When asked what my favourite restaurant is in Hong Kong, I find it impossible to give a definite answer. When asked, however, where my favourite breakfast spot is in Hong Kong, the answer is obvious: Catch in Kennedy Town. When I heard, therefore, that Alex Malouf, owner of Catch and neighbouring Mama Malouf, was opening a new restaurant in Tai Hang called Elementary, I simply had to try it, and weekend brunch seemed like the perfect opportunity.
There is nothing fancy about any of Alex Malouf’s restaurants, but there needn’t be; each one simply offers a great concept of solid dishes made with good quality ingredients, at affordable prices. The same can be said for Elementary. On Tai Hang’s School Street (get it?), Elementary’s décor is simple, yet clean and stylish, and the space doesn’t feel as overcrowded as Catch sometimes can.
The brunch menu is available every weekend from 10am. Naturally, it is mainly centred around everyone’s breakfast favourite, the humble egg, yet jazzed up in all sorts of ways that will make you want to come back every weekend just to try a different dish. I adore the smashed avocado at Catch, but think I’ve found an even better one. Elementary’s version is smashed with goat’s cheese instead of feta, sprinkled with quinoa for a nutty texture, served alongside arty splashes of sweet beetroot pesto and pumpkin seeds, atop multigrain toast. If you ask for it with halloumi, which of course you have to do, the haloumi actually comes beneath the smash and the eggs to ensure you eat it altogether. A note on this golden-fried halloumi: it will be the most incredible halloumi you have ever eaten. Fact.
The Sicily scramble is a fun take on the classic scrambled eggs, cooked with sun-dried tomatoes, onion, olives and feta with sourdough toast. The menu suggests adding Parma ham, a natural complement to these Italian flavours.
Elementary’s brekkie burger is also pretty special, consisting of perfectly fried eggs, topped with gooey melted cheddar cheese, tomato, breaded and fried avocado, with a smear of salty Vegemite on a fluffy grilled burger bun. I personally didn’t try this one, as baby wouldn’t have been allowed the runny eggs, but it was devoured in minutes alongside a serving of halloumi, so I am to believe it was excellent.
For something even heartier, go for the Feathered eggs. This is a bowl of rich, comforting duck ragu, generously sprinkled with grated Grana Padano cheese, alongside fried eggs and flatbread for dipping. It is pictured here with yet more of that incredible halloumi.
If you like to keep things simple, or are feeding a two-year old and prefer to go for something you know she’ll eat, there is the option of eggs (any style) on sourdough, and even this was faultless.
The drinks menu features all the usual coffees and teas, alongside some fruit and veggie juices and tasty smoothies. I tried the berry beet smoothie, which combined beetroot with berries, almond milk, coconut milk and vanilla extract to make one delicious and healthy drink.
Brunch dishes range between $68 and $138, not including add-ons. Ask me again where my favourite breakfast spot is in Hong Kong and now it will be a tricky one to answer. I want to stay faithful to dear old Catch, but I think Alex has actually one-upped himself!
15-16 School Street
Tel: +852 2362 2812
Closed on Mondays.