Sometimes there’s nothing more comforting than a cosy neighbourhood café. Named after its address in Shek Tong Tsui, 14 South Lane exudes a friendly neighbourhood atmosphere with its large windows and a homey interior complete with real sunflowers, marble and wooden tabletops and a bookshelf displaying personal recipe books and mismatched crockery.
The restaurant is already popular, mostly from word of mouth. It’s the kind of café you might walk by, not realising it’s there, and then stop to take a second look. Sitting close to one of the large windows, we noticed quite a few people taking peeks inside. The first thing you’ll see when entering the café is this extremely inviting table of pastries.
It’s hard to resist a table like this, and the freshly baked scones are already a hot item. We tried the ginger and orange scone ($35), served with cream and homemade marmalade (the marmalade can also be bought by the bottle). The scone was hearty, sweet and just the right combination of crumbly, soft and crisp. We’ll have to try the savoury broccoli, rocket and Cheddar scone ($35) next time.
The menu at 14 South Lane is predominately plant based, save for a few organic chicken, fish and egg dishes. The food is clearly very health conscious, with plenty of veggie-loaded dishes such as wholesome bowls ($122), fresh juices ($52) and smoothies ($68) – and even a broccoli latte ($52) for the super adventurous.
To drink, we tried the pomegranate, mint and orange soda ($48) and golden latte ($52). The sugar-free soda was light and refreshing, with plenty of natural sweetness from the fruits. The golden latte is made with turmeric, cardamom and a plant-based milk. No dairy options are offfered, so you can choose between almond, oat and soy milks. The turmeric flavour was strong but not at all sweet – perfect for us, but many will likely be used to sweetened turmeric lattes.
Even after only being open a short time, we had already heard good things about the green shakshuka ($128), made green with plenty of spinach and courgette and mixed with organic eggs, potato and Camembert. Served alongside sourdough toast and homemade tomato chutney, this was unlike any shakshuka we’d tasted before. The eggs are not a prominent feature, but they add to the creamy texture of the dish. We loved the flavours from the fresh herbs and the sharpness of the Camembert, and the mixture went down a treat with the crisp sourdough. Those looking for a traditional shakshuka may be disappointed in this dish, but we can highly recommend it to those looking for something a little different.
The sweet potato coconut pancake ($118) has already become a bit of an Instagram celeb, and we can see why with this towering presentation of thick pancakes topped with caramelised banana and drizzled with honey and coconut shavings. The layers are filled with a homemade raspberry and peanut butter jam that is absolutely to die for. The café is already bottling and selling its homemade marmalade, so we’re really hoping that we can buy this jam next to eat with just about anything. The pancakes are vegan, made with flaxseed instead of egg as a binding agent. The texture is somewhat glutinous, almost mochi-like. This is a texture that some may dislike (particularly those with a more Western palate), but we could not get enough of these chewy pancakes.
Eating at 14 South Lane is a comforting experience, with dishes that feel both nourishing and indulgent. There were quite a few items that we didn’t get to try, but we thoroughly enjoyed everything we did, giving us plenty of reasons to return. We have no doubt that this health-focued café will become one of the neighbourhood’s most beloved hang-outs in no time.
Open Monday–Saturday, 8am–5pm, they are currently offering 15% off all takeaway orders.
14 South Lane, Shek Tong Tsui, 5744 8390
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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