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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.
 

The 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.
 

The Store

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.
 

The 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.
 

The Verdict

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.
 

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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HOW to Live Minimally in a Busy City

How can you live minimally in a busy city like Hong Kong? Well, joining the ranks of Kwun Tong‘s ever expanding youth culture, recently opened HOW Concept Store has the answer. The furniture distributor occupies one whole floor in a warehouse building and conveniently doubles as a café. Thanks to its beautifully curated Instagram account, it exploded with popularity among enthusiastic café seekers in Hong Kong. I was unable to visit on a weekday so I braved the weekend crowd after the original craze of the café-cum-furniture store began dying down.

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

The café, or the Food Factory as HOW Concept Store calls it, is currently the main attraction of the new space. Most visitors were in their early twenties when I went so I’m guessing they weren’t looking to build a home yet. Having said that, as part of their aims to promote a pleasant lifestyle, HOW Concept Store also sells Japanese design accessories and other knick-knacks, which many customers seemed to have a large interest in.

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

As soon as you step off the creaking warehouse lifts – which you have to operate by hand, by the way, and are an experience in themselves – you’re met with the cleverly worded slogan of HOW Concept Store: “HOW to live well”. If you go during the day, the sun spills in from the large windows making it a good spot for your selfies. Just a head’s up. 😉
 

The Architecture

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

The interior decor of HOW Concept Store stays true to its philosophy of minimal living. The single large room spans across an entire warehouse floor, offering spaced out dining tables so customers aren’t listening in to their next door neighbours or jostled by passersby. It’s a lovely break from the crowded restaurants and cafés of Hong Kong. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been distracted by the gossip I’ve been forced to hear from some bimbo across the next table while trying to concentrate.

Most café customers were just like me, working on their laptops or relaxing with a book. The great thing about working in HOW Concept Store is that it gets a lot of natural light from the almost-floor-to-ceiling windows that reach across the length of the room.

I didn’t sample their food as I went in the late afternoon, but to give you an idea, the menu offers a small range of western and Japanese food. There’s something for everyone with examples including pasta, rice and sandwiches.
 

The Furniture Store

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

The star of HOW Concept Store is, of course, their furniture section. You can tell they have handpicked selections that specifically considers their brand name. HOW Concept Store advocates a less is more attitude to furniture and living which is reflected in the Japanese brands that they retail. They feature a library of goods, from larger items such as sofas and bookshelves to small kitchenware utensils like forks and knives.

Just to quickly name a few, offered brands ranging from home to lifestyle include ACME Furniture, Karimoku and T-Lab. HOW Concept Store also routinely updates its Facebook and Instagram pages for new products, so be sure to follow them to keep up with the most updated design news in the Asian world.
 

The Verdict

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

HOW Concept Store, Café in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

I loved working at HOW Concept Store. The definite plus for me was the spaced out tables so I don’t have to interact with my neighbours. I just wish it didn’t cost so much to cross the harbour to get there because unfortunately, the lack of space of cafés on Hong Kong island can’t offer this luxury.

That being said, I’ll be returning in the future to try the food, but I’ll probably wait until the hype of HOW Concept Store dies down. While the café was far from noisy, it wasn’t easy to find a free table even in the late afternoon. I’m guessing at the moment, it would be more crowded during lunch hours.

I’m not looking to build a home yet at 23 years old but it was still nice browsing the potential furnishing options while winding down after a whole afternoon’s work. The items were so my style – y’know, raw and minimal, so I really had to exercise self-control while looking. Remember to have cash on hand if you find it hard to resist pretty lifestyle goods. 😉
 

Shopping? Take it to the next level here!:

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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Feed Your Concrete Obsession with Storerooms No. 3

Ravenous for your daily dose of concrete? I know I was when I visited recently opened café Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok. The design space is housed in a sketchy, inconspicuous building on Sai Yeung Choi Street South among the fishball vendors, street performers and singing old folks on the road. Finding it was not unlike my journey to find Mum’s Not Home‘s entrance – in fact, it’d probably be harder for the Hong Kong newbie overwhelmed by the densest district of the already-dense city. But no fear, I had trusty Google Maps by my side (although it has betrayed me numerous times)!

Storerooms No. 3 is the third little space by hipster store and sourcer, Storerooms. I only found out about the store when the café popped up, but I noticed that most of my architecture school classmates had already liked their Facebook page and followed their Instagram account. And no wonder: Storerooms is porn for the design-hungry.

I’d get straight into telling you about Storerooms No. 3 because you’re probably here for concrete porn. But lets lay down the backstory beginning with the shop.
 

The shop: Storerooms No. 1

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Take an extra flight of stairs up to the fourth floor of the same building as its café counterpart to find the OG, Storerooms No. 1. Their motto is “we sell beautiful things” and this was proved a hundred percent true when I took a look at the items they had up for sale.

Founded in August 2013, Storerooms sources its products from all around the world. These items are selected and collected by artists and designers and man, they scream “style” so loud I’d go death. The prices are o-m-g expensive, but you get items that are created with design and quality in mind shipped all the way from Europe and whatnot, so it really is value for money when you think about it.

I visited with Pinky – we were mainly there to check out Storerooms No. 3 – and even though we found quite a few knick-knacks in the store we’d love to own, the tear in our wallets would be too large.

Slightly disheartened but enlightened by the beautiful product designs, we stomped downstairs to get to the café.
 

The Café: Storerooms No. 3

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

SVL Storerooms No. 3 in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Excuse my photo spam, but I just can’t help myself.

Storerooms No. 3 was everything Pinky and I love. Being architecture students, we were going crazy over the concrete walls – never mind if they were just spray-on concrete (but we weren’t sure so don’t take my word for it). How do I describe it? The whole room just had this artsy ambiance. Despite being a tiny space, it was really chill. All the customers in the store were quietly looking over the free reading material provided at the café, enjoying their slice of cake or coffee, or working on their laptop. And yes, for you to imagine how small Storerooms No. 3 is, my pictures pretty much capture every part of the room.

Storerooms regularly hosts events to promote local artists, designers and musicians, so Storerooms No. 3 is a perfect addition to their little store. It may be a bit dark or look a bit too much like a prison for the ones who aren’t crazy for concrete, but for me, it was a slice of heaven.
 

Shopping? Take it to the next level here!:

If you enjoyed this post and want to be in the know about trendy shops 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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