Category Archives: Food & Drink

Excuse me, how much was that croissant?

Wanchai has recently been experiencing a bit of a battle of the bakeries (we’ll chat soon about the battle of the burger joints).

Not more than 5 years ago, there were only local bakeries selling their sweet breads. Then Passion made its debut and was a great hit with everyone looking for something more upmarket, like an authentic croissant (Not just rough folded in the shape of a croissant aka Swiss bakery… that was just disappointment in a paper bag) or a sourdough loaf. Kayser soon muscled in and now have two bakeries within 300 meters along Queens Road East.

Now, we have a several cafes and bakeries that serve baked goods and pastries… La Station, Le Pain Quotidien, Bakehouse and most recently Big Grains on Tai Wo street (turn left at Hang Seng bank on Johnston Road).

The price of the croissant has steadily risen at each new bakery. Originally $14 at Kayser, it’s now $16 at the new Passion and LPQ. Then $18 at Bakehouse and $23 for the classic at Big Grains.

All the bakeries appear very busy and are doing brisk business with clientele either dining in or taking away. Big Grains is the only bakery with no seating section so it’s like a traditional chinese bakery with a modernised display and selection.

At $27, you’re halfway to a meal deal at a local Hong Kong Cafe. Will one of these croissants be as satisfying?

Then there’s this strange bun called “chocolate soil” charming name.

A selection of creamy sweet treats in the refrigerated section.

A new take on the Swiss roll at traditional bakeries. More cream less sponge it looks like. Check out the price for a whole roll… that’s maybe 4-5x of what the traditional bakeries like ABC, Happy Cake, A1 bakeries charge. Is it really that good? Giving Japanese bakery Yoku Moku some competition..?

Who can forget cookies? These are ovo lacto vegetarian. So if you know of anyone who is on a restricted no-egg no-dairy diet, this would be the first bakery in Wanchai to cater to them 👍. Watch out for the nuts though, and sticker shock when paying the bill.

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The never ending queue of Kam’s Roast Goose

Have you heard about Kam’s Roast goose in Wanchai?

There’s a story of a family feud, arguments over intellectual property and a legal battle. Kam’s Roast Goose is the result of a split off.

This little restaurant in Wanchai that has seats that pack people in like sardines in a tin sees a never ending queue on weekends. Thinking of going at 2 or 3pm to skip the lunch crowd? Forget it, you’ll still be in the line for at least 30 minutes. Perhaps on a day of thunderstorms, that’ll be the time to go.

The location was expertly chosen. Facing the large, busy trunk of Hennessy road where traffic flow is a constant, The restaurant benefits from the wide sidewalk which allows people to queue 2-3 abreast and still provide space for pedestrians. The school occupying the adjacent plot completes the perfection of this lot as no other shops or restaurants complain about people blocking their frontage. The school entrance is on the other side and there isn’t any impedance to either party.

What about the food? I like everything but the goose. Somehow goose doesn’t really appeal to me… the meat is dark, on the dry side and in very small portions. I go for the siu yok, char siew and yao gai. Those dishes are excellent and you can takeaway at a very decent price.

When I went a few weekends ago to buy takeaway, I waited about 15 minutes (there were 3/4 people in the takeaway queue in front of me). A couple came along and asked the reception lady how long they would have to wait. “2 or 3 hours” she said without missing a beat. “Could be faster if people do drop out of the queue“.

If you can bear the wait and queue at the restaurant, bring a face mask because the fumes from the passing buses get really bad. It’s one of the worst stretches of bus fumes in Wan Chai.

Find your way to Kam’s Roast Goose.

The fat Japanese ramen chef is back on Tai Wong East Street

The ramen shop that we used to frequent on Amoy Street changed hands about a year and a half ago. The fat japanese chef with the cheerful smile was replaced by three not so fat local chefs who barely acknowledged any of the customers behind those thick vapour clouds of steaming broth. We went back once after a long while, the food was decent but the service unremarkable.

On my walk along Tai Wong East Street last week, I was noting all the new coffee shops that have sprouted up.. the hipster lifestyle choices are now increasing after the launch of BakeHouse (fantastic breads but the pretzel is best in HK). I suddenly see a new lantern hanging and saw that it was a ramen shop. Curious, I stopped to check out the menu.

Hello, long time no see” (said in Cantonese), it was the waitress I knew in the previous ramen shop. She still wore her glasses but not as heavily rimmed.

She said that their previous shop had been sold and now they opened this one on their own. I told her I’d come back to try it and that’s exactly what we did last Sunday.

We ordered two of the kamitora ramen and one black garlic oil ramen. SW commented that the black garlic oil ramen used to come with black coloured noodles as well… I suppose some things have changed.

Now, there’s no longer the order chit where you get to customise your noodle thickness or toppings. But you still help yourself to iced lemon water and the condiments like chilli powder at the table. The chilli beansprouts are now a side serving that you’ll have to order.

The bowls are tall and narrow based, I thought that the portions were a bit smaller than before but this didn’t really bother us. The slice of pork was decent sized and tender. Two pork meatballs replace the other slice of pork. I wasn’t a huge fan of the meatballs… a little small and gristly for me. Just help yourself to ice lemon water in jugs on the table (how very japanese) or order a soda from the fridge.

The wordings on the wet wipes are the most hilarious… see what I mean.

There’s ample space in the restaurant (open kitchen), but it’s mostly 2 person or bar seating. There’s only one area where they can 6 people as a group so this isn’t really a big group out sorta place. We brought our stroller and it was fine. Plenty of space for it during non-rush hour.

Overall it’s not bad and as I quite dislike having to queue for anything, this place is worth checking out. Look out for the red lantern as you cruise down Tai Wong East Street.

This blackboard with opening hours was placed indoors (yes, facing IN) when I went to eat there. I suggested to the chef that he place it outside so that clients could see when they are open or shut.

Marks and Spencer Food Store Opening Hours

Why don’t corporate websites publish their opening hours?

This morning rogue #1 requested clementines. She said: “I like the ones that are easy to peel and without seeds. Can you go to Marks and Spencer to buy them.”

Geez. Ok so rather than disappoint a four year old, I checked that the local fruit shops didn’t have anything similar (ok they had the Japanese Mikan version at twice the price) and hopped on a bus to the nearest M&S food hall.

I recalled that opening hours were later on Sundays and public holidays than the rest of the week but I couldn’t remember if it was 8am instead of 9am or 10am instead of 9am.

I looked up their website only to find this.

Hmm. Ok address yes but no opening hours. Urgh. Am I going to wait around for an hour or get there just on time?

It was 8.45am on a Sunday morning and I waited 17 minutes. The auto glass doors rolled open for me at 9.02am and two other waiting women (who arrived just after I did).

I picked up 3 packs of easy peelers and 1 pack of Satsumas at 49 HKD each. Three freshly baked croissants at 13 HKD each.

The clementines were a hit with the kids on our hike, I distributed them at the summit and the wonderful perfumed scent of small citrus fruits filled the air.

So now you know when the opening hours are for M&S in Queens Road East..!

New Japanese lunch spot on McGregor Street

After promising to have lunch together for at least 4 months, my friend PB and I finally agreed on a date.

“What are we having?” asked PB, “I can have anything.”

Since we went to Samsen on our last date, I thought we should try something new.

“A few options… new Thai place, new Japanese place, burger joint, fish n chip joint…”….”Pick one”.

Japanese it was. Full disclosure to her that I’d never been and was curious to check it out.

It’s one of these hole in the wall restaurants that does not make any effort to welcome you. The window panes are frosted so you can’t peer in, the menus are written in chinese (only an issue if you can’t read it) -and most of it is sushi or skewer based- but the restaurant goes through the effort of having an English name printed on the signboard. It’s called Silver House Japanese Restaurant (首庫居日本料理).

I remember seeing it on the launch day when a row of flowers lined the street in front of the restaurant and people stood on the pavement looking in. I thought it was all a bit odd as staff and presumably owners brought in large plastic bags of packed food and they sort of stood around consuming it. Shouldn’t a launch party have a bit more organisation to it than that? Anyway.

We got there promptly at noon when the restaurant had just opened and was completely empty. The waitress presented us with a lunch menu consisting of about 8 different sets and told us that the a -la-carte sushi and skewers wee only available for dinner.

We settled on sharing a quick seared salmon sushi bowl and an eel bowl.

First came the salad, a small but tasty portion, I forgot to take a photo.

Next came a simple miso soup.

Then the eel bowl arrived.

The eel tasted fine with the teriyaki sauce but the texture was a tad soft.

This salmon bowl was nicely done. I could definitely have this again.

Dessert finals, a small fruit palate cleanser. The melon was ripe, succulent and sweet. The grapes weren’t bad, but they definitely weren’t japanese 😉

The salmon set was $128 and the eel bowl was $88, very reasonable lunchtime prices.

The restaurant was full to maximum capacity when we left. Some fashionable types, some office types and some singles looking to tuck in alongside their mobile phone.

What’s the smell of Hong Kong Winter time? 

No, it’s not the smell of coal power stations…although quite often that’s what it smells like in Hong Kong on polluted winter days.

Walking across the traffic crossing towards Wan Chai MTR, a wonderful scent of roasted chestnuts filled my nostrils. It’s winter time!

Yum yum. I haven’t had any yet… but I’m sure these ladies will be somewhere around here as long as no buskers get the spot first.

They are also often across the street by the Hang Seng bank.

Will New Life get a NEW LIFE?

5 Nov 2017: I was amazed to see that after a whole year of non starting, the vegetarian place Soul Food was getting a new signboard put up today. Apparently the vegetarian concept was not going to work (taste the veg place round the corner, it’s not very good in my opinion) and the management has now decided on New Life- Thai cuisine instead. Hmm.


I think this wall needs NEW PAINT.


The guy was still in process of taping the NEW SIGN on the corner.

Let’s see whether 2018 will be a time for them to finally launch and if the New Managers can make it a success.

Read this post to see what it was supposed to be.

Update 13th November: Looks like this sign was not up to standard and taken down again…