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Wednesday 24 June 2015

HK Mouse: My Hong Kong

Six and a half years ago I flew 5,995 around the world to do a two year stint on a skyscrapered rock in the middle of the South China Sea. With just a couple of suitcases and virtually no idea of what my new life would be like, I was more than a little apprehensive. 

Fast forward a few years,and I'm now settled, happy and very nearly a Hong Kong permanent resident. I still love London and miss friends, family, decent TV and of course, Middle & Mini, but Hong Kong holds a very special place in my heart and is, right now, most definitely home. 
So much so in fact, that when Expat Living asked me some questions about my favourite things about my adopted neighbourhood they could barely shut me up. Here's a snippet of what I had to say...
What street do you live on?
Chancery Lane.
Closest MTR station?
How long have you lived here?
Just over two years.
Why here?
I first walked along Chancery Lane just after I moved to Hong Kong, around six years ago. I was on my way to Pure Yoga and decided that this would be my ideal place to live in the city – a peaceful little pedestrian street, slap bang in the middle of Central. A few years later after spending three months looking for a new flat, my estate agent (Naomi at Nest Property) called to say she had the perfect flat for me; when I discovered it was on Chancery Lane, I knew it was meant to be!
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is:
Cranes and scaffolding peeking above the brick wall that used to surround Victoria Prison. The former Central Police Headquarters just in front of Chancery Lane is in the process of being converted into an arts and retail complex which should finally open next year.

The closest store to your front door is:
Lok Man Rare Books – a tranquil bookworm’s paradise crammed full of first editions and an eclectic collection of rare and unusual tomes on any and every subject imaginable.
If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be:
Someone tiny (the flats are all shoebox-sized walk-ups along the street) who likes yoga just as much as spinning around a dance floor in a minute pair of gold hotpants. I guess it’s got to be Kylie.
You’d swap houses in a second with:
One of the owners of one of the stunning properties on the Shek O headland.
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are:
Too many to mention, but numbering among my current faves are:
On Caine, for day-to-day essentials: Pacific Gourmet for organic fish and meat; Il Bel Paese for Italian wines, cheeses and cured meats; and Eric Keyser for the best French bread in the city plus my nemesis, freshly baked cherry and pistachio financiers.

For a long lazy brunch, Posto Pubblico on Elgin, or if it’s cool enough for a Bloody Mary or two alfresco, the terrace at Aberdeen Street Social.
Places that make my credit card weep: Edit (67 Hollywood Road), Christian Louboutin (10-12 Wyndham Street) and Joyce Beauty (Queen’s Road Central).
Come nightfall, I love informal dinners and strong cocktails at Yardbird on Bridges Street and 121BC on Peel Street, late night drinks at Wyndham The 4th, Stockton and Salon Number 10. If you’re up for further debauchery, head for a midnight feast at notoriously tricky-to-find 001, tucked behind an anonymous black door in the wet market; believe me, their grilled cheese sandwich washed down with the perfect Earl Grey martini more than compensates for managing to hunt this speakeasy down.

The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:
The Diner on Arbuthnot Road, dangerously just a hop, skip and jump from my front door, and which serves up the best burgers in town and a sinfully enormous American breakfasts (think buttermilk bacon pancakes, breakfast burritos and Fat Elvis Waffles). And don’t get me started on the milkshakes – hello, Malted Malteser Milkshake; delicious in a cup and truly worth every last calorie!
Why should your neighborhood be featured in a guidebook?
It generally does feature in guidebooks in some way or another, though I think people should focus less on following the well-trodden tourist route around Central, and instead just wander down random alleyways and windy back streets keeping their eyes peeled. In Hong Kong, you’re just as likely to stumble upon a creaky old antique shop selling priceless relics, as you are to uncover a day old molecular mixology joint that even the most in-the-know HKers haven’t cottoned on to yet.
Read the rest of the piece over on Expat Living!

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