Artisan Garden Cafe
23 Po Tuck St, Sai Wan, Hong Kong
+852 2548 3261
Wander down the alleyways and side streets of Shek Tong Tsui and, if you’re lucky, you may just stumble upon Artisan Garden Café. The first thing you’ll notice in this hidden gem of a cafe is the faded stencil sign reading ‘Let’s Get Lost’ tacked up on the red brick wall, spelling out a secret hideout for anyone who enters its doors.
Started by friends, Rensis Ho and Roger Lau, the Aussie-style cafe is a passion project born out of Rensis’ love for the cool urban coffee shops of Sydney and Melbourne and the desire to bring the same vibes to Hong Kong. Part of his plan involved picking hidden locations outside of the city centre, which led to the opening of the first cafe in Tin Hau in 2014. With the success of their debut project, the friends opened a second location in Shek Tong Tsui two years later.
Decorated with foliage, potted plants and an eclectic mix of vintage furniture and knick-knacks, Artisan Garden Café seems to have sprouted up on the spot, fitting seamlessly into the handful of boutique shops and cafes lining the streets of the sleepy neighbourhood. Rather than relying on heavy foot traffic, the cafe caters directly to the residents in the area, as well as visitors who seek out the hidden enclave for an escape from the hectic pace of city life.
Sink down into one of the plush armchairs or prop yourself up next to the wooden counter and start your day with a kick of caffeine, from the soothing ginger latte to a powerful espresso macchiato that’ll jolt you wide awake. For tea lovers, there’s a whole page dedicated to loose leaf teas such as orange cinnamon or chamomile with honey, as well as fresh-made iced tea that’s perfect for summer days.
Meanwhile, the all-day menu from Head Chef, Tom Fong, runs the cafe gamut, from gourmet cheeseburgers to avocado toast, to waffles and buttermilk fried chicken made with well-seasoned thigh meat, battered and cooked to crunchy perfection. Fluffy waffles also star in the tempting Strawberry Waffle Sandwich dessert, drizzled with homemade strawberry compote and topped with Madagascar vanilla ice cream.
The retro environment is scattered with treasures inspired by the owners’ travels around the world. The prized element is a wall that doubles as a gallery of vintage mugs, featuring Rensis’ collection of Fire King cups, which he started collecting back in New York. The unique collection should pique any antique fan’s interests, with some of the pieces completely out of stock around the world.
Whether it’s old souls interested in vintage decor, the hip and young creative-minded set, or families living in the area, the cafe is a welcome gathering spot for all, a true neighbourhood hidden gem untouched by Hong Kong’s commercial hustle and bustle. While the sign may spell ‘Let’s Get Lost’, if you’ve found Artisan Garden Café, you’ll realise you’re exactly where you want to be.