Cobo House & Artisan Room – new favourite chill spot

Hong Kong is no short of good artisan coffees and pastries, especially with all the new cafe openings dotted around Wanchai, Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun. But to find a cafe where you could sit comfortably to chill for an afternoon or have a quiet chat remains a challenge. Artisan Room ticks all these boxes – alfresco area, spacious and quiet, quality coffee and tea, and not to mention, a great selection of both savoury and sweet eclairs. Next to that and also by the same owner behind is Cobo House by 2am:dessertbar, a quaint restaurant with an obvious focus on desserts. Named as Asia’s Best Pastry Chef for the second year running by San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best, Cobo House is Singaporean Chef Janice Wong’s new venture in Hong Kong. This corner of Sai Wan has become my latest favourite place to chill on Saturday afternoons!

vividtaste__artisan room_hongkongCobo House and Artisan Room are tucked away in South Lane, just 3 minutes from the HKU MTR station. As you walk in, you would see the open alfresco area of Artisan Room. If you prefer air conditioning in the summer heat, take a seat at the beautiful marble bar table inside. What caught my eye was the huge Gothicism cold-brew machine and a very sophisticated tea brewing machine with pre-settings of water at different temperatures for brewing different tea leaves.

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The selection of coffee and tea is extensive, with my favourites being the LOV is good tea and the almond milk macchiato. Out of the beverage menu, I would say the quality of the tea fares better than the coffees. Although the staff recommended the Okinawa black sugar latte, it was too much milk and too little caffeine for a coffee-fanatic like me. In general, the coffees are not as robust as I would normally like, hence I prefer the macchiatos here – less milk on the espresso,  and with a full selection of different milks ranging from the healthy almond milk to the evil full fat cream. Most of the drinks are in the reasonable $30-40 price range (which is a relatively lower price range compared to other peer cafes on HK Island).

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As for the food, Artisan Room focuses on bread and pastries but does not offer hot food. If you like sweets, the many different flavours of eclairs could be a tough decision. After sampling (almost) all the different flavours, my sweet-tooth teammate and I concluded that the salted caramel stood out the most. However, what I keep coming back to Artisan Room for is actually the savoury eclairs – and to be exact, the ham and cheese one. French ham, tomato, basil and cheese, all wrapped in a eclair-like crust, toasted to perfection (i.e. just when the cheese starts to become gooey). This sandwich is truly the star which could appear way too understated amongst the colourful sweet eclairs.

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vividtaste_cobo house_artisan room_hongkongNow onto Cobo House which by comparison was a little overhyped. The ambience scores high for me – ceiling-to-floor glass windows to allow natural light, simple but tasteful decor. Dishes are very photogenic and I appreciate the creativity in mixing and matching ingredients. It is clear that a lot of thought has been put into these innovative dishes. The tastes are decent but not memorable enough for me to keep wanting.

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This is the award-winning signature dessert recommended even by travel magazines as it showcases an innovative re-composition of the traditional green pandan leaf cake. Pandan sponge, coconut sorbet, pistachios and thin wafer thins. Interesting concept, light refreshing dessert – especially for coconut fans.

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The chocolate H2O is my personal favourite out of all the desserts we had. As its name suggests, the 65% dark chocolate mousse was frozen with mineral water, layered on top of dark chocolate biscuit crumbs and dressed with salted caramel sauce. The yuzu sorbet next to it cuts through the richness of the dessert, and we happily finished the chocolate mountain in no time.

vividtaste_cobo house__hongkong-3Most photogenic of all desserts – cassis plum, a blackcurrant dome with yoghurt foam and plum and yuzu pearls. Like a pretty girl with little character. Ha.

vividtaste_cobo house__hongkong-4The popcorn in the tube, with yuzu parfait and passionfruit sorbet. A bit too gimmicky for me.

vividtaste_cobo house__hongkongWe also tried some of the savoury snacks on the menu. The faux bone marrow was a cute dish with wagyu beef and radish. Just by its presentation I’d say the dish is worth a try!

vividtaste_cobo house__hongkong-2Korean Fried Chicken

I would want to try the lunch or dinner menu of Cobo House some time. Artisan Room, on the other hand, has become one of my regular hangout spots. So if you do see me around when you visit, you shouldn’t be surprised at all 😉

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Artisan Room
Address: G/f, 8-12 South Lane, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2565 3198
Hours: 7:30am – 7:30pm, Mon – Sun
Price: HKD 30-50 for beverage, HKD 30-80 for pastries
Best for: Cafe chilling, artisan tea

Favourite dish:  Ham and cheese eclair

Cobo House by 2am:dessertbar
Address: G/f, 8-12 South Lane, Shek Tong Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2656 3088
Hours: 12pm – 12am, Sat and Sun; 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 12am, Mon – Fri
Price: HKD 200 – 400 for afternoon tea
Best for: Quality catch-up over light snacks

Favourite dish:  Chocolate H20

 

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