Artisan Room | Fresh and affordable options at this chic cafe in Shek Tong Tsui
Globally, the artisanal movement has been around for awhile. One of the clearest examples of this is the rise of Whole Foods. With greater awareness of food safety and ethical practices, customers were willing to pay extra to make sure what they were eating was of good quality.
Because of this, it came as a surprise when we visited the Artisan Room in trendy Shek Tong Tsui (just behind HKU MTR station, exit B2) and found the food prices very reasonable. Ok, the coffee is expensive but cold brews and inventive mocktails always are. But in Hong Kong, I really can’t think of the last time I went to a polished cafe and found pastas, salads and sandwiches under $60. At such affordable prices, I was surprised to find that the vegetables were locally sourced, the bread was of artisanal quality, and the meat came as a generous portion.
We're expecting the warm, humid months to last well into fall so there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the Artisan Room’s summer-y offerings.
Hong Kong-grown Organic Salad Box with Cheese and Quinoa ($52)
Don’t let the casual presentation fool you, the makeup of this box was quite impressive. The greens and tomatoes were extremely fresh and flavourful. However, being sinful food lovers, we were most impressed by the generous amount of Camembert and Emmental served alongside it. This box was good value for money.
Vegetarian Spaghetti with Homemade Tomato Sauce ($56)
This homey pasta dish was quite simple but tasty. No canned sauce is used, just lots of fresh tomatoes and other locally grown vegetables. A good option when you’re craving carbs but still want to be a bit virtuous.
Smoked Salmon Sandwich ($48)
This isn’t new for summer, but I think it deserves mentioning. Coming from Canada, I’m used to eating a lot of sandwiches. So, I’m quite picky about my sandwiches and get a bit irritated if a shop is stingy with their ingredients. I was happily surprised when I bit into this treat because not only was the bread moist and flavourful, but there was a decent amount of smoked salmon in there. I’d definitely order this again.
For summer, there are two new desserts. The Orange Blossom Bavarois Ring is gorgeous. Part sponge cake, part fruity jelly, it’s a satisfying yet low sugar option. The same cannot be said for the Genmaicha Chocolate Dome, which was much more sinful. We liked the subtle nuttiness of the tea-infused chocolate mousse, though found the chocolate shell slightly too hard. It took us a number of not so ladylike taps before we could break through.
My weekend doesn’t start until I’ve been properly caffeinated, so I was happy to try a few of their offerings. The Vader is a coffee mocktail new for the summer. It’s part ice-dripped coffee and part cranberry juice, with some black pepper to a bit of kick. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t my favourite as I felt the juice and ice diluted the coffee too much. I liked the intensity of simple cup of slow-dripped coffee much better. It came from their 3-and-a-half foot tall Gothicism machine, and was served with a small information card.
The space is divided into three main areas: an outdoor area with comfortable lounges, an indoor area with a communal long table, and an upstairs area with more generous seating. All sections have lots of natural light, and there are touches of white marble and light wood. Keep an eye out for the art on the walls, the cups your coffee is served in, and other small items around the cafe. Each object was sourced by owner Adrian Cheng, also founder of the K11 Art Foundation (among other things; the man’s resume is quite long!).
This cafe is in my neighbourhood, so I almost don’t want to share about it in case it becomes so popular I can’t get a seat myself! As far as Hong Kong cafes go, this is truly a gem. The quality and thought that’s been put into everything from the design, to the selection of art and earthenware, to the sourcing of ingredients sets it apart. When it comes to the prices, it’s about what you’d expect to pay for the coffee and desserts, but the salads, pastas, and sandwiches are a real steal.
8 South Ln, Shek Tong Tsui, 2656 3198
Thanks to Foodie for inviting me to review, and Artisan Room's PR for the invitation. This post will also appear on afoodieworld.com.