Diner’s Diary

HK$60 coffees in gritty Shek Tong Tsui? Gentrification’s in overdrive

Artisan coffee cold-brewed by a remarkable-looking contraption, cooled overnight and served in a glass accompanies éclairs, sandwiches and quiche at newest arrival on Western’s hipster frontier

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 January, 2016, 4:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 February, 2016, 11:56am

If proof of Shek Tong Tsui’s hipster takeover were needed, look no further than the HK$60-a-glass, cold-brewed, single-origin, gourmet coffee at Artisan Room. The coffee arrives at your table in a bottle on a copper tray - specially made, like the glasses, by a craftsman in Guangzhou.

SEE ALSO: There goes the neighbourhood: hipster takeover in sleepy Shek Tong Tsui

The latest trendy addition to what until recently was a gritty corner of Western district is an airy space behind Hotel Jen that’s bathed in sunshine, with high ceilings and a Margaret Chu mural on the wall.

We were recently invited to try some of Artisan Room’s drinks, savouries and sweets. Fans of gourmet coffee will definitely enjoy the experience. The single-origin coffee is supplied by Costadoro Coffee, a Turin company with over 100 years’ history. The selection changes every week to ensure freshness. For sweeteners, there is a choice of coconut or Okinawa brown sugar.

The coffee is cold-brewed in a slow-drip Dutch-made machine called the Gothicism. Artisan Room is the first place in Hong Kong to have one. Water for your coffee is cooled by ice cubes, then drips slowly over the coffee grounds, before being decanted. The process takes hours. The coffee is cooled overnight, and comes with tasting notes (since the coffee taste has notes of good whisky, I’m told

If you don’t drink coffee, there’s a selection of tea from French brand LØV Organic Tea, or an Okinawa brown sugar latte (HK$38 for a tall) that is basically steamed milk with a sprinkling of the brown sugar for a slightly sweet taste.

There are also bottled organic fruit juices from Spain, and sparkling non-alcoholic ones, like elderflower from Italy.

SEE ALSO: Eclairs: Hong Kong’s hottest French pastry treat

As for food, there are savouries and sweets from local company Sil Vous Plait, whose founders trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. The highlight at Artisan Room is probably the éclairs (HK$42 each), which come in a variety of interesting flavours such as mango pepper, banoffee, sweet potato, and salted caramel. The chilli chocolate one leaves a slow burn in the mouth.

The sandwiches (HK$58) are presented in an éclair shell, with two selections, honey ham and tuna, both delicious; what’s impressive is that the fillings don’t make the pastry shell soggy. There’s also quiche lorraine (HK$40 a slice), and an olive and ham cake loaf (HK$40) that was a bit crumbly; the chocolate pound cake (HK$40) was actually quite light and chocolatey.

Artisan Room, 8-12 South Lane, Sai Wan (HKU MTR Station, Exit B2), tel: 2656 3198