What is it? In the former residence of the Awakening Café (a burger and fries diner) comes the exact opposite in a health-conscious paleo-friendly restaurant with a clientele that started with fitness buffs from local gyms crying out for protein packed meals that they didn’t have to prepare themselves. Cue Mike Doyle, former chef of Bistecca and Ava, who himself had been following a paleo diet, and out has come the first eatery of its kind in Hong Kong. We were bemused by the fact that Chef Mike now only uses the deep fat fryer inherited from the diner for boiling vegetables and has a menu filled with salads and stews, healthy meats and fish as well as sugar-free and gluten-free desserts.
The Place: With kitschy murals of meat and veg doing exercises covering the walls, plenty of seating and a welcoming feel to it, this spot on the Sai Ying Pun escalator will make popping in for a guilt-free bite an easy decision.
The Menu: Salads galore! And these salads ain’t boring, they’re exquisitely interesting with the highlight being the carrot, red cabbage, raisin and tumeric. The grilled rib-eye comes served on a plank of pink himalayan sea salt, which gives the meat a mouth-watering seasoning and is served with a simple and flavourful helping of carrot and spinach. The sweet potato mash with cranberries is so delicious it could be eaten as a pudding, and the quinoa pasta is so packed full of veggies you’ll be feeling so good about your health that you won’t even miss the gluten. The hand-made burgers are offered with the option of a gluten-free bun that is almost cornbread-like in consistency and goes surprisingly well with the juicy patty. Along with the sanctimonious, there are also options for the less wellbeing-oriented in the form of a delicious mac and cheese, a grilled cheese with halloumi and a few other indulgent dishes.
The future: With hopes for catering meals to fitness freaks, they are already trialling a three-day set of delivered lunches and dinners for those watching what they eat but without the time to cook it. Also in the pipeline are what Mike Doyle calls “cheat nights” where he will feature deep-dish pizza and homemade donuts. We like this idea very much.
The Verdict: Good healthy food for reasonable prices. And if you’re on a paleo or gluten-free diet, this place is the jackpot. Plus they deliver on foodpanda so lunch al desko just got a new mindful eating option.
1–6 Ying Wah Terrace, Center Street, Sai Ying Pun, Western District, 2858 0005