What was worth it and what wasn’t: HOKO Café

28th June 2023by Polly Chan0

Making a major comeback from their 3-month pop-up, HOKO Café is back to stay!

Sitting comfortably on the hip streets of Bricklane, directly opposite the famous salt beef Beigel shops, you’ll find the cute Hong Kong style cafe with their bold red letters, wooden framed doors and white colour palette contrasts. I originally attended their Friends & Family preview event, so some items may have had slight changes by now or not, I can’t say for sure as I haven’t had the chance to go back because of my own schedule. But anyways! Here’s how my experience went >>>

Upon entering this cute café, you’re immediately welcomed with friendly faces and big menu boards, lots of chitter-chatter echoes from the far distance and fragrant aromas gently waft from the sidelines – such a nice place! Attending a Hong Kong café, of course I had to bring my friend who’s Hong Kong born and raised to get a second opinion on the dishes (I’m a British-born Chinese [BBC]), naturally to say, we both felt overwhelmed with the familiarity and vibe of the space (I haven’t been back to HK in roughly 6 years! So I was definitely missing the HK vibe), but we did manage to pick our favourites along with some new items to try.

  • Mains

Starting off with a classic soup. No, this is NOT a starter, in Chinese culture (or actually in a lot of East/ South East Asian cultures) soup can be a main dish, most often you’ll find soup to be an accompaniment to the main, but has potential to be the main star of the show if made right. There’s only one soup on the menu and it did not disappoint! Flavoursome, tomato-y and had lots of veggies in it with an occasional pork piece. I eat a lot of Cantonese soup at home because my Dad is a retired head chef, so standards are high, but I did really enjoy HOKO’s version too – my only criticism being, they should have skimmed the oil layer on top first before serving otherwise still very tasty!

Moving onto the other mains which are the pork chop rice and pork chop bun – yes, the menu is heavily pork orientated,so if you can’t eat pork there’s always chicken wings, squid tentacles or tofu for a vegetarian option. Personally, I found the pork chop rice to be very monotonous from start to finish, perhaps it was the sauce choice? Or the combination of everything? But I found nothing really stood out in this particular dish. Black pepper has a sharp spice and distinctive mild fiery flavour, which I did not get from their sauce . Although, serious compliments to the chef who makes sunny-side eggs though, because that was consistently great in every dish with a perfect shiny runny yolk and no charred white edges – despite I do like crispy edges.

The sandwich bun was nice and buttery (delicious!), pork was juicy and soft (yum!), but yes, you guessed it, THAT EGG THOUGH! I love a fried egg, but this fried egg almost felt like I was in the Gudetama film and it was staring right at me – I even gave it a jiggle! Everything was very satisfying in this bun, paired with the spring onion topping added that extra freshness it needed.

  • Dessert

Now let’s talk about their most famous item {the one which made them famous} the HK french toast. Disclaimer: I’ve never ordered a HK french toast even in Hong Kong, so I’m only basing this on tastiness. But I enjoyed it! To be honest, what’s not to like: peanut butter, condensed milk, fried carbs, lots of butter and syrup – I mean, it’s all good stuff. I heard from native Hong Kong people that condensed milk on french toast is not authentic… is this true? Or is this a region thing? I have no clue. I never order this in HK because it’s quite a heavy, thick sweet treat and HK weather is already so humid, hot and bleurgh sometimes.

French toast is the only dessert option on the menu, but I suppose the floats or red bean ice can be “sort-of” considered a sweet ending? Still not really dessert though… Or is it an Asian dessert? Who knows? You tell me.

  • Drinks

🫖 Milk Tea – Smooth, rounded flavour, could be a stronger brew especially compared to HK café teas, both my friend and I felt it wasn’t as rich. However, good accompaniment with a meal, nice with ice for summertime. Can be taken away as they’re stored in sachets.

🍋 Lemon Iced Tea – Did not enjoy this one, despite I was really looking forward to it. There was no sweetness to it at all and really lacked depth 😭 

🧊 Lychee Yakult Ice – This was the best one! It had full lychee pieces and the sweetness level was excellent! Super refreshing, juicy and taste of summer! Get this one if you love yakult!

🍺 Coke Float – Honestly, not diggin’ this one. Growing up in the UK, my primary school teacher would have vanilla coke floats and animation films ready for us on the last day of school; traditionally, I’ve only had vanilla ice cream in coke, but there was chocolate ice cream in this one and I did not like it. Chocolate ice cream is my favourite, but this was just too confusing.

BONUS information: In the basement dining area, the wifi and connection is very weak so if you choose to call, text or post anything online it may not connect at all.

*Please note these are just my personal preferences and respectfully everyone’s eating experience will be different. 🙂

Entrance to the dining area
Borscht soup – with pork, celery, tomatoes, cabbage
Pork chop rice with fried egg and black pepper sauce
Pork chop bun with fried egg and spring onion
French toast with peanut butter, condensed milk and syrup
Assortment of drinks [Left to right]: Lemon Iced Tea, Lychee Iced Yakult, Milk Tea with ice, Coke float with chocolate ice cream

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