Let’s meet in Wan Chai for coffee and cakes. Until recently this busy district offered few options where you could accompany your favourite cuppa with a high quality pastry, sandwich or quiche. Sure there are the usual suspects such as Pacific Coffee and Starbucks, plus a small selection of cake shops ‘that also sell coffee’, but it is the arrival of Passion Bakery Café on Johnston Road that fills the gap for a trendy, French style bistro with high quality food.
I say food because although Passion sells itself as a bakery & café, its gastronomic offer will satisfy almost any foodie looking for a fresh, healthy and creative lunch.
Gérard Dubois, the Swiss pastry chef and owner of “La Rose Noire”, chose to name this, his latest venture, Passion, after his lifelong passion for top-quality products. This is visible from the moment you step into the café-bakery and are greeted by a selection of freshly baked breads, rolls and baguettes. Passion’s signature products are the Passion baguette, which is baked two times a day in house in a traditional stone oven, and their crusty sourdough. Anyone who has attempted to bake bread and keep it crispy in Hong Kong’s humid climate knows just how challenging this is. The expert bakers at Passion have obviously found the trick to getting around this little dilemma that taunts us mere mortal bakers.
The specialty breads also make up the sandwiches on offer, so if you walk into Passion hungry, leave your low-carb diet outside the door because resisting temptation is practically impossible. If you are absolutely set on keeping healthy (well done you!), then there is a large enough variety of salads made to order to keep you happy.
For the rest of us, leaving without further indulging in one of Passion’s exquisite desserts would seem quite ridiculous. There is a full line of pastries, but I am told the most popular choices are the raspberry ganache tart trilogy the mille feuille with vanilla and salted caramel, and the tangy tarte au citron. No surprise there!
The location is very central, 74-80 Johnston road, but the entrance is a little tucked away so you could easily miss it if you were not looking for it. There are comfortable lounge chairs and a high table in the back and, although this is a good place to meet one or two friends or have lunch with colleagues, it does not offer enough space for large groups or too many strollers.
Passion Cafe Address: 74-80 Johnston Road, is open daily from 8am to 9pm / Telephone: +852 2529-1311