Favourite Hong Kong cafes, restaurants and coffee shops of Vienna-born Regina Larko
Being Viennese it’s no wonder Larko, who puts out the #impact Podcast, loves her desserts and coffee. She shares some of her sweet spots in Hong Kong for those, and for brunch, weekends, and entertaining visitors
As an Austrian, a passion for coffee culture comes by nature. That means enjoying a perfect cup of coffee with a glass of water and – most importantly – a piece of cake. Luckily there are plenty of lovely places in Hong Kong where I can enjoy my sweets.
I love the cakes on offer at Cafe 8 (Hong Kong Maritime Museum, Pier 8, Central, tel: 3791 2158) and it’s brilliant that I can support a good cause at the same time. The cafe hires a number of staff who have learning disabilities.
You can often find me at Jouer Patisserie (1 Sau Wa Fong, Wan Chai, tel: 2528 6577). The intimate setting reminds me of small cafe houses in Vienna. They have great teatime offers, and we recently celebrated a friend’s baby shower there, which was brilliant.
For breakfasts, I enjoy taking my family to Butcher & Baker Caf e (57-59 Cadogan Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2591 0328). A walk through the flower store and bakery by the entrance puts me in the perfect brunch mood. Also, after our daughter was born in Hong Kong almost two years ago, places that have a kids’ corner quickly became our preferred brunch locations.
For casual meetings, I head to the Fringe Club Vault (2 Lower Albert Road, Central, tel: 2521 7251). There’s something special about sipping on a cup of coffee in a place that also hosts arts and culture events. At their restaurant Colette’s, in the same building, they create dishes using homegrown vegetables from one of the Flagship Farms of Rooftop Republic. Check out the farm, it’s gorgeous!
For lunch, I head to 238 (Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, tel: 2517 7322 ). It’s a petite place and there is just something about the owner and chef checking in to see how the guests enjoy their food that makes me smile. It has a lovely lunch set that changes regularly, and the desserts are as divine as the starters and mains.
I recently fell in love with Jinjuu (UG/F, California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 3755 4868). I was equally blown away by their delicious Korean creations as by their service. I also got excited to see a grüner veltliner on the wine list. My family used to make their own grüner veltliner in Lower Austria. Seeing it on the menu made me feel right at home.
When I’m craving Chinese food, I adore Bistro Manchu (33 Elgin Street, SoHo, tel: 2244 3998). I always take visitors there – and the larger the group the more dishes we can order. The spicy flavours never disappoint. After living in mainland China for six years, it reminds me of being in Beijing and eating loads of hearty, heavy dishes to get me through the cold winter months. It was a pleasant surprise that these dishes are just as delicious in Hong Kong’s hot and sticky climate.
Something I plan to do more is cook myself. I recently joined a cooking class at Corner Kitchen (21 New Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2803 2822) and loved every second of it. The staff and instructors were incredibly kind and taught us how to cook paella. It was hands down one of the most fun and tastiest dinners I ever had in Hong Kong. The churros were incredible and tasted even better because we made them ourselves.
For weekend relaxation I love eating at beachside restaurants. Limewood (shop 103 & 104 The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, tel: 2866 8668) is lovely, and if I feel like being sporty I join my friends for a hike to Mavericks (Pui O Beach, Lantau Island, tel: 5662 8552.). Nothing beats admiring the ocean while sipping on a cold drink. Life gets very busy in Hong Kong. It’s refreshing to escape the hustle sometimes.