A Melbourne, London & Hong Kong dessert blog
Ho ho ho, we are back again! Although we are supposed to be starting autumn now, it seems very much like mid-summer in Hong Kong still. Desserts should be light therefore, but still so very sweet. So here’s a round-up of desserts perfect for this heat. Enjoy!
Basking in a Grecian glow at Souvla
Greek food, you smirk, what-ever…no fool, this isn’t your greasy kebab late-night, pre-emptive hangover cure. No, Souvla is sophisticated but super-fun casual dining, and has undoubtedly, become one of our favourite restaurants in Hong Kong. Decked out in red with scattered Hellenic tones, young professionals dominate the chilled crowd here, one floor above the crazyness of the LKF district. Don’t miss the Cypriot Salad bejewelled with pomegranate (this really must be distributed at all lunchtime cafes in Central) nor the roasted spit meats, and most especially, do not miss the “Golden Greek Gaytime”, which is apparently a tribute to the best of the Greek and Australian heritage of the restaurant’s chef. It’s one delicious large orb of ice cream, smothered in a honeyed coat of cornflakes, perched on a salted caramel pool and flanked by a trail of honeycomb. Ambrosia for humans, yes? Do consider a visit for the weekend brunch buffet too — baklava dessert buffet anyone?
Achingly Thai spicy and hipster at Chachawan
Snuggled along the antique fair street that is Hollywood Road, Chachawan is a no-reservations. bar-cum-restaurant done up in a quasi-dilapidated warehouse style so favoured by the hip and trendy. But unlike traditionally pretentious hipster hangouts, one will not encounter condescension nor alienation here. Pulsating with music and people, and the fire-heat of its food offerings, it’s one of our favourite pre-dinner or post-dinner cocktail hang outs (being slightly too noisy and chaotic for us at dinnertime). Of all the desserts, the showstopper is the “Kanom Dtom Dumplings,” glutinous chewy balls floating in a warm sea of salted coconut cream and flecked with peanut flakes. Salted caramel trend, move over please!
Sophisticated temple-like serenity at Mango Tree
If Chachawan is the ticket to a fun night-out, Mango Tree is by comparison, for a more sedate and sophisticated patron. The Elements branch is anchored by a tree-like sculpture at the centre of the restaurant and offers stunning skyline views of the Hong Kong island. The Causeway Bay branch is akin to being in a very elegant treehouse. Casual enough for a catch up between friends, yet also ideal for an easy date. The wide array of tingly salads are the highlights of the food offerings, whereas the curries are a little heavy-handed. Complement the salads with a traditional Thai dessert, such as the perfect, generously-proportioned “Mango Sticky Rice.” Our pick however would be the “Water Chestnut in Coconut Cream.” Here, a whole coconut is hollowed out and layered with rose-flavoured granita, coconut cream and neon-pink water chestnut jewels. All we need to do is carry this to a Hong Kong beach…
Where East meets West at Cafe Malacca
Considering that Malaysia is so close to Hong Kong (or at least closer than Australia), it’s a curious thing that Malaysian/Singaporean/Indonesian food is somewhat under-represented. The moneyed subset of the local populace prefer to frequent over-priced Italian, American or French franchise imports. Very strange. Anyway, for a taste of Malaysia, one of the best options in Hong Kong is Cafe Malacca. Overlooking the somewhat lacklustre canteen-like decor, the char keow teow possesses a perfect wok flavour, and you could be truly slurping in Penang rather than Hong Kong, when it comes to the assam laksa. Dessert wise, we will return for two things. First, the “Abok Abok” – a conical pyramid of pandan tapioca pearls blanketed in palm sugar syrup. So soooo sweet. Second, and rather unexpectedly, one of the most e-x-q-u-i-s-i-t-e chocolate brownies we have ever had in our life (excepting Paul A Young of course!).
An injection of urbanite playfulness at the Glasshouse
Past all the glitzy international fashion brands of the IFC shopping mall, and at the end of a line-up of a restaurant/bar precinct overlooking the harbour front, the Glasshouse is especially great for its array of summery mocktails (note the “butterfly rainbow ice tea”) and its playful take on fusing Western and Oriental sensibilities into many of its food offerings. Desserts are equally fun, two of which we highly recommend. The first is a hot shallow pan of “Muscovado Banana Creme Brulee” albeit without the brulee. Instead of a traditional spoon-cracking layer, the surface was covered with grilled bananas and splattered with a boozy and caffeinated syrup. The other dessert is for the more adventurous of dessert lovers — the “Candy Crush” is a mix of…wait for it…Oreo cookies, an assortment of lollies, ice cream, and rice krispies. Smash it mortar and pestle style, and mix it like a bibimbap, ta-da!