David Lane in Sai Ying Pun may not seem the obvious choice for a restaurant, what with the public toilets and all, but that means Mr S Y Punti is even more of a lucky find. Head down this tiny street and you’ll find quite a sight at the end: an old stone wall, a lovely hanging tree, a few tables and chairs and the updated cha chaan teng known as Mr S Y Punti.
This Chinese diner aims to put a fresh take on traditional cha chaan teng favourites such as dumplings and wontons, French toast and deep-fried chicken wings. To wet your whistle, these classics are combined with artisanal teas, espresso-based coffees supplied by Hong Kong’s oldest coffee roaster, Olympia Graeco Egyptian Coffee, and even beer and wine (shout-out to local craft brewery Young Master Ales).
We got a sneak peek of the short-and-sweet menu on a recent weekend lunchtime, and the place was heaving. Though chaotic at times, the service was charming and well-meaning, and we enjoyed our experience overall. For us, the best dish was the selection of dumplings and wontons in homemade chicken broth ($42 for small order/$52 for large order). The dumpling wrappers were tender and nicely translucent, filled with an assortment of beautifully seasoned meat and veg. The dried tofu, cloud-ear mushroom and Chinese celery dumpling – so light and fresh – was the surprising favourite though we also give top marks to the traditional pork and prawn wontons, which we could tell were crafted using high-quality meat and seafood. These nuggets were seasoned to perfection.
The snack palettes ($75 for 3/$125 for 5/$175 for 7) are a fun way to sample a variety of deep-fried goodies. We went all out and ordered seven (arteries, be damned), of which the mini French toast stuffed with peanut butter and the salty, savoury, crispy deep-fried chicken wings were the highlights.
We’ll be back soon to try the café’s East-meets-West all-day breakfast ($78) – eggs, pan-fried Chinese sausage, cheung fun (rice rolls), grilled tomato and steamed greens. Orders of this were flying out of the kitchen at breakneck speed, and we want to taste for ourselves what all the fuss is about.
4 David Lane, Sai Ying Pun, 2915 8885