You’re Not a Hong Kong Hipster Until You’ve Tried These 9 Star Street Restaurants
Once upon a time, Star Street was one of the grittiest neighbourhoods in Wan Chai. However, decades of disregard from developers allowed the neighbourhood to avoid the high-rise frenzy that engulfed the rest of the district, leaving it pedestrian-friendly and shady in the good, tree-lined way. In recent years, some of Hong Kong’s hippest spots for eating and drinking have opened here, bringing good vibes and just enough edginess to make it an adventure. Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw from Pacific Place – perfect for a sneaky lil afternoon drinkie, before heading back up!
1. 22 Ships
22 Ships is headed by the Michelin-starred British chef Jason Atherton, a protege of both El Bulli and the Gordon Ramsay Group. You might expect a highbrow ambience to go with those lofty names, but 22 Ships is designed from the ground-up to be as cosy and inviting as a buzzy tapas bar can be, from the communal tables to the brief, maneuverable menu. The highlights of that menu are French-inflected comfort foods like foie gras burgers and fried eggs with duck confit, all sized for sharing — if you’re feeling generous.
22 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Le Garcon Saigon hearkens back to Vietnam’s French era, when the capital city was called “The Paris of the Orient.” Many Vietnamese classics were born during that era, including banh mi, which here comes stuffed with housemade charcuterie. It’s all a little pricier than your typical Vietnamese joint, but the 5-7 happy hour — here called “L’Heure Saigon” — is a crazy good deal: free-flowing beer plus bar bites for $100.
12 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
In the Venetian dialect, ciacoe translates to “gossip,” which is what the owners will hope you’ll do about the little piece of Italy they’ve built in their Star Street restaurant. A nice idea, but you’re more likely to want to keep it a secret. Italian expats flock here from 5:30 to 8 to partake in a much-missed tradition: the free aperitivo. To do as the Romans do, you order a light drink — maybe an Aperol Spritz — and help yourself to free bites, including imported Italian cheeses and charcuterie.
1A Moon Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
The burnished leather and blackened iron that deck out this Sun Street bar evoke a well-worn bar way down in New Orleans. The menu is a crash course in Nawlins classics, from blue crab remoulade to bananas foster beignets. Sadly, though, Sun Street isn’t really on the bayou, so they often sell out of their signature crabs and prawns. Make sure to call ahead if you’re set on getting some.
4 Sun Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Real-life French chef Patrick Goubier has three HK spots, but his Star Street restaurant is his first and most beloved baby. The interior is patterned after the je ne sais quoi chicness of a Parisian apartment, and the food’s not far off from what your imaginary Parisian buddies might serve you at a casual dinner party: steak frites, croque monsieur, and all the other classics you learned how to say in French 101. It’s also a chill spot for an apéro, the traditional French after-work unwinding session. Order up a plate of cheeses and charcuteries, choose a bottle from their well-curated list, and relax.
3 Star Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
The name of this restaurant — French for “oh, delish!” — is just the phrase you’ll want when you try your first bite of their authentically Gallic galettes (savoury) and crepes (sweet). The crepes are the star of the show, but they also serve a survey course of all the rest of France’s carb-loaded delights, from open-faced tartine sandwiches to the requisite croque madame. There’s even a nice selection of Franco-Italian pastas with toppings like scallop ratatouille and French ham.
2 Landale Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Ted’s is aptly named — you’ll need to keep a sharp lookout if you’re going to find this place in its residential corner of Moon Street. Foodies in the know find it anyway, drawn by the promise of authentic Tex-Mex tacos, plus just-Tex burgers and fries. With tacos so good, you can expect there’ll be tequila to match. They’re printed front and center on a drinks menu that also covers everything from Portuguese cachaca to “Brooklyn” juleps.
G/F, Moonful Court, No. 17A Moon Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
8. Brass Spoon
This buzzy eatery got a mention in the 2017 Michelin guide, which praised the space for recreating “the feeling you get when you come across a little ramen shop in Tokyo.” Of course, the French-Vietnamese chef here is slinging not ramen but an aromatic, refined version of his native pho. The menu lets you customize your bowl right down to the amount of beef oil drizzled on top. You’re going to have to queue up early if you want a taste — they take just 120 orders and then close up shop, whether or not you’ve been waiting for an hour.
10 Pottinger Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
April 2018 Update: Beef & Liberty's Wan Chai location has now closed
The journey to this burger bar might seem a little sketchy: you walk into a chain pizza place and head up an unmarked lift. You’ll just have to trust that no one’s going to steal your kidneys. Anyway, why would they want them when they have access to the best of Scottish Longhorn meat? The chefs grind the beef in-house and top it with authentically British ingredients like Tiptree ketchup and rashers of bacon. Don’t miss the Instagrammable skillet cookie, which gets anointed with sensual “lashings of thick cream” at-table.
23 Wing Fung Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong