Monday, October 29, 2012


October and November are my favorite months in Hong Kong. In October, the humidity dissipates and the weather starts to cool down. If you're lucky, some evenings, the air can even smell fresh. In Central no less! But November is when Hong Kong truly becomes lovely. It's the month during which you should plan to have every meal al fresco and enjoy long, leisurely hikes. The weather is sunny but cool and breezy, before the chill of winter creeps in.

Hong Kong doesn't offer a ton of al fresco dining options, probably because for 9-10 months out of the year, it's either too hot, too humid, too cold or too rainy to enjoy. One of my favorite spots for a semi-al fresco brunch in Hong Kong is Oolaa, which sits on the edge of Sheung Wan and Soho. The seating is technically indoors, but the floor-to-ceiling glass doors open up completely so that you get the al fresco feel.

Oolaa is the type of neighborhood joint everyone should have in their neighborhood. It's a terrific spot to drop in for a cappuccino or glass of wine at the bar, or to spend the afternoon reading the newspaper, or to have a casual business lunch, or to meet friends for an after-work drink. But most of all, it's best for a leisurely weekend brunch. Unfortunately, I'm not the only who thinks so, as evidenced by the crowds that descend each Saturday and Sunday morning, well into the late afternoon. If there's a wait (and there always is on the weekends), I like to pull up a stool at the bar and have a drink while we wait for a table. There are three distinct seating areas: a formal dining room, a casual communal dining room and a lounge-y area in between. I like the casual dining room the best - it reminds me a lot of Fillmore Street in San Francisco.

Mimosas are made with fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Breakfast bruschetta - grilled bread topped with grilled tomatoes, avocado and red onion, poached eggs and hollandaise. Served with a side of cured bacon. Love this dish!
Brekkie burrito - full of meat, but would be better with sides of sour cream, guacamole and salsa!

Food rating: *** and a half
Bang for buck rating: 4.5 for brunch and weekday express lunch; 3.5 for dinner

The essentials:
Location: G/F Centrestage, Bridges Street, Soho, Hong Kong
Average price of brunch for two: $350

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