Brunch Around the World I: St Betty (Bettys Kitschen)

Brunch is hands down my favourite meal of the day. The eggs, the toasts, the greasiness from the bacon or ham… a simply scrumptious way to spend a Sunday late morning. To me, brunch should always be in a casual, homely place where you can actually taste the freshness of the ingredients. And here we are, at Alan Yau’s (of Hakkasan / Yauatcha fame hailing from London) first restaurant in Hong Kong.

St Betty

The entrance is decked in floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with basil and multi-colored fruit and vegetables, giving a sense of wholesome, market-fresh goodness. I love the large windows looking onto the harbour, and aesthetics of postmodern cucina rustica channels a modern renaissance in the spirit of Tuscany and Provence. The yellow marble floors were an unexpected bass note that pulled together architect-cum-interior designer Andre Fu’s casual, quirky elegance.

St Betty's interior

Pots of basil line the wall of the private dining area

Usually I would go for the hemp milk and Acai berry smoothie which is light and fruity yet not overly sweet, but caffeine is called for after too much energy spent at the Valentino private sale before brunch. Love the small details such as the long, slim spoon that’s resting on the saucer.

Caffè Latte - source of much-needed caffeine

The waiter was kind enough to bring us the homemade bread which was fresh and smelled delicious. Note the interesting pointy shape. Crust was still crackling when it arrived though not as warm as I would like it to be. However, the highlight has to be the creamy butter. The full fat dairy goodness in its perfect form.

Homemade bread with butter

Homemade bread - a side view

One can always judge the standard of a restuarant by its eggs. As I always love a perfectly poached egg, I picked BETTYS 65 degree egg with sauteed mushrooms and Kintoa ham under Brunch Plates.

BETTYS 65 degree egg with sauteed mushrooms and Kintoa ham

The egg was prepared in the Onsen Tamago style, which means “hot spring egg” in Japanese, as some of the numerous hot springs dotted around the volcanic islands of Japan happen to be perfect for slow-cooking eggs. At 65 degrees, the egg white begins to coagulate and the yolk thickens, resulting in the runny egg white and slightly set texture that you can see here. (The scientists among us can read this for the precise balance behind size of the egg and the cooking temperature)

The egg white has the texture of a really delicate custard while the yolk comes out firm, but retains the color and creamy texture of an uncooked yolk

Even though the combination of the crunchy crust and the soft egg is one of my favourite from this establishment, let’s not forget the white and green asparagus. The ingredients used at Betty’s Kitschen is always fresh, and these babies were no exception.  The white asparagus had a milder taste than its heartier green cousin as it does not contain the chlorophyll that gives the latter a faint “grassy” hint. The sauteed mushroom was very flavourful and just salty enough to offset the asparagus.  So far so good.

However, I was not too impressed with the Kintoa ham. It came from the Kintoa Valley in the Basque region, hometown of the head chef. It was a bit on the lean side, and too stringy for my blunt (or peaceful, as my friend dubbed it) knife.

Organic farfalle with morel mushroom and broad beans

Took a small bite from my friend’s organic farfalle pasta with morel mushroom and broad beans. The sauce was very creamy yet not too rich, and love the al dente farfalle.

All in all, a casual-chic, convenient place for all-day dining made from fresh ingredients. Great eggs and pasta but some room for improvement on the ham.

St Betty
Add: Shop 2075, Podium Level Two, IFC mall, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2979 2100

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About Patricia

Born in Hong Kong and studied in England for most of her life. Transplanted herself to Tokyo, New York and finally back to her root. Having treated her taste buds to the best of these continents have to offer, she has decided to invite others to join her on her gastronomic voyage. Full-time food lover, part-time cook who wants to enjoy the pleasures of life, mostly at the dining table.
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