By JESSICA YU
Tucked away on a little street in Shek Tong Tsui, on the northwest side of Hong Kong island, is one of the city's more serendipitous finds: Walking into underground café Les Boules is like walking out of south China and into a French neighborhood picnic party. The sounds of live harmonicas, piano music and French murmurs lure you in, and the petanque courts will keep you there.
Les Boules isn't a place for fancy pants or Jimmy Choos—competitive spirits (sometimes enhanced by liquid ones) will soon have you kicking up clouds of dust as you run down the petanque lanes, wielding a measuring tape to argue over whose ball is a fraction of a centimeter closer.
In between rounds of petanque (the first hour costs 80 Hong Kong dollars a person, or about US$10; the second hour is HK$40 a person), engage in some banter over a plate of saucisson (HK$50)—a variety of French sausage—and (mais oui!) a bottle of wine (HK$50 a glass) or perhaps pastis (HK$40 a glass).
Underscoring the quirky, laid-back nature of the place, Les Boules opens at 3:15 p.m.
18 Woo Hop St., Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong. Tel: 2872 -0102
Open Tuesdays to Sundays, 3:15 p.m. to 11 p.m.