured chopsticks to images of classic Hong Kong symbols such as mah-jong tiles, birdcages and amah bags, the designers have not missed a beat in encapsulating old Hong Kong. Traditional foods include steamed cheong fun (steamed rice rolls with pork and vegetables fillings) and salted sticky-rice-stuffed chicken.
G/F and 1/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, 2896 7688