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If you’re walking too quickly – which we so often do when navigating Causeway Bay’s busy streets – you might just miss the cosy café that is Passepartout Brunch & Coffee. Having just opened this month, there is no signage apart from the name printed in gold on the large windows.
The café is very aesthetically pleasing, already attracting the Instagram crowd with its muted blue-grey walls and gold accents. The large windows and sidewalk seating are reminiscent of European cafés, the kind of places you could sit all morning long with a good book, watching the world go by.
Speaking of good books, the café’s name is inspired by the literary character Jean Passepartout of Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days. You’ll find this novel along with a few other carefully selected literary works on the café’s bookshelf. Sadly, we’re told that the books are usually used as photo props rather than actually read by the customers!
The name Passepartout translates literally to “go everywhere” and speaks to the inspiration behind the menu. Owner Jaliff Yiu has, very impressively, just recently graduated from university, working his way through a variety of jobs in the F&B industry. Inspired by his travels, international upbringing and the all-day brunch cafés in Canada where he grew up, he wanted to create a global menu featuring flavours and techniques from around the world. The menu is concise, with just a few savoury and sweet dishes each on offer. The brunch-style dishes are all named after major cities: London, Yokohama, Hong Kong, Paris and Calcutta.
Passepartout also offers a selection of daily desserts, all made fresh and in-house, as well as speciality teas, coffees and unique beverage creations.
Their signature drink is the Cino ($50/hot or $55/iced), a “naked” take on a yuenyeung that skips the milk and swaps Ceylon tea for pu’er to create a stronger tea aroma. The pu’er is then mixed with their house-blend coffee. While still offering a very strong coffee flavour and scent, the pu-erh helps to balance the acidity of the coffee.
One of their most popular drinks is the miso caramel latte ($50/hot or $55/iced). The miso adds a savoury touch to the latte, cutting the sweetness of the caramel and creating a pleasant salted-caramel-esque flavour.
Inspired by Canada’s portion sizes as well as their cafés, the brunch dishes are extremely generous in size and perfect for sharing. The Hong Kong ($108) is a very creative dish, comprised of a “junk Scotch egg” made with luncheon meat and egg, then coated and fried in breadcrumbs and topped with mayonnaise. The egg was cooked just right, with the yolk slightly oozing, while the luncheon meat, mixed with a bit of potato, was not too salty and offered just the right amount of richness. The dish is served with crispy Japanese rice, coleslaw and Brussels sprouts. While the rice was tasty, we’re not sure it added much to the dish, and it certainly was not necessary given the size of the Scotch egg.
The Calcutta ($118) is a gargantuan tower of fried chicken, butter chicken sauce and coleslaw atop a masala waffle. This never-before-seen twist on a butter chicken curry served up some solid flavours. The fried chicken was satisfyingly crispy and juicy, while the curry sauce was buttery and creamy, layered with subtle spices that the pillowy masala waffle soaked up beautifully. This signature dish is a winner.
While the dessert menu changes daily, the chocolate tart ($38) is the restaurant’s signature. It is very a rich, dark chocolate treat for those serious about their chocolate. The apple crumble pound cake ($58) is delightful and moist, with a crumbly exterior, and is topped with creamy homemade cinnamon ice cream that isn’t too sweet. Be sure to check out the daily menu and pastry display to see what specials they’ve got.
Passepartout is a lovely little café and a much-needed quiet spot in the middle of one of Hong Kong’s busiest areas. The service is warm and friendly, making diners feel right at home. We admire the ambitious yet comforting dishes and think that the thoughtful and creative coffee, tea and dessert options will undoubtedly draw a loyal following.
Shop 2, G/F, Chung Wai Commercial Building, 447–449 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, 2882 0828 (no bookings)
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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