Hidden in the upper floors of many old buildings in Hong Kong, are an array of small, under-the-radar, indie cafes hoping to escape Hong Kong’s soaring rents. These trendy upstairs cafes are becoming increasingly popular, and even have their own category on Openrice! So, if you fancy escaping the masses in Starbucks and Pacific Coffee, then why not try one of these cute coffee spots dotted around the city.
Mum’s Not Home
As its name suggests, Mum’s Not Home is a place where you can let your hair down – just as you would when you have the house to yourself. Located on the first floor of a rundown building in Yau Ma Tei, the whimsical cafe is decorated with eclectic paintings, a forest of plants, and cushions scattered around short tables. Choose your spot to unwind as you find liberation from boring food with one of the colourful cheesecakes and drinks on offer. The Secret of Butterfly Pea Tea ($40), in particular, is a hit among social media savvy guests. Served in a bowl-like cup with a slice of lime on top, the originally blue coloured tea turns into a mesmerising purple tone as you squeeze the lime juice into the tea. The owners of the cafe are currently travelling around the world so the store is closed until December, but you can follow their social media pages to stay up to date!
Mum’s Not Home, 1/F, 302 Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, (+852) 9770 5760
Twenty One From Eight
With large windows that allow plenty of natural sunlight to pour in, bare white walls, and minimalistic pine fixtures, this furniture store slash cafe in Kwun Tong oozes a ‘Swedish furniture showroom’ vibe. The laid-back soundtrack playing in the background adds to the casual atmosphere of the cafe, making it easy for you to stay and while away a lazy afternoon. Order a cup of coffee and get lost in a good book on the corner sofa, bring your laptop and set up shop on the high tables, or come with friends and enjoy delicious food freshly made by the in-house Le Cordon Bleu chef. Those who want to deck their homes with the industrial hangout‘s rustic-chic decor can even pick up some goodies in the retail area.
Twenty One From Eight, 11 Floor, Pang Kwong Building, 59 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, (+852) 2321 1738
With three outlets dotted around Hong Kong Island, this adorable French bistro whips up authentic crêpes and galettes that are traditional to the French coastal province of Brittany. The restaurant’s decor stays true to its coastal origin by showcasing wooden furniture, shades of white and blue, and small touches such as barometers and lighthouse themed salt and pepper shakers. La Crêperie’s sweet wheat flour crêpes and savoury buckwheat flour galettes (ranging from $150 to $200) are topped with an array of offerings made with fresh or imported ingredients from France, to create either a light treat or a hearty meal. Apart from its delicious crêpes and galettes, which are mainstays on the menu, La Crêperie also offers other traditional Brittany delicacies such as oysters, mussels, and scallops in different combinations.
La Creperie, 8/F, The L. Square, 459-461 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, (+852) 2898 7123
1/F, Kui Chi Mansion, 100-102 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, (+852) 2529 9280
G/F, 69 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, (+852) 2679 4666
Mamaday Cafe, which means “so-so” in Cantonese, is anything but ordinary. Brimming with colourful, fun, and quirky decorations on every corner, the cafe practically commands you to Instagram it. The walls are decked out with bright, sharp colours and hilarious English and Chinglish phrases such as “To avoid injury, never tell a woman to calm down” and “To apply for membership, the applicant shall meet the following criteria: touching tongue to elbow”. You will also find cartoonish paintings of Mr Bean, Queen Elizabeth, and Teletubby Hitler – quite the eclectic mix! The menu offers mainly Western dishes such as pizza, fettucine, and rib-eye steak, as well as a few Asian options, along with a wide selection of drinks. If you’re looking for a boozy meal, then go for one of the cutely-named cocktails such as Yoda’s Body Fluid ($88) made with rum, mint, lemon, and dragon fruit, or White Ghost ($88) with rum, gin, coconut, dragon fruit, marshmallow, and cream.
Mamaday Cafe, 1/F, Perfect Commercial Building, 28 Sharp Street West, Causeway Bay, (+852) 2164 0066
Full Cup Cafe
Spanning five floors, Full Cup (a homonym for the cafe’s Chinese name and the Cantonese word for breath) is a place of respite in the depths of Mong Kok. Hidden inside an unassuming building in a back alley, each floor of this shabby-chic cafe is decorated with a carefully-selected, eclectic mix of mismatched vintage-kitsch furniture and carries a different theme. The third floor regularly hosts indie gigs, while the fourth floor offers a Gaudi-inspired alfresco area, and the fifth floor draws inspiration from the French rom-com Amélie, with red walls and romantic roses on every corner. The dark and brooding sixth floor is dubbed “the mysterious bar”, while the Hong Kong 70s inspired top floor doubles up as the owner’s workshop. The cafe serves a selection of delicious western food, but its main draw is its regular performances by budding local artists and bands.
Full Cup Cafe, 2-7/F, Hanwai Commercial Centre, 36 Dundas Street, Mong Kok, (+852) 2771 7775
Fleur De Sel
Located on the second floor of a nondescript commercial building in the heart of Causeway Bay (the same building as the famous Cat Cafe), Fleur De Sel offers a cosy space in which to enjoy authentic French dishes, made with fresh ingredients imported from the country. As you walk through the impressive entrance, decorated with white brick walls, Parisian style pop art, and a playful arrow sign, you are met with the aroma of fresh coffee and sweet crêpes and galettes, which can be enjoyed within a casual, chic-industrial setting. But it’s not only about sweet treats here, as the menu offers soups, salads, and a variety of French classics such as Snails Baked in Garlic Butter ($72), Duck Confit with Mushrooms and Potatoes ($142), and Foie Gras with Chutney ($118). With its laid-back atmosphere and playful French flair, this is the perfect spot for relaxed weekend brunching.
Fleur De Sel, Shop 2J, Po Foo Building, Foo Ming Street, Causeway Bay, (+852) 2805 6678
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