Is mato a coffee shop? Is it a wine bar? Or is it both?
Obviously, I’m a wine fan, but I’m also a coffee lover, so I always like the concept of a coffee shop cum wine bar. Coffee shops usually close at 6/7pm and wine bars only open at 5/6pm. Combining these two businesses makes sense and is certainly a great way of utilising space, especially in a high-cost rental city like Hong Kong.
There are a few coffee-wine bars in Hong Kong, but most are focused on coffee, with a fairly limited wine selection. However, mato stands out because it’s as serious about wine as it is about coffee. Its concept is coffee-wine omasake, where the barista and sommelier recommend both coffee and wine to pair with the food according to your preferences. The menu features Japanese-inspired pasta dishes and a nice selection of small bites.
Starting with the coffee, all coffee drinks are made with single-origin espresso – single origin, single producer and single crop from Copehagen’s April Coffee Roasters. To fully appreciate the coffee, mato offers a coffee and chocolate pairing of three single-origin chocolates with three single-origin coffees.
Although it’s a small place with only around 30 seats, mato boasts more than 140 grape varieties on its wine list. Wine lovers are rewarded with a variety badge for each new variety they try. Collect 20 badges and you’ll get a free glass of wine. When you earn 80 badges, you’ll receive a 10% discount on all future purchases, to be shared with 10 friends. While the wines offered here are mostly classic, well-known labels, the team are most proud of their wide selection of wine from small producers and lesser-known wine regions.
The all-you-can-drink menu
What I like most at mato is its All-You-Can-Taste initiative. Every month, the sommelier selects six wines according to the monthly theme, and these are offered in a two-hour free-flow deal for just HK$350 per person – perfect for enjoying solo or with friends. In addition to this offering, there are at least 30 wines at mato that can be ordered by the glass. In fact, there always seems to be a few solo wine lovers at the bar chatting with mato’s super-friendly staff.
Wine goes hand in hand with food. The small bites at mato include Black Angus beef balls, whitebait potato croquettes and Japanese minced chicken skewers, and they are the ideal accompaniments to the wine. The sommelier is more than happy to recommend a dish to pair with any wine you have chosen.
You won’t feel at all intimidated at mato – as is rightly stated on their website, “Let us take you on a tasting journey personalised to your degree of interest. Happy to go easy or geeky – however you like it.” Whether you’re a serious wine fan or simply a newbie who wants to learn more, mato won’t disappoint!
Where: Shop G02, G/F, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, Central
Opening hours: Monday–Saturday, 12–8pm
To contact: email email@example.com