Harry Potter heaven at the 9 ¾ café ?
It’s been 20 years now since J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series took the world by storm and introduced us to the magic and wonder that is the wizarding world. Theme parks have opened up in London, Florida and Osaka, but what awaits Potterheads in Hong Kong?
Somewhat dubiously, my friends and I decided to check out Hong Kong’s latest fad restaurant, the Harry Potter themed 9 ¾ café located in Mongkok. Don’t Hongkies love a gimmicky restaurant! This one is no exception as you have to call in to make a reservation for either the 6:30pm or 8:30pm seating for dinner.
I half expected a Diagon Alley-esque entrance however this one lies behind a classic Mongkok wet market. Once you get up to the 4th floor of this inconspicuous building, you are greeted by the famous trolley carrying suitcases and Hedwig’s cage that is passing through the wall on platform 9 ¾.
We were seated on chairs with our very own patronus, very luckily as there are some dementors hanging on the ceiling. The walls are covered with what looks like Olivander’s wand collection, several Broomsticks including a Nimbus 2000 for a quick getaway or an emergency Quidditch match and some old portraits that are ready to spring to life and ask you for the password to the Gryffindor common room.
Our waitress had to describe the drinks menu as it’s all in Chinese and moreover it does not explain what is actually in the drinks. Be warned, this café remains child friendly, so before you get excited about the truth telling elixir veritaserum which sounds like any other cocktail I swash back on a Friday night, all the drinks are non-alcoholic. We order the Butter beer because why ever not and the Veritaserum. On the menu is also Felix Felicis, a love potion, polyjuice potion and coloured drinks for the Hogwarts Houses.
One butter beer curiously arrived well before the other drinks (including another butter beer). Unfortunately, for all the hype it is merely a root beer float with whipped cream that managed to miraculously stay on the top of the glass despite many attempts to stir it in.
Our first plate, the starter of broccoli with cheese was needless to say, underwhelming but if they are going for canteen syle food, they may be on the money with this one.
Finally the veritaserum arrived, after the first plate is served, in a lightbulb. The concoction is a mixture of apple soda and yoghurt that turns out to be too sweet for my taste but a decent choice for the kids perhaps.
For our mains, we ordered the Cheese risotto with clams and mushrooms. Surprisingly, they used Arborio rice which was cooked al dente, however I would have liked a stronger mushroom taste rather than cream.
Next up for our mains were the honey roasted chicken with parma ham, the rack of lamb, salmon steak and the seafood linguine which were all pleasant enough but like most of the dishes not spectacular.
Verdict: When I envision the typical Harry Potter meal in the Great Hall, what comes to mind is Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavoured Beans and Pumpkin Pasties to name a few. Even the typical British canteen meal such as Eton mess, Yorkshire Pudding and Shepherd’s pier would have been a great addition to the Harry Potter Café. Instead I find that the 9 ¾ café is a muddle of local style western/Italian fare mismatched against Harry Potter themed memorabilia. Not only that, they only accept cash and you have to take tissues before you enter the toilet. Best to stick to the books and eat at a British pub for some ’authenticity’!
4/F, Prosper Commercial Building
9 Yin Chong Street, Mong Kok
Ph: 852 94326555