Epoch Coffee Bar & Desserterie on Star Street

There are 2 Epoch Coffee Bar & Desserterie’s – 1 in Taikoo Shing and another on Star Street, next to Yomama. (Speaking of Yomama, Siuyeh heard there’ll be a new location in IFC2 soon. Woohoo!). The one I’m blogging about is the branch in Wanchai, which apparently is a popular location amongst local film directors & screenplay writers (famous and not-so-famous) looking for inspiration to their next project(s). I once saw Alfred Cheung Kin-Ting (張堅庭) there so I guess what people say is true. I wonder why it is so inspirational. Is it the quiet neighbourhood of the Star Street Precinct? Or is the the music area equipped with professional sound system with “hard-to-find Chill Out, Lounge and Nu Jazz CD’s hand-picked by DJ Preston”?

Anyway, Epoch brews some pretty decent coffee but something else Epoch is known for is Tracy Tsui Sim Kwok, who works in the Taikoo Shing branch. She was the winner of the Hong Kong Grand Barista Championship and represented our city as 1 of only 2 International GBC Finalists in the Danes Grand Barista Championship 2009 about 2 weeks ago.

Here’s an excerpt from the official website:

Although Tracy didn’t manage this year a top three placing, her latte art and table settings were scored very highly by judges and amongst the best.  Tracy had a great following in Sydney, all travelled from Hong Kong and they get my personal award ‘ best cheer squad ‘.  Sitting in the front row, Tracy’s cheer squad roared with support as Tracy entered the stage and finished her session.  ‘Tracy, you did a magnificent job, I am personally very proud of you as I believe are your colleagues and the rest of Hong Kong Barista fraternity!  You’re a different barista from the experience of the HK GBC and now Australasia GBC; you’re the HK Grand Barista and I believe a role model for other baristas to aspire to in the profession of a barista ‘.  Please everybody send Tracy a note of congrats; she’s done HK proud!

So congrats again on a great performance!

Anyway, I dropped by for lunch the other day, so I thought maybe I’d do a write-up. Unfortunately, I’m not much a coffee drinker but I do drink cappuccino so viola! Epoch’s illy cappuccino. Good size; neither too little or too much – perfect for taking a few small sips. It is slightly leaning towards a chocolately aroma (with a hint of nuttiness fragrance), which I suppose is what makes a cup of cappuccino – also the reason I like it.

Cappuccino at Epoch

Cappuccino at Epoch

Almond Brownie at Epoch on Star Street

Almond Brownie at Epoch on Star Street

We had an almond brownie to go with our coffee, but it tasted a little stale as if its been sitting inside the jar for a little longer than it should’ve. So after a small bite, I had move swiftly on to the “pizza”. Nothing beats Mrs. Field’s 3 Chocolate Brownies.

Deluxe Pizza (on Panini Bread) at Epoch on Star Street

Deluxe Pizza (on Panini Bread) at Epoch on Star Street

I was expecting a traditional (round) pizza so imagine my astonishment when this came. Then I look at the menu on the wall again, and they did in fact print very clearly and in parenthesis “Pizza (On Panini Bread)” or something along those lines. How did I miss it?! It wasn’t even fine print. But no matter, because I love Panini bread so this was a good experience to try a pizza on Panini bread … or Panini with melted cheese, pepperoni and pepper strips, depending on how you look at it.

The bread itself was still a little spongy, so in a way the texture felt like soft thick-crust pizza from Pizza Hut, only the crust wasn’t as crunchy. I guess I prefer the standard pizza better. And after this, I realized I only really like Panani bread if was oven toasted and squashed, like the Chicken Pesto Panini we had afterwards.

Chicken Pesto Panini at Epoch on Star Street

Chicken Pesto Panini at Epoch on Star Street

Here, the pesto sauce was tasty enough, but the chicken was a little tough and a little too dry. Too dry in fact that even the melted mozzarella (or was it provolone?) cheese couldn’t really help. The grill Panani bread was good though!

Will I go back? Yes, I’d go back for drinks and coffee. The atmosphere and environment is definitely superb for a nice Sunday coffee with your favorite novel.

Siu Yeh Rating: 6.5/10 for food, 8/10 for coffee

Note: Photos taken with a BlackBerry Curve 8900.

Epoch Coffee Bar & Desserterie
12-14 Wing Fung Street
Star Street Precinct, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3525 1570
Website: www dot epochcoffeebar dot com

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Yomama So Fat, She …

… sorry, I just had to do it. Lame, I know. The name was just begging me to do it. But its good branding, no? Its sticky. “Let’s go to … Yomama!” … “Umm … What d’you call me?!”

I have to say though, I wasn’t a big fan of yoghurt ice cream. I love the plain old rich and milky-type of ice cream (i.e. Haagen Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s, Movenpick, etc.) and when I went to Yomama for the first time a couple weeks ago, I had the Green Tea flavour (regular size) with Nata De Coco toppings and didn’t think too much of it. I don’t usually eat yoghurt, especially not the ones that’s a bit sour and there’s a hint of that in this ice cream. Coupled with Green Tea (that is, Sour Green Tea now) flavour, I thought its a little weird. It wasn’t a bad experience though.

Yo Mama Frozen Yoghurts - 2 Flavours so far ...

Yo Mama Frozen Yoghurts - 2 Flavours so far ...

Toppings & Condiments at Yo Mama 1

Toppings & Condiments at Yo Mama 1

Toppings & Condiments at Yo Mama 2

Toppings & Condiments at Yo Mama 2

Then, I went there again last night and this time, I had the original flavour (Vanilla) and with 2 toppings: Nata De Coco (sorry, I love that stuff) and Mango. Not very adventurous … I know, but I already like it a little more.

Original Flavour + Fresh Strawberries + Mochi (Left) & Original Flavour + Fresh Mango + Nata de Coco (Right)

Original Flavour + Fresh Strawberries + Mochi (Left) & Original Flavour + Fresh Mango + Nata de Coco (Right)

Yomama’s got a bit of a cult following I think. I know people who would go there at least once a week and nephews of a good friend of mine go there every night after dinner. So I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like it as much as most people do because I’ve been ordering the wrong combo. Next time, I should just pile it on and get like 8 toppings … or perhaps try their recommended combo (picture below):

Customer Fave-futt

Customer Fave-futt

Hmm … Shaved Chocolate, Coco Pops, Oreos, Granola & Chocolate Syrup. It’ll be a large size and I’ll probably add some more M&M’s, Mochi & Nata De Coco on top of what they’ve suggested. Then I’ll take out a MARS bar that I’ll have brought with me and shove it in. Dinner is served. I shall call it, *drum roll* … The Siu Yeh Boogie.

Note: Photos taken with a Blackberry Curve 8900

Siu Yeh Rating: 7/10 and increasing

Yo Mama
16 Wing Fung Street
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2865 5600
Fax: +852 2865 5700

“One Bowl of Noodle” by Olala

一碗麵 (or literally “one bowl of noodle”) has been the subject of many blogs since it opened 3 to 4 years ago, so I suppose it is nothing special that I write about the place. Rather, I want to use 一碗麵 as a platform to talk about the surrounding neighborhood (Star Street) and some of the private kitchens you might be able to find in that area. I’ll save that for another time though.

After having visited the place for what seems like my 3rd time now, I am surprised to find the restaurant still doing well at the price they charge for their noodles!

At HKD 160+ per bowl of noodle, its probably the most expensive bowl of noodle(s) I’ve had, but also one of the finest. The soup for both noodles were thick and flavorful. I’m quite sensitive to MSG, but having drank the last drop of soup and gone home to vegetate, I wasn’t as thirsty (for water) as I would’ve been if it was full of MSG. The minced beef in the “Dam Dam Noodle” soaked up the soup, so it wasn’t dry, but rather full of the peanuty / sesame / spicy oil flavors. The beef in the “Roast Beef Noodle” is soft and fatty, which also makes it juicy. I would’ve like to see a little more beef though, at that price!

Dam Dam Noodle (擔擔面) at Olala

Dam Dam Noodle (擔擔面) at Olala

Roast Beef Noodle (紅燒牛肉面)

Roast Beef Noodle (紅燒牛肉面)

Siu Yeh Rating: 8.5/10

一碗麵 by Olala
G/F., 1 Electric Street (intersecting Star Street)
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2294 0450