Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good Eats - Hong Kong Edition - Holly Brown Cafe and Gelato (Ep. 5)

Being an ice-cream addict, it's no surprise that one of the places I had to visit was Holly Brown. There are many locations in Hong Kong including, but not limited to, Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan, and many other places so if you're looking for one, trust me, it won't be too hard to find!
Address: G/F, 22 Stanley Street, Central
A friend of mine initially told me about Holly Brown saying that their ice cream was quite good and when I looked up reviews on OpenRice (the Asian version of Yelp), many American reviewers compared it to the American Coldstones. I absolutely love Coldstones' ice cream creations especially Founder's Favorite which is a mix of vanilla ice cream with brownies and nuts and other additions that makes a wonderful mouthful explosion. Tempted, I had high hopes for Holly Brown as I entered the shop (which happened to be one of their [many] locations in Central). Not all Holly Brown shops include a cafe, some only have an ice cream/gelato stand, but the one I went to had both the cafe and the ice cream bar so when I first walked in, I was greeted to both. The atmosphere and decor of the shop is quite nice with lots of comfortable sofas and chairs and tables (sort of like a Starbucks) and at least my experience with the servers was a pleasant one (I can't say for all locations of course). The cafe offers a pretty wide selection of breakfast, brunch, and lunch foods such as sandwiches, salads, pasta, coffees, honey toast, and waffles, but of course I only went there for the ice cream ;D
Being my typical indecisive self, I took about 10 minutes just staring at the ice cream menu trying to decide what to get but I finally settled with Eenie Meenie (and yes they have another creation titled Minie Mo and yes I did play that game in my head to decide between the two). I decided to get Eenie Meenie as its description said that it would include brownie bits and it seemed most similar to the Founder's Favorite that I usually get at Coldstones and I wanted to have some sort of comparison starting line. I do agree that Holly Brown is quite like Coldstones in the way they make ice cream mixtures/creations and they do it on the spot, out in the open, so you can watch them mix up your order, but the presentation was definitely not on par with Coldstones'. I mean, just look at my pictures and you can see.. it doesn't exactly look appetizing does it? Of course, maybe it was just my creation that is the uglier looking one because I've seen photos online on OpenRice and other people who ordered other creations - well theirs looks much nicer with decorations placed nicely on top. Nevertheless, despite the slightly disappointing first impression, my gelato tasted quite delicious and yummy. It's quite a hearty portion, and even though I shouldn't have, I finished the entire thing and the waffle. One complaint I have though is that all the creations come with the waffle and you can't just get your ice cream in a cone for a lower price which was a little bothersome because their gelato creations are not cheap! The creation I got cost $56 HKD if I remember correctly which is about $7 USD! (And I thought Coldstones' was expensive at about $5 for a similar sized cup!). However, gelato/ice cream in Hong Kong is actually quite expensive so I suppose the price was "normal" as buying a tub of Dryer's ice cream in Hong Kong is like $50 for a tub that is about 1/3 the size of a normal Dreyer's bucket here in America (and we wonder why America is the fattest country in the world).

All in all, I would recommend Holly Brown's gelato for all my ice cream lovers out there. Yes the price is a little high, but the taste is definitely there and next time I go back, I'm planning on trying another creation or a honey toast or waffle with ice cream on the side ^__^; If you're looking for a place for a client meeting or somewhere to study or just some place to get out of the Hong Kong heat, stop by Holly Brown because hey, it's a nice change up from your usual Starbucks or Pacific Coffee and probably less crowded (unless you come in around lunch time). The wide selection of gelato and normal savory foods makes Holly Brown a perfect cafe for everyone.

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