Header image courtesy of @_mrcardigan_ (via Instagram)
As kids, the quintessential summer activity was to drop by a jingling Mister Softee ice cream truck belting out The Blue Danube on repeat and beat the heat with a sweet, frozen fix. Now, perhaps the more refined alternative is kicking back and enjoying a sit-down meal at a cool (both literally and aesthetically) café.
Answering the heat-weary masses who still want to soak in summer’s sunny vibes, we’ve rounded up some of Hong Kong’s most adorable summer-themed cafés to bask in the season’s glory whilst staying in air-conditioned comfort!
Although summer vacation takes on a slightly different meaning during a pandemic, you can still channel those far-flung holiday vibes with a visit to this quaint, waterside café in Tai O. From the entrance, Solo looks more like a rundown alleyway shop than a chic café, but amble through to the back and an alfresco oasis is revealed. Its wooden deck is set against open views of rolling green mountains and glittering canal hugged by stilt houses.
Take in the sigh-inducing scenery with the café’s signature dessert set ($95) which includes a drink and a homemade dessert, with choices like tiramisu, New York cheesecake, and sawdust pudding. Hankering for something savoury? Solo also specialises in bruschetta and Chinese-style shrimp roe noodles—an unlikely yet surprisingly delicious combination!
Solo, 86–88 Kat Hing Street, Tai O | (+852) 9153 7453
If there is ever a café to receive a Cinderella-like makeover and be brought to life with magical fairy dust, it’s Mr Cardigan. Sitting quietly on the outskirts of Tai Po, what was once an old cargo container is now reincarnated into a whimsical plant house bursting with green garden foliage and dreamy cakes. Although the place is not too big, it’s got a beautifully decked-out patio that’s ideal for spending a lazy summer afternoon with intimate friends.
Mr Cardigan serves an eclectic selection of unique teas, sodas, and coffee, as well as homemade light bites. Its apple pie ($45) and mango cheesecake ($45) are popular picks, but everything on the menu is made with heart and elegantly presented—so be sure to capture the experience with plenty of photos!
Mr Cardigan, Shan Liu Road, Tai Po
After a full day of sun and fun in the coastal town of Mui Wo, there’s no better place to pause and appreciate summer’s languid rhythms than this pet-friendly beachside café! Sporting a clean, white aesthetic and adorned with just a few botanic touches, Pause Café’s airy and relaxed atmosphere provides a welcoming venue for both sand-weary beach bums and their furry companions to linger awhile.
You’ll find a bevy of healthy eats that will allow you to treat yourself and feel good about it, too, such as smashed avocado toast ($95), almond chia pudding ($70), and masala veggie bowl ($100). Of course, if you want to indulge a little at the end of the week, their weekend-exclusive French toast ($130) is exquisite, featuring crispy brioche topped with mascarpone cheese, seasonal fruits, homemade jam, and maple syrup!
Pause Café, 21 Chung Hau Street, Mui Wo | (+852) 5267 5549
Little Cove Espresso like a slice of sunny Melbourne transported to Sai Kung. Firmly ensconced in the local neighbourhood, this stylishly laid-back hideaway has both the ambience to lure you in and exceptional food to keep you coming back. Its menu is best described as modern Australian meets Mediterranean, serving up proper Australian flat whites (starting from $38) and a winding list of healthy brunch-time favourites.
For a nutritious way to fuel up or cool down, opt for their refreshing spirulina smoothie bowl ($85). A bowlful of blue goodness is topped with a colourful array of fresh fruits and superfoods—a delightful treat for both the eyes and palate! Those craving something heartier can tuck into the pulled pork Benedict ($120), smoked salmon on sourdough rye ($102), or spicy shakshuka ($115).
Little Cove Espresso, Shop 1 & 2, Block A, Siu Yat Building, Hoi Pong Square, Sai Kung | (+852) 9572 8560
Blending right into its surroundings in the Flower Market, Le Rêveur conjures all things summer and sweet with its dainty floral décor, tropical wallpaper, and rainbow-coloured hanging lamps. As if plucked right off the streets of Paris, this charming café churns out contemporary French fare in a quaint and casual setting.
Food selection is on the shorter side, but rest assured that each dish is taken seriously. Its mouth-watering truffle croque monsieur ($78) features a rich truffle béchamel sauce, French country ham, and a mixture of three gourmet cheeses! Even if stomach space is at a premium, you should still leave room for dessert, as the pistachio crème brûlée ($48) and apple tarte tartin ($78) are too decadent to pass up.
Le Rêveur, Shop B, Welland Court, 244–246 Fa Yuen Street, Prince Edward | (+852) 9881 4170
Another flower-forward representative sees you at White Hse. in Causeway Bay. From the rose-clad walls to the graceful hanging garden, nearly every inch of this place is decked out in floral arrangements deserving of a photo! But beyond just good looks, quality food also awaits at this ethereal wonderland.
Known for their elevated fusion approach, you will find the likes of crab pasta with wasabi cream sauce ($124), tom yum vongole pasta ($129), and ginger & scallion spaghetti ($107) amid classic Italian offerings like carbonara ($110) and creamy mushroom risotto ($118). Complete your meal with their iced purpled sweet potato milk ($45) or blue butterfly pea & jasmine green tea ($45)!
White Hse., Room 1501, 15/F, United Success Commercial Centre, 508 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 3956 2183
A newcomer to the burgeoning café scene in Wan Chai, this pastel yellow-toned alcove brings with its arrival a burst of sunshine and life-affirming energy. Enter through the elegant French doors and allow yourself to delight in the café’s fresh and youthful vibes. Once you have settled in, treat yourself to a caffeinated beverage and a little something sweet from their impressive dessert menu.
Always at the crest of creativity, Latter Café distinguishes itself by mustering up inventive food creations that you cannot find elsewhere. A must-try is the signature mango sticky rice chiffon cake ($65), which presents the classic Thai dessert sandwiched between a delicate chiffon cake!
Latter Café, Kam Sing Mansion, Shop E, 151-161 Jaffe Road, Wan Chai