Header image courtesy of @florrieeats (via Instagram)
Most people say that the world is obsessed with Australian coffee culture, but Hong Kong comfortably holds its own with a roster of outstanding cafés. Small as the city may be, our neighbourhoods are brimming with boutique coffee shops, and new openings are popping up across Hong Kong every week. Join us as we follow the irresistible waft of freshly ground coffee beans to the latest and greatest café and coffee shop openings in Hong Kong.
While there are plenty of restaurants and cafés in the city which choose to focus on doing just one thing well, Hong Kong has also seen an uptick in hybrid businesses recently. We have seen cafés that double as bars and coding academies—and now, we even have a café inside a tattoo studio.
Zizizi is reminiscent of Korean-style cafés like Milkbar and Kactus Koffee with its minimalist space accented with mid-century décor, but if you listen closely, you may well hear one of their resident artists—Nathalie Tali, Sharon Mong, and Rika Loli—wielding a buzzing tattoo gun behind the trendy glass brick wall.
The coffees here start at a reasonable $32 for a long black, while speciality drinks like the fluffy Lotus Biscoff latte ($48) or Einspänner ($48)—a Viennese coffee of espresso topped with whipped cream—will set you back a little more. Besides coffees, Zizizi also offers real chocolate (starting from $32), matcha and hojicha lattes (starting from $40), and an assortment of sweet treats like tiramisu ($45) and matcha canelé ($48).
Zizizi, 1/F, 22 Kimberly Street, Tsim Sha Tsui
A welcome addition to the recently MTR-minted neighbourhood of Kowloon City is Nan Kok (南角), a shabby-chic, retro establishment housed in an old hardware store. Despite the vintage bric-a-brac placed throughout the space—a rotary phone here, an old television there—Nan Kok is less of a vintage shop and more of a brunch spot.
Besides the scallop pappardelle with fermented bean curd sauce ($138) and tom yum goong angel hair ($128), popular orders include the herb butter eggs Benedict ($78) and sourdough toast with cream cheese & fig jam ($42). Drinks-wise, the iced pandan coffee ($52) with coconut milk and ice cream gives your standard iced coffee a tropical twist, while the coconut affogato ($44) and cold-brew teas ($38) are a balm on hot summer days.
Nan Kok, 3 Nam Kok Road, Kowloon City | (+852) 2526 2238
As indicated by its name, Hikari (光; light) is airy and bright, with its street-facing windows flooding the two-storey space with natural light. Like so many other trendy cafés right now, Hikari is dressed in neutral tones of biscuit and wheat, while cantilevered cane dining chairs and tufted leather loveseats add a dash of mid-century design.
For a drink that is as pretty as the surroundings, order any of the lattes (starting from $38)— espresso-based, black sesame, hojicha, and matcha—which come topped with intricate Pegasus latte art. Feeling peckish? Go for the toast (starting from $68)—every aspect, from the sourdough to the spread and the 14 different toppings, can be customised. For something a little more decadent, opt for the black truffle & onsen egg risotto with cheese crisps ($88) and the deconstructed dirty tiramisu ($68) which comes topped with KitKats and chocolate biscuits.
Hikari, 21 Tai Pa Street, Tsuen Wan
Despite (almost) sharing a name with the famous American fast-casual restaurant chain, you will not find baby back ribs or mudslides here. Instead, Hong Kong’s TGIF is a minimalist and pet-friendly café and bakery in Shek Tong Tsui with an all-white interior accented by blond woods and rustic tree stump stools. Although the menu does include dishes made with animal products—like the cheesy, curried pork-stuffed bagel called Tummy Embracing ($78)—many items are, in fact, health-conscious and vegan.
For an early-morning pick-me-up, try the When I Was Just a Little Girl ($78), an açai bowl with slices of kiwi, strawberry, banana, and dragon fruit layered with chocolate sauce, berry compote, and grains. Gaze out of the large street-facing bay windows as you sip on an oat milk coffee (starting from $40) or nibble on Sleeping on the Clouds ($88), a puff pastry topped with cream cheese, whipped cream, and caramelised egg waffle puffs.
TGIF, 533–543 Queen’s Road West, Shek Tong Tsui
With its entrance tucked into an alcove overlooking a flyover, finding this curated lifestyle boutique and café feels almost like discovering a secret. Inside, carefully selected treasures await, with curios like artisanal wooden cutlery and ancient-looking ceramics framed with artfully unspooled rolls of fabric and splayed petals of dried flowers.
In the café section, a predominance of wooden furniture (including an actual pew!) gives the space a vaguely ecclesiastical feel. To that end, the Yukkuri bread set ($60) comprising two different kinds of bread and two spreads seems like a fitting choice. Meanwhile, those who enjoy sweets should try the Yukkuri cake set ($80) of three petite desserts—previous crowd-pleasers include a rose and lychee sponge cake and a yuzu tart. Wash it all down with the black sesame hojicha ($55) or white peach & fig soda ($55).
Yukkuri, 424 Prince Edward Road West, Kowloon City
Next time you find yourself waiting too long for a minibus around Solo Avenue in Causeway Bay, pop into Pedestrian Coffee for a pick-me-up. This newly opened grab-and-go café is decorated in a stark black-and-white palette, with a corrugated bar design that calls to mind shipping container malls.
Besides the eye-catching charcoal latte ($40), the bagels ($38) and cookies ($32) provided by Brickery Bread and Twinkie Cookies have proved popular in the short time Pedestrian’s been welcoming… well, pedestrians.
Pedestrian Coffee, Solo Avenue, 6–10 Sun Wui Road, Causeway Bay
Despite only occupying a kiosk within a commercial building, Soul manages to pack plenty of personality into its limited space. Between the dark blue colour scheme accented by deep woods, a preparation area full of siphon coffee makers, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, Soul cuts a striking figure.
Opt for the signature crispy mocha ($58)—a vegan oat milk mocha served inside a crispy wafer cup, and the only drink on the menu that comes in the edible receptacle! Homemade cheesecakes, sandwiches, and salads are also available, should you find yourself in need of a snack.
Soul, U/G, The L Place, 139 Queen’s Road Central, Central
Another new outlet offering siphon coffee is Hare, a Japanese-inspired café in Jordan. Its name is not inspired by the rabbit-like animal, but rather the Japanese word for “sunny” (晴れ)—a particularly fitting moniker on clear days when sunlight streams in through the large floor-to-ceiling windows.
Inside, the pale pastel colour scheme and rattan accent pieces give the space a vaguely 1970s athletica feel, while the food is decidedly Japanese. With a long menu comprising savoury dishes and sweets, Hare offers more options than your average café, with yakitori, grilled onigiri, oden, and fried pork chop rice providing ample sustenance.
Hare, 1/F, 2 Tak Shing Street, Jordan