I don’t know about you but on Saturdays and Sundays, Jason and I like to sit all day in a café to work on our respective projects. It’s not like there’s anything more exciting to do in the Hong Kong heat anyway and I actually enjoy working, so we’re always on the search for more cafés with free wifi. But since the 7.3 million people in the city are all out on the weekend, with 7 million of those probably in Taikoo Shing (ha ha…), it’s nearly impossible to find a quiet working space on Hong Kong island. That’s until we discovered the hidden little gem called Café d’i.
The brightly coloured café is located in the Central district, which would usually make it a nest for people on weekends if not for its off-the-path location. Jason and I totally underestimated the hike up from MTR Central Station to 11 Chancery Lane’s Café d’i. And when I say Café d’i’s location is off-the-path, I really meant off-the-path. It’s totally unnoticeable from Old Bailey Street, which may explain why it was pretty much empty.
When we first entered, we were greeted warmly by the staff/owner – to be honest, I have no idea who actually owned the café because one of the customers was super helpful and even went into the kitchen area to help the staff cook and bring out the food. Um…?
Café d’i boasts a cheerful atmosphere that matched the friendly attitude of the staff-slash-customers with its colourful panelling. It certainly isn’t the type of concrete interior I’m obsessed with, but it’s a much better working space. I’m not a fan of the reflective surfaces – please don’t look at the wall behind me to peek at what I’m working on (not porn, I promise lol) – but I can see how it makes sense for the green, yellow and orange furnishings to have this finishing. And while I’m not usually drawn to bright colours, I like how Café d’i stuck to its colour scheme and adopted simple white chairs as well as no-frills cutlery. No unnecessary decorations, y’know?
Ambiance-wise, not only was Café d’i quiet with just several return guests dropping by from time to time, but everyone was super friendly. Customers greeted the staff, customers helped the staff… I suppose that’s what you get when you cater to your neighbours! And the cherry on top for me: the air conditioning wasn’t too cold.
Jason has an obsession with drinking soup, so when I surveyed Café d’i’s Openrice page and noticed that their lunch sets include either a soup or salad, I knew he’d be delighted. But when we ordered, the staff told us that they were out of soup for the day. Oops.
The food was nothing special, but I mean, I was there because of the architecture and because I really liked their simple cutlery and plating (thanks Openrice for the preview). You can expect the usual western fare like all day breakfasts, pastas and salads cooked Hong Kong-style. It’s nice that Café d’i offers lunch sets at an affordable HKD$88 too, even on weekends. For me, it’s a good deal with an appetiser, a generous portion of the mains, and a drink – remember that we’re in Central.
You know what? I think Café d’i is going to be one of my favourite cafés for working on Hong Kong island (in Kowloon, it would definitely be Howe Furniture & Café). I just dislike its secluded location, but I suppose that’s what makes it quiet and relaxing without swarms of camwhoring Instagrammers (oops, but I guess I sort of am one myself). The hike up to Chancery Lane can easily be fixed after some cooling off, and now that I think of it, I should’ve just taken a bus to Caine Road which is just a walk up.
I think the thing that got me attached to Café d’i was the warm relationship between the staff and customers. Most of the café-goers were regulars and they’d catch up and help around. I highly suspect that Jason and I were the only outside visitors, LOL, because the staff even offered us free muesli – which tasted really good, by the way. Next time I’m stuck for ideas of where to go to work on a weekend, Café d’i will definitely be my first choice.
11 Chancery Lane, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2878 7111
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