23 Mar 2024 By May Ng

Wan Chai’s Historic Woo Cheong Pawn Shop Transforms into “Sophia Loren House” – A Beacon of “la dolce vita”

Beloved Johnston Road icon reawakening more glamorous than ever – as ‘one stop’ Neapolitan dining and entertainment destination embracing four concepts

In an enchanting blend of history, culture, and gastronomic excellence, Wan Chai’s beloved Woo Cheong Pawn Shop is set to embark on a new journey as “Sophia Loren House.” This vibrant four-storey icon, renowned for its traditional veranda façade on Johnston Road, is being reborn in the spirit of the fun-loving “la dolce vita,” celebrated in Rome during the 1960s and 70s and immortalized by film director Federico Fellini.

Formerly housing the modern British restaurant The Pawn and Neapolitan pasticceria Crust, the building is undergoing a transformation, paying homage to the legendary actress Sophia Loren. Scheduled for a grand reopening in mid-April, Sophia Loren House is set to dazzle with its glamorous reinvention, featuring four distinct dining and entertainment concepts spread across its several floors, marking a significant milestone in Hong Kong’s gastronomic scene.

Sophia Loren House not only revives a historic landmark but also introduces a new chapter of culinary and entertainment excellence in Hong Kong, promising an unforgettable journey through the very essence of “la dolce vita.”

Sophia Loren House joins the Sophia Loren Restaurant brand, inaugurated by the actress with her first namesake restaurant in collaboration with Neapolitan entrepreneur and politician Luciano Cimmino in Florence in 2021. The brand has since expanded to Milan, Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, and the southern Italian port of Bari.

Hong Kong’s Sophia Loren House is the first international footprint for the brand and is styled by Italian architect and designer Ivo Maria Redaelli, who also designed the four Sophia Loren Restaurants in Italy (sophialorenrestaurant.com).

Sophia Loren says: “In my life I have had many passions and one of them is undoubtedly food. No director has ever managed to put me on a diet – and the hours I spent in the kitchen kneading, frying, baking and browning were among the happiest of my life.

“When they asked to open a chain of restaurants in my honour, I was happy to consent to this wonderful adventure and proud to be part of a team of talented Neapolitans who wish to export the “veracity” of Neapolitan cuisine to the world.”