Craving a dining experience away from the crowds? Head over to one of these cafes and restaurants in industrial buildings for a stimulating culinary fix.
For those of you who are tired of splurging on champagne at the best brunches in Hong Kong and indulging in afternoon teas at fancy hotels, it’s time to look beyond SoHo and shopping malls for dining experiences with a spin. The revitalisation of industrial buildings around the city has breathed new life into many once-forgotten factories, offering a home to a range of quirky cafes and restaurants that ooze character. Reaching them often involves climbing a few flights of stairs or riding in an old-school elevator, but dining at these restaurants in industrial buildings will be worth it. We promise!
Hop on the time machine and travel to Scoool, a Taiwanese restaurant that nods to the high school nostalgia that would always hold a place in our heart. Enter the eatery and you will be surrounded by plenty of smile-inducing features, such as a door sign that says ‘counsellor’s office’, vibrant table lamps, vintage TV and a bookshelf filled with comic books. Dive into heartwarming Taiwanese comfort dishes, such as beef noodles, braised pork on rice, deep-fried chicken to name a few, all served in nostalgic wooden trays reminiscent of high school canteen setting. When it comes to restaurants in industrial buildings, this is one of the coolest.
Scoool, Flat C, 1/F, Mai Hing Industrial Building Block A, 18 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, p. 3188 2380, 觀塘興業街18號美興工業大廈A座1樓C室
2. Wabi Sabi Coffee
Wabi sabi, an ancient Japanese philosophy that celebrates beauty in what’s natural and imperfect, is at the core of the dining concept of the understated cafe that boasts minimalism and traditional Japanese aesthetics. For those of you who yearn for an authentic Japanese dining experience, settle in the washitsu area. Instead of matcha, you can sip on cold drip coffee and pour-over coffee, as well as enjoy all day breakfasts, sandwiches and pasta dishes.
Wabi Sabi Coffee, Room C, 4/F, Everest Industrial Centre, 396 Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, p. 2511 1929, 觀塘觀塘道396號毅力工業中心4樓C室
While Nutmad doesn’t actually specialise in nuts, we’re certainly going nuts for its wonderful dishes and coffee. Opt between sandwiches, pasta and risotto, or try the signature meat dishes, including grilled flat iron steak and sous vide Iberico pork rack, both sprinkled with the restaurant’s special coffee seasoning. Nutmad also hosts workshops for budding baristas and latte artists from time to time, so stay tuned for its events!
Nutmad, Shop C, 9/F, Everest Industrial Centre, 396 Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, p. 2254 8268, 觀塘觀塘道396號毅力工業中心9樓C號舖
4. Home Kitchen
The name Camel Paint Building may sound a little funny, but the cafes and restaurants in this industrial building are no joke—Home Kitchen being one of them. Specialising in slow cooking, Home Kitchen provides four to five slow-cooked rice bowls everyday. Ingredients usually include beef, pork, chicken and salmon, with the most popular dish being the slow-cooked and torched flank steak, served with rice and vegetable soup. In addition, there are cold and hot soba noodles, udon and light bites, too.
Home Kitchen has two locations in Kwun Tong.
5. Bro’s Cuisine
Opened by real-life brothers Rocky and Florey, Bro’s Cuisine is a relatively low-key restaurant and the ideal place to go for a quiet and romantic night out. The brothers used to lead a dessert production line and a hotel’s kitchen respectively, but they have chosen to take a leap and create their own business together instead. Support these talented chefs by trying their most popular dishes, including the oven-baked escargots and crabmeat wonton in black truffle cream sauce.
Bro’s Cuisine, Shop 13, 2/F, Shing Yip Industrial Building, 19-21 Shing Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, p. 5703 4413, 觀塘成業街19-21號成業工業大廈2樓13室
6. Doctor Beans
Taiwanese cuisine has been all the rage lately in the city. Hop on the bandwagon by heading to Doctor Beans, a Taiwanese restaurant now in two industrial buildings in Hong Kong. While Doctor Beans began with only braised pork rice on its menu, it has since expanded to having all kinds of Taiwanese dishes and drinks, including popcorn chicken, dried mixed noodles, bubble tea, and more. Its signature beef noodles are said to be one of the best in Hong Kong, as the broth is made from beef tendon, Chinese medicinal herbs, broad bean sauce, and other ingredients for over eight hours—mmm, sounds super hearty.
Doctor Beans has two locations in Kwun Tong.
7. Non Kitchen
Kwun Tong is an absolute gem when it comes to affordable fine dining, and Non Kitchen is simply one of the best at offering exactly that. Aside from a variety of Western plates, like pasta, pizza, and meats, Non Kitchen has a semi-buffet salad bar where you can enjoy some fresh and tasty greens. To pair, dig into the 10oz striploin steak, which is made from premium U.S. Angus beef and chargrilled to perfection. Finally, wrap up your meal with a scrumptious chocolate lava cake.
Non Kitchen, 1/F, Gemmy Factory Building, 12 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, p. 2783 0313, 觀塘鴻圖道12精棉工業大廈1樓
HOW (relocated to K11 Musea)
Enter HOW and you will be impressed by the light-filled and airy space that is cleverly divided into a dining area and a shop that boasts an array of wooden furniture and design-driven products. The kitchen serves a range of tantalising Japanese fusion dishes, such as Japanese-style pan-fried chicken cartilage dumplings and Japanese Wagyu beef burger. Make sure you check out its terrace, a cool corner for Instagram-worthy shots, thanks to its modest wooden décor, picture-perfect plants and sleek skyscraper backdrop.
HOW, Block AB, 3/F, How Ming Factory Building, 99 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, p. 2805 1708, 觀塘觀塘巧明街99號巧明工廠大廈3樓AB座
Artichoke Canteen (closed)
Step inside Artichoke Canteen in Ap Lei Chau and you’ll immediately feel at home. Featuring lots of wood elements, cushions and an outdoor terrace, this is the perfect spot to unwind after a long week at work and forget about life for awhile. Serving a range of international cuisine such as pizza, pasta, and a selection of sandwiches, be sure to grab a good bottle of wine from their menu as you sit down to enjoy.
Artichoke Canteen, Room 311, 3/F, Harbour Industrial Centre, 10 Lee Hing Street, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong, p. 2580 0293, 鴨脷洲利興街10號港灣工貿中心3樓311室
Spoon & Bowl (closed)
Looking for a quality afternoon tea in town that doesn’t hurt your wallet or involve a long queue? Spoon & Bowl will be a dream-come-true for you. Known for its nostalgic brick walls, classy chandeliers, plush white sofas and ongoing art exhibitions, this restaurant is a tranquil haven with an artistic flair. Their matcha afternoon tea set, priced at only $258 (for two), has earned plenty of thumbs up from various media and bloggers. As a collaboration with the 140-year-old Japanese teahouse Maruyasu Tea Co., this handsome set includes various well-executed sweet and savoury treats, such as Fujiyama Matcha Cheesecake, matcha red bean mousse and deep-fried chicken drumsticks.
Spoon & Bowl, M/F, Prosperity Industrial Building, 89 Wai Yip Street, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong, p. 3421 1944, 九龍灣偉業街89號昌興工業大廈閣樓
I’s Land Café (closed)
Spanning 4,000 sq-ft, this forest-themed restaurant is a serene urban jungle – think indoor climbing plants, ubiquitous potted plants, abundant natural light and earth-tone furniture. Instagrammers can go for the afternoon tea set served in a birdcage, offering delightful treats such as Hokkaido 3.6 milk pudding, mango cheesecake and Japanese-style shrimp salad. Other highlights on the menu include angel hair pasta with Hiroshima oyster and seared sea bass with lemon butter sauce.
I’s Land Café, Shop A, 6/F, Block 1, Camel Paint Building, 62 Hoi Yuen Road, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, p. 5307 3636, 觀塘開源道62號駱駝漆大廈六樓A室