Since my last trip to Hong Kong nearly four years ago, there’s been an explosion of European-style bakeries with a Brooklyn vibe. Think rustic, artisanal breads and pastries served out of chic, subway-tiled stores. One such place is Po’s Atelier on Po Hing Fong in Sheung Wan.
In a quiet, but up and coming trendy part of town, just past Central in Sheung Wan, and standing proudly on a corner, this bakery smells like France the minute you step through its sleek, sliding glass door.
The interior is tiled, stylish and full of gleaming stainless steel racks and ovens. Under the glass cabinets are scores of breads: baguettes, raisin bread, bread sticks and the like, as well as pastries: both sweet and savory. Monkey couldn’t resist the “Fromage” and I had to sneak a taste. The cheese was crispy, the ends crunchy and the middle bread-like. Perfection.
Like many things in Hong Kong, excellence comes at a steep price: one bread stick cost $25 HKG, or $3.25 USD, but it’s definitely worth it for a treat.
Literally right next door, in a little dead-end, whitewashed alley, is the eponymously named, Café DeadEnd. Another spot that could just as easily be in Brooklyn, it’s jam-packed at the weekends with local residents – often ex-pats – coming to get a strong latte and a plate of beautifully cooked eggs or a bagel and smoked salmon.
The menu is simple and the light and airy interior is pretty small: there are a few tables and a counter, although at the weekend there are extra tables outside. Apparently the coffee is good.
We popped in one weekday morning following an early morning excursion to the Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens where Monkey was tickled pink to see monkeys. He was hungry and ordered the Eggs Benedict with Prosciutto. Sitting at the counter we got to watch his breakfast being prepared right under our noses.
A big thick slice of toast from Po’s Atelier next door was layered with a bed of prosciutto, covered in salad greens and then topped with two perfectly poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and a generous dusting of paprika.
Apparently starving, Monkey immediately broke open the eggs: their surprisingly deep golden yolks poured out like lava. The main challenge was how to bring this highly stacked delight to his mouth. In the end he decided to use two plates, his hands and a quick plate to mouth action. Egg yolk still ended up everywhere. Pretty soon all that was left was the aftermath of the yolkbath – smeared yellowness all over the plate.
What Monkey really wanted to round off his breakfast was a small piece of bread to wipe the plate clean, but language barriers thwarted his cause. All in all, Café Deadend is worth a visit although I might recommend they use slightly bigger plates to allow for the full deconstruction of breakfast.
Cafe Deadend is at 72 Po Hing Fong, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong