The Tatler Guide To Tai Kwun: Where To Eat, Drink And Shop
Since opening in 2018 after its eight-year HK$3.8 billion renovation project, Tai Kwun's popularity is yet to dim. Once a colonial-era Central Police Station, the revamped Centre for Heritage and Arts is now a hub for not only culture vultures checking out the latest art openings and exhibitions, but also for those looking for everything from dim sum brunches, to after work drinks, Michelin-star meals and boutique shops.
While many of the eateries and shops housed inside Tai Kwun have been open since day one, over the last year, new openings have breathed even more new life into the space. So, once you're done taking in the history, be sure to drop by one or two of these restaurants, bars and shops on your next visit.
Restaurants & Cafes
Open since 2018, and awarded a Michelin star in 2020, Aaharn brings a unique and modern interpretation of Thai cuisine to Tai Kwun. Helmed by internationally celebrated chef David Thompson, the menu features elevated dishes that stay true to its roots using only the best quality ingredients, including fresh Thai herbs and vegetables brought in directly from Thailand daily.
Expect dishes such as coconut and turmeric curry of snow crab; stir-fried Wagyu beef with cumin, onions and chillies; and white turmeric salad with scallops and green mango. All main dishes are served family-style with steamed Thai jasmine rice, with the restaurant’s wine and cocktail selection carefully crafted to complement the Thai flavours. Wine pairings are also available.
Shop 02-1/F, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, aaharn.hk
Found in the space previously home to Old Bailey in the JC Contemporary arts building, Between Coffee aims to bring both great art and great coffee to life. While seasoned baristas craft their own signature blends, coffee cocktails and wellness beverages, Between also serves a menu of modern Japanese café dishes––namely Instagrammable sandos, which are available with fillings such as Japanese strawberries and cream, fresh figs and cream cheese, shrimp cutlet and avocado and more.
Shop 20-2/F, JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, between.coffee
LockCha Tea House
If you’re looking for a tranquil escape from Central, be sure to make a pit stop at LockCha Tea House. Not only can you explore the diverse world of tea as guided by Tea Master Ip Wing Chi, but also enjoy a selection of vegetarian dim sum.
While LockCha has other locations across Hong Kong, the Tai Kwun location is the only one which proudly serves its own brewed LockCha beers alongside its signature tea. Be sure to also stop by the LockCha Tea Shop next door.
Shop 01-G07, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, lockcha.com
See also: Tatler's Ultimate Guide To Vegetarian And Vegan Dining In Hong Kong
Madame Fù - Grand Café Chinois
One of the largest restaurant spaces within Tai Kwun, Madame Fù truly encapsulates east meets west in the beautifully restored colonial building. The six rooms range from the perfectly plush Pink Room, to the chic Grand Cafe and two sprawling verandahs adorned with velvet.
The menus largely focus on Cantonese cuisine, with selected signature dishes from the Northern provinces also featuring. Open for all occasions, Madame Fu serves lunch and afternoon tea, light bites, dinner, cocktails and an indulgent weekend brunch.
Shop 03-3/F, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, madamefu.com.hk
Bringing a taste of the Med to the heart of Hong Kong, Pazta serves an array of traditional Italian favourites, alongside a selection of wines, cocktails and coffees. The menu has been created for sharing, and features a selection of appetisers, salads, pasta dishes and main courses––along with smaller plates and snacks to be enjoyed with your happy hour drinks on the open terrace.
Shop 03-G08, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, pazta.hk
Perched on the second floor of the colonial-era old Police Headquarters Building in Tai Kwun, Statement previously served a menu of traditional and sophisticated British fare, but in recent months, the space has instead been hosting a number of pop-ups from Aqua Restaurant Groups' international roster. The end of 2020 and early 2021 saw London’s aqua nueva take over, while since April, Statement has been transformed into aqua kyoto, serving a range of modern Japanese dishes. True to form, guests can still enjoy afternoon tea coupled with Ruinart champagne from Thursday to Sunday, 3pm to 5pm.
Shop 01-1/F, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, statement.com.hk
The Chinese Library
A second aqua restaurant found inside Tai Kwun, The Chinese Library is located on the top floor of the old Police Headquarters and serves an array of classic Chinese fare, which have been executed with the artistry of a skilled Chinese chef, with just a touch of a modern revamp from Western influences. Signature dishes include chrysanthemum 'thousand cut' silken tofu in chicken broth; laksa xiao long bao; and “The Golden Lion”––deep-fried whole mandarin fish.
Shop 01-1/F, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, chineselibrary.com.hk
Enjoying a prime position on the ground floor of the Armoury Building overlooking Tai Kwun’s bustling courtyard, Armoury Terrace has become a favourite for after work drinks. Alongside a range of wines, beers and cocktails, keep hunger at bay with a selection of modern Thai bar snacks––courtesy of the Aaharn kitchen team located upstairs from the bar.
Shop 02-G/F, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, facebook.com/ArmouryTerrace
Hidden inside Tai Kwun in the old Superintendent’s House you can find Dragonfly, one of Hong Kong’s most Instagrammable bars. Designed by the famed Ashley Sutton, the cocktail lounge's intricately designed ceiling featuring countless green lamps were inspired by Louis Tiffany’s classic stained glass artworks. Aside from the decor, drinks on offer are as equally eye-catching, with guests able to choose from the likes of the Dragon’s Pearls, with floral gin, brandy, creme de cassis and jasmine milk tea; the Firefly with vodka, cardamom and arugula syrup, apricot liqueur, lime and prosecco and more.
Shop 10&13-G01, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, sandshospitality.com
Although a separate establishment from the two aqua restaurants (The Chinese Library and Statement) found inside Tai Kwun, The Dispensary bar is nestled in between the two, serving a menu of both British and Chinese inspired drinks. After a busy day, take in the views with a cocktail in hand––we recommend the Opium Old Fashioned, or the Maximum Sentence, The Dispensary’s take on a classic martini.
Shop 01-1/F, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, instagram.com/thedispensaryhk
Bonart’s space in Tai Kwun provides a range of workshops for those who love to enjoy––and make––art. Though specialising in workshops allowing you to make your own terrarium, along with the store stocking everything you need to make your own at home, there are other workshops on offer including candle making, Chinese calligraphy and pressed flower making, as well as special seasonal classes at Christmas.
Shop 03-204A, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, bonart-hk.com
Hexadoor features a collection of pieces from six local Hong Kong designers. Products stocked include everything from fashion and accessories to jewellery, eyewear and more.
Shop 03-102, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, facebook.com/hexadoorhk
Offering a range of colourful and contemporary ceramic pieces and homewares, Loveramics is your one-stop-shop for everything from coordinating tableware and kitchen prep tools to coffee making equipment. Although an international brand, we love the distinctly Asian feel of the blue and white Willow Love Story print, with the shop also stocking a range of iconic Hong Kong-inspired tea towels, napkins and more form local brand Zest of Asia.
Shop 03-104, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, loveramics.com
Phoenix Sweets is a bespoke cake brand, offering made-to-order cakes and baked confectioneries for weddings, business events and all kinds of celebrations. The stunning cakes not only look too good to eat, adorned with quirky cake toppers and pastel-hued frosting, but all of the artisan cakes are made using only the finest ingredients.
Shop 03-205A, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, phoenixsweets.com
See also: Where To Find The Best Wedding Cakes In Hong Kong
Taschen is a leading art-book publisher known for its eye-catching array of coffee table books spanning architecture, art, design, fashion, photography, pop culture, style, and travel. The 1,300 square foot flagship in Tai Kwun was its first store in Asia and has been open since the cultural centre completed its renovations in 2018.
Shop 01-G02, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, taschen.com