Review: Mong Kok, Hong Kong Cat Cafe – Cafe de Kitten

Address: Shop 701, 7/F, Pakpolee Commercial Centre, 1A Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Mong Kok Closest MTR station: Yau Ma Tei, Exit A2 Nearby: The famous Ladies Market and Sneakers Street are just down the road from Cafe de Kitten Minimum spending: $80 per person between 18:00 to 22:00, $40 otherwise Hours: 13:00 – 1:00 Best time to go: The waitresses said that the cats are most active around 13:00 and 14:00.

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This is Fei Zai, he’s the troublemaker!

I used to be a dog person, but my boyfriend converted me to a cat lover as well. We’ve been talking about going to one of Hong Kong’s cat cafes for ages, and we finally took the plunge when I surprised him with an after-dinner hangout at Cafe de Kitten on his birthday. Located in the bustling area between Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei, Cafe de Kitten is an upstairs cafe. They are open until 1:00 AM, which is great for a post-work hangout. IMG_4322 Minimum spending is extremely reasonable (HK$80 per person at peak times 18:00-22:00, HK$40 otherwise) and the waitresses are in no rush to get you out of the cafe. There are plenty of board games to entertain yourself with. And of course, the cats! Beautiful, well-groomed cats snooze and roam the cafe. We were there from 21:00 till 23:00, and while the cats weren’t particularly active, they did do their rounds and were happy to be petted and fussed over.

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Oh, you beauty!

One highlight of Cafe de Kitten was the relationship the waitresses have with the cats. It’s adorable watching them fuss over the cats, and they were happy to chat with customers about them. I particularly loved how they playfully berated Fei Zai (Fat Boy) the orange tabby cat for being a bully to his friends! The cafe only has less than 10 tables, so there was plenty of space and photo opportunities with the kitties. We didn’t try the food this time, but from what we saw it looks pretty good! We were sorry to go at the end of the night, but with its central location, I can totally see us going back some time soon, perhaps sometime in the afternoon when the cats are more awake.

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Isn’t he just adorable?

Travel: Finding the hidden gem – MaMa Jin, Karon, Phuket

MaMa Jin is all the rage right now in Karon’s restaurants pages of Tripadvisor, and it is THE place to go for authentic, cheap and cheerful Thai food on the shores of Karon beach.

It’s not easy to find – especially when you’re starving after a gruelling all-day snorkelling boat trip – and reviewers don’t seem too forthcoming with directions, so here I come to the rescue.

But first, the food.

Simple, unpretentious good Thai food. Nothing fancy, just amazingly cheerful service which left us grinning until our cheeks hurt. The flavours are a bit milder than the Thai food I’m used to, and I’m guessing it’s because Mama Jin is the most authentic Thai place I’ve been to so far. Anywho, it was a refreshing change to the palate.

Seafood fried rice and chicken skewers. Loved the bright purple tablecloth, it looks surprisingly good with the food!

Grilled squid, while admittedly a bit on the bland side, was fresh and tender. And the sweet and sour sauce is there for a reason!

Amazing Pad Thai with prawns.

And finally, the coup de grace. I don’t eat sticky rice, but my friends swear on their lives that Mama Jin’s mango and sticky rice is the best that they’ve ever had. I can’t vouch for the sticky rice, but the mango was yummmmy!

The views were also amazing. Try get a table right by the entrance, and you can easily watch dusk descend upon Karon Beach. The beach is literally a 15-second walk from Mama Jin, on the other side of the parking lot.

Now, how to get to Mama Jin.

Navigation 101 in Karon: It’s easy. Face the sea. To your right is the north, to your left is the south. MaMa Jin is at the northern end of Karon beach, on a little dirt track sandwiched between the beach and the big road.

Directions to Mama Jin if you’re coming from the north: You know where the big lake is? Walk around it towards the white pavilion. MaMa Jin is right next to it, facing the parking lot. Do not confuse Mama Jin with Mama Restaurant, whose front entrance is on the big road. Walk straight past its terrace at the back which actually overlooks the lake. It has terrible reviews, so don’t go there.

These photos are for reference, taken with Karon Beach on the right.

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Directions to Mama Jin if you’re coming from the south: Go past the big roundabout with the statues and walk straight up north for about 5 minutes. There’s a big gateway area, follow the path off the main road, and it leads towards the pavilion. Just keep walking past the pavilion and you’ll see MaMa Jin on your right!

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Lastly, go early or book a table, there were people waiting for tables by 7pm. Hopefully this post was helpful, now go get that amazing Thai food!

Travel: The best views in Phuket, probably – Mom Tri’s Kitchen, Kata Beach

I have a thing for restaurants with a view, as you do. From the stunning Chateau Eza in Eze on the Cote d’Azure, Trattoria Santa Croce in charming Nocelle (a tiny village perched right on top of Positano), to Cafe 103 in Hong Kong, I always make an effort to go eat somewhere with a bird’s eye view wherever I travel.

Karon itself is rather flat, so we took a 10-minute cab ride out to Villa Royale by Kata Beach, where the famed Mom Tri’s Kitchen is based.

And dear me, were the views absolutely stunning.

You walk through a tranquil little garden, and then you catch the teasing emerald waters, which, once you get down the stairs, quite literally slap you in the face with its stunning beauty.

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Paradise. I have found you.

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Food is secondary at Mom Tri’s Kitchen, mostly because it is so dismally average, expensive and undeserving of a location this magnificent. Service was impersonal and offhand, it very nearly spoiled the experience. But seriously, look at this and I dare you to not enjoy it.

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The table in front of us, which was thankfully empty for most of our meal

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Soft shell crab with green papaya salad

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Double seafood Pad Thai time

There’s also an indoor bar/lounge area with high ceilings and lovely windows that open up to the sea view.

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None of these images have been adjusted at all – even I find it hard to believe. What a breathtaking place. If I could look at those gorgeous blues every day, I’d be the happiest girl on earth.

LANTANA CAFE – BANANA BREAD THAT MAKES YOU GO BANANAS

As said on their website, Lantana has been called “a little bit of Australia in Fitzrovia”. It is a charming and unpretentious little place that serves really good food from their breakfast, brunch and lunch menu.

Since I’m a banana bread addict, I ordered that without any hesitation. IT WAS TOASTED BANANA BREAD WITH MASCARPONE, BANANA CUSTARD AND SALTED CHOCOLATE CRUMBS WITH A BIT OF HONEY, WHAT MORE CAN YOU ASK FOR. When I took the first bite, I went straight to heaven, it was simply perfection on a plate. The banana bread has a more crumbly texture compared to the ones I’ve had before, but it was balanced out with the creamy mascarpone and sweet banana custard, and of course the naughty salted chocolate.

Since the banana bread is just too good to be true, I just have to post the photo here again!

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Toasted Banana Bread + Mascarpone + Banana Custard + Salted Chocolate Crumb + Honey

Toasted Courgette Bread + Grilled Halloumi + Slow Roast Tomatoes +  Poached Egg + Chilli Jam

Toasted Courgette Bread + Grilled Halloumi + Slow Roast Tomatoes + Poached Egg + Chilli Jam

Sauteed Mixed Wild Mushrooms + Lantana Potato Bread + Crumbled Baked Ricotta + Crispy Parsley + Fried Egg

Sauteed Mixed Wild Mushrooms + Lantana Potato Bread + Crumbled Baked Ricotta + Crispy Parsley + Fried Egg

The other two plates I ordered were ‘toasted courgette bread w/ grilled halloumi, slow roast tomatoes, a poached egg and chilli jam’ and ‘Sauteed mixed wild mushrooms on Lantana potato bread w/ crumbled baked ricotta and crispy parsley’. Those were good as well, especially the courgette bread. It was dense and moist so it went very well with the halloumi. The chilli jam gives the dish a kick, so it’s a great choice if you’re a savoury person.

Lantana is busy all day long, and sometimes you have to wait for half an hour for brunch during the weekend. When I got there at around 8:45am on Thursday, it was already packed and I just managed to grab the last table! So make sure you go their earlier to avoid the queue and order the amazing banana bread!( Order it even if you hate banana bread, it will change your life)

Click here for their website!

Opening hours:

  • Breakfast – Mon-Fri: 8:00am – 11:30am
  • Brunch – Sat, Sun: 9:00am-3:00pm
  • Lunch – Mon-Fri: 12:00pm – 3:00pm
  • Dinner – Tues-Sat: 6:30pm – 10:30pm

Address:

  • 13 Charlotte Place
    Fitzrovia
    W1T1SN

Half Cup – Great Place to Chill

Located on Judd Street (within 5 minutes walk away from London King’s Cross Station), Half Cup is a great place to grab a coffee or sit down to have a healthy breakfast or lunch. What I love about Half Cup is its spacious setting, making it a comfortable place to relax for just a cup of tea or for several hours (they have Wifi, yay!).

Avocado Dressed with Coriander and Lime + Cherry Tomatoes + Fried Egg + Toast

Avocado Dressed with Coriander and Lime + Cherry Tomatoes + Fried Egg + Toast

Once you walk in, you’ll see muffins, cakes and other delicious things such as salmon bagels displayed on their counter. They have a wide range of tea and breakfast choices, such as avocado with lime and coriander on toast with fried egg, greek yoghurt with fresh fruits and granola and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. For lunch, they have homemade soups and specials such as BBQ pulled chicken burger and chorizo ragu that change weekly. They also serve cheese boards or meat boards during the evening, making it the perfect place to be any time of the day!

Soya Cappuccino

Soya Cappuccino

Click here for their website!

Opening hours:

  • Mon-Fri: 8:00am – 8:00pm
  • Sat: 9:00am – 7:00pm
  • Sun: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Address:

100-102 Judd st
London WC1H 9NT

Fork Deli Patisserie – Bloombury’s Hidden Gem

Out of all the independent coffee shops I’ve been to, Fork Deli Patisserie is THE BEST. The baristas are super friendly, and most importantly, they serve amazing Monmouth coffee. What I love about Fork Deli is their welcoming & relaxed ambience, making it the perfect place to chill with friends or just to enjoy a cup of coffee.

Apart from their great coffee, they serve cakes, pastries and salads and soup which change weekly. All their food are made fresh and delicious, so make sure you grab something with your coffee when you get there. My personal favourites are the fresh berries with yoghurt, toasted banana bread and soya cappuccino! Wifi is available, so this is a great place to work as well!

Iced Soya Latte

Iced Soya Latte

Toasted Banana Bread

Toasted Banana Bread

Click here for their website!

Opening hours:

  • Mon-Fri: 7:30am – 7:00pm
  • Sat: 8:00am – 6:00pm
  • Sun: 9:00 – 4:00pm

Address:

85 Marchmont Street,

London WC1N 1AL

THE RIDING HOUSE CAFÉ- AMAZING BUTTERMILK PANCAKES

The Riding House Café is known for being one of the best place for breakfast and brunch, and it really lives up to its reputation. One of the things that makes the restaurant special is its interior design; the dark wood floor and tables and squirrel wall lights give the place a rustic feel. It has a long sharing table at the centre, seats at the bar, sofa seats at the end and a private dining area. It is extremely busy during the weekends so make sure you make a reservation in advance to avoid disappointment! There are a wide variety of savoury and sweet breakfast choices, with the ‘Lobster Benedict’ being one of its signature dishes. I am not that much of a savoury person in the morning, so I am a big fan of the ‘Buttermilk Pancake’ (£7) instead of the ‘Lobster Benedict’. The pancakes are served with berries, vanilla clotted cream and maple syrup. They smell absolutely amazing, and I just couldn’t wait to dig in once I saw the waiter walking over with it! The buttermilk pancakes were warm and fluffy, the dish was perfectly balanced with the slightly acidic berries and the heart warming clotted cream and syrup. If you love peanut butter, then you must order the ‘PB & J’ smoothie as well! It has peanut butter, banana, strawberries and apple juice, pair this with pancakes and you’ll get the perfect sweet breakfast! The ‘Vegetarian Breakfast’ (£10) was pretty decent as well. It has two fried eggs, white toast, spinach, roasted tomatoes, honey glazed carrots, mushrooms, grilled halloumi and vegetarian sausages, but I asked for baked beans instead of the sausages. The portion was generous and it is a safe choice if you do not know what to order.

Veggie breakfast - Fried eggs + Grilled Halloumi + Baked Beans + Spinach + White Toast + Roasted Tomato + Mushroom

Veggie breakfast – Fried eggs + Grilled Halloumi + Baked Beans + Spinach + White Toast + Roasted Tomato + Mushroom

Click here for their website!

Opening hours:

  • Breakfast – Mon-Fri: 7:30am – 12:00pm, Sat,Sun 9:00am – 11:30am
  • Brunch – Sat, Sun: noon-4:00pm
  • Lunch – Mon-Fri: 12:00pm – 3:30pm
  • Dinner – Mon-Fri: 6:00pm – 10:00pm, Sun: 6:00pm – 9:30pm

Address:

  • 43-51 Great Titchfield Street London W1W 7PQ

Continental Stores – Great little place for BREAKFAST, BRUNCH and COFFEE at Bloomsbury

 

Does the interior of Continental Stores look familiar to you? It’s actually the sister store of Store Street Espresso! Perfectly located, it’s just a few minutes away from Russell Square Station and King’s Cross Station, making it a great place to grab a coffee or baked treats. The coffee here is as good as those at the original store at Store Street, and it has the same chilled and laid back atmosphere with friendly staff. It’s a bit quieter here and it has the bonus of serving brunch, so personally I prefer Continental Stores! With the current weather in London, all I want is to enjoy some comfort food. At Continental Stores, their menu has everything I crave for. Even though I go there very often, I always order the same ones since they’re just so good! My favourite is the Autumn Special, it doesn’t just look amazing, it tastes amazing as well. Moreover, it’s a great way to get your 5 A DAY!

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Click here for their website!

Opening hours:

  • Mon-Fri 8:00am – 6:00pm
  • Sat 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sun 10:00am – 4:00pm

Address:

  • 54 Tavistock Place, WC1H 9RG