Cococabana in Shek O – Sun, Sea and Rosé Wine

Whether you find yourself in Shek O for a bit of lazy suntanning and swimming, or you’ve worked up a sweat on the Dragon’s Back and have earned a decent meal, then you’ll be pleased to know that Cococabana has re-opened right on the beach where Paradiso used to be (remember that place?!). Taking other Hong Kong beaches into consideration, Shek O Beach is a relatively more happening place and whilst they’re not fantastic, there’s a pretty decent selection of restaurants with a nice laid-back beach vibe.

I’ve been to Cococabana a few times since its new opening, and enjoy the quirky and random items stuck on whitewashed walls, the plastic utensil chandelier, crisp table linens and the solitary disco ball – a nice nod to the previous occupant perhaps?

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One can never have too many Ikea paper lanterns …

Whilst the old Cococabana was more beach chic, the new one is paillote*-esk, a sophisticated beach bar of sorts.  The menu reflects this with light meals, largely seafood and salad based with some chicken and steak thrown in for good measure. They also have a beach bar menu (hamburgers, crêpes and a pretty awesome merguez sausage sandwich), so if you’re in the mood for something more casual and easier on the wallet, make sure to ask for it.

When ordering, you can either choose from the Set Lunch menu for sharing (minimum 2 people @ HK$328), or order from the à la carte menu. The Set Lunch menu for two is actually pretty generous so if you’re looking for a lighter meal, you can always order for two and share between three. Any of the set lunch items can also be ordered on an à la carte basis.

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Salade Niçoise de la Plage HK$158

The Salade Niçoise is top choice at Cococabana, thick and perfectly grilled cuts of tuna with a nice selection of greens and a tangy dressing.

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Set lunch Menu: Mediterranean appetisers

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Baked goats cheese on puff pastry with Bayonne ham HK$148

The baked goats cheese goes nicely with the Bayonne ham, but the limp puff pastry leaves you wanting and I feel it’s a bit overpriced for what you’re getting.

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Set Lunch Menu: Piri Piri Prawns on mint couscous

The piri piri prawns is a generous and tasty dish. The piri piri sauce packs some nice and flavourful heat – wash the sand off your hands and literally dig in!

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Set Lunch Menu: Whole grilled sea bream, flamed with pastis

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What’s cookin’ in Shek O

Thank the heavens, we finally had a day of good weather in Hong Kong, and during the weekend as a bonus! The sorely missed sunshine had everyone heading out to get a tan, and enjoy the great outdoors without being rained on, myself included. PB and I hopped on the Monster and rode over to Shek O Beach for the first time this summer. The car parks were all full, and I have never seen so many umbrellas on the beach and people in the water.

To our (well, more my) absolute delight, there are a couple of new places open, serving food and drinks to the thronging masses. There are few good options in Shek O Village, and it really needs an injection of life into the restaurant/café scene. Whilst I didn’t eat any of the food at Coco Café or Ming’s Café, from what I saw it’s definitely worth a trip back for the food.

Coco Café by Cococabana (Shek O Beach – further details TBC)

COCOCABANA IS BACK! Located right next to the shower stalls and public changing rooms on Shek O Beach (location-wise, not much has changed from it’s time in Deep Water Bay!), here you’ll find juices, smoothies and les milkshakes. We stopped by for an ice cold Corona, and sat on one of the high tables on the terrace. Food choice is limited but it looks decent – they had sample dishes on display at the bar to tempt people. The sweet crêpe selection looks good, but the choice of savory crêpes is not as tempting.  I won’t knock it ’til I try it – chili con carne crêpe anyone?

Coco Café opened its doors barely a month ago and is still under construction but they plan to be finished by next weekend. At the moment, they are only open on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Drinks at the bar and food order counter – their old Cococabana flyer displayed

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Public terrace overlooking Shek O Beach

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Bacon Cheeseburger with fries HK$75

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Piri-Piri Chicken

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Dessert Crepe

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Food menu

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Drinks menu

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Non-alcoholic drinks

Ming’s Café (Shek O Road, Shek O – next to the roundabout)

Ming’s cafe used to be a 士多 store selling water, beers and cigarettes, and they very wisely converted the space into a small café serving a basic menu of pizzas, pasta, sandwiches and an all day breakfast, as well as refreshing beverages. It’s completely open facade calls you in, with promises of pineapple and coconut smoothies. Unfortunately, they were sold out of the pineapple, but the coconut smoothie was out of this world, in fact I’m craving one right now. Someone was eating a burger on the next table, and it looks pretty decent.

Service is very friendly and efficient. Try your luck to arrive and grab a table; they don’t take reservations – because they don’t have a phone!

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The open and breezy Ming’s Cafe

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A super refreshing coconut smoothie!

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Food Menu

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Food Menu

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Oufti! Ca c’etait un bon weekend!

I was at a birthday barbeque on Saturday night and had some great conversations with new and interesting group of people. After half an hour of being there, I’d already explained my background and how I grew up in Hong Kong.  Then the follow up questions came:

Q: Do you know TST very well?
A: Um…no.

Q: New Territories?
A: Well, we went to Tung Chung today to go wakeboarding!

Q: Isn’t that in Lantau?
A: Um…yes you’re completely right. Sorry, I thought you said Lantau (….)

Q: Have you been to the Thousand Buddhas Monastery?”
A: You mean the Big Buddha? Of course I have! (internal monologue: YESSSS! Thank goodness, I won’t embarrass myself with this answer!)

Q: No….the thousand buddhas in Shatin…
A: Oh….um…ah…no.

I am a Hong Kong girl, but I should really stop telling adventurous expatriates that I grew up here! It’s like the Parisian who has never been to the Louvre, or the New Yorker who has never been to the Empire State Building – it’s not going anywhere, so we can always check it out one day.

The Dark Side is too much of an effort, and on days where I’m actually inspired to cross the harbour, I consider myself an intrepid adventurer. As for Lantau and the New Territories, as a child I went with my parents to the places of their choosing, with what I consider is essential to really explore – a car.Now, most would think I’m a ditz for saying that – “Come on JK, you don’t need a car to get places – you just need to get off your lazy a@@”. And it’s true – I am lazy. I don’t want to spend $300 to get a taxi to Saikung, and I really can’t be bothered to taxi-MTR-bus-taxi-boat-hike my way to Dailongwan. Now that I can actually drive a car, the first 4 parts of that process can be avoided. Plus, I can ride as a passenger on P’s bike (oh how I love that bike!), it makes getting around infinitely easier. Continue reading