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Category: food

This Is the Café to Go to for Fast and Reliable Wifi

Despite its close proximity to the University of Hong Kong, where I spent my undergraduate and postgraduate years at, I’d only been to Opendoor Café + Courtyard twice. I didn’t do a review the first time I went but recently on a whim, I decided to visit again. This time, I went with the aim of writing a blog post.

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

I’ve had plenty of experiences at cafés with poor wifi signal. The internet breaks constantly, the pages take forever to load, and some seats of the café aren’t even in signal range. But I knew for certain that Opendoor Café + Courtyard has always been praised for its reliable connection. What’s more, I was delighted when I sat myself down in the outdoor area. It was the end of November but already, Christmas decorations had been set up all over the café. The outdoor area even had a large Christmas tree. Everything looked super festive. It’s never too early for Christmas, right?
 

Architecture

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard is located just a minute away from MTR Sai Ying Pun Station, facing Sun Yat Sen Park. The café frequently tunes in to Hong Kong’s community, beginning with the homey touch of the interior with artwork by local artists decked on the walls. It also rents out the two floors of its space for private events such music gigs, film screenings, birthday parties, office gatherings and my favourite, dog adoption days! The second time I went, there were puppies wandering all over the café and it was cutest thing ever.

The indoor area of Opendoor Café + Courtyard isn’t huge, but the layout of the tables makes for great seats. Private working spaces you wouldn’t expect to find are slotted into tiny corners of the narrow floor plan, for example, a tiny bar table facing the street. I personally really like this setup because when I work outside, I feel so self-conscious that other people are judging what’s on my screen (which I hate to admit that more often than not, is Neopets). The seating arrangements of Opendoor Café + Courtyard ensures total screen privacy, which is perfect for me.
 

Courtyard

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

My favourite area of the café, though, has got to be the courtyard. After all, that’s what the coffee shop is named after! Like I’ve already mentioned, the outdoor space was decorated with festive ornaments when I went. But even when it isn’t all set up for Christmas, the courtyard is an attractive spot. It’s not only opened to fresh air, but it’s also covered, making it possible for visitors to chill on the deck even on a rainy day. And the best thing about the courtyard is the gorgeous mural on the walls which gives you something to admire while you chat away to your friends or have your tea.
 

Food

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard in Hong Kong

Opendoor Café + Courtyard promotes its cauliflower fried rice heavily and does a whole range of cooked dishes, but as usual, I went in the afternoon so I decided on some lighter options for tea. For some reason, I really felt like tuna that day, so I ordered a Tuna Mayo Sandwich and a Nicoise Salad. The presentation of the food was nothing special as my orders were ready-made, but I’ve seen pictures by others of Opendoor Café + Courtyard’s cooked food and they looked much more spruced up. If you want something Instagrammable, get a hot dish.

While the sandwich was nothing special, the salad portion turned out amazingly generous despite its budget-friendly price tag. I swear, there was a whole tin of tuna fish in it! I have to applaud Opendoor Courtyard + Café for this. I hate portions for ants. There was also plenty of veggies in the salad to make it a full meal and not just a snack.

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Like a lot of cafés I’ve been to, I wish Opendoor Café + Courtyard wasn’t so far from where I live. I can’t believe I didn’t visit more when I was still in school at HKU. That’s a total of four years I’ve missed for potential visits to this place! The coffee shop might be nothing special in terms of food but I do love the space for its hidden working areas. I mean, I really hate playing Neopets in public but I’m addicted to that website, never mind the fact that I began frequenting it when I was nine in 2003. Old habits die hard, okay?

Back to topic, though. If you’re looking for a working spot with fast and reliable Wifi – which by the way, not all cafés have – Opendoor Café + Courtyard is your place to go. Another café that gets a thumbs up from me!

Opendoor Café + Courttyard
120 Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
+852 3460 3880
http://www.opendoorcafe.hk/
 

Check out more in the Sai Ying Pun area:

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Are You in Knead of a Sandwich?

I discovered Knead during the second week of its soft opening back in March when it wasn’t even indexed on the top Hong Kong food listing site, Openrice.com, yet. I was surfing through Instagram one night and I managed to stumble across this little café in Sheung Wan, so just a few days later, I went to try it out. More than half a year later, I decided to revisit this humble little sandwich shop to see how it was doing.

Knead in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Knead serves DIY sandwiches and salads without service charge, has the friendliest staff, ticks all the sweet spots of a great café… but the best of all? The minimalistic interior! Both times I went, I spent more than half an hour just taking pictures of the café itself before I even dug into my food, and even then I had to photograph my eats from many multiple angles.
 

Architecture

Knead in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Knead in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Knead in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Knead in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Knead in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Knead in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Located on Jervois Street in Sheung Wan, Knead looks welcoming from the get-go with its open interior so that customers can enjoy the sunshine while eating during the day. While it’s great for someone like me who hates the cold air conditioning in many of the city’s malls and eateries, it might not strike so well with someone who doesn’t like the Hong Kong’s summer heat.

The store is furnished in neutral colours – think grey, sawdust and off-white. It’s matched with tiffany blue walls, a shade that sends Hong Kong girlies screaming in delight. Every girl loves Tiffany, right? What works is the minimal choice of decorations and the colour scheme, which does not overcomplicate things. One thing I don’t get about the decor, though, are the fake flies on the walls. I suppose Knead included them to echo nature, but to me, they looked a bit creepy – and a bit too realistic!
 

Food

Knead in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Sandwich and salad from Knead in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Although I chose to customise my sandwich and salad, Knead provides a menu of combo suggestions so you don’t end up picking selections that are too atrocious. But c’mon now, who doesn’t love DIY-ing their own food? It’s like a grown-up version of playing with your food that you weren’t allowed to do when you were a baby.

At the time of visit, custom salads started at HKD$63 for one free main topping and two side toppings. Custom sandwiches started at $58 again, for one free main topping and two side toppings. You can’t really go wrong with the ingredients because they’re completely catered to your needs and if your food tastes bad, then it’s on you. Don’t say Knead didn’t warn you, their combo suggestions exist for a reason!
 

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Knead in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

With free wifi, no service charge and friendly staff, Knead has been a consistently great café I’ve returned to regularly. The open interior means that I can even work there when it’s not busy on weekdays because it isn’t freezing with indoor cooling. I also love that customers can help themselves to water, which is perfect for me knowing how much I can gulp down. I definitely recommend this little eatery if you’re in the area and are looking for a quick bite to get you through the day.

Knead
G/F, 28 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
+852 2851 7778
https://kneadhk.com/
 

Explore the rest of Sheung Wan’s gems:

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Get Your First Taste of Vegetarian Meat at This Speciality Café

My first time in Green Common was when I visited the branch connected to OVOCafé in Central. Since then, I’ve been a regular of the store in Wan Chai for speciality products that aren’t available in Hong Kong. As a returning customer of the grocery store, I was thrilled to learn that the new Green Common Landmark would be not only bringing the vegetarian meat brand Beyond Meat to the city, but it would also be serving the product in its own chef-prepared dishes to diners.

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

Beyond Meat is a US-based company that produces vegan proteins. It briefly retailed across Citysuper stores in Hong Kong but has long disappeared off the shelves. And finally, after a long wait by the vegetarian community, Green Common Landmark has brought back the product – not just for sale on the shelves but also cooked in specially curated dishes aiming to make any meat-eater lick his lips.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I am not vegetarian, but I do have a liking for salads and greens. Plus, a bit of prior research taught me that the interior architecture was designed by a company called Editecture. Knowing that Green Common Landmark could do no wrong by offering lunch options, organic groceries and most of all, great design, I visited the store shortly after its opening.
 

Architecture

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

Green Common Landmark sits right outside MTR Central Station exit H, making it a popular option for office workers to grab a bite on the way to work. The “Tiffany-blue” exterior, as my friend described it, compliments the light wooden furnishings inside the grocery store-cum-café. The design isn’t nature-esque like its cousin OVOCafé in Wan Chai or the popular Grassroots Pantry, but the tiny space is fitted out the best it could be in a sleek, yet natural way.

In particular, I loved how the sitting area is organically shaped, echoing Green Common Landmark’s environmental philosophies. The cleverly chosen light tones of the café enlarge the small area and create an airy, open interior. This master theme is repeated deep into the grocery sections.
 

Shop

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

There is every kind of healthy, organic item you can imagine inside the actual grocery store. Many of the products on sale are those that aren’t retailed elsewhere in Hong Kong. The offerings range from snacks to superfoods and even to fresh produce! A few notable brands include Beyond Meat (of course), Miyoko’s Kitchen and Neat Egg. And while products from the US, Europe and the rest of the western world are what many usually go to Green Common for, Green Common Landmark also sells local Hong Kong brands and other Asian brands, for example, snacks from Taiwan or Korea. You will also find pop-up offerings on special holidays like fresh vegan mooncakes when it’s Mid-Autumn Festival.
 

Food

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

Green Common Landmark in Central, Hong Kong

Green Common Landmark boasts a fully vegetarian lunch menu that rotates from Monday to Friday with vegan and Buddhist-friendly mains clearly labelled. Every day, visitors can pick from four options. In addition, the RainBOWL, a colourful quinoa mix, and the Shanghai Chill, a sesame Beyond Meat chicken mung bean noodle, are served daily.

If you need to get back to your office desk for lunch, you can easily pick up any of these dishes at their deli counter for takeaway.

I went during tea time and the lunch sets were still available, but I had already eaten and decided on a salad from the deli. Green Common Landmark also offers two set options for tea time. The food is cheekily named the Filet-No-Fish, a Gardein fish burger, and the AFC, which stands for air-friend chicken.

I sat down to admire the interior architecture with my healthy mixture of orange, beet, and chickpea on a bed of greens called the O’Beet Salad. On the side, I also ordered an Organic Chamomile Tea. I would love to come back for Green Common Landmark’s chef-cooked Beyond Meat meals – goodness knows if I tried to cook a patty myself, it’d be a disaster.

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Psst… I’ve already been back at Green Common Landmark twice already! Although I could’ve gotten get my groceries at the Green Common branches elsewhere, I decided to slow down with a cup of tea in Central before doing so. It’s such a convenient one-stop shop. And c’mon, the interior design by Editecture cannot be competed against.

As it happens, though, both times I visited Green Common Landmark was during tea time – meaning that I still haven’t had the chance to try their Beyond Meat lunches yet. You’ll have to wait a bit longer for my verdict on their cooked meals, but if anything, I highly recommend you to visit just for the architecture.

Green Common
Shop B2, Basement 1, Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2263 3153
http://www.greencommon.com/
 

Vegetarian? Check out these restaurants:

If you enjoyed this post and want to be in the know about trendy cafés before they even hit this blog, make sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to charmainenyw.com’s mailing list!

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