Balencia Bakery & Cafe
Shop 356, 3/F, Landmark North, 39 Lung Sum Avenue, Sheung Shui
Tel: 2671 7398
Cuisine: European/Western Japanese
Vibe: The setting is like a classic European cafe, with a touch of Japanese minimalism. The solid-coloured chairs and tables lack creativity, but they match the fast-paced dining style here.
The restaurant is busiest when the mall is, so avoid peak hours, as it gets quite hectic and the long wait for a table is a bit of a downer.
Who to take: Anyone who would enjoy a fusion meal of both western and oriental flavours. This restaurant is perfect for hanging out with your close buddies, because it gets pretty noisy. It’s also an excellent place to stop for a quick bite in between shopping sprees.
What’s hot: Not only do you get a super efficient dining experience, the food is delicious and made with high-quality ingredients.
The serving size is perfect for the Asian appetite. Everything is served in just the right amount – not even a teaspoon more or less than there needs to be.
The wide selection of food on the menu, ranging from Italian pastas to Japanese pork cutlets, truly exemplifies what it means to be an “East meets West” restaurant.
Unlike many Americanised dim sum restaurants, where the traditional Chinese dish is a predictable sweet and sour, the chefs at Balencia Café have managed to stay true to the authentic flavour and traditional taste of each dish, regardless of its origins.
Take the Salmon & Hokkaido salmon roe spaghetti as an example. The creamy sauce and fresh salmon roe could’ve easily passed as an authentic dish in any Hokkaido restaurant, without anyone doubting it’s authenticity.
But the quality doesn’t stop with the mains. The apple tart is great, and the warm cooked apples provide beautifully contrast the cold vanilla ice cream.
What’s not: There’s very limited flexibility when it comes to certain sides and soups, as they can only be ordered as part of a set menu – so you probably won’t see the pumpkin soup or the chicken croquettes anywhere on the a la carte menu.
Also, the noisy setting means it’s impossible to have a heart-to-heart talk. But that’s only to be expected from a restaurant in the middle of a bustling shopping mall.
Cost: Rice/salads/pastas are HK$62 and up. Appetisers and sides cost from HK$12-HK$25. Desserts cost HK$16-58.