Header image courtesy of The Galley by Café Proud Wings (via Facebook)
Originally published by Sophie Pettit. Last updated by Beverly Ngai.
When it comes to dining out, Hongkongers sure love the novelty factor. From lovable cartoon animals to real-life furry friends, and comic book wonderlands to food that you can squidge, we’re never short of entertainment in the 852. Get ready to fill your bellies—and your Instagram feeds—as we check out Hong Kong’s coolest and quirkiest themed cafés.
Tucked away in an industrial building in Kwun Tong, Scoool Café takes advantage of its cool, rugged setting and converts the space into a retro-style Taiwanese café. As you step inside, you will find yourself transported to a vintage primary school classroom, surrounded by wooden desks and chairs, shelves of old comic books, and decades-old knick-knacks that stir up nostalgia for a bygone era.
Befitting its cosy and casual atmosphere, the menu serves up a range of belly-warming Taiwanese comfort food like braised beef noodle soup ($60), Taiwanese salty chicken with rice ($60), and pork floss egg rolls ($40). For the ultimate blast from the past, wash down your meal with a milo dinosaur drink ($20), which comes served in a laboratory flask!
Scoool Café, Flat C, 1/F, Mai Hing Industrial Building Block A, 18 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong | (+852) 3188 2380
Take a trip down the rabbit hole and join Alice and her curious friends for an exuberant tea party in Wonderland! Between the black-and-white checkered floors, plant-clad walls, and cartoonish tea party set-up, Wonder Garden Café truly bring the magic of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale to life.
In Wonderland, time is irrelevant, so be lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner, you can tuck into the café's vibrant menu of hearty Western-style dishes, such as the standout tiger prawn pasta with tomato sauce ($138) and smoked salmon caviar risotto ($126). Don’t forget to end your enchanting journey on a sweet note with a homemade chocolate brownie ($62) or apple caramel mousse cake ($54).
Wonder Garden Café, Shop 6B, Ko’s House, 577 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 6595 1177
Missing air travel? Head over to The Galley by Café Proud Wings to get your flying fix without leaving the ground! From flight information displays to the aeroplane seats and windows, this aviation-themed restaurant goes all out to recreate the sky-high experience—except—instead of serving bland, reheated food, diners are treated to elevated bentos, sizzling steaks, and handmade pasta.
On-brand with the theme, the menu is endearingly grouped into “economy,” “business,” and “first-class” meal sets to reflect different price levels. The grilled Ibérico pork rack ($188) is hands-down the showstopper, but if you’re going for something a bit lighter, the black mushroom wild mushroom risotto ($86) is a favourite among vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
The Galley by Café Proud Wings, 39 Ka Shin Street, Tai Kok Tsui | (+852) 3590 3787
Although the hedgehog area has been closed off due to the pandemic, there is still plenty of hedgehog-related fun to be had at Kuri Café. Visitors are invited to peruse the shelf of quirky tote bags, plushies, and accessories themed around the adorable spikey animal and sip on drinks decorated with hedgehog-pattered powder on top. Coupled with the homely vibe of the brightly lit interiors and light wood furnishing, Kuri Café offers the perfect respite for those looking to escape the clamour of the city for a few hours and catch up with friends over a meal.
Kuri Café—Home of Hedgehog, Shop T104A, TBG Mall, 3 Ngau Tau Kok Road, Kowloon Bay | (+852) 9297 9821
Periodically collaborating with household-name cartoon characters, Kingsley Café‘s latest Sailor Moon venture is sure to leave fans of the popular Japanese anime series stupefied. Decked out in a dreamy pastel colour palette, with nods to your Sailor Moon favourite characters everywhere around, this whimsical café is worth the visit for the décor alone, but it only gets more exciting as you shift your focus to the menu.
Feast on a whole range of Sailor Moon-inspired dishes like the luna omelette rice with black sesame powder and curry sauce ($139), which features fluffy eggs layered on an adorable cat-shaped rice ball, and the ribbon mousse cake ($89), an Insta-worthy strawberry cake made into the shape of Sailor Moon’s signature ribbon bow.
Kingsley Café, Shop 315, 3/F, T.O.P. This is Our Place, 700 Nathan Road, Mong Kok | (+852) 3905 1470
After twenty years since the release of the first Harry Potter book, Hong Kong’s first unofficial themed café opened up to serve Potterheads some seriously magical potions that pay homage to the wizarding world of J. K. Rowling. The adorably named 9¾ Café is everything fans could dream of—and thankfully, they don’t have to run into a brick wall to get there.
Decorated with genuine Harry Potter merchandise from the owners’ personal collection—everything from broomsticks and wands to old spellbooks and even a sorting hat on the shelf, the cafe serves up Western-style dishes covering the grounds of salads, pasta, burgers, and more. And of course, there are plenty of drinks served in potion-like bottles to keep the magic flowing.
As an added touch, customers can pose for photos with magic wands and Potter-style glasses, as well as the famous half-disappearing trolley at Platform 9¾.
9¾ Cafe, 4/F, Prosper Commercial Building, 9 Yin Chong Street, Mong Kok | (+852) 9432 6555
Prepare yourself for a cuteness overload as you enter Hong Kong’s first rabbit cafe, Rabbitland. Inspired by a trip to Japan’s famous “rabbit island” in Okunoshima, this quirky upstairs Causeway Bay café invites you to slip on your socks and step inside the “bunny den” for a play date with 12 fluffy fellas.
Decked with little tables and legless chairs, three rabbit pens, and walls of bunny-themed decor, this is the perfect spot for snapping adorable selfies with your favourite characters. We couldn’t get enough of fluffy-headed Donkey and the super sociable Orea. Although you aren’t permitted to pick the rabbits up, you’ll still have plenty of interaction as you stroke them and watch them hop around greeting customers. Don’t forget to bring a pair of socks—and your camera!
Rabbitland Cafe, 3/F, 530 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 5281 0280
You’re never too old to play with your food at “Instagram-worthy” dim sum restaurant, Yum Cha. In fact, you’re encouraged to squidge, poke, and smash your way through their impressive selection of animal-shaped treats and googly-eyed faces that feature on their menu.
Fans of char siu bao will squeal with delight when the BBQ piggy buns ($49) arrive at the table, while big kids with a wicked sense of humour will jump at the chance to squeeze the gooey orange innards from the mouths of the hot custard buns ($49). With a large variety of noodle, rice, soup, and meat dishes on the menu, it’s never a dull—or tasteless—moment at this quirky little spot, as the quality of the food is actually very good, and most of their dim sum offerings start at just $29 a pop. Totally worth the Instagram frenzy!
If you are mad for moggies, then you’ll feel like the cat that got the cream at Hong Kong’s one and only Cat Island Café. Tucked away on the third floor of a part residential, part commercial building in Causeway Bay, this quirky spot has 11 resident cats who love to be stroked, groomed, and spoiled rotten. A great solution for animal lovers who miss having their own pet (we’re looking at you, landlords), this kooky café can’t get enough of its furry residents who are the inspiration for its murals, photos, decorations, and even lighting—we love the Yakult bottle lanterns.
They even inspire the menu, which is filled from front to back with cat-themed desserts, snacks, coffees, and meal sets that feature their adorable faces. Prices are pretty reasonable, meaning you and your kitty (yes, there is an “order for your cat” section) can enjoy several treats without breaking the bank for a cute snap or two. Don’t forget to check out the little cat trinkets for sale on your way out, too.
Cat Island Café, Flat D–E, 3/F, Po Ming Building, Fu Ming Street, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2710 9953
Calling all plant lovers! It is time to slip off your shoes, get comfy on the cushion mats, and enjoy a slice of cake at Mum’s Not Home. With house plants surrounding each corner and eccentric decor spanning through the room, this hipster café is the to-go spot for Instagram photos.
While you are there, try the popular violet-coloured secret of butterfly pea tea ($40) and pair it with the lavender chocolate cheesecake ($45) as a nice mid-day refresher. The owners of the café, Makui and Chow, run the place themselves but are often gone for travels, so check their Instagram to see their opening times and details.
Mum’s Not Home, 1/F, 302 Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 9770 5760
With more than a hundred board games to explore, you are never short of entertainment at Jolly Thinkers. This hangout has proven to be so popular with Hongkongers that it has expanded into two outlets—one in Prince Edward, and a bigger branch in Wan Chai.
Guests of all ages can fuel up on a hefty menu of drinks and snacks as they get stuck into some Monopoly action and discover a large collection of lesser-known finds. Stone Age, Power Grid, and Dixit are among the favourites of cafe owners Joyce Lam Yuen-han and John Guest—and we hear the mayonnaise-smothered baked potato skins are to die for.