Friday, March 30, 2007

Home Hong Kong Cafe

My friend C's quest to find good cheap eats around town continues on! This time she wanted to try a Hong Kong styled cafe - she asked the right person!

The name "Home Hong Kong Cafe" is my own translation since it doesn't really have an English name, but it belongs to the Grandma's Kitchen group. It's recommended by my hairdresser, who is a Honger, and he knows his food by the sounds of it. His comments on the place were that it's above average, but don't expect anything outstanding. Well it sounds good enough for me!

Since it was our first time there we decided to sample as many dishes as possible, just to get a feel on the place. I went for the meat/fish balls - a south China specialty - just to see how authentic the place is. The beef and cuttlefish ball combo (RMB18) was served on a bed of bean sprouts and some sweet soya instead of a soup base. They were also halved - quite an interesting presentation. The cuttlefish balls had the correct chewy consistency, not bad compared to the other ones I tried at other places in SH. I would give it a 6 out of 10. The beef balls were less descriptive. C correctly compared them with hot dog wieners..I guess if you think about it she was right on. My advice was that it's best to NOT think too deep into this kind of thing.

I thought she would be interested in trying some Chinese donut wrapped in rice pastry (RMB9). The pastry wasn't bad but the donut sticks were squashed and not crunchy and airy like they should be. Perhaps it would help if the waitress didn't drench them in soya.

We got the beef curry (RMB25), hoping to end my search of the perfect curry. While the presentation (the big plate and all) was impressive my heart sank when I saw the color of it. It looked way too neon yellow and experiences tell me yellow = instance curry powder mix = no taste. My suspicion was sadly confirmed, the sauce was rather tasteless with no curry aroma whatsoever.

The Singapore noodles (RMB25) was a winner! It was actually spicy (a rare find in SH) and had all the rich curry flavours. The consistency was just right - not too oily, not too dry and not too wet. It could use a few more prawns and BBQ pork pieces though. Still it was probably the best Singapore noodles I had so far in SH.

I hadn't realised there was a dim sum menu. I didn't have a lot of faith with the dim sum in a little cafe place like this but I thought I would give the "ha gow" (prawn dumplings) (RMB13) a try. They tasted better than the microwavable version but not even close to those you have in tea houses. Oh well.

Finally we tried the pineapple bun (RMB4) and we were taken by surprise how nice it was. The topping was sweet and extremely flaky. The bread was so soft and fresh it had to be sinfully fattening.
The bill with 2 hot grapefruit honey tea (RMB15) came to RMB128, there was enough food for 4 people though!

Home Hong Kong Cafe
1213 Nanjing Road West (near Shanxi Rd.), Shanghai. Tel: 6279-2929

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