I always admire beautiful brunch shots from Melbourne or even Singapore, featuring the perfect eggs benedict sprinkled with a twist, or perfectly browned French toasts decorated with colourful don’t-know-whats.
We may not be loaded with options for that type of hipster cafe brunch spot, but restaurants are rapidly leveraging on Hong Kong people’s love for brunch – it’s become more of an event than just a meal, right? And restaurants are now really good at making it huge and epic, often leaving me too full to even have dinner 8 hours later.
Here are four of the latest brunch spots I’ve fallen in love with:
1. Mamasita’s Cantina (Mexican)
The deal: HK$338 for starter/dessert buffet + made-to-order tacos + main course; HK$148 free flow sangria, red/white, champagne
The vibe: I’ve eaten at Mamasita’s a number of times (see dinner review here) and most of the time I pick it for its casual and colourful setting that makes it a fun place to be especially when you’re in a larger group – everyone I’ve taken here compliments the decor. Two times I went was with 10 people and it was the perfect location for that, especially because so many of the new slightly more ‘hip’ restaurants don’t take reservations.
The food: Of course I wouldn’t be back so often if the food wasn’t good too. Their guacamole and homemade chips are addictive, while their fish and pork belly tacos are a must-order item too (whether you’re here for brunch, lunch or dinner)!
For their brunch deal, they have a semi-buffet starter station, so you can load up on unlimited guacamole, chips, good quality smoked salmon, salads, cold cuts and more!
They keep it brunchy by adding in an eggs station. But their tacos are really the highlight here, so I would suggest saving your stomach for at least one fish and one pork belly tacos which are made to order. As if that wasn’t enough food for ANYONE, the brunch deal also includes a main course item, the portion of which was not small at all. I tried the pork belly and short ribs, but I wasn’t as impressed with the main course, and would’ve preferred just ordering more tacos. Some of us actually skipped the main course altogether and went straight to desserts, because their 3 leches cake is also unmissable.
The drinks: We had sangria for most of our meal and loved it! They also do champagne.
Address: 6/F, 8 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
Phone: 2896 6118
2. Commissary (American/Mixed)
The deal: A la carte brunch menu, with dishes priced at HK$48-198
The vibe: To be fair, Commissary is not exactly one of those unique special places you have to visit. I loved it because it was a charmingly simple place – so it’s good if you’re looking for a relatively simple brunch spot for a small group (2-4). The indoors section is pretty standard. I definitely preferred sitting outdoors which was more airy and open, but the outdoor area is self-service.
The food: This is not an all-you-can-eat type of brunch place, but they have so many tempting options on their menu, that if you’re anything like me, you’ll be treating it like a buffet. I started off with Chilaquiles (HK$88), which features crispy tortilla chips topped with scrambled eggs, avocados and other sauces, because I was curious what this dish was. It was an interesting non-standard brunch option, but the tortilla chips got soggy quickly. Instead, I was extremely jealous when I saw the beautiful looking Rice Cake Benedict with Crab (HK$128) the table next to me ordered – I’m definitely coming back for this.
I loved the Blueberry Pancakes (HK$98), for being fluffy, buttery and straight forward satisfying. The most epic part of the meal has to be their pastries. We got the Everything Cookie and Sticky Walnut Cinnamon Roll, which admittedly were pretty sweet, but so perfect and delicious as well. I actually came back for their croissants another day and loved them too!
The drinks: They do have cocktails and drinks on their menu, but because the vibe was more cafe, than boozy brunch, I went with their tepache first, coffee later and both were good!
Address: Shop 405, 4/F Pacific Place, Admiralty (next to HSBC)
Phone: 2602 0707
3. Kaum/Potato Head (Indonesian)
The deal: HK$395 for starters + unlimited order of mains + dessert; add HK$195 for free flow (includes Veuve Clicquot)
The vibe: When I visited the original Potato Head in Bali about 3.5 years ago (where I hung out next to the pool watching Snoop Dogg perform), it felt like the coolest place I’d ever been to. Obviously I wasn’t expecting a swimming pool and Snoop Dogg in the middle Sai Ying Pun (where Hong Kong’s Potato Head opened up), but was excited because the large space was also very vibe-y, equipped with a mix of couches, sharing tables and normal tables, as well as a coffee bar, cocktail bar and open kitchen.
The food: Kaum serves modernised Indonesian cuisine, so it’s definitely not the place for your eggs benedict brunch fix. But it’s good for a change and something different, because it was probably the first time I had this Indonesian-style tuna tartare (Gohu Ikan Tuna) and blanched vegetable salad with peanut dressing (Gado gado kaum). The starters also included a tiger prawn curry and fried chicken, which were probably my favourites.
By the time we finished our starters, we were already full and didn’t realise that the main courses had not even arrived yet. But I’m glad we powered through because the roasted boneless baby pig and nasi goreng was definitely the best thing I had here. The skin on the suckling pig was thin and perfectly crispy. It had a super thick layer of fat, which could be a turn off for many, but it was so good I didn’t even pretend to cut some of it out, and secretly devoured all the fat on my piece. The nasi goreng was super peppery and had a good spice kick to it, a carb option worth overloading on.
Because I have a crazy sweet tooth, the most disappointing part of the meal was the dessert. They only serve one portion of it – a Lapis Surabaya (layered butter cake) and it tasted only ok.
The drinks: We mainly devoured glasses of Veuve Clicquot, but they also serve bloody mary, sangria and red/white wine, as part of the free flow package.
Address: 100 Third St, Sai Ying Pun
Phone: 2858 6066
4. Beef and Liberty Rooftop BBQ (American/BBQ)
The deal: HK$258 for unlimited salads and BBQ items; add HK$130 for free flow beer, Bloody Mary and prosecco.
The vibe: The vibes at Beef and Liberty’s rooftop was unexpectedly foreign. It felt like a home-y mini garden hideaway in the middle of the CBD chaos of Wanchai/Admiralty. On a Saturday afternoon, it was filled with small groups of chattery friends; it somehow made it automatic and immediate to leave the weekday stresses behind for the afternoon. It was an extremely laid back setting; standing around and waiting for our beef burgers by the grill also made it more of an event for a slow day, rather than just a meal.
The food: While I usually love being bombarded with choice and stuffing myself silly, it was also kind of nice that the food on offer was simple and not overwhelming. They had a buffet-style salad section, featuring about 4-5 salads. I mainly helped myself to mixed greens and a lot of their colourful heirloom tomato salad with cheese, because the star of the show is definitely the BBQ items.
They have a build-your-own-burger station which is definitely the highlight. The burger patty was thick and super juicy. It was fresh-off-the-grill and made to perfection with a good char. I topped it with everything on offer: onions, pickles, cheese, kimchi, bacon. One burger is usually enough for any meal, but just to make it epic, you can also order their piri piri chicken, ribs and grilled corn.
But no matter what, you have to save space for desserts. The desserts are equally fuss-free. They serve two things and make them perfect: cookie skillet and bread and butter pudding.
The drinks: We started off with some Bloody Mary’s, which were delicious then moved onto prosecco.
Address: Rooftop, 23 Wing Fung St, Wan Chai (Outside Pacific Place 3)
Phone: 2811 3009