S’more please: 5 Hong Kong restaurants serving classic US campfire dessert
They may be relatively new to Hong Kong, but the gooey sweetness of marshallow and chocolate sandwiched between tasty crackers is catching on. Here are a handful of restaurants that do them right
For many people who grew up in North America, the s’more was the perfect dessert to eat around the campfire. Kids would put marshmallows on sticks and roast them over an open fire to get them golden-brown.
When they were gooey enough, these toasty-hot marshmallows and a piece of chocolate were placed in between two graham crackers and eaten like a sandwich. The hot marshmallow – now gooey and sticky – melted the chocolate, and they contrasted with the crunch of the cracker, making the combination pure campfire heaven.
Although it sounds simple, making a s’more took attention and patience, because those who didn’t watch their marshmallows would see them catch on fire and then turn into a charcoal-black lump. Then it was back to square one, roasting another marshmallow from the beginning.
According to chocolate company Hershey’s, the first printed s’mores recipe dates back to 1927 in the Girl Scout handbook, and the name of the dessert is a contraction of “some more”, as it was hard to just have just one.
While s’mores have come late to Hong Kong, it’s better late than never, with five restaurants we know of that serve the sweet treat.
Flint Grill & Bar in the JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong has a gourmet version of the campfire dessert. Pastry chef Roger Fok Yiu-man says the s’more (HK$80) has been the best-selling item on the entire menu since the restaurant opened in 2013.
“The graham cracker is the most important element, so we made our own out of wheat flour and honey, and we even made graham cracker ice cream to go with it,” he explains.
“We cut the sweetness of the marshmallow and chocolate by putting a second layer of graham cracker. The ganache is made from 70 per cent dark chocolate, and the marshmallow is vanilla-flavoured,” he adds.
Fok’s s’more isn’t too sweet and it can easily be shared by two people, though some opt to eat one on their own.
Flint Grill & Bar, Level 5, JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, tel: 2810 8366.
Many come to Stone Nullah Tavern for the happy hour, but a number of diners visit specifically for the s’mores (HK$88) created by executive chef Vinny Lauria.
The s’mores arrives in a cast-iron pan with 70 per cent dark chocolate and some salted caramel topped with marshmallows that are baked to a golden brown. Guests are then armed with spoons to scoop out the gooey goodness onto graham crackers that have been smoked with hickory.
The end result? You are almost transported to a campfire with the smoky taste of the graham crackers, while the marshmallows’ sweetness is balanced by the salt from the caramel. We pretty much scraped the pan clean with our spoons.
Restaurant manager Marc Nagel says the s’mores are the best-selling dessert on the menu. “People even order them at the bar,” he says.
Stone Nullah Tavern, 69 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, tel: 3182 0128
If you want to try your hand at roasting marshmallows yourself, Cafe Bauhinia is the place to go to order the s’more buffet (HK$198). Located behind Western Market in Sheung Wan, the quaint cafe, which also sells flowers, is a nice place to chill during the week, although it can get busy on the weekends, according to owner Ann Leung Kin-ming.
Guests are invited to put marshmallows on a stick and roast them over a flame that is covered with a grill.
“We have a lot of teenage girls, or mothers with young children who try the s’more buffet. I remind them to be careful of the flames. Sometimes the marshmallows catch fire, but it’s not serious. They just start all over again with a new one,” says Leung.
The buffet comes with graham crackers and individually wrapped squares of dark chocolate, and the guests can eat as much as they want.
Cafe Bauhinia has other s’more variations, like the s’more toast (HK$68). Peanut butter and chocolate sauce are spread over a piece of wholewheat toast before marshmallows are added, then it is baked to a golden brown. The gooey texture is there, although the combination is quite sweet thanks to the two spreads on the bread.
For those with a smaller appetite, the s’more tart (HK$38) is a good option. Made with chocolate ganache, the tart is sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt before being topped with mini marshmallows. Just before serving, the tart is heated to slightly melt the marshmallows. The sweetness of the chocolate is balanced by the salt.
Cafe Bauhinia, 23 New Market Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2368 9339
The chocolate overload
Brick Lane is best known for its all-day breakfasts, but its sizzling s’mores (HK$128) are a close second. Although it has only been on the menu for about a year, the dessert is so popular that more than 100 of them are served at the restaurant’s three locations every day.
Perhaps it’s because it’s the most chocolately one in town, as managing director Kit Leung explains.
“We use three kinds of Belgium chocolates – 72 per cent dark chocolate, 65 per cent dark chocolate and milk chocolate – as each has its own character and level of bitterness and sweetness. We want to create a balanced taste to suit all palates,” explains Leung.
Sizzling s’mores is served in an iron skillet with the three chocolates on the bottom, then marshmallows are placed on top and baked at 250 degrees for four minutes. It’s served hot with graham crackers.
Leung says that because of social media and media coverage, customers come into Brick Lane just to order the dessert, whichis easily enough for two.
Brick Lane, 2 Blenheim Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2736 8893; 17-23 Minden Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2721 0628; Shop 404, 4/F, Citic Tower, 1 Tim Mei Avenue, Admiralty, tel: 2363 2500
BrewDog Hong Kong recently opened along Hollywood Road, Central, and offers 14 craft beers on tap, accompanied with hearty dishes such as roast beef French dip, pork ribs and Belgian ale rack of lamb.
Chef Austin Fry consulted on the menu and says s’mores is a nostalgic treat.
“Growing up, it was a big part of being a kid, and if there was a fire, there were s’mores. I first did the dish in Hong Kong about two years ago when I opened Mavericks Lantau [in Pui O]. For this more recent one, I knew I wanted beer throughout the dessert and that’s where the ball started rolling.”
The stout ice cream s’mores (HK$68) feature chocolate ice cream that has Porter beer added, while the home-made marshmallows are infused with IPA.
It looks like a giant ice cream sandwich, with a 5cm thick chocolate puck in the middle, and was hard to eat because the ice cream and marshmallow didn’t gel together. We liked that it was the least sweet of the five we tasted. We would have appreciated a few more graham crackers, though, to help finish the chocolate ice cream.
BrewDog Hong Kong, 19 Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2219 9905
Other ways to get your marshmallow fix
In a cocktail - at Hex Bar & Games, Causeway Bay
On an eggplant dessert purée (yes, really) - at Twenty Six by Liberty, Central
To round off a Balinese meal - at Tri, Repulse Bay