Hello all, in case you were wondering where I’ve disappeared to the past few days, I was in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Before my trip, Cheryl invited me along for a dinner date at Leban HK Café. (Derrick, Celes and Alexis were summoned as well! No more romantic candle-lit dinner date, but I adore them nevertheless!)
Located at Upper Thomson, Jalan Leban isn’t hard to spot. The area, bristled with numerous eateries and restaurants, draws enormous crowds, especially the hungry ones. With Leban HK Café that opens till the wee hours, you’ll know where the night owls are heading for supper.
It was only upon reaching Jalan Leban did I realise that we were going to be seated at Irvin’s Live Seafood House, situated just next door, which I will be talking about in my next blog post –it has a larger space, with round communal tables. Both restaurants are the brainchildren of Irvin Gunawan, and holding the reins in the kitchen is Chef Yap Kim Fatt.
You can order items from Irvin’s Seafood House while seated at Leban HK Café, or vice versa.
April 2012 marks the birth of Leban HK Café. The name of the café is derived from the Chinese characters ‘Le’ (乐), which means happy, and ‘Ban’ (板), which means boss. Their aim is to offer a cheery dining experience with excellent service fit for bosses, where customers will leave happy and satisfied (快乐老板).
Crispy Butter Bun with Condensed Milk ($4)
A Hong Kong Café in appellation, you will find some familiar items available in a typical Hong Kong ‘Cha Chaan Teng’ here. One of which is the Crispy Butter Bun with Condensed Milk.
Buns are halved, buttered, glazed with condensed milk, and toasted to perfection. As you bite into the crisp toasty exterior, your teeth will sink into a moist chewy interior. The sweetness is just right, beautifully neutralised by the subtle saltiness of butter –my sweet tooth approves of it, and I wanted more.
Savoury French Toast Bites with Ice Cream ($4.90)
Thick fluffy bread is smeared with a thin layer of peanut butter in between each slice, divided into squarish blocks, dipped in egg and fried to a golden crust.
I appreciate the fact that they do not serve cheap, lousy-quality ice cream. New Zealand Natural premium ice cream accompanies the Savoury French Toast Bites. You can choose from various flavours – ice cream and sorbet – but the classic vanilla ice cream complements best.
Chilli Cheese Fries ($6.50)
Served straight out the oven, the Chilli Cheese Fries is best eaten immediately while it’s warm. Chef’s special chilli recipe sets this dish apart from any other cheese fries. The spice level is mild and most will find it acceptable. Cheese lovers rejoice!
Potato with Corned Beef Hash & Egg ($5.50)
What looks like our hawker fare, the Fried Carrot Cake, is actually cubed potato with corned beef hash and egg. Eggs are scrambled with corned beef hash, bestowing a delightful subtle saltiness. It is a seamless gestalt of flavours; nothing too fancy, but absolutely enjoyable.
Seafood Baked Rice in Cream Sauce ($9.80)
Choose either tomato or cream base sauce.
The Seafood Baked Rice in Cream Sauce is nothing to shout about, apart from the fact that the prawns are substantial, fresh and not overcooked.
Sizzling Crispy Noodles with Jumbo Prawns ($8.50)
I love crispy noodles! Widely available in most local Cze Char stalls, it usually comes in a shallow pool of savoury brown sauce that is suggestive of soy sauce and oyster sauce.
Here, I experienced an unexpected ‘culture shock’. The reddish tomato-based sauce is slightly too acidic for my liking.
Served on a hot plate, golden crispy noodles are scattered atop with jumbo prawns, de-shelled for easy consumption.
It isn’t something that I would order again, but it isn’t repulsive to the point where nobody was willing to consume it, or that I was unwilling to swallow –I finished my share!
The Sun Fried Ice Cream ($4)
Green Tea Ice Cream
The Sun Fried Ice Cream is a highlight.
A scoop of ice cream is breaded and deep-fried to perfection. Hot and crisp on the outside, cold and creamy on the inside. As you dig in, the ice cream is still firm without being a melty mess –all in absence of those dreadful ice crystals that many restaurants tend to disregard.
The Sun Fried Ice Cream ($4)
Cookies & Cream Ice Cream
I tried two flavours – Green Tea and Cookies & Cream – and both were equally satisfying.
Plus, what’s not to love about good quality New Zealand Ice Cream! Choose from 4 flavours: Vanilla, Cookies & Cream, Green Tea and Choc Fudge Brownie.
Special promotion for blogreaders
Quote “Funky Food” and be entitled to 10% discount at Leban HK Café.
Promotion ends 31 July 2012.
Leban HK Café
No.2 Jalan Leban
Upper Thomson Road
Opening hours: 4pm to 2am daily