Why right now? Because Star Street businesses evolve fast, turnover is high all over Hong Kong, but here it seems faster still. This area is quite unique for Hong Kong tends to get more boutique independent restaurants and stores that unfortunately only last so long. Where is this neighborhood? At the very beginning of Queens Road East, the neighborhood winds through streets, named Star, Sun and Moon and one named St Francis Street. It is a small gentrified, residential and commercial area very close to the center of the action of Wan Chai. My current top ten favorites are:
- Eclectic Cool has an international range of home ware, giftware and furniture that is all bought with the fine curating eye of Joanne Pereira. Joanne is an interior designer who uses her store as a showcase for all of the things she loves. She travels all over looking for treasures and luckily finds many; full disclosure Joanne is a friend of mine but all gifts I have bought have been well received.
- Cocktail Jojo feels like your grandmother’s home if she was funky with tons of tastes. The owner chooses things he likes from all over the world, and it is hard to not find something you like, this is why I come here regularly for gifts for people of all ages. There is also a small café with teas and fresh fruit popsicles. The store is as offbeat as this area and it fits in perfectly.
- Kapok has two lifestyle stores in the sun street area. They have clothing, home ware and accessories. They are well known for introducing emerging brands into the Hong Kong retail market and carry some exclusively.
- Sonjia is an independent Hong Kong women’s clothing designer, who is one of my personal favorites. Her clothing is incredibly well crafted and priced as such. Each piece I own has both stood the test of time quality wise, and receives plenty of compliments for uniqueness.
- Henry Cuir sells finely crafted Italian leather goods. The leathers look best in the natural, deep tans and browns, which are vegetable dyed. The designs are simple because each piece is hand made, high quality and priced as such.
- Rokkaku Japanese Restaurant is one of my haunts. It is small and tucked away and it helps to reserve in advance, but they are nice to children. There are a lot of fancy sushi restaurants in Hong Kong but I have not found many casual, good sushi “joints.” They also have an excellent Sukiyaki special during the cold months.
- Chez Patrick Deli offers casual French food day and night. They run a brisk business from their takeout and sandwich counter, as there are many outdoor public tables in front of Pacific Place 3. They also have counter and table seating for their full menu and a small outdoor area. They get very crowded during work lunch, 1-2pm but at other times there is no need for reservations.
- J’Aime Bien Patisserie is a beautiful tiny, pastry shop offering cakes, desserts and ice creams. I am a bit addicted to all of their caramel confections. The individual deserts are displayed like jewels, and perfectly portioned to fill a sweet craving without leaving you stuffed. The pastries are special as is the experience of coming to the café.
- Amical has pastries, good coffees, a terrace and Wi-Fi. The coffee is organic, Farm Direct Cameroon coffee and it is delicious. Many people in the neighborhood work here and it is a great meeting place.
- Oolaa Petite is not so petite anymore, since moving it has a huge bar area for dining or drinking and a large dining room. It is open breakfast until late and has a menu that spans the world. They make most things well whether it is a burger, pasta, fajita or morning pastry and deserve credit for that. They are also completely amenable to people just coming in for a drink.
On weekends there are lots of outdoor festivals in the neighborhood, and on weekdays there is a steady stream of employees from Pacific Place 3 and residents. The area stretches east and continues to have more stores and some galleries and given the minimal car traffic it is a great area for a family to explore. Though small the area gives a feeling of escape from the grittier parts of the city and although possibly a gentrified view of Hong Kong, still urban just with a bit of polish.
Details: Eclectic Cool, 5 Sun Street, Open Daily, 10am -6pm; Cocktail Jojo, Ground Floor, 2 Moon Street, Open Daily 11am – 8pm; Kapok, 5 St Francis Yard and 3 Sun Street, open Monday – Saturday 11am – 8pm, Sunday 11am – 6pm; Sonjia, 2 Sun Street, Open Weekdays 10:30-7:30, Weekends 10am -5pm;Henry Cuir, 33 St. Francis Street, Open Daily 11am – 8pm; Rokkaku, 2866 8166, 6 Kwoon Ming Street, Open Daily, 11:30 – 3:30, 6 – 10pm; Chez Patrick Deli, 2527 1408, 3 Star Street, Open Weekdays, 10:30am – 11pm, Weekends 9:30am to 11pm; J’aime Bien Patisserie, 33 St Francis Street, Open Tuesday – Sunday 12pm -8pm; Amical, 1 Sun Street, 1st Floor, Open Daily (except Thursday) 10am-7pm; Oolaa Petite, 9 Star Street, Open Daily 7:30am – late.