Saturday, 20 February 2016

Breakfast Series - The Coffee Academics

We've been spending a lot more time in Wan Chai just recently. We're thinking of moving out of our Mid Levels location and the allure and action of Wan Chai has been calling out to us.

While the girl has had breakfast at Coffee Academics before, and we'd both stopped in for a quick latte every now and then, it was time for me to visit the little cafe for food.  Interestingly, Coffee Academics in Wan Chai opens a lot earlier than most of the cafes around Hong Kong, which means you can actually get a breakfast (and not brunch).

It was pretty quiet when we walked in just after the opening time, but we weren't the first there and there was another westerner taking advantage of an 'early' morning opening.  That is if you'd call 9am early!  

Taking a seat at one of the many available tables, we were given one of the snazzy looking menus to look over, which had a photo of a beautiful looking European 'fry up', which included a strip of delicious looking bacon.  One of the options on the menu was the Academic's Breakfast, which included all your typical breaky goodness like fried eggs, baked beans and of course fatty (oh so fatty) bacon.  The rest of the menu was quite contemporary by Hong Kong standards, and reminded me of some of the breakfast menus back home in Brisbane.

As tempting as the fatty fry up looked, I decided that I'd run with something a little sweeter for breaky, ordering the buttermilk pancakes with fresh blueberries and whipped cream.  My plate arrived looking like a sticky sweet treat, with three perfectly shaped pancakes stacked nicely with a couple of little bowls containing some berry coulis and some maple syrup.  My still warm pancakes were quite light and fluffy and, not overly sweet, were a treat to eat with the sweet whipped cream and slightly tart blueberry coulis.  I didn't want to mix the maple syrup with the coulis, so by the time I'd eaten three quarters of the pancakes, they were starting to get a little dry; especially when the whipped cream was all gone.

The girl went for the classic breakfast treat of slow poached eggs benedict.  Now, we've had some interesting eggs benne since coming to Honkers, some with weird ingredients such as mushrooms and onion included, so we wondered if there would be an unusual twist to the Coffee Academics version. The two expertly poached eggs sat atop a couple of muffins and had the required bacon but there was the addition of some lettuce that seemed a little out of place.  That wasn't the weirdest part though, the hollandaise sauce had been topped with some cheese, then toasted, which left what should have been a runny delight, quite hard and cheesy.  It was a shame really, the eggs and bacon were wonderful, especially the perfectly runny eggs, but the 'hollandaise' had to be peeled off and was left on the side of the plate.

It wouldn't be a trip to Coffee Academics without picking up a couple of coffees, which as usual were very good.  Our lattes came with a pretty little heart pattern and had a deep and satisfying sweet flavour that told me that the milk had been treated with respect and added to a deep roasted bean that had been extracted well.  Mmmmmm.

I quite like Coffee Academics as a place to hang out, there's the funky music playing from the retro looking stereo system and the fit out is very comfortable.  There's a couple of 'zones' inside the cafe, with a shared table running alongside the far wall and a bunch of small tables set up for two or four in the main area.  

It can get quite busy in the Wan Chai outlet and there have been many times when we've been waiting around for a couple of brews and the place has been packed.  There's a pretty decent vibe when the space is full, which was unfortunately absent while we had our breaky.  

I guess the whole concept of the early breakfast is still a bit alien in Hong Kong with brunch being the 'done thing' still.  Maybe one day things will change, although change comes slowly in Honkers.

I remain hopeful though, I really do...

This is what we could have ordered!
Maybe we made the wrong choice!
Beautiful coffee - noms
The breakfast menu
Coffee Academics 

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