The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Brunch @ Jaspas in Happy Valley (Hong Kong)

On the second day of our Hong Kong trip, we headed out to Happy Valley in the morning to have a look at the area. It's a residential suburb on Hong Kong Island, and L had stayed here for 18 months when he'd first arrived in Hong Kong more than 10 years ago. This area is essentially what you would expect a residential suburb in a huge city to be - cramped with high rise apartments, crowded streets and a busy atmosphere. Certainly not at all like the laid-back and spacious feel of Discovery Bay. The nearest train station is located about 15minutes away on foot, which is not a huge problem because of there are numerous trams, buses and taxis that service the area. Apparently it's a popular first choice for young expat families, but Rob and I agree that it certainly won't be our first option.

After walking in the late morning humid warmth, it was nice to sit down to a late brunch at Jaspas. There are a few Jaspas around Hong Kong, and I was told that it is quite popular. In fact, Zaks - where we'd eaten the delicious banoffee pie the previous day - belongs under the same company. It looks like all the restaurants under the Jaspas group serve modern western fusion (judging from our experience at Zaks and here), so there were a wide variety of dishes to choose from ranging from pizza and nachos to sandwiches and turkish bread - and this is just from the breakfast and lunch menus. The restaurant in Happy Valley was clean, and service was efficient with eager young waiters, although perhaps a little too eager because we would be asked the same question twice within minutes. This occurred a few times, but I didn't mind because I think it's better to be asked than be neglected (though I'm not sure how my fellow diners felt about the multiple identical queries). It's a very family-friendly environment, and crayons are even provided for the little ones to scribble on the paper table cover. I can see why this place is a favourite for many!

While Zak was pretty happily occupied with the provided crayons, we deliberated over the menu and pondered over what to order. Rob got a Grilled Rib-eye Steak Sandwich, which was tasty with nicely toasted bread. It came with salad, chips (fries) and tomato sauce (ketchup) and it made quite a substantial meal. The Healthy Brunch (toasted Turkish bread with avocado and two eggs (done any style) looked good to me, and it turned out that it's Rob's aunt's favourite dish to order. I asked for soft poached eggs, and it was just so good eating the runny yolk with the Turkish bread. I know I should have taken some food porn shots of the broken yolk, but I was too busy enjoying it to even think about the camera. The tomato had been lightly toasted, the asparagus had been simply blanched, and the fruits were served au naturale - the best way to enjoy the freshness of these ingredients. Hollandaise sauce was served on the side for those who wished to have a little indulgence in this healthy option.

The rib-eye sandwich; and the healthy Turkish bread with avocado and eggs:

L had ordered a bowl of Fruit Salad with Honey and Yoghurt to share, and it was simply divine. Mango, grapes, papaya, strawberries and blueberries - these juicy, fresh sweet fruits were perfectly delicious on its own without any of the honey or yoghurt. The fruit bowl proved too healthy for Rob, so he ordered the Chocolate Pudding, which was rich, moist and chocolatey. It was served generously drizzled in chocolate sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It seems like Jaspas is the place to go for dessert fans!

Colourful fruit salad; and decadent chocolate pudding:

Overall, I was pretty satisfied with this experience - the restaurant accommodated our toddler very well, service was courteous and efficient, and most important of all: the food was delicious. I'm sure we'll be back at Jaspas (most probably one of the other branches) in the future to try out other dishes on their extensive menu.

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