As I trundle out of the BBQ Restaurant with my annoying travel bag in tow, I remember seeing a Starbucks somewhere in the vicinity and without knowing of another place to find a coffee, it just may be the place I end up. After I text Mr K to brag about the delicious duck and dumplings I just ate, he responds with:
” … go to the Mira Hotel and have a coffee at the café downstairs. It’s really good”
He must have read my mind. Only out of pure desperation will I go to a Starbucks. Hello, my name is John, and I’m a coffee snob. Seeing Mr K stayed at The Mira on his recent work trip I wanted to take a look at it anyway, especially after checking out the hotel website at home in far away Sydney.
Now this is my kind of hotel. I wish I could just check in and take a nap on a king-sized bed strewn with soft white pillows, but instead I follow my nose to the hotels Yamm Restaurant where guests are still tinkering away at the breakfast buffet. This place is stunning.
The host seats me at one of the circular booths and takes my coffee order, returning a few seconds later with glossy travel and design magazines. Perfect. Shame the coffee didn’t match the decor and magazine choice.
After half an hour of relaxing in air-con as the caffeine joyfully surged through my veins I soon discover the cost of my ordinary coffee. I’m sorry, what, excuse me?! I just handed over AU$8 for a coffee. What, am I back in Paris? Nevermind. Tax deductable work expense.
The harbour waterfront isn’t too far away from The Mira so after a touristy trundle along the Avenue of the Stars I cut back into the congested web of streets, laneways and pedestrian over-passes of East Tsim Sha Tsui in search of more dumplings.
Yes, dumplings. I’m ready for more food … preferably in a delicious pocket of pastry. There’s so much in this area. Restaurants featuring local cuisine as well as izakaya Japanese, Indonesian, bakeries, tea shops and a nice little surprise tucked away in a gloomy alley.
The front door is adorned with print-outs of various media reviews singing high praises of “the best coffee in Hong Kong.” This kind of statement in Sydney makes my eyes roll, but here in Honkers it just may be valid. As I read them I realize I’m holding my breath with a caffeine-fuelled pulse thumping in my ears. Hessian sacks of coffee beans are piled up at the counter and there’s a table in the window with my invisible name on it. Oh, look ….. free WiFi!
The staff seem a little robotic. No emotion. No care-factor. I don’t give a toss as I’m here for one reason alone. Any guesses?
The “rabbit” latté seems like the way to go … it is their signature after all. Gosh, I’m in Hong Kong rabbit heaven. What’s Cantonese for “My tastebuds are having an orgasm?” As cute as it looks, the flavour is rich, deep, caramel and strong … all of the above. A near perfect cup of coffee from a real espresso machine in the murky depths of East Tsim Sha Tsui. Bugger the king-sized bed and soft white pillows … I’m sleeping here! Well, maybe not, especially after this gutsy caffeine injection.
Following my much-appreciated fill and kick start, I caught up on emails and messages thanks to the free WiFi and trundled on to find an air-conditioned place not too far away – Metropolis Mall. It’s such a pleasure to go from air-conditioned building to air-conditioned building. I had a gut feeling there were dumplings in this place.
The food hall on the upper level has a decent selection of eateries and the one I chose was of the vegetarian kind. Yes, that’s right. Vegetarian. I blame it on the picture I saw above the counter. A beautiful picture of succulent dumplings.
The happy English-speaking local guy at this, Loving Heart, eatery was so friendly. He was busy crimping fresh dumplings so I couldn’t help but order the ones he was making there and then and he was more than happy to cook them up for me. So beautiful and soft and fresh. The filling was nothing more than cabbage and shiitake mushrooms (18), perhaps also a little garlic and ginger, so they really depended on the sharp vinegar sauce that came with. Clean, delicious and just what I needed.
With almost three hours to go before meeting up with Miss B, could I possibly fit in any more food here in Hong Kong?
Maybe a little, so wait and see …..