R&B Research Bakery
172 Nathan Road
Grub: “Inventive” Western
Vibe: Exposed pipes, classroom-style chairs, wooden floors and floor-to-ceiling windows, this is a hipster-friendly hangout that wouldn’t be out of place in Brooklyn, but not too trendy to scare off the rest of us.
Who to bring: That friend who wears glasses without lenses, or anyone who enjoys unexpected flavour combinations. It’s part of the AppleGreen family, so anyone who loves their creative salads should try this.
What’s hot: At first glance, the menu appears to be that of a regular fast food joint: burgers, chicken nuggets, pizza. But on closer inspection, you realise a lot of dishes will never be offered at Maccas: there are vegetable dishes galore, for a start, and many of the items are intriguing twists on tradition.
The vegetables really are a revelation: grilled lettuce is served with a white miso sauce, and a roasted beetroot salad comes with quinoa and a yuzu dressing. Try Caesar Brussels sprouts if you enjoy umami tastes: the blend of parmesan and anchovy on the crisp sprouts is delicious, and the honeyed bread serves as an interesting counterpoint. The sweetness of the caramelized cauliflower is cut by the accompanying shallots. These dishes are important reminders of how versatile vegetables, and vegetarian cooking, can be.
But there’s plenty here for meat and fish lovers, from “hamburger” dumplings and double cheeseburgers, to gnocchi with uni and a take on Thai beef salad. Lamb cutlets come breaded and perfectly cooked – just the right side of pink – and served with zingy tzatziki and a Hasselback potato.
The imaginative drinks list includes some very refreshing mocktails and surprising versions of standard beverages.
What’s not: The “jus” for the French dip was way, way too salty. We just went without; luckily the baguette was soft and the beef tender.
Caramelisation is always tasty, but there’s a fine line between browned and burned, and some of the vegetables, and one edge of a cutlet, leaned more towards the latter.
Cost: From HK$38 for a starter of cheese and onion biscuits with bacon butter and cheddar, to HK$173 for steak frites. Drinks are from HK$22 for a can to HK$52 for “Ice cube + milk”, a novel approach to iced coffee/chocolate milk that you mix yourself.
There is also a brunch menu.