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..!
Derek chose a beautiful autumn afternoon to launch his newly renovated shop selling imported meats and a few new accompanying products. He’s retained the same brand name Foodies Gourmet.
The space is a little smaller but he’s somehow managed to pack more into the fridges.
He had a wonderful spread of canapés which included German sausages, some caviar on a small vol-Au-vent, roast suckling pig, steamed chicken, smoked salmon on crackers and figs with various deli hams. Fresh juices quenched the thirst and made all the canapés taste better. Thanks for the delicious snacks Derek!
Derek is moving towards a delicatessen style of shop, he’s got the dried goods and some nice meats in cans and jars. The shop has a false wall behind it where their back kitchen sits. It’s too bad that we can’t see the sink and cutting table anymore, I rather enjoyed watching the sushi master (Derek) prep the salmon and wash his knife and boards… just gives you confidence in the cleanliness. Oh well.
I forgot to take photos of the canapés, but here are the meats and accompaniments he sells in his shop.
On the right as you enter are the dried goods.
On the left, he’s filled it wall to wall with freezers.
Then he’s got a small chest type freezer for the carbs.
And of course the chilled meats section where you can buy top grade Japanese beef, New Zealand lamb and Norwegian salmon.
Derek is super helpful and will marinade your meat for you with advanced notice, so that all you have to do is bung it in the oven or pan fry it to perfection.
He’s taking orders for his specialty, baby turkey for thanksgiving or Christmas. It takes 10 days advanced notice for best results. He’ll defrost it thoroughly and marinade it with his special seasoning and heat seal it all in a bag for you to take home.
I bought one last year, it fed 5 people and was perfect in the oven with Derek’s instructions. Tasty, tender and thoroughly recommended.
Update: it is now September and the ceramic shop lease has run out. They are no longer here. It is now a sock and towel shop for a few months!
As stores vacate their spaces due to rent or other business decisions, landlords keen to keep the space in use and tenanted seem able to lease them out for short periods of time. It’s almost like an Airbnb for retail.
The tenants rent by days til their goods are sold or by month until the landlord finds a long term tenant. It keeps the neighbourhood lively and interesting… there’s never a shop shuttered for too long.
Ceramic shops seem to do fairly well as pop up stores, fragile but non-perishable. Here’s one that appeared on Wan Chai road last month.
Matching sauce bowls and soup spoons. All in pretty patterns.
Chopstick rests and dipping bowls.
Mugs and other random household items.
Lots of plates and bowls.
Small soup bowls in various colours and prints.
Small dinner plates and heat tolerant dishes for baking.
More plates and bowls with lids for kids.
They also have plain white crockery.
Then I spied more appetiser dishes..
Suggested pairings for your dining set.
It looks pretty fun to mix and match your place settings! And not expensive either:)
It wasn’t long ago that my favourite flower shop left Wanchai and is now under renovation to become something else. The usual frenetic and unforgiving pace of commerce in Wan Chai due to escalating rental.
I came across a new florist shop last week along Queens Road East that looked more like a fashion designer store than a florist. Here are some photos, I spent a good 15 minutes browsing around.
Done in a simple but nice black and white full glass frame with an open door, the shop looks very inviting.
Nice clean concrete floors and layered black shelving help to showcase the plants and flowers for maximum effect. I like the recessed lighting and spotlights that match the shelves.
They do nice big bouquets if you’re looking to impress a date, but I’m sure they can fix something up for you on request.
The selection of potted plants is nice and healthy.
As do the orchids and succulents. There’s something to suit every table and counter top.
I love looking at Bonsai. They have a few beautiful ones right by the window. Wish I could have one but every Bonsai I’ve owned has perished so I think it’s just not my thing…
I picked up a card when I realised that I had met the sales lady before in the other flower shop that I like. Both ladies in the shop are super nice and very helpful without being intrusive. You really feel like you can talk to them about anything.
They also have some artificial flowers which look amazing. I was quite impressed. It is similar in quality (or perhaps better) to the big scale florist at Hopewell Center but this look a lot easier to scan and decide.
I am seriously considering these artificial greenery as the recent thunderstorms have killed off all my plants. 🤔
Yup, these white roses are also artificial but they fooled me until I realised there was no water in the vase.
Speaking of vases, they have a small selection.
And at the very back of the shop, a fridge for the fresh flowers.
If you have a particular plant/ flowers you’re looking for, do contact them by phone or email. I think they can source the plants if unavailable in the store.
Find Le D’or here. It’s a 5 minute walk from the Wan Chai MTR or catch any of the 6 buses, 15, 10, 109 or 113 and get off at Lun Fat Street.
The owner is an artist, don’t forget to stop and admire the two intricate paintings by the entrance of the shop.
One of my neighbours told me that he was invited to test drive a Rolls Royce in Hong Kong via LinkedIn last week.
He was very surprised to have made it onto the target list and quite intrigued about how the algorithm/ marketing person decides what job titles would be the right level for Rolls Royce ownership. (R, if you do go, can we join you for the ride?)
I walk past the McLaren and Rolls Royce dealerships in Wu Chung House, Wanchai, almost everyday. I’ve seen parties thrown in the Rolls Royce showroom but never seen anyone browsing. The “Wraiths” do disappear from time to time, presumably for photo shoots, display elsewhere or perhaps test drives. It’s always a sight when the staff open those glass doors and drive the Rolls straight out onto the pavement, off the curb bouncing off onto the street.
The McLaren showroom is a different matter. Linked to the Rolls showroom by an internal door (same owner perhaps), it’s starkly contrasted by having a black interior floor and ceiling. The Rolls Royce showroom is lit up in a “heavenly white” (sort of a creamy butter-white actually).
The McLaren showroom hasn’t hosted any parties but it does occasionally host interviews and provides a backdrop. A sports supercar or two do occasionally disappear for a day or two but nowhere near as often as the Rolls Royce.
The McLaren cars are quite a marvel to look at, although I wish that the owner and staff would not be such anti social and marketing idiots. I mean, why put a toy McLaren car in the window that says “Not For Sale”?
If it’s not for interacting, why display it at all? Tesla on the other hand has a toy car in the window and it is for sale. You can get the same colour car for your kid. Inspiration and aspiration both rolled into one.
Why have a showroom on the ground floor by a bus stop if you’re not inviting people in?
Here’s a list of speeds versus price of McLaren versus the new everyday supercar, Tesla. Now that’s a value proposition.
Unfortunately McLaren is spelt incorrectly in the table above but you get the idea.
If you’ve had to bring wine to a friend’s house for dinner, you might have encountered something similar to this:
Me: “Ok so we should bring a bottle of red to go with the steak she’s cooking”
Partner: “Watson’s or Taste (PARKnSHOP)?”
Me: “err dunno, whichever is open I suppose”
15 minutes later at the Watson’s wine cellar.
Me: “ok so what should we get? By country or region or price?”
Partner: “Let me check my wine app…”
30 minutes later…… still at the Watson’s wine cellar….
Me: “decided yet?”
Partner: “let’s just go with the sticker that says it’s an award winning wine for 2016 and reviewer says it’s good.”
*SIGH*… very often the wine turns out to be pricier than we thought and tasting quite mediocre. I’m not convinced that a sticker is entirely trustworthy.
The antidote to this problem is to either have a sommelier friend who can quickly assess the budget-event-palate suitability or to have a knowledgeable wine shop owner walk you through their favourites.
In Wan Chai, the neighbourhood wine shop with the pre requisite chatty owner can be found on Stone Nullah Lane – Ross Wine. A little off the beaten track and hidden by the large logistic trucks parked there, you’ll need to look left to see the shop. It’s next to an independent art gallery and photography studio called the Wanchai Stallery.
We came across the shop last year while on a walk down from Wanchai Gap. I was very curious as to who had taken over the rather strange concept Chinese Timekeeper’s bespoke watch shop.
Ross did some simple renovation but kept the hanging hexagonal lamps, glass door and the nice steel handle that looks like the bezel of a watch.
Curious, we went in for a look. Ross (the boss) was very welcoming and happy to introduce himself and his wines. We found him knowledgeable and enthusiastic. He started the business promoting wines from Australia’s Margaret River region but has expanded his footprint to include New Zealand, Italian and French wines. Rieslings or Pinot Noirs, you can see what you fancy.
Ross has the tasting notes printed and stuck on the shelves but agrees that these can be somewhat vague and misleading. He presents his own opinion on the wines and can suggest a bottle ( just tell him with whom or what you intend to consume with it).
He’s also got some tasty beers for sale from a few different small breweries.
We came away with a small selection of beers and wine. I liked the Waipara Springs Riesling which was gobbled down during Saturday’s Easter BBQ. It made a subsequent bottle of white wine brought by a friend taste like cheap plonk.
Ross promotes “every day wines” -no fancy chateaus here- just affordable drinkable wines which haven’t soured on the shelf. Most importantly, they are reliably decent and won’t embarrass you in the company of wine connoisseurs. Ross curates the wines himself and takes the stress away from the selection process. This makes it easy to buy a few more bottles with confidence.
I walked by this shop a few days ago. What got my attention was that I noticed only men going in and men coming out. Young men, that is.
How strange I thought.. I wondered what the shop was selling. Aha. They were selling collectible model rally cars of all sorts.
Every car was carefully boxed for display and presumably a scale model. Given the price point, these cars are not toys to be thrown around.
They had a vintage Mercedes X wing on display, as well as a Batmobile.
F1 cars of all makes and sizes.
And so many that it fills up the walls right up to the ceilings.
They have another branch
And where do you find this shop? Along Wan Chai road near Heard Street. Nothing striking about their signage so you have to look out for it. Or get it delivered to you via their online shop.
Digging beneath the dirt… To find the good and the gritty