Hong Kong’s dining and entertainment hotspot since the 1990s has been located in Lan Kwai Fong and the SOHO neighborhoods in Central. Peel Street, at the western corner of SOHO, is no newcomer to the dining and entertainment scene, with the century-old Graham Street Market at the lower end of Peel Street. What has changed are the type of restaurants that line up along this incredibly steep slope.
Previously known for its calligraphy studios and Indian curry restaurants, the original tenants of this unique narrow street, stretching from the heart of Central to an elevated platform in the Mid-Levels, have long since departed, paving the way for more of the globe’s palate to all be tested (and tasted) in the heart of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s array of trendy international dining restaurants that dot Lan Kwai Fong and SOHO have continually moved further west, continually in search of more vibrant (and cheaper) premises. Just on Peel Street, a vague mix of (often pseudo) Thai, Indian, Japanese, Peruvian, French, Vietnamese, Italian restaurants and even an artisan British tea bakery populate the lane.
Despite the relative modernization, other than the odd occasional glassy façade for restaurants or fashionable boutiques on street level, much of the rest of the street still remains relatively the same, with somewhat dilapidated three- and four-storied buildings still predominant, although there are impending plans by the Urban Renewal Authority to redevelop.
But in the meantime, click here to taste your way around the world at these 8 restaurants on Peel Street.
One of the first trendy restaurants to set up shop on Peel Street, Brunch Club provides a decent brunch option, often accompanied by a glass of wine or two. Popular on weekends as well as on weekdays the restaurant is also known for its reasonably priced offering of set-menu lunches that include a hearty pasta, seafood and risotto.
Vietnamese street food comes to a very vibrant and chaotic (yet exciting) venue, courtesy of Chef Peter Cuong Franklin. The small bites, served tapas style, are each a creative ode to heavenly Vietnamese cuisine, with highlights including the VFC (Vietnamese Fried Chicken), beef in betel leaf and spring rolls.
One of Hong Kong’s cheapest steakhouses, there is no a la carte menu at La Vache!, the Parisian-French inspired neighborhood brasserie. Instead, all diners order the green salad followed by steak frites served with homemade béarnaise sauce, for HK$258 not including 10% service charge (US$35). The dessert tray is optional, but with a slew of pies, highly recommended.
Other than the occasional Argentinean steakhouse and the TexMex/pseudo-Mexican restaurant, South American cuisine hasn’t kicked off in Hong Kong. Replacing an old favourite in French restaurant Chez Patrick was never going to be an easy task, Chica brings a sophisticated take on Peruvian cuisine to Hong Kong tables, with standouts featuring corvino and causa, a feast of seafood.
Tea Saloon By AnotherFineDay
Hong Kong, with a slew of high-end hotels leading the way, is famous for its tradition of afternoon tea. But Tea Saloon by AnotherFineDay provides a boutique twist on the tradition, with décor, furnishings, tableware and cutlery reminiscent of the Victoria-era. Of particular note is the Gentleman’s Tea, one of the only tea sets in the city providing more savory options than sweet.
BCN, standing for Barcelona, is another of the latest slew of Spanish restaurants opening in Hong Kong. With only 12 seats surrounding an open kitchen, it’s a small restaurant, but that makes it all the more intimate – at least when it comes to the diner/chef relationship. Chef Edgar Sanuy Barahona presents fairly classic Spanish food with a Barcelona-infused theme in its option of three dining sets, including Iberico ham croquettes, Andalusian gazpacho and Galician-style octopus.
Tangerine marries the concept of sizzling hot, fiery Thai food with tapas-style serving sizes, ideal for those wanting to try out as many dishes on the menu as is humanly possible. Classic Thai dishes such as minced pork served on fresh lettuce, pad Thai and mango sticky rice with coconut cream dessert make up the bulk of the menu.
As much a wine bar as a restaurant, this no frills osteria and enoteca serves up solid Italian fare such as fried calamari and grilled polenta that are ideal for sharing with friends, washed down with select Italian wines from their cellar.