Header image courtesy of @starstreethk (Instagram)
A pocket of trendy restaurants and lifestyle stores, Starstreet Precinct is one of the city’s best hipster hangouts for a cool cultural experience. Located in Wan Chai adjacent to Pacific Place, the area encompasses a square grid of streets resting on a slope, buttressed by the eastern section of Queen’s Road. The main diagonals are Sun Street, Moon Street, and Star Street, named after one of the aphorisms in the classic Chinese text, The Three Character Classics, which stipulates that the Three Forces are Heaven, Earth, and Man, and the Three Luminaries are the sun, the moon, and the stars. Take full advantage of our neighbourhood guide to Starstreet Precinct and spend a whole day browsing the racks of independent labels, sipping finely brewed tea, and tucking into exquisite dishes hailing from the Middle East, Italy, Vietnam, and Japan.
Francis is a casual neighbourhood eatery serving Middle Eastern dishes paired with an affordable list of small-batch wines and cocktails. Try their mezzes; the Hummus ($80) and Pita ($20) combo never fails, and the Burnt Eggplant ($80) blends spice with a cool dollop of yoghurt. The specials board often features grilled meats and vegetables, so make sure to order a few. The Knafeh ($80), a crispy pancake of mozzarella with a coating of thin strands of pastry and drizzled with honey, serves as a savoury and sweet ending to your meal. The windows open up to form a cute terrace dining space, perfect for people watching on a balmy night.
Francis, 4 & 6 St Francis Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 3101 9521
Handmade pasta, you say? Pirata Group’s popular pasta joint now has several locations on the Island as well as Kowloon and New Territories, but the OG spot takes the cake for us. Situated in a remodelled two-storey walk-up, this Pici branch transports you to an Italian home that draws you in with tantalising smells of melted cheese. The Tagliolini ($180) with shaved black truffle and white truffle paste is one of the highlights, but save some love for the Orecchiette ($130), tossed with spicy ’nduja and tomato sauce. The restaurant is walk-ins only, but you can always mill around the front door with a glass of Aperol Spritz in hand while you wait for a table.
Pici, 6 St Francis Yard, Wan Chai | (+852) 2755 5523
The new branch of the pizza joint recently opened in the Starstreet Precinct, following the success of the Soho location. Handmade pies and a lively atmosphere make for a pleasurable dining experience for all ages. Our favourites include Carbonara ($120) with pancetta and quail eggs and Tonno e Cipolle ($95), a red sauce-based pie with tuna chunks and baked red onions.
The Pizza Project, 5 Star Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2577 7227
A traditional Greek taverna serving souvlakis, mezzes, and Greek wines. The entrance is basted in creamy white and wood panels, and the interior basks in the sunlight of a hypothetical Greek island. The lunch feast ($168) is perfect for sharing—a choice between tzatziki, hummus, roasted eggplant, or avgolemono tis giagias—a bowl of Greek-style chicken soup with lemon and egg yolk—to start, souvlaki as a main, and the option for dessert at an additional $28.
Artemis & Apollo, 9 & 11 Moon Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2818 8681
If you want a classic, no-frills cheeseburger, Honbo is the place to go. This tiny burger joint keeps things simple with top-shelf ingredients and full flavours. Though the beef burgers dominate the menu, we recommend you try the chicken and soft-shelled crab burgers as well. Choose between grilled or fried chicken, or go for the seafood option that is served with a smear of chicken liver pate.
Honbo, Shop B, G/F, 6 Sun Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2567 8970
Named after the resident celebrity chef Esther Sham, Maison ES is a fine-dining French restaurant with an Asian slant. The Parisian chic interiors are a mix of rustic and sophistication, and menu items combine flavours and techniques from the East and West. Dishes such as the French Chicken Breast ($380) is served in a pool of superior chicken broth and garnished with sea cucumber crackling and goji berries.
Maison ES, 1A Star Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2521 8011
A labour of love by banker-turned-chef Stephanie Wong, Roots Eatery craftily fuses Cantonese cooking with French ingredients. The restaurant is contemporary inside and out; you will never guess the cuisine served by the industrial vibe of the space. On the menu are items like Shrimp Toast with Salmon Roe, Sweet & Sour Chicken Wings Stuffed with Foie Gras, and Ribeye with Salted Egg Yolk Crumble.
Roots, G/F, 7 Sun Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2623 9983
A hidden spot showcasing the freshest seasonal bounties of Japan, Rokaku is the place to go for an unforgettable omakase meal. The menu changes daily, so just ask the friendly servers or resident chefs for what to order. A mix of raw and cooked dishes are sure to satisfy, especially if they are enjoyed between sips of sake.
Rokkaku, 6 Kwong Ming Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2866 8166
With over 60 years of history, this cha chaan teng is a true neighbourhood eatery serving classic, local comfort food. Compared to its flashier and more modern neighbours, Tak Yu seems at first glance disparate. However, true foodies can attest to the quality of food served. The Hong Kong-style milk tea is a must-order, and the Indonesian-style fried rice is their signature.
Tak Yu Cha Chaan Teng, 17–18 St Francis Yard, Wan Chai | (+852) 2528 0713
A modern teahouse specialising in single-origin teas from China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, farmed with sustainable agricultural practices by artisan growers. Patrons can enjoy a pot of freshly-brewed tea in a zen, Japanese-inspired space, and nibble on tea-flavoured cakes if you’re feeling peckish. Loose-leaf teas, teabags, and bottled cold-brew tea are also for purchase.
Basao, 17 Moon Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2952 3313
Also on Moon Street is another aesthetically pleasing cafe, serving coffee, tea, and brunch items. Short for A Personal Tailor, APT. uses Australian-roasted coffee by Seven Seeds brewed to your liking. You get to tailor-make your perfect cup of coffee down to the amount of milk foam. Perfect for a leisurely weekend brunch.
APT., 12 Moon Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 3619 4393
A popular haunt for digital nomads and dog owners, this local chain of coffee shops makes use of locally grown and roasted coffee beans in their drinks, which can come with and without alcohol. Their food menu lists the usual café items such as pastries and avocado toast, plus a few unusual ones. You can tuck into donburis, a Vietnamese beef salad, or a blossoming onion if you so wish. They also make their own ice cream, served on its own or as an ice cream sandwich.
Elephant Grounds Starstreet, 8 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2778 2700
This gorgeous pâtisserie house whips up dessert creations that are almost too beautiful to eat. Their macarons, pastries, and cakes come infused with seasonal and exotic flavours like Hong Kong milk tea, Chinese ginger vinegar, limoncello, and bellini. Light lunch sets are also available.
Jouer, G/F, Sau Wah Fong, Wan Chai | (+852) 2528 6577
This almost-alfresco café serves coffee, tea, smoothies, and juices along with brunch items like Organic Chia & Oat Sago ($75) and Sweet Corn & Zucchini Fritter ($115) during the day, and bar snacks and sharing boards during evenings. Munch on a bowl of Chilli Pepper Stuffed with Cheese ($45) or split a Taco Board ($162) between your friends. Fair warning: Their selection of Espresso Martinis are dangerous. Stick with the Classic ($69) or try the Salted Caramel ($89) for a fun night out.
Blend & Grind, 1 Sun Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2887 3272
Hong Kong’s first lifestyle select store is filled with design goodies and independent fashion pieces. Occupying the end of Sun Street, Kapok’s new location is larger than the original store on St Francis Yard. Stocking brands like Common Projects, Maison Kitsuné, Native Union, Wood Wood, and Miista, Kapok is a great place to look for hard to find brands and quirky lifestyle goods.
Kapok, 8 Sun Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2520 0114
Short for World of Amazing Wonders, this gallery-slash-boutique displays carefully curated collectables, gadgets, and homeware that double as art pieces. You can find limited-edition collections and cool lifestyle products here, great for gifting. The space also regularly hosts art shows by local and international artists. A coffee corner is installed inside the shop, serving Elephant Grounds coffee and ice cream in case you fancy a snack break.
WOAW, 5 Sun Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2253 1313
Edgar is a zero-waste, bulk grocery store that sells food and lifestyle products that are made, sourced, and distributed sustainably. You need to bring your own jar in order to buy the grains and pulses, which can effectively reduce packaging waste. Fairtrade and organic snacks, fruits, and tea can be found on the shelves, alongside environmentally-friendly gadgets and toiletries.
Edgar, 5 Moon Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 3484 2088
The retail outpost of Monocle magazine serves as a boutique and office space for the Hong Kong team. You can find the publisher’s magazines and guidebooks in the store, as well as design products and accessories for the global traveller.
Monocle, 1 St Francis Yard, Wan Chai | (+852) 2804 2323
A gallery dedicated to printmaking, illustration, and graphic arts, Odd One Out exhibits products by illustrators and printmakers all over the world. The gallery also works closely with local artists, publishing limited-edition art prints and artist books by local artists who have not traditionally worked in print mediums. You can find one-of-a-kind stationery, art prints, greeting cards, homeware, and paintings in the store. Odd One Out also hosts rotating exhibitions by local and overseas artists.
Odd One Out, G/F, 14 St Francis Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2529 3955
A quirky boutique stocking breezy and colourful clothing from small independent Taiwanese labels. The store is owned by a couple who are designers themselves, inspired by Taiwanese design. The store’s name is self-deprecatory, a literal translation of the Cantonese phrase “for nothing.” You can also find miscellaneous home goods and the odd pair of shoes from time to time.
White Do, 1B Sun Street, Wan Chai | (+886) 6221 3475
A modern menswear label with New York origins, O.N.S. designs are unfussy, utilitarian, and sustainable. Simple but well-tailored basics like t-shirts, slacks, sweatshirts, and joggers appeal to those who shy away from loud logos and colours. You can also find accessories and eyewear by the brand in this flagship Hong Kong boutique.
O.N.S., 3 Sun Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2707 9019