Hong Kong budget eats

Restaurant review: Browny No 45 in Tai Kok Tsui serves decent coffee but food is hit and miss – avoid the cheese cake at all costs

While the linguine with tempura shrimp in tomato cream sauce was tasty, the lemon cheese mousse cake went down like ‘poured concrete’. A cup of signature Browny coffee, though, almost makes it worth the trip

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2017, 12:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 May, 2017, 1:02pm

Browny No 45 is bringing quality coffee to Tai Kok Tsui, an older residential area west of Mong Kok. But while its coffee offerings – such as the signature Browny and a delicious hazelnut latte – were almost worth the effort of going there for dinner, the small cafe failed with its house-made lemon cheese mousse cake.

It wasn’t the easiest place to get to – a 12 minute walk from the nearest MTR station, Yau Ma Tei – but this might have been quicker if we hadn’t had to stop to look at the map a few times. Eventually we reached the small, delicately decorated cafe next to a beauty salon, and started off by ordering a Browny home roasted coffee (HK$32) and a hot hazelnut latte (HK$38).

These were the best decisions we made that night. Served with cold fresh milk at the bottom and espresso on the top, the slightly bitter Browny surprised us with its full aftertaste. There were no surprises with the hazelnut latte, but it was well suited to go alongside a light dinner or afternoon tea with friends.

For food, we ordered linguine with tempura shrimp in a tomato cream sauce (HK$65). The pasta was al dente, with the two big shrimps tasting fresh and sweet, while the sauce had a nice, natural flavour.

The all-day mini breakfast (HK$58) consisted of sausages, egg, a mini croissant, cherry tomato, baked beans and a slice of bacon.

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The breakfast portion size might have been perfect for someone on a diet or trying to save their stomachs for a bigger lunch afterwards, but was otherwise too small. Tastewise it failed to impress, with none of its constituent parts any better than average.

To finish, we opted for the cafe’s house-made lemon cheese mousse cake (HK$40, as were all the cakes). This was the evening’s biggest disappointment: the base was too hard, the cake not creamy enough, and after only one bite, we stopped. It went down like poured concrete.

Overall, Browny No 45 is a good placeto pop into if you’re in the neighbourhood – but stay away from the cheese cake.

Browny 45 Charming Garden, 8 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui, tel: 6897 1179

Open: 11am-10pm (Saturday and Sunday from 10am)

Favourite Hong Kong cafes, restaurants and coffee shops of Vienna-born Regina Larko