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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LoveBites Brunches: Oolaa

One of the highlights of the weekend for me is brunch, and an extra special treat is to have friends there enjoying it with me. Brunch must always include eggs, preferably poached or scrambled, and you can never go wrong with some crispy bacon and a Lincolnshire pork sausage on the side. I guess that’s the English in me, although now that I’m in my 30s and trying to be healthier, I’ve had to forgo fried toast, one of those things I devoured after a night out as a student in London, at the greasy spoon around the corner in Camden. Oh man did I love that fried toast!

To quote the great author W. Somerset Maugham, if you want to eat well in England, eat three breakfasts. Well, if you want to find a good breakfast in Hong Kong, then Oolaa is a great place to look for it! They do eggs really well, and my personal favorite is the Breakfast Bruscetta – diced tomato, avocado, parmesan cheese, red onion and basil on toasted sour dough bread, topped with two glorious poached eggs and a mean Hollandaise sauce. If you want to be healthier, you can always ask for the sauce on the side. And all of that for HK$95 – that is what I call value for money.

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Breakfast Bruscetta HK$95

 

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Sunday Brunch @ Domani – this restaurant is now closed :(

The first time I went to Domani, I was a bit worried because I’d not heard wonderful things about dinner here, that it is overpriced and it under-delivers. I never would have gone had we not been invited there for a birthday Weekend Brunch, but what a pleasant surprise!

It is now one of my favorite weekend brunches, for so many of the reasons that matter when considering a lazy weekend meal: the ingredients are simple, fresh, tasty and extravagant (unlimited Boston Lobster anyone?). It is very reasonably priced, at $488 +10%, you can help yourself to their excellent buffet before choosing from their list of tantalizing main courses, and then treat yourself to a little bit of dessert from the buffet. You are also offered free flow prosecco, Duval beer, fresh fruit juices, sparkling or still water, and coffee/tea. Usually, this is where restaurants with buffets such as these hit you with high prices, but here you can not only eat, but also drink everything to your hearts content. The service is excellent, as is the venue: a bright and airy dining room, crisp white linens, and a nice terrace if the weather is fine.

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Fresh foccacia and warm bread rolls

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And a nice ‘n tasty olive oil to dip it in

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We eat silly amounts of meaty, juicy Boston Lobster!

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Happy tummy food at Maya Café

As I grow older, my appreciation for food that is good for me has grown too. Those who know me well might be quite incredulous of this statement – I am a meat-eating, butter-loving, cake-baking foodie who once would balk at the idea of putting a grain or pulse anywhere near my mouth. I honestly still feel like a meal without meat is not a fulfilling one – but I’m getting better.

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Maya Café

Having this food blog definitely helps me to be more open to the idea of eating vegetarian/raw/vegan food. Yes, I know they’re different, and that I’ve grouped all three together in a rather indifferent manner, and yet that’s what they are to me. Vegetarian/raw/vegan = boring. But as I’ve said, things are starting to change, and it’s nice having a light and unbloated tummy after a meal … every now and then.

Carrot juice

The Pick Me Up: Carrot, Apple & Ginger Juice

Red cabbage

The Raw Energy: Tomato, Red cabbage, Celery & Lemon Juice

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The juices are tasty and served in cute glass jars

Thanks to my beautiful veggie friend AB, I heard about Maya Café, located on Moon Street in the trendy Star Street area. She had brought home their quinoa salad as a starter when I went over for dinner at hers, and to my surprise … it was good!

Maya Café has been open for a couple of months and is owned by Mina, a super friendly and approachable Indian lady who runs the front-of-house, and Tina, the French chef. I was eavesdropping on a conversation at another table, and heard that Mina used to work in the diamond industry, and Tina used to be in fashion!

Mina was very happy to answer any questions that I  had about the menu. No butter or flour is used in any of their dishes, and whilst not all of the food is vegan, all of it is vegetarian.

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Dahl of the day – white, red and green lentils

Both the soup of the day and the dahl were vegan, and the dahl was particularly tasty! I am not a lentil lover, but there were lots of layers of satisfying flavour to this dish.

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Soup of the day: Sweet Pea Soup

For the main course, I just had to order the Quinoa Salad again. The veggies change according to what is freshly available.

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Quinoa Salad

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Boulangerie Bistronomique

Since I started dating a Frenchman, my appreciation and knowledge of certain foods has expanded  – there were just so many things that I never knew about eating or thought about buying! This knowledge has unfortunately not yet spread to wine, but food! Ooooh yeah, with food I got it down! Baked goods (and related products) are one thing I find myself eating a lot more of – baguettes (bye bye sliced bread!), Dalloyau’s opera cake, canelés, all things Eric Kayser, financiers, french salted butter (regular butter is such a waste of calories!), with a short shot of espresso…

This post is a while in the making because I have been buying baked goodies from Boulangerie Bistronomique since it first opened. Young pâtissier Alex heads up the kitchen, and together with the rest of a talented team bakes up French pastries, baguettes, loaves, tea cakes and eclairs. It’s another great addition to the Hong Kong food scene by David Lai, and despite having Robuchon and the newly opened Eric Kayser (so excited about that!) bakeries available to us, it’s nice to support local when possible. It’s easy to support Boulangerie Bistronomique, because their baked goods are just that good.

Brioches/ extra large Chouquettes @ $15 & Pain au Chocolat @ $19

Croissants @ $18

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Drink wine

When writing a blog, there is a little bit of hesitation when it comes to how much you reveal about your personal life. After all, a blog is essentially a diary with a theme, one can’t help but talking about their life, friends and family along the way. At the moment this is just the beginning, and of my 10 blog members :-), 9 of them are close friends. I woke up this morning to find a new member, someone who I don’t know (hi, Dang Minh!!), and that is quite exciting in the fact that I realise that perhaps I may be reaching out to a wider audience then just my lovely friends! But it also makes me think about how I’m going to mention them in this blog without outing them by name. After last weekend (which involved LOTS of alcohol), I had a lightbulb moment of inspiration and thought it would be fun to name my friends after drinks and cocktails. I seriously put a lot of thought into them! Then I thought that’s a little naff…. so I’m sticking to the boring initials until I think of a less-naff idea.


What an incredible weekend of excess it has been! It was spent with lots of different friends, in varying settings, doing all sorts of things – it was all spread evenly across the board. Really and truly a great 2 days. It has made me think of a poem that VC (I was going to a.k.a her as ‘Veuve Cliquot’…) mentioned to me, from an adaptation of poems by Omar Khayyam, called Persian Love:

“Drink wine, it’s what remains of the harvest of youth – the season of roses and wine and drunken friends. Be happy for a moment, that moment is your life.”