If you’re looking for a good, wholesome lunch to enjoy in a convenient location, look no further than Mano. This little restaurant is situated right on Queen’s Road Central in The L. Place, so it’s great for those who work in the Central area. Mano serves up contemporary European dishes (with some slightly Asian twists!) that use fresh, healthy ingredients in a sociable dining space. A great spread of sandwiches, paninis and salads are on offer along with the recently launched lunch menu, so take your pick! Mano also offer organic options and aims to be environmentally and socially responsible, something we also like to hear.
As I’d been on a bit of a chocolate splurge after Easter, I decided to choose something from the ‘lighter’ lunch options, which include two soups and two sandwiches. Alternatively, you can opt from the lunch set at $210, and you’ll get a salad, a main and a drink of the day. Not too bad if you see how big the portions are!
To start with, I had the broccoli soup with Greek yoghurt foam and pumpkin seeds. Intriguingly it arrived looking very un-soup like, with the white foam set in the middle of the bowl. The waiter then poured in the smooth soup that enveloped the creamy yoghurt. Who doesn’t love a bit of theatrics to your meal! The soup felt luxuriously creamy, and it was nice to have that sensation knowing that it was actually quite healthy! I especially liked the addition of the toasty pumpkin seeds on top which added a nice crunch.
Sim went for the cucumber salad to start, which doesn’t sound like the most exciting salad in the world. However, the chunks of cucumber teamed with watermelon, pickled carrots, mint, coriander, spring onion, chilli and sesame oil made for a surprisingly delicious salad. It was light, fresh and flavourful – the perfect summer dish!
Next up I tried the Mano Club Sandwich. I find that Club Sandwiches can go either way… they can be either really satisfying and stuffed with yummy layers, or a bit disappointing and flavourless. Luckily, Mano’s Club Sandwich was the former, stacked with bacon, avocado, chicken, egg, tomato salsa and chilli aioli, all squeezed between nicely toasted bread. You could tell from this simple sandwich that the quality of the ingredients is high, as everything tasted really fresh. The chips were delicious too, the perfect filling lunch!
As Sassy’s resident veggie, Sim ordered the Fried Brown Rice but without the chorizo and squid. This didn’t impact the flavour though, which had a hint of heat from the house-made kimchi. This was perfectly complimented by the fresh coriander and parsley, a definite comfort food, that’s for sure!
Of course we couldn’t leave without splurging on a dessert. We tried the carrot cake with apple and carrot sherbet first, which disappointingly wasn’t anything special. The cake was a little dry and I wished there was more of the sweet icing on top. The sorbet was really unique and refreshing, we could have eaten a whole bowl of it!
However, the second dessert did not disappoint! The dark chocolate brownie with peanut ice-cream and caramel mess looks indulgent, and tastes it too. So many different elements go into this dessert – from Snickers and Oreos to caramel and peanut butter. It wasn’t the most sophisticated dessert in the world, and I think the mousse could have done with a bit more flavour, but it’s playful quality almost made us feel like kids again!
Overall, if you’re looking for a good bite to eat, Mano is definitely worth a try. You won’t be blown away by super innovative dishes, but you’re sure to find something that will fill your midday hunger pangs. With reasonable prices and a relaxed cafe/restaurant setting, Mano is definitely an easy go-to spot. They also do a killer selection of coffees, so if you can’t sit down for lunch, make sure you grab a coffee and croissant to-go!
Mano G/F, The L. Place, 139 Queens Road, 139 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong