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A few weeks ago, I was on the hunt for a midday coffee and went into TOWER 535 in Causeway Bay. I’d visited Appendix Coffee & Bar on the third floor before and was heading there when I noticed a new café called THE ALP. It had a cute wooden cabin kind of feel and I was curious to try it, but it was oddly busy, even on a weekday afternoon. So I headed to Appendix as planned but wanted to check out THE ALP on another day. Soon after I recruited a friend, and we popped over to THE ALP for a late lunch.
THE ALP is the café arm of bar Lounge Hakuba, which opened late last year. If you haven’t checked out either yet, the café/bar aims to transport you to the Japanese Alps with its cosy après-ski vibe.
We were seated at one of the low tables by the sofas, which I do not recommend for those who are eating. The tables are narrow, and it’s awkward to eat plated food on them. Try to get a regular table if you can and leave the low tables for coffee and tea.
We ordered a hojicha latte ($45) and a matcha latte ($45). Both were excellent, with the hojicha tasting slightly milder than the matcha. Huge cups and great value!
The food is focused on brunchy light bites as well as more indulgent snacks.
We started with the avocado sourdough ($98), which I loved. I enjoy a lot of different flavours in my brunch food, and this avo toast has cherry tomatoes, feta, a pesto-like mint sauce and fried lotus chips. The sourdough itself was great – lots of flavour and a soft, chewy texture.
When the scattered soba bowl ($118) arrived, we were amazed at how huge the portion was. It looked lovely and seemed a solid option for those looking for a healthy yet filling lunch. The pumpkin and egg were delicious, but unfortunately, the other items didn’t fare as well. Both the soba and chicken were overcooked and our avocado was underipe (surprising, as our avo toast was so delicious).
The portobello sando ($98) is a solid sarnie. Hunks of juicy portobello are sandwiched with Parmesan flakes, rocket and balsamic vinegar in between two thick slices of toast.
Finally, the beef mountain donburi ($118) also comes in a generous portion. The sauce was a bit bland (perhaps as we’d had quite a few more flavourful items before it), but the overall quality was decent.
The other stuff
I was expecting THE ALP to be a relaxed café, but I found it to have an edgier vibe. The service wasn’t as attentive or friendly as we had hoped; dishes were put down without explanation or even eye contact, and we waited quite awhile for sharing plates, despite the café being half-empty at that point. We hate to nitpick, and we hope this was a one-off.
We can always use another great café in Causeway Bay and THE ALP achieves this. The food was a bit hit-and-miss during our visit, but it has promise. The café also seems to be a popular place for shisha. Their outdoor patio was busy, with many partaking in shisha during our visit (they have a whole wall full of flavours).
Shop 302, 3/F, TOWER 535, 535 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay, 2111 1707
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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