Japanese flavours in a cool, laidback setting
I’ve been a big fan of Elephant Grounds ever since I tried their speciality coffee at their tiny Gough Street location (I may have been bouncing off the walls all day after…). I’ve also had a taste of their outrageous ice-cream sandwiches; so when I was invited to check out the latest location in Wan Chai, I couldn’t refuse, especially with the thought of ice-cream on my mind.
This trendy little area of Wan Chai is already home to much-loved restaurants like Le Garçon Saigon, Beef & Liberty, Ted’s Lookout, Oolaa and Classified. Elephant Grounds occupies a large space right next to the Pacific Place exit, making it convenient for the office crowd.
The design of the space itself is the perfect balance of rustic and clean. It reflects the menu and concept of being part café, part restaurant – laid back but stylish. The wooden touches contrast with the black and white tiles, allowing the space to blend from day to night and suit whatever occasion. Whether it’s coffee in the morning, a quick and tasty lunch, or dinner with a glass of wine, Elephant Grounds in Wan Chai has you covered.
We began with a brunch favourite – Avocado on Toast with Poached Egg, radish, pea cress and garlic parsley purée ($105). To be honest, you can never really go wrong with avo on toast and a perfectly poached egg, but the pretty presentation with the pea cress, the refreshing crunch of the radish and the intensely flavourful garlic parsley purée elevated this favourite dish. Definitely a must-order at breakfast!
Moving on from breakfast, we tried the Daikon and Pomegranate Salad with mixed local greens, green onion, bonito flakes, crispy wonton, green apple slices and nori dressing ($90). The unusual combination of flavours worked surprisingly well together, the refreshing bite from the daikon and apple complementing the rich, creamy nori dressing (which was delicious!). I loved the sweet bursts of pomegranate too and the crunch of the crispy wonton, a great salad full of different textures and fresh flavours.
One of my favourite dishes of the night was the Salmon Avocado Poke ($100). I couldn’t stop eating the cured salmon with avo and sweet chilli soy with the homemade taro chips… it was so addictive! A must-order for lunch, dinner or just for nibbles with a glass of wine.
Brussel sprouts have a bad rep as sad, soggy greens on Christmas Day, but the Brussels Sprouts Radish ($75) at Elephant Grounds gives a rich twist to the otherwise ordinary veggie. The leaves are pan roasted giving them an amazing crispy texture, and the ‘guanciale’ (Italian cured meat) adds a smokiness to the dish. The indulgent fried egg emulsion around the side added a creamy, decadence to the dish which I would definitely come back for.
I’m not a huge fried chicken fan as I find it a bit too heavy, but I really enjoyed the crispy batter of the Honey Lime Fried Chicken ($100). The chicken was so tender and the added flavour of nori with a touch of pea cress and lime zest gave it a fresh Japanese twist.
This Elephant Grounds differs from its sister restaurant in Causeway Bay when it comes to the menu and more refined presentation. This slightly more sophisticated side is evident in one of the main dishes, the Miso Black Cod ($135). Beautifully presented and cooked to perfection, the white miso marinated black cod combined with the torched miso mayo and shimeji mushrooms had an earthy, umami flavour that was oh-so satisfying. I also loved the snap pea and nori potato scattered on the plate for added texture and bursts of flavour.
Last but not least we tried one of the famous ice-cream sandwiches. The ‘Movie Night’ ($68) consisted of two chocolate chocolate chip cookies with salted caramel ice cream, top with caramelised popcorn… I think I died and went to heaven. I’m obsessed with salted caramel so I literally couldn’t stop scooping up the ice-cream with the cookie. This could be too sweet for some, but it’s the perfect pick-me-up treat for me!
Read more: The Best Ice Creams in Hong Kong
A spacious, beautifully designed interior, a fab location, killer coffee and delicious Japanese-inspired food make Elephant Grounds on Star Street a must-try if you’re in Wan Chai. It’s casual and reasonably priced, so it’s ideal if you want a tasty meal in a chilled out environment. Get the Avocado on Toast at breakfast with one of the coffees or the Miso Black Cod at dinner – either way, you won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for an easy and delicious meal. Oh, and either way, you have to order an ice-cream sandwich. I’m making that a rule now.
Read more: The Coffee Chronicles
*Sassy Tip* – Don’t miss the Happy Hour: Monday – Friday, 3-7pm. Sapporo Suntory draft beer for $40, Kiwanda Cream Ale and Umbrella IPA for $60 a bottle and Mud House Pinot Noir and Oakridge Chardonnay wine for $50.
Elephant Grounds, 8 Wing Fung Street (next to Star Street), Wan Chai, Hong Kong, www.elephantgrounds.com