Move over, Sheung Wan. Step aside, Wan Chai. Quarry Bay is fast becoming Hong Kong’s main hub for good (and when I say ‘good’, I mean really good) coffee. This might be a big call to make, but I decided this was the case after recently swinging by ZAI FÉ. This new espresso bar’s concept fuses art, design and java, with a mission to change the way we see and drink our favourite caffeinated bevvies.
ZAI FÉ – which translates to mean ‘strong black coffee’ in colloquial Cantonese – is all about quality. Extensively tried and tested, their fair trade coffee beans are sourced from the likes of Colombia, Rwanda and Indonesia before being expertly roasted here in Kwun Tong. Coffee is prepared and served in two blends following traditional Italian espresso bar methodology – and the results are delicious. I’m not just paying these guys lip service when I say the coffee delivers on all fronts. It really does. From cappuccinos mixed and topped with the perfect amount of stiff foam, to espresso that’s smooth to sip but packs a big caffeine punch, ZAI FÉ has nailed it.
Seeing their baristas at work, it’s clear they have a genuine passion for coffee and innovation – essential qualities when your signature beverages include unconventional (yet crazy-delicious) flavours like pink peppercorn and orange mocha. I’m not generally a fan of flavoured coffees but these were on another level. Beyond their coffee-making skills, it was refreshing to see staff having a laugh and engaging in banter with customers. The place has a sense of friendliness a lot of cafes around town seem to lack.
With menu items (beverages and food) completely free of genetically modified additives, hydrogenated fats, and artificial colourings, flavours and sweeteners, ZAI FÉ uses a range of artisan and organic ingredients. Something else I’m a particular fan of is that all their paper ware is completely combustible and compostable. A caffeine fix that’s delish AND environmentally sustainable?! Hello! While ZAI FÉ’s Quarry Bay space isn’t exactly roomy, the functional floor plan makes it light, bright and breezy – it’s a place you could definitely settle in at. If you don’t have time to kick back and would prefer to grab and go, keep an eye out for the complimentary cookie jar on the counter. With plans to open locations across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon side over the coming months, expect to see and hear a lot more about ZAI FÉ. This is a coffee concept that’s here to stay.
ZAI FE, 24 Finnie Street, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, 2169 3003, www.zai-fe.com