Tai Hang is close enough to Causeway Bay to get to by foot, but secluded enough to make it a place for destination dining. Best known for the Lin Fa Temple to worship Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, the Dragon that snakes its way around the streets during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The area used to be occupied by car repair shops, but they have given way to some fun and delicious eateries that won’t break the bank. It’s best to have an empty stomach and explore the variety of cuisines. You are bound to be back for more.
15-16 School Street, Tai Hang, 2750 6490, zanzo.hk
This small industrial-looking sake bar sets the mood with its dark colour scheme, wood accents on the chairs and tables and spot lighting.
The focus is on the bar located in the middle. Bottles are stacked above the bar, with seating there and tables around the room.
While Zanzo claims to be a sake bar, it only offers a select number of lesser-known sake. Its signature blend (HK$280) is refreshing and dry. Meanwhile, the Jyokigen Rennyonohakusui Ginjo Namshu (HK$280) has sweet floral notes and a clean finish.
An easy-drinking cocktail is the Yuzu Gonna Love This, with yuzu, midori, lemon juice and soda water (HK$75).
The menu features izakaya dishes such as skewers of crunchy grilled chicken cartilage (HK$30) and snapper sashimi with spiced radish and ponzu vinaigrette (HK$75). The BBQ Australian wagyu beef chimmichurri salad (HK$70) had a good kick.
Spiced obaro konbu and nori (HK$20) are wafer-thin sticks that are good accompaniments for the drinks.
We particularly enjoyed the crispy wasabi prawns with mango salsa (HK$60) and the charcoal vegetables (HK$45) that look black from the squid ink batter. The highlight was the grilled wagyu beef with hot spring egg on nishiki rice (HK$65) that was flavourful.
For dessert, the mini-mochi with fruit (HK$50) is too small and delicious to share. Bernice Chan
2 C’EST LA B
G/F, 110-114 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang, 2806 8168. msbscakery.hk
With its butterfly covered ceiling and whimsical teapot-shaped lamps, entering Bonnae Gokson's c'est la B is bit like falling into Alice's rabbit hole. The culinary adventure continues with the creative and colourful selection of sweet and savoury treats, ranging from wasabi-flavoured popcorn to a "golden" mango mousse. But given the wonderland-like surroundings, it's hard to pass up Gokson's signature afternoon tea (HK$380 for two), with its airy cakes, creamy mousses and rainbow-coloured sandwiches. Other must-try dishes include the beef pot pie (HK$125) with its light and flaky crust, not to mention juicy chunks of beef, carrots and Portobello mushrooms in a soupy tomato base. Everything at C'est la B is so exquisitely presented it's almost a shame to eat it but, in the end, you'll be glad you did. Tama Lung
3 LAB MADE
6 Brown Street, Tai Hang, 2670 0071, labmade.com.hk
Ice cream here is made fresh - with several KitchenAid mixers combining ingredients with liquid nitrogen in front of the shop window, enticing passersby to see what the fuss is about. At weekends there are long queues, but many find it worth the wait, thanks to the creative flavours offered, such as apple crumble, Hong Kong crispy toast, mooncake, sticky toffee pudding and strawberry cheesecake. The flavours change weekly, thus ensuring customers come back regularly. Prices start from HK$39. Bernice Chan
4 THE SOCIALHOUSE
12-13 Shepherd Street, Tai Hang, 2808 2638
Chef and owner Ken Fung presents modern French and Italian cuisine in a hip interior that’s cosy and laid-back with dark wood flooring and tables. The menu features hearty, gourmet, comfort-food dishes, such as foie gras mac ‘n’ cheese, pork belly with roasted purple mash potatoes, and roasted quail lemon cream risotto, featuring spicy chorizo sausages with lemon-scented Arborio rice. Save room for desserts, such as wasabi cheesecake and lemongrass tart. There is also a premium wine selection to complement the meal.
5 HAMAYAKI TAISHO
8 King Street, Tai Hang, 2895 5000
The delicious, sweet smell of seafood cooked over a hot grill beckons potential diners to check it out. The interior is minimalist, with simple wooden tables and stools made from old plastic crates. Check out the menu on the wall and wait for the mini grills to be placed in front of you. There’s no need to cook with trained servers looking after the grill. The set menu for two comes highly recommended, as does the crab roe mixed with a raw quail egg. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and food with beer or sake.
6 CAFÉ LOCOMOTIVE
11 Wun Sha Street, Tai Hang, 2882 8227, cafelocomotive.com
Flavourful Vietnamese fare is served here, with its pho - long-simmering beef broth made with bones and spices - famous among diners. There are various pho to sample, such as the signature rice noodle soup with beef, shredded chicken, Vietnamese sausage or pork liver and beef. House specials include crab cooked in various ways, chicken or beef brisket curry pot, and braised duck in tamarind sauce. Appetisers include steamed rice paper rolls, prawn and pomelo salad, and spicy quail. Save room for desserts, which include Western and Asian delights such as affogatto, cheesecake, lemongrass jelly with fruit, and ginger lemon crème brûlée.
G/F, 7 Wun Sha Street, Tai Hang, 2881 8287, mmm-hk.com
This restaurant offers delicious pasta and pizza to eat in or take out. Starters include San Daniele ham, aged 14 months, with “Lorenzini Naturamica” melon, slowcooked egg with wild mushrooms; potato purée and black truffle sauce; and for pastas there’s home-made ravioli stuffed with fresh burata in guinea fowl meat sauce, spaghetti with clams, parsley, garlic and chilli, and linguine with prawns, lemon, orange zest and lobster sauce. There are eight thin-crust pizzas to choose from, such as quattro formaggi, margherita, rucola and pescatora (seafood). For a healthier meal, porcini and pancetta are offered in wholewheat.
8 MAN SING
16 Wun Sha Street, Tai Hang, 2576 7272
This restaurant is one of the oldest and most popular in Tai Hang. When the weather is not too hot, it’s best to sit outside. The food here is raved about with the musthave signature steamed minced pork with a salty egg yolk drizzled with soy sauce, which is piled up instead of served like a cake. Other dishes are the char siu and “saliva” chicken – steamed chicken on a bed of thick glass noodles and crispy lettuce. Prices are relatively inexpensive. Your fellow diners might be a few Cantopop stars dropping by for a bite, including crooner Eason Chan.