Out & About in Hong Kong by Colleen MacSween

Hong  Kong is a veritable  treasure trove of experiences, particularly of the shopping and eating  variety.

The Ease Of Hong Kong:

Perhaps the best feeling for me about Hong Kong was the ease. Ease of  transport - metered cabs are cheap and can be trusted – a complaint to the  authorities is serious for them;   the trains run on time, regularly and pretty much everywhere. I didn’t  take one however we were told they are built in Newcastle, Australia and even  the time-saving and easy card-pay system is an Australian  device - ironic, since we don’t enjoy the same ease of transport in Oz!

An easiness of  walking through the streets - whether its 9am or 10pm, wandering through  Causeway Bay, Wan Chai and Central on Hong Kong Island felt completely safe.

An easiness of  transactions – most of the locals have a good grasp of English and if they  don’t they’ll get another involved to assist. And, we were very impressed with the cleanliness of surroundings and the courtesy of the  people.

The ‘new’ agnes b. Cafe:

agnes b. is a  French brand of clothing – the current range of contemporary classics offers  plenty of travel-smart options for tossing into the suitcase.  Both male and female wardrobes are  catered for, as well as a selection of handbags and a pretty agnes b.  fragrance. There are a  dozen agnes b. stores in Hong Kong.  However the branch on Paterson Street,  Causeway Bay (just around the  corner from The Park Lane hotel) has on the premises its own grille/café.

Take the stairs  from the fashion floor then part the curtains to reveal an intimate dining  room deliciously decked out with flocked walls of rich aqua, with black,  silver and mirrors highlighting the surroundings. It is an ideal  spot for taking a break from the Causeway Bay shopping experience, with a reviving  coffee and cake or a tasty French meal from the menu.

About four  blocks away is a dedicated restaurant/grille agnes b. (ie no fashion) - at the  top of Pennington  Street in the Causeway Bay area.  It was so pretty in the October/Autumn  afternoon and really seemed like it had been picked up in France and  dropped into its new home.

Soft sunlight  streams through the wrap-around windows, their lower portion encased in  billowy white café curtains. Classic patterned tiled floors and traditionally  styled wooden furnishings finish the visual effect.  Food is French, naturally, and there’s  a good selection of wines.  Great  for dinner or lunch.

Great Eateries:

If you’re after  international fare with ‘on high’ views, the Park Lane’s  27th floor Riva Restaurant offers a panorama of the harbour and  Victoria Park with its more up-market high rises.  Offerings include a very satisfying  buffet spread of appetisers and desserts (the bread & butter pudding with  vanilla sauce was particularly nice) - at good value.

Friends who visit ‘Honkers’ more regularly swear that The Watermark restaurant near the Star Ferry at Central (on Hong Kong island) is the  best hands-down for harbour-front fine fare. Try the Tuna Carpaccio – spectacular  to see and to eat!  With wonderful  food, a 270 degree view of Victoria Harbour, a translucent high ceiling that  illuminates the room naturally and an open air deck, its all-round a top  spot.

Lastly, two  shopping pointers:

A great  bargain-hunter-with-style’s destination is the Pedder Building on Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong island.   Quality fashion brands are available at good discounts (although in a  number of stores the labels have been cut so one just presumes the brand is  good by the quality of the make, fabric and style).

Prescription eyewear is also a good purchase in Hong Kong – around half the price of  similar in Australia. We found the Star  Optical Company (at 1 Paterson  Street, Causeway Bay) to be expedient, helpful and you  get what you ask for. Take your prescription with you – and ask for Albert or  Frankie.

Colleen MacSween is the co-director and co -founder of The Image Bureau Pty Ltd., a  Media & Marketing Communications company.  Phone + 61 2 9387 7737

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