Artisan Garden Cafe
23 Po Tuck Street
Tel 2548 3261
Cuisine: Aussie-style burgers, open sandwiches, and pasta, but their speciality is waffles – for breakfast, as a main, and especially as dessert.
Vibe: Laid-back and hipster-esque. The cafe is brightly lit with an eclectic mixture of plastic chairs, wooden stools and fabric tub seats, and cushions scattered here and there. Rows of mugs hang on display behind a cabinet groaning with a range of vintage-looking dishes.
It’s one of a few more sparkly cafes and shops that pepper the tucked-away side street, in an area that still hasn’t quite been gentrified just yet – though it’s getting there.
Who to take: Friends, family and loved ones, your dog – it’s a pet-friendly space. If you can make the trek up Hill Road without getting your sweat on, this is a pretty decent date spot too. Head out a little later, say after school’s out, if you want to avoid the crowds.
What’s hot: The chunky avocado and poached eggs open sandwich has a decent kick to it thanks to the sliced chillies, and comes with a very healthy amount of avocado (don’t you just hate it when a dish doesn’t come with enough of the main ingredient?). The cafe latte is fabulously strong – just as it should be – and freshly brewed and filled to the brim with fancy foam art.
The dessert section is where this place truly shines, with thick, fluffy waffles a noteworthy highlight. The sea salt caramel waffle sandwich was particularly amazing, with a home-made caramel sauce that you will want to buy and put on just about everything, served with possibly the tastiest sea salt vanilla ice cream in the city.
There’s plenty of room to stretch your legs out and linger with your mates after you’ve finished eating, and the kitschy decorations lend themselves pretty well to being Instagram backdrops. The cafe is open until pretty late – 10pm – which is handy when you’re armed with your laptop and need a place in which to hole up in and finish an essay.
Oh, and the free Wi-Fi, obviously. That’s always a plus.
What’s not: The avocado sandwich, while arriving promptly, was a touch colder than is ideal, and the prices a little steeper than they ought to be. The desserts might be too sweet for some – the yoghurt that comes with the sea salt caramel waffle sandwich doesn’t quite cut through the sweetness as it’s meant to.
A personal quibble - the feta in the avocado sandwich was a little saltier than we liked, but there are probably plenty of feta lovers out there who’ll disagree!
Cost: Soup of the day is HK$48, mains are from HK$68 to HK$138, desserts are from HK$58 to HK$88, drinks are HK$25-HK$75.