Cafe review: Urban Coffee Roaster in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong (a pop-up)
A six-month pop-up coffee shop in Sheung Wan
There is no shortage of good cafes in Hong Kong, but we’re always excited when another one opens. The newest one to hit our fair city is Urban Coffee Roaster’s (U.C.R.) six month pop-up location on Pound Lane. C-Dou, an arts and culture rental space, has been transformed into the sort of leafy green, warm wood, sun-lit spot that’s perfect for lazy weekends. U.C.R. already has two popular locations in Kowloon (Prince Edward and TST), but this is its first, albeit temporary, location on the Island.
At this cozy cafe, the best seats are by the front windows. They run from floor to ceiling providing lots of natural light and opportunities to people watch; there’s always something interesting going on in Sheung Wan isn’t there? There really isn’t a bad seat in the cafe, though. Whether you’re by the window, at the communal table, or hanging at a private roundtable, you’ll still experience the same brightly lit, greenery-filled, chilled out environment.
U.C.R. was started by a pair of roommates at HKU who bonded over their shared love of coffee. They turned their passion into a business first focusing on being a coffee bean supplier. After achieving some success, they started taking their coffee around the city with pop-up coffee carts before launching their cafes. At the new Pound Lane location, the menu features over a dozen beans that are exclusive to U.R.C. including the Oma Block Gesha 1931 from Gesha Village in Ethiopia. Each batch of coffee goes through a bespoke preparation process that’s based on the origin of the beans.
Naturally, their coffee menu is double the size of their food menu. The house blend is from the Guji Kercha region of Ethiopia, and served black or white. They’re also well-known for their sweet potato latte for those that want something caffeine free.
In addition to the house blend, coffee connoisseurs can choose from nearly 20 other roasts from Colombia, Panama, Brazil, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Guatemala, Kenya...the list goes on. Each can be served filtered or in a method known as 1+1.
The filtered option ($48-88) comes in two different sized glasses, allowing guests to experience the coffee flavours in two different ways. The larger glass makes the aromas easier to catch (rim covers your nose when you sip), whereas the small glass allows flavours to be more concentrated.
The 1+1 option ($68-108) comes as an espresso and a piccolo latte. As a white coffee kind of person, the espresso was a bit intense but the piccolo latte was incredibly lush and full bodied without being too bitter.
Brunch options are inspired by the colourful, interesting dishes served by our friends down under. Australia is believed to be the country that invented avocado toast, so of course that is on the menu along with salads, a number of egg dishes, pastas and two desserts.
We tried the beetroot salad ($88) with goat cheese mousse. This was a beautiful, fresh tasting dish, accented with simple olive oil and black pepper. The beetroot managed to be slightly sweet and not earthy. While different colours of beetroot were served, we were a bit disappointed that they all tasted similar. The goat cheese was flavourful without being too sharp.
The bacon and halloumi eggs benny ($88) was a much heartier dish, perfect for those (like us) that enjoy heavy breakfasts. We liked the sweetness of the bun against the saltiness of the bacon and cheese, with the soft boiled egg and hollandaise providing that must-have butteriness. While we enjoyed this calorie bomb, some may find it a bit too heavy.
To end off our meal, we tried the banana toast with caramelized banana and sour cream ($78). This was a simple dish, exactly as it sounds. A dollop of sour cream provided necessary tartness to balance out the sweetness of the other elements, while the nuts were a nice crunchy touch.
Check out U.R.C. on Pound Lane while you can. If you love coffee, brunch, or both, there’s lots to try. The cafe opens early at 8 a.m., which is perfect for early birds and those who love hanging out at cafes while the rest of the city is slowly waking up.
G/F, 4 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan, 9085 6548
This post will also appear on Foodie. Thanks to U.R.C.'s PR for inviting me to review.