Header image courtesy of Sensu (via Facebook)
With the rise (and rise) of hipster coffee shops in Hong Kong, we’re now seeing more and more interesting, conceptual cafés open further afield—as opposed to a few years ago, when they were all concentrated in Sheung Wan. Residential New Territories district Tsuen Wan has seen its cultural cache grow steadily in recent years, expedited with the opening of textile-mill-turned-cultural-hub The Mills in 2019. Now, there are plenty of cute little cafés to pop into for brunch, afternoon tea, or just a plain old life-giving coffee. From stylish monotone dessert bars to ethereal floral cafés, here are some of our favourite places in Tsuen Wan to grab a cuppa joe.
With its gorgeous tree centrepiece encircled by fluttery blue fronds, this newly opened café in Citywalk is brimming with enchanted fairy forest vibes. Happily, the food and drinks are not just photogenic, but tasty. The popular Wizard of Oz afternoon tea set ($188)—which arrives in a tiered wooden caddy billowing dry ice smoke—comprises a multitude of sweet and savoury bites, while the light and refreshing Golden Mist ($88) is a tart and sweet mocktail that comes in a gorgeous glass bell jar. Don’t forget to get a snap in the firefly-inspired photo corner, where the blue canopy has been accessorised with mirrored walls and the gentle glow of orb lights.
Sensu, Shop 78, UG/F, Citywalk 1, 1 Yeung Uk Road, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 2885 0968
Despite having only opened in January, Bench is already the darling of the Tsuen Wan coffee scene, with its concrete-fronted corner spot drawing crowds every weekend. The concise menu comprises just three to four dishes in each category (pasta, risotto, all-day breakfast, and dessert), with stand-outs including the traditional linguine carbonara ($88)—no cream here!—and the pumpkin risotto ($108). The counter seats with their street-facing windows are great for people-watching, but weather willing, you can also grab a spot outside and enjoy the sun with a cold and bubbly espresso tonic ($52) in hand.
Bench Café, G/F, 17 Fu Yung Street, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 9857 6682
In case the all-black shopfront and neon signage does not give it away, you can also spot Sammi #000000 by the white Ron English sculpture in the window. Art is a big part of this black-themed café, with its walls regularly playing host to exhibitions from local photographers (all in black and white, of course!). Match your order to the interiors with a chic charcoal latte (starting from $34) and a charcoal cheese & chicken sandwich ($35). If you’re there early, you may be able to snag one of their coveted pastries, like the black macarons or matcha chiffon cake!
Sammi #000000, Shop C&E, Wanson House, 115 Tsuen Wan Market Street, Tsuen Wan
This industrial café-roastery spin-off of beloved local coffee brand Coco Espresso takes pride of place on the ground floor of The Mills. Featuring sculptural benches, booths, and pillars in dappled grey concrete, Koko blends in seamlessly with its surroundings, making for a chic Instagram backdrop (and a cool place to lounge in the summer). Coco Espresso takes its coffee very seriously, so you’ll find an extensive range of espresso-based drinks like ice drip coffee (starting from $50) in both house blend and single origin variations, as well as the increasingly hyped espresso tonic ($48), nitro coffee ($58), and dirty ($42).
Koko Coffee Roasters, Shop G09, The Mills, 45 Pak Tin Par Street, Tsuen Wan
Looking for a new brunch spot in Tsuen Wan? Check out this industrial-chic neighbourhood favourite’s bagel sandwiches—the smoked salmon bagel ($50) is a classic—or the eggs Benedict ($78) on sourdough toast. If you enjoy the tang of lactic acid drinks like Yakult, you have to try the butterfly pea flower milky soda (starting from $38), a fizzy, sweet, and lightly tangy blue-tinged concoction that goes down a treat. To cap off your meal with something a little theatrical, try the signature dessert, the simply-named banana ($55). Upon first glance, it appears like a single half-peeled banana on a plate with berries, chocolate sauce, and cereal flakes, but a bite will reveal that the “peel” is actually white chocolate filled with vanilla ice cream (the banana itself is just banana, though).
Blank Café (留白), Shop 12, Cheong Ning Building, 202–216 Sai Lau Kok Road, Tsuen Wan
Another monochrome-themed café comes to us courtesy of home-grown Hong Kong fashion designer Harrison Wong, whose preference for a greyscale palette and clean lines is immediately evident upon entering his foray into F&B, Labels Café + Bar. Located inside The Mills, this stylish space features a visually striking split of black and white in its central seating space, with all-black décor on one side and all-white on the other, calling to mind the iconic Disney villain Cruella de Vil. If you have a sweet tooth, a flair for drama, and a lot of time to spare, the cotton candy brownie ($98) is a must-try—featuring a brownie encased in a perfect sphere of airy spun sugar, you’ll get a jug of hot chocolate sauce to drizzle over the cloud, the heat from which will slowly melt the candy.
Labels Café + Bar, Shop 305–306, The Mills, 45 Pak Tin Par Street, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 3426 2668
One of the original Tsuen Wan hipster cafés is Beans, a corner spot on Hoi Pa Street known for its 3D latte art, creative presentation, and quirky graphic illustrations. Their menus (in particular the desserts) often feature inventive limited-edition dishes, with past examples including laksa-flavoured stirred noodles which came spilling out of a Cup Noodle container, a white chocolate coffee mousse in the shape of Mount Everest, and a flip flop-shaped chocolate cake. If you’re in pursuit of perennially available plates, however, you can’t go wrong with the black truffle spaghetti with soft-shell crab ($98) and green tea lava toast ($58).
Beans, 99 Hoi Pa Street, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 2777 7006
Kwun Tong might be the undisputed capital of industrial factory cafés, but this hidden upstairs café in Tsuen Wan is just as good as any of those you would find on Wai Yip or How Ming Street, in our opinion. With its quiet, cosy vibes, affordable menu of international comfort food, and picturesque views, it’s no wonder that The 5B Private Corner has managed to keep the regulars coming back after six years in business. For an easy, no-fuss meal, get the all-day breakfast ($78) or the roast chicken with honey yuzu sauce ($148). If you have a weakness for French toast, you absolutely have to try the cinnamon French toast ($68), which comes à la mode (a.k.a. with a big ol’ scoop of ice cream).
The 5B Private Corner, Unit 5B, 5/F, 38–40 Chai Wan Kok Street, Tsuen Wan | (+852) 3956 3926