Kisses cupcakes and Sift have been satisfying sweet tooths, sudden red velvet cravings and emergency dinner-dessert gifts for several years in Wanchai. Sift serves the western end of Queens Roads East (aka Admiralty East) while Kisses served the eastern side of Queens Road East at Hopewell Center.
The Kisses cupcakes shop was formerly on a cute corner of QRE building, super convenient for office workers and anyone heading to and from the mtr towards Hopewell and Kennedy Road. It has been replaced with a Beard Papa. (Smells good but it’s just not the same class is it?)
They were obliged to move once Tesla took over rental of the ground floor and presumably changed the profile of tenants in the building. The space they moved to was half way down Queens Road East towards Sift. I’ve found this new location to be neither here nor there, it’s convenient if you’re looking for it but not convenient for an impulse purchase. You wouldn’t be getting much pedestrian traffic except for the lunch crowd and goods delivery or courier guys outside of those hours.
It’s therefore no surprise that Kisses has decided to remove this location and situate the cupcake showroom to Admiralty where there’s more footfall. All the more business for Sift in Wan Chai.
Queens Road East is seeing more and more empty lots up for rent these days..
Nb: if Kisses Cupcakes is reading this, please note that Admiralty is spelt wrongly on your webpage…
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.
Why don’t corporate websites publish their opening hours?
This morning rogue #1 requested a clementines. She said: “I like the ones ethat are easy to peel and without seeds. Can you go to uynh Spencer to buy them.”
Geez. Ok so rather thanks ttidisappoint a four year old, I checked that the local fruit shops didn’t have anything similar (ok they had the Japanese Mikan xxrgr fversion 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..!
Marks and Spencer has now updated their corporate website to include the opening hours of each store around the world. But… it’s not correct..! So please continue to refer to my version 😉
On the penultimate day of Chinese New Year celebrations, Kee Wah Bakery decided to hold its official launch.
I happened to walk in the day before and saw them fixing up the models and generally sprucing up the shop.
The launch party in the store caused a huge pedestrian jam on the sidewalk.
And I swiftly realised that it was because the staff were out on the pavement and there were a few celebrities within the shop, hence massive crowding by its windows for everyone trying to catch a glimpse.
When I asked the girls outside who the celebrity was, they answered “which one? There are several…” ok, I’ll admit my celebrity knowledge is pretty thin. But I did recognise this guys stature, he’s in a lot of ads.
This Kee Wah flagship store in Wanchai is quite nicely designed. It’s reminiscent of the original store they had in Kowloon. The owners commissioned a model layout of the exterior and interior of the original shop. Nice touch.
With the little lights on, it isn’t difficult to imagine what it used to look like.
Wonderful detailing, right down to the minibus.
The interiors are just as spectacular. No details were spared, right down to the individual cakes and bottled sweets.
The store managed to incorporate a small real time bakery for freshly baked goods. I’m not sure if that’s permanent or just to impress the visitors for the first couple of weeks.
The store has all the treats in every possible combination. They have the traditional wife cakes in single and multiple packages, the more modern recipes, the cutesy stuff and the special box gift sets. They also have the Taiwanese style pineapple tarts.
There are two feature walls, one with a black and white tonal mural of a Hong Kong stairway (reminds me of Pottinger Street), the other with black and white photographs on their operating history.
What I appreciated about this store, is how they factored in disabled access. There’s a nice ramp on one side of the shop. Perfect for mommies with strollers.
You can see that business is brisk. It was launched with total professionalism and timing to coincide with Chinese New Year, a time of gifting and when loved ones would be visiting from other parts of the world.
It’s worth a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood. The store is right across from Hopewell Center.
Thanks to the Sassy magazine of which I’m a regular reader, I now know that there’s a salsa party happening this Saturday. The forecast is for rain so I have no idea whether there’s a wet weather plan or if it will continue regardless.
Update: it’s being held at Hej House, more or less directly opposite Le Pain Quotidien.
Outside Le Pain Quotidien, there’s a big music set up going on. A bit unclear if this will be leading up to it or if it’s their own launch party.
I’ve been waiting for LPQ to open for a while…. Teething problems must have delayed them from the planned launch in February (website recently changed opening date to March). Many disappointed customers have stood outside, shaken their heads and headed elsewhere.
How can you possibly advertise breakfast yet open for business at only 11am? Quite unacceptable.
Opposite Southorn Playground on Hennessy Road, the row of shops there are slowly undergoing a makeover. A new HK style tea shop (Cha chaan Teng) has opened with the usual breakfast all day favourites and Maxim’s has launched their new bakery in an uncharacteristic but very striking Royal blue facade.
The exterior windows are large and very attractive, they did a great job with the lighting and visual presentation. It’s much more spacious and an angle with a cake counter gave the layout a fresh and modern feel.
The pastry section seemed a bit thin on offerings but they carried the key essentials. Croissants, rolls and sliced bread packed in packets of four… Just for that packed lunch. We tried a croissant. HKD 16 each, it wasn’t bad.
The whole cakes looked too good to eat. The selection was decently wide and impressive. Certainly a reliable place to pick up the party cake.
They also had a short drinks menu for takeaway.
All quite reasonably priced.
Look for it near the overpass leaving Wan Chai Station.
If you desperately need a baguette to complement your curry or a sourdough loaf for your bruschetta, this is your stop. This Wan Chai store always have a baguette for you (unlike Passion who has let me down before).
Once, I ran into a neighbour in the elevator who was eating an EK baguette plain, straight out of its paper envelope bag. He yanked off the chewy bits of bread with his teeth.. I’ve never seen anyone eat a baguette that way before but it’s an indication how delicious it must be. Or how hungry he was.
Maison Eric Kayser needs very little introduction, they’ve successfully launched premium bakeries in cities all around the world.
The Eric Kayser in Wan Chai is located prominently on Queens Road East, beside the Indigo Hotel and strategically next to the Wan Chai Market bus stop. It’s impossible to miss.
Sharing the hallway with neighbouring Fortress (electronics and appliances store), the patrons of Eric Kayser benefit from large street facing windows (2 sides) and lots of open space. Occasionally passers-by stop to salivate at the various pastries and breads displayed bountifully in the window.
The interior designer made the best of an internal pillar, creating shelves and a glass case for the creme de la creme of pastries (eclairs, tarts etc).
There’s reasonable seating for about 12-15 people inside the cafe and an additional 6 outside along the hallway. The hallway seating area is my preferred place, the chairs are more comfortable and don’t leave grid like patterns on your bum. When the doors of the building open and close, it feels almost alfresco. The purple monster pram is right at home here and small person enjoys pressing her nose on the Fortress glass walls to watch the demos on the large screen TVs. The Transformers movie and those weird slideshows on animals scratching their butts never fail to entertain.
But how good are their pastries really? I’m not impressed with the croissants (won awards in Tokyo), quite light inside but the outer texture is little rubbery. Perhaps it’s the glaze. It just tastes like bread that has been left out overnight to me. Many of their French style pastries are constructed with the same dough base, so in contemporary language, it’s all a bit “blah“.
Croissant – blah
Peach Danish – blah
Chocolate croissant – blah
Brioche- very blah
Note: If you are going to have one of these vennoiseries then please insist that they heat it up in the oven before you eat it. This extra touch makes all the difference and is not offered voluntarily by the staff.
Small person does enjoy their chocolate croissant when it’s been in the oven.
She doesn’t discriminate much when it’s chocolate.
Worth eating are the prepared sandwiches behind the payment counter. These focaccia breads and toasted baguettes stuffed to the brim with tuna, chicken curry or salads are delicious.
And here are the rest. The eclairs are pretty good but I haven’t tried the others, a tad too sweet for me. There was a lonely box of macarons, but I’d suggest you head to Passion for these.
The Wan Chai bakery makes the most of its corner location, creating pram accessible entrances on both sides. However the split level means that you can’t get down the stairs to pay after selecting your breads. I usually pop the pram by the steps where you can maintain line of sight at the payment counter.
If you’re heading in just to grab coffee and a sandwich, enter via Tai Yuen street, the side facing Indigo hotel. Otherwise for seats, enter via the main building doors on Queen’s Road East.
Whenever I have space in the freezer, a pre-sliced Kayser sourdough usually fill the space.
Can anyone tell me why these master bakers won’t buy a slicing machine in their stores so that the staff don’t need to cut the breads by hand? I can’t finish the loaves in one sitting….Bread slicing is a lot of hard work.
Peak hours to avoid 7.30-9am (working people grabbing breakfast, long lines) and lunch 12.30-2pm. Otherwise it’s mostly French mums loading up on breads for the week and people catching up in between office appointments.
Digging beneath the dirt… To find the good and the gritty