Australia son returns to Melbourne this evening and the others get their noses back to the grindstone. We holidaymakers take a stroll and decide to lunch in SOHO on Elgin street. This street is one of the epicentres of the western expatriate community here in HK and is brimful in the evenings. But with so much capacity is understandably quieter at lunchtimes while the besuited hordes, following Gordon Gecko’s maxim that lunch is for wimps, chase the big dollar at their desks downtown.
Consequently , the world is our oyster, or would be if we chose to eat them. All the places on Elgin street offer set luches with choices at very reasonable prices for 2 or 3 courses. Around $90HK for 2 courses to £110HK for 3 courses and a soft drink seems to be the norm ( £7.20 to £8.50) You can’t eat as well and as cheaply as that in Glossop !!
After much deliberating, cogitating and ruminating, we are looking to digest (©Lloyd Grossman) and choose Sole Mio , a small Italian where we enjoy Insalata Caprese ( tomatoes and mozzarella) followed by a nice linguine with asparagus and speck ham together with a four cheese pizza. The service is very good and they even have their very own Italian Nonno coming in to take his lunch in his belt, braces and straw hat. ” Ciao, Mr Dino”
One slightly off moment, and nothing more, which gave an insight into some of the less pleasant aspects of Hong Kong life occured when a solo diner , a business suited man in his 40’s, left the restaurant and pointedly ignored the proprietor’s cheery goodbye. Not a big deal in itself but a small example of the me culture prevalent in so many of the world’s cities.
After lunch , we just wander around in the heat and humidity and with some mild coercion, I get the OH along to Hong Kong Park to visit the aviary. En route we see the Tai Chi garden, another very pleasant and contemplative spot in the midst of the city. The aviary is a great experience and I am sure it would be good to visit time and time again to see some of the birds that you didn’t catch on your first visit. Another great free experience in Hong Kong.
As a farewell to Australia son who flies early evening we meet for afternoon tea at the China Tee club in the Pedder building. This is one of the last remaining Twenties buildings in central Hong Kong. The more you consider it , the fewer old buildings are left. You can almost name them after a week or two here. There is a list of 34 declared monuments here on the HK government web site , and a dozen of those are outside the city ! I suppose in HK’s defence it was little more than a fishing village when the British landed in 1849 and now the pace of change combined with the economic growth means that little will be left standing if there is a dollar to be made. The tea is very pleasant in a colonial setting of tiled floors, dark wood, white walls and bentwood furniture. Where can I put my pith helmet and are my knee length socks straight?
After saying our farewells at the Central rail station, we return home before venturing out again for a pre-dinner drink at the popular Peak Cafe and then to try yet another Chinese cuisine , this time Manchurian, at Bistro Manchu again on Elgin Street in Soho. The food is different again, closer to Beijing food with dumplings and heavier sauces. The staff seem to be in a rush to clear up but no matter as we are ready for an earlier night too.