The latest local foodie buzz has all been about Coffee Alley. This popular Taiwanese coffee chain landed in Hong Kong at the beginning of the year, and it’s proved to be ridiculously popular ever since. Rach and I decided to give it a try and arrived 25 minutes before it opened at noon, only to find that there was already a line of eager diners snaking down the stairs waiting for it to open! After a little bit of waiting (as well as some evil glares to those who cut in line…), we finally stepped into the café – which was bright, spacious and totally chilled out. Often when cafés are hidden in old commercial buildings like this, the spaces tend to be small and cramped; however, Coffee Alley was simply lovely, seating around sixty diners without making you feel like a tin of sardines! Everyone spoke Mandarin, but fear not, the menu is in English with beautiful food photos that you will no doubt drool over! The variety of drinks here is extensive – there’s a huge range of coffees including slow drip and espressos, plus a long list of amazing sounding smoothies (I’m definitely coming back for the chunky Oreo one!). We opted for the fruit tea, which quickly became one of my fave drinks around town. It’s colourful and fun with passion fruit bits and chunks of fresh fruit giving that extra bit of sweetness to the red tea. The cube of lemon frozen in ice added just the perfect little hint of sourness. Since it was lunchtime, we ordered the club sandwich to share – a gigantic portion served with a side of egg salad and a handful of Doritos. I’m not gonna lie, the scoop of egg salad totally weirded me out… and after tasting it, I instantly regretted doing so! Otherwise, the sandwich was fine; the best component was probably the chicken, marinated with a sweet, soy sauce flavour. The portion was definitely bigger than we had expected, so keep in mind that this is probably best for sharing. Even though our sandwich was slightly disappointing, the desserts at Coffee Alley are seriously amazing. Our strawberry mille-feuille was oh-so-pretty, with layers of puff pastry, cream and strawberries sitting on a plate of drizzled chocolate. The custard cream was heavenly sweet and the puff pastry had the perfect amount of crunch and flakiness. Yum! Our final dish was the salted caramel and vanilla ice cream waffle. I know, I know, those waffles look incredibly intensely dense – but they are actually lighter than they look! Drizzling the salted caramel into the waffle holes, watching the ice cream melt over them and then gobbling it all up made our long wait to get into Coffee Alley totally worth it. If you’re anything like Rach and I (i.e. obsessed with salted caramel), you’ll probably need to ask for an extra pot of the stuff! Again, this was a super generous portion and given how huge and enticing the desserts menu is, you’ll have to choose carefully to ensure you don’t bite off more than you can chew… literally! As Rach and I left, a new queue had already formed – on getting into the café at 12pm, we were told we’d have to leave our table by 1.30pm so bear that in mind before you try and order every dessert going (like the table next to us, who had to takeaway their final dishes!). After our trip to Coffee Alley, I can totally see why there’s been such buzz about the place. I’d probably pass on the savoury items here, but the teas and desserts are the real reason for coming and were a definite hit! Most dishes range from $50-70, which I reckon is well worth it for this amazing little find of an upstairs cafe in CWB – but remember to come early or prepare to wait in a looong line for some very delicious sweets!
Coffee Alley Room B1-B3, 1/F, Dragon Rise, 9-11 Pennington Street, Causeway Bay
2493 3033 www.coffee-alley.com