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SWEET REVIEWS

Just desserts

Diners can indulge in a bewildering variety of tantalising options at any time of day

 

FEAST FOR FANATICS

 

FARE Dessert bar. AMBIENCE The shop entrance is nondescript with concrete floors and floor-to-ceiling windows and door. Light music plays in the background. Diners can either sit at the bar and watch their desserts being prepared, or at tables and chairs in the small space. The turnover is relatively fast and quiet on weekdays. COST HK$504 including drinks . WHO TO BRING Dessert fanatics . TURN-ONS One of the most popular orders the evening we went was the chocolate and strawberry pavlova with chardonnay gelée and it's not hard to see why. The chocolate pavlova has a delicate and crunchy outer layer, and the sweetness is balanced by the strawberries, while the taste lingers with some of the wine jelly. Another relatively light dessert that is not too sweet is the lemon trio of a delicious lemon tart, a lemon macaron and a mini-floating island in lemon cream. For something more decadent, the chocolate molten cake oozes with dark richness, countered with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. TURN-OFFS The strawberry cheesecake sundae was an interesting presentation in a tall glass, layered with strawberries, and sour cream cheesecake topped with a scoop of strawberry ice cream that was slightly difficult to eat. DRINKS Wines, tea and coffee. Bernice Chan

 

SIFT DESSERT BAR
G/F, 46 GRAHAM STREET
CENTRAL
2530 4288
SIFTDESSERTS.COM

 


 

HEAVENLY PASTRIES

 

FARE Contemporary French. AMBIENCE Despite being in a mall, there are intimate nooks ideal for people watching. WHO TO BRING Small group of friends. COST HK$483 for two, including drinks. TURN-ONS Top-quality pastries at reasonable prices. The high tea set is HK$345, and not only are the savouries and sweets beautifully presented, but they also use high-quality ingredients. The smoked salmon sandwich was topped with finely chopped chives and salmon eggs, while the Maine lobster sandwich featured a layer of mango. The pastries were particularly divine. Joël Robuchon's Paris Brest is not round but like an éclair, while the macaron ganache was a play on creamy and crunchy textures. The cream puff was heavenly, and the chocolate tart was ideal for chocaholics. TURN-OFFS No reservations means coming early or waiting patiently to indulge. DRINKS Hot and cold. The iced mint tea featured a scoop of mandarin sorbet with fresh diced aloe, an ideal refresher for summer. Bernice Chan

 

LE SALON DE THÉ DE JOËL ROBUCHON
SHOP 315, 3/F, LANDMARK
16 DES VOEUX ROAD
CENTRAL
2166 9088
ROBUCHON.HK

 


 

SWEET TEMPTATIONS

 

FARE Cakes and pâtisserie. AMBIENCE Located in the lobby with about 10 tables, the cafe has a lively atmosphere as one can sit and watch people come and go. COST About HK$300 for cakes and coffee for two. WHO TO BRING Friends, family, business associates or anyone with a sweet tooth. TURN-ONS A dream come true for a chocolate connoisseur, COCO offers some of the most exotic desserts. The cafe also serves scrumptious cheesecakes, sponge cakes, cupcakes and signature Valrhona chocolates. The cakes come in all sizes and range from HK$16 to more than HK$350. We tried the Jivara Berry Delight, a chocolate milk cake with wild berries. The milk chocolate mousse was soft and melts in the mouth. The Blueberry Chic, a New Yorkstyle cheese cake with blueberry, was thick and fruity, and the Mango Velvet cupcake has a smooth finish. We had Blue Mountain coffee with our cakes. TURN-OFFS The patisserie does not take reservations, and seating can be hard to come by, especially on a Friday afternoon. DRINKS Gourmet coffees and wines. Mukul Munish

 

COCO
GROUND LEVEL LOBBY, THE MIRA HONG KONG
118 NATHAN ROAD
TSIM SHA TSUI
2315 5566
THEMIRAHOTEL.COM

 


 

DELIGHTFUL DELI

 

FARE Italian cafe. AMBIENCE Contemporary, airy and casual, with marble table tops inside and some tables outside. COST HK$450 for three, including nonalcoholic drinks. WHO TO BRING Friends catching up over coffee, and an indulgent afternoon or evening. TURN-ONS The cafe’s pastry display case has a number of tempting treats. The savoury Caesar salad came in a box complete with dressing and bacon bits, topped with Parmesan cheese. The passion fruit lemon meringue tart was delicious, as the golden brown meringue was soft and fluffy. The signature Dolce 88 tiramisu was creamy, and the violet crumble had a beautiful presentation. TURN-OFFS The mango coconut profiteroles didn’t have much taste, while the server forgot our Americano coffee and we had to remind her twice. DRINKS Coffees, teas, fruit juices and sparkling drinks. Bernice Chan

 

DOLCE 88
LOBBY LEVEL, JW MARRIOTT HONG KONG
PACIFIC PLACE
88 QUEENSWAY
ADMIRALTY
2810 8366
MARRIOTT.COM

 


 

TIME TO INDULGE

 

FARE French breads and pâtisserie. AMBIENCE Feels like a Parisian cafe, bistro and cake shop rolled into one. WHO TO BRING Girlfriends (who like delicate cakes) for afternoon tea. COST HK$500 for two with drinks. TURN-ONS This light and airy space is great for treats. Many cakes are equally light and airy, such as the playful-looking dinosaure jaune with banana sponge, slices of banana and a caramel chocolate mousse. It hits the spot. The jasmine does likewise with a subtle jasmine bavarois matched with a vanilla crème brûlée and almond sponge cake. If dark chocolate tickles your fancy, then the heart-shaped Venezuela will draw you in. TURN-OFFS The cafe's LPG name stands for "le pain grillé" (toasted bread), so it is disappointing to find it dry and without caramelised onions. The tomato and mushroom salad is huge, but the two key ingredients are neither flavoursome or moreish. DRINKS Good selection of wines by the glass, teas and coffees with a sweet twist. LANA LAM

 

AGNÈS B. CAFE LPG
G/F, CHUNG SANG HOUSE
8 & 10 GOUGH STREET
CENTRAL
2563 9393
AGNESB-LEPAINGRILLE.COM

 


 

FOOD WITH A VIEW

 

FARE Asian and Western. AMBIENCE Art-deco surroundings with large windows overlooking Hong Kong and Kowloon. There are three new private dining rooms and a children’s corner with a new pâtisserie displaying desserts. COST Around HK$1,000 for two, including drinks. WHO TO BRING Family, friends and the office party. TURN-ONS The dessert menu has been revamped, but still offers the popular German cheesecake with dark cherries and banana split. The standout has to be the Valrhona chocolate and hazelnut cake. Other traditional favourites include profiteroles, sherry trifle, crème brûlée and tiramisu. There are new savoury items on the main menu of which the masala dosa – a crisp rice and lentil crêpe filled with potato cauliflower masala, dhal lentils with condiments – and the grilled New Zealand pasture-fed prime steer burger topped with cheese and mushrooms and fries on the side stand out. There is also a sustainable seafood and ocean-friendly menu which includes oysters, scallops and salmon. TURN-OFFS Not for those looking for a quiet night out. DRINKS Full bar with extensive wine and cocktail list. Tracey Furniss

 

CAFÉ DECO BAR & GRILL
LEVEL 1-2, THE PEAK GALLERIA
118 PEAK ROAD
THE PEAK
2849 5111
CAFEDECOGROUP.COM

 


 

CARE IN ABUNDANCE

 

FARE Cakes, patisseries and a small selection of savoury items. AMBIENCE While it's more of a take-out counter, the shop has bar seating surrounded by displays of colourful and creative cakes and chocolates. COST HK$300 for two with drinks and two cakes each. WHO TO BRING Friends with a sweet tooth for a snack or after-dinner treat. TURN-ONS It's clear the amount of care that goes into each item here, with pastries that look like little works of art, tartlets piled high with fresh fruit, and perfectly shaped baguettes and brioches. Creamy and not-too-sweet, the chocolate mousse came topped with delicate chocolate shavings. The brownie was bursting with chunks of rich chocolate while the strawberry tartlet was a balance of pastry and fruit. We appreciated the more low-brow offerings, such as the custard-filled chocolate doughnut and savoury sausage roll. Our favourite, however, had to be the simple yet very satisfying croissant served with butter and strawberry jam. TURN-OFFS Once items sell out, that's it for the day. So you have to go early if you're craving any pastry in particular. DRINKS Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, freshly squeezed juices and seasonal (non-alcoholic) drink specials. Tama Lung

 

THE MANDARIN CAKE SHOP
1/F, MANDARIN ORIENTAL HONG KONG
5 CONNAUGHT ROAD
CENTRAL
2825 4008
MANDARINORIENTAL.COM/HONGKONG

 


 

GROUNDS FOR CHOICE

 

FARE Chocolatier and pâtisserie. AMBIENCE Elegant contemporary yet comfortable with dark warm woodwork and tidy display cabinets. The chocolatier is on the ground floor and cosy dining area upstairs. COST HK$400 for afternoon tea for two. WHO TO BRING Family, friends and couples. TURN-ONS A choice of three afternoon tea sets offer two types of chocolate cake, two macarons and chocolate sweets. The difference between the sets is in the macarons with a choice of raspberry, mango, banana, chocolate and others. The selection of teas includes Earl Grey, Indian, Ceylon and fruit and goes well with the sweet combination. Diners can also opt for other afternoon tea sets including Chocolat Chaud - a selection of cakes or croissants with hot chocolate or Alain Milliat juice with a choice of chocolate or fruit cakes. The macarons are the best this side of Paris and the chocolate is made with top quality ingredients. The chocolate bonbons are a must. There is a healthy and tasty lunch menu at a reasonable price that changes weekly. TURN-OFFS Too much sweet, would like to see a bit more savoury in the afternoon set. DRINKS Good selection of teas, coffees, juices. Tracey Furniss

 

JEAN-PAUL HÉVIN BOUTIQUE AND CHOCOLATE BAR
13 LYNDHURST TERRACE
CENTRAL,
2851 0633
JPHEVIN.COM.HK

 


 

TASTY TREATS

 

FARE French bakery, salads, sandwiches. AMBIENCE Cosy atmosphere with the smell of baked goods emanating from the ovens. The interior is of warm dark wood and the display cases are brimming with pastries.
COST HK$335 for two. WHO TO BRING Family and friends keen to indulge. TURN-ONS The red wine pear danish is a delicate piece, the pears marinated in red wine artfully decorate the pastry like a rosette. The chaussons aux pommes is hearty and covered with apple slices. One of the best sellers is the mille-feuille, done with precise dollops of vanilla and salted caramel. Another is stacked with raspberries. There’s no way around it except making a delicious mess. The crème brûlée comes in a small rectangular ceramic pot and the dessert is creamy richness. Another best-selling item is the mango Mont Blanc, a dome-shaped cake with mango inside and topped with chestnut piped on the outside like a shell. The taste is not too sweet. TURN-OFFS The cupcakes are served in ceramic pots, and decorated with lots of butter cream that doesn’t add much to the cake. DRINKS Coffee, tea, juice, wine, beer and intense hot chocolate. Bernice Chan

 

PASSION
SHOP 1, G/F, FRASER SUITES
74-80 JOHNSTON ROAD
WAN CHAI
2529 1311
PASSIONBYGD.COM

 


 

 

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