Launched on August 1st, MANA! Cafe combines Head Chef Anthony Damico’s clean, fresh cuisine, high-quality fairtrade organic coffee and a small bookshop to offer Hong Kongers a new locally-owned community business with an emphasis on creating zero-waste by recycling and composting.
Nestled into a small courtyard off Pound Lane, MANA! Cafe greets diners with a quaint patio as well as cafe tables for al fresco dining. Unlike MANA!’s other outlets which lack space for one to sit comfortably and work throughout the day, MANA! Cafe offers four small tables positioned against a banquette, complete with an adequate number of Hong Kong cafe-elusive AC outlets.
For those of you who seek out cafes with top-notch espresso makers, MANA! Cafe doesn’t disappoint with the La Marzocco Linea Double Group head machine, accompanied by locally roasted, organic coffee beans. Being a dairy-free establishment, all drinks are made with Bonsoy, a top-grade non-GMO soy milk imported from Australia. We tried the MANA! Monkey ($50), which is their standard latte with the addition of coconut oil, which when combined with the soy milk created a very nutty and creamy coffee beverage.
The signature menu item at MANA! Cafe features “Open Flats” ($100), which incorporate the rustic flatbreads found at MANA! Fast Slow Food, served flat in a 9” pizza-style pan, with eight savoury and two sweet choices.
We chose the “spelt” whole-grain crust, but for those of you who are gluten-free, they also have a buckwheat option. Founder Bobsy’s Lebanese roots shine through with the inclusion of the tasty seasoning, zaatar, in many of the flatbread choices. Zaatar is a popular Mediterranean spice mixture which often includes ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, or some combination thereof, mixed with toasted sesame seeds and salt.
Indulging our love for the tasty spice combo, we chose “The Tesla” open flat, which combines a lemon garlic base sauce, zaatar sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic and then is topped with raw kale, truffle oil, and a lattice of “garlicnaise”, a soy-based garlic mayonnaise. The combination of lemon, garlic, and “umami” flavours are a perfect match for our hungry stomachs, and we were hugely satisfied with our selection.
The fries & dips ($40) also did not disappoint. The homemade dipping sauces were spot on, from garlicnaise (same one from the pizza) to the chipotle BBQ.
For dessert, “The Shelley” open flat beckoned us with its tahini maple syrup, figs, raisins, and dried coconut topping. As one of the diners in our party hadn’t had ice cream in years because of his dairy intolerance, we indulged in their vegan Macadamia Caramel ice cream, which was received well both in our mouths and in our stomachs.
We love their commitment to recycling and doing what's right for the environment. MANA! is doing a great service to Hong Kong by creating education around recycling, which makes it easy for their customers to sort and separate their trash so that it can be handled appropriately.
We had a highly enjoyable time at MANA! Cafe, with its comfortable atmosphere and delicious healthy options. One of the best outcomes from eating at MANA! is that we never leave here feeling like we’ve overeaten. With its community vibe, delicious, healthy food, and the addition of great coffee, we have great hopes that MANA! Cafe will become an institution in the PoHo neighborhood for years to come.
8 Tai On Terrace