Whenever I go back to Hong Kong for school breaks, I’m always amazed by the many new dessert places that have sprung up since the last time I was here. There are always novel dessert gimmicks and ideas, from the crazy variety of ice creams like nitrogen ice cream, Korean soft serves, ice cream toast boxes, to more bizarre desserts like super sized candy floss, sizzling brownies on a pan and shaved ice served in test tubes, the dessert culture here moves as fast as the fashion industry. Except that desserts never go out of style 😉 Norayo K. Cafe is one of the many Korean fusion cafes that opened up recently, boasting its variety of desserts like bingsu, small cakes, and creative drinks. Korean food and desserts seem to be making a long-lasting statement in Hong Kong’s food scenery, and as a die hard fan of Korean food, I decided to give this restaurant a shot. Norayo K. is a small, adorable and trendy cafe that aims for mostly younger customers; the interior is designed to mimic an outdoor cafe, with a brick wall as one of the walls, a little canopy over the bar and drinks place, and a traffic light in the middle of the restaurant.
For a table of two, I waited for around 45 minutes. It’s a very popular cafe so this waiting time wasn’t too bad. The cafe was pretty crowded and I had to squeeze my way into my seat. This cafe offers an equal amount of savory and sweet choices. The savory items include both local Korean food, like Korean ramen, sushi, hotpot (no traditional bibimbaps and sundubus, though), and more westernized ones like pastas and risottos. I opted for a Jajiangmyeon ($58), which is a noodle dish topped with a thick, dark sauce made with black soybean paste, with bits of diced pork and vegetables in it. You mix everything together, similar to how you eat lo mein. My friend got a bacon carbonara ($84). We also shared a Blue Lime Lemon Rita ($78), which is a lime soda slushie with a Corona beer stuck in it, upside down.
This soda thing is also a nice gimmick that has emerged recently. It certainly looked cute and it was kind of entertaining consuming it. The soda tasted artificially good, and the beer went surprisingly well with it. I’m not a big fan of beer but this actually tasted pretty decent. $78 was a bit of a rip off though, but oh well all food gimmicks are rip offs. The Jajiangmyeon portion wasn’t too big, just enough to satisfy my hunger and still leave room for dessert. The sauce tasted pretty standard, salty with a hint of bean flavor in it. It was more watery than expected, so it felt like there was slightly too much sauce for the amount of noodles. The noodles were chewy and soft, but could’ve been cooked a little firmer. The dish was overall pretty average.
Okay yay dessert time. This cafe specializes in bingsus, which is a Korean-style shaved ice dessert usually topped with condensed milk, fruits, Azuki red beans and/or other sweet toppings. Norayo K. stepped up a notch from the traditional bingsus, topping theirs with ice cream and offering a variety of flavors. We got an Oreo Chocolate Bingsu ($55).
The shaved ice here is made with milk and crushed into fine pieces, so the ice felt smooth and delicate in my mouth. It felt like eating snow… haha. It tasted delicious with the crushed oreo pieces, drizzled chocolate syrup and chocolate ice cream, a happy haven of chocolatey goodness that was surprisingly not too overwhelmingly sweet. The melange of textures was delightful- the crunchiness of the oreos, light crispiness of the shaved ice, and the gooey chocolate sauce and ice cream… My favorite was the ice because I like that it was made with milk, so it was not just the usual plain, bland ice. This was a tasty bingsu, wouldn’t say it’s something that is worth exceptional praise and to go all the way out for, but it’s nonetheless what you’d expect from a Korean cafe that specializes in desserts. I’m pretty happy with the service here. Despite the crowded restaurant and the long line waiting outside, the waiters/waitresses were responsive, attentive and patient, and the food came out pretty fast. They even gave me their wifi password when I asked for it. 😀 Hong Kong is known for some notorious restaurant services in some places, and I’m glad this cafe isn’t one of them.
Norayo K. Cafe
Address: 2/F., Southgate Commercial Centre, 29 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Number: 9695 1591