Lady M, famous the world over for its signature mille crêpes, has taken Hong Kong by storm since its arrival last year. As one of the most celebrated patisseries in New York, Lady M's allure lies in the lightness and delicateness of its refined desserts. Upon first bite, their flavours instantly differentiate themselves from the often overly sweet, heavy confections popular in the United States and, instead, reflect the light effervescence of Japanese desserts. Owner Ken Romaniszyn, who is half Japanese, was inspired by the flavours he encountered during his summers in Japan, aiming to recreate them in his subtly sweet desserts.
With three locations in Hong Kong, Lady M has expanded its repertoire beyond sweet temptations with an all-day dining menu to complement its desserts. We recently stepped into its flagship branch in Causeway Bay's Fashion Walk to check out what all the buzz is about.
The restaurant, complete with an al fresco garden seating area, is a picture of calm and refinement awashed in white marble. Soft greenery provides colour accents against muted tones and clear plastic chairs.
We settled in with tall glasses of iced yuzu lemonade ($58) before crunching into our first starter of corn and okra fritters ($68). The sweet pops of corn paired well with the sticky texture of the okra, which helped to break up the dry consistency of the batter. Four dipping salts – original sea salt, seaweed, chilli and garlic – lined the plate. We especially enjoyed the chilli salt, which added a bit of zing to the fritters.
Crispy avocado chips ($68) dusted in Parmesan crumbs and accompanied by paprika mayonnaise continued our fried foods streak. The batter was crispy yet not overly greasy, although we wished that the wedges themselves came with more seasoning to break up the richness of the avocado.
The grilled aubergine steak ($88), stacked in a tower between layers of courgette purée and topped with mixed greens and roasted mushrooms, was our favourite of the three starters. The aubergine had a satisfying meaty texture that even appeased the most resolute meat eater in our group.
The New York avocado bagel ($98), smothered in lemon-herb cream cheese and crowned with a scoop of guacamole mixed with diced egg white, was delicious. It provides clean, simple flavours for a health-conscious meal, although we wish that the guacamole had more seasoning.
The signature brioche toast ($108), topped with fresh figs and brûlée Camembert and drizzled with honey and balsamic vinegar, was our favourite of the mains. The egg-soaked French toast soaked up plenty of honey and gave a nice balance to the smoky, savoury cheese and sweet fig. This dish is an absolute must order.
No visit to Lady M is complete without dessert! The glass display cases are full of temptations...
We adored the strawberry shortcake ($58 per slice), which is filled with layers of airy vanilla sponge, whipped cream and fresh strawberries. The sponge is made using superfine flour from Japan, making the entire cake incredibly light and delicate.
The Gâteau Nuage ($68 per slice) literally translates to 'cloud cake' and is an airy, whipped cheesecake covered with a thin layer of sweetened sour cream within a cinnamon-infused graham cracker crust. Subtly sweet and light, this was a great example of Japanese-style cheesecake.
Although not especially photogenic, the mimosa ($58 per slice) was our favourite of the sweets thanks to its creamy custard filling and layers of dreamy vanilla sponge.
Verdict: A delightful, unexpected surprise. We have to admit that we were a little prejudiced going into this tasting as we weren't sure if the all-day food menu would measure up to the desserts, but we now humbly admit we were wrong. The dishes were delicious and just the right size to allow room for Lady M's famous cakes without feeling the guilt of overindulging. There's now even a lunch set that includes a main and a cake for $168 or three courses (starter, main and cake) for $198. This demure little shop tucked into a quiet corner of chaotic Causeway Bay is definitely worth a visit – and not just for the sweet-toothed.
Shop C, G/F, 1–3 Cleveland Street, Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, 2861 1866