Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Homey, Homei and Hearty@Homei, Soho

I am not sure about how the name should be read- is it 'homey' or 'ho-mei' ? Which is the message the owner of the cafe wishes to tell via the name, a cosy, home-like atmosphere of the cafe, or tasty food and coffee it serves? However the name should be read and interpreted, the small cafe - one of the smallest in HK, according to CNNgo - is literally both homey and ho-mei.

We were there at nine something in the morning. The cafe was within walking distance from my place, at a exceptionally quiet corner along the street. I had walked pass the street for countless times but, shamefully, i had never walked along the section the cafe is on. Behind the smelly and smokey temple, I would not set foot on that particular sector along the street had i not know about the cafe.

Homei is small - at less than 150 sq. feet, the cafe can only carry two small tables and four petite chairs plus the bar. The door was kept opened so that light, cool breezes could blow into the little cafe. Worry not about noise and dust from traffic: the road is for exclusive use of pedestrians. Looking to the outside from the cafe, the view and the atmosphere looked awfully un-Hong Kong like. The cafe is like a time machine: a step into the place brings you somewhere else, and the cost of the 'trip' overseas? A reasonable fare for a nice cup of coffee. The menu is not extensive, and only simple foods and coffee are served. But mind you that most of them are home-made by the owners of the cafe. Even the muffins are homemade! It instantly reminded me of the cafe i previously worked at as temp where they charge way too much for muffins and croissants, which were not baked by the cafe but bought somewhere else. In contrast, this little cafe bakes and serves its customers with a heart.

We did not want to overload our stomach in the morning, so we shared a muffin set and ordered another cup of coffee. A large variety of flavoured lattes were available and we had a ginger latte and roasted hazelnut latte, both with skimmed milk. Only pineapple muffin were available so we had one on that.

The food and drinks came slowly, and i was happy that the pineapple muffin had been reheated. It smelt really nice! The texture was different from that I had at Dan Ryan's two days ago, and this was more moist, less crumbly and softer in texture. It was also modestly sweet and tasted very pineapple-ish. Chunks of pineapple flesh could be found in the muffin and their crispy texture contrasted well with the soft and moist dough of the muffin. The surface of the muffin was baked till crispy and i enjoyed eating the crust a lot - it was literally ho-mei!

I watched how the owner-cum-barista carefully poured the foamed milk over to form a delicate latte art on our drinks - it took longer than usual for the coffees to be served, but we were not in a hurry so we did not mind. The milk foam was very dense, fine, despite thin; it tasted sweet however, and was it because of the Pura milk they were using? I kinda regretted ordering a flavoured latte for myself as it was really too sweet for me. Should have asked for a latte with reduced syrup. Anyhow, hazelnut lovers should not miss the coffee here as it was very, very aromatic and sweet. Not quite my cup of tea however, but I like how mild the espresso shot was. It was not very strong and sour, but i should not have ordered a flavoured one so that i could better taste the espresso.

M's ginger latte (not photographed) had pieces of ginger in it but i heard it was not as spicy as that at robuchon. The large chunks of ginger at the bottom of the cup were pretty stunning tho as they appeared to be really strong and spicy.

Homey, homei and hearty-what more can you ask for from this little, humble cafe in Sheung Wan? I would definitely go again for the homemade sandwich, freshly baked cakes and of course, the coffee. But no flavoured syrup next time - i might have a sweet tooth but definitely not for the coffee please!

Shop B, G/F, 22-24A Tai Ping San Street, Sheung Wan

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