When I started researching Hong Kong, and then speaking to locals, I kept hearing everyone talk about Central. Central this, Central that. Everything worth doing and seeing seems to be in Central. People work in Central, they live in Central. After all that fuss I didn’t actually get to Central until the very end of my trip to Hong Kong but when I did I saw what they were talking about.
Central isn’t at all like where I was based in Mong Kok. Mong Kok is perhaps more what you expect from Hong Kong. Central is what puts Hong Kong on the list of most exciting and interesting places to visit in the world. It is a maze of little streets cris crossing up and down the hill. The Central Mid Levels Escalator, the longest in the world, takes you up if you are feeling too lazy to walk but that would be a shame because you would miss the buzz, especially in the evenings and even more so on a Friday night.
Elephant Grounds is right at the top of the escalator. Get off, turn to the right and there you are. There is space in the front just off the street or hidden out in the back. I found Elephant Grounds mostly because my search for good hot chocolates kept leading to good coffee shops. Elephant Grounds is another example of a fantastic coffee shop in Hong Kong (although, as a hot chocolate purist, I did not taste their coffee genius. I did smell it and it smelt like the kind of coffee a coffee lover would enjoy….in my “expert” opinion). So they make great coffee and they pair this with beautiful stores, 6 of them dotted across the city, all stunning.
The food is good, especially if you are looking for a bit of a break from eating amazing dumplings and noodles 24/7. A woman came and sat at my table because the terrace was quite busy. I watched her as she thoroughly enjoyed a brussel spout salad, the kind that I would usually never order, especially in Hong Kong. The kind I’d think “I could make that at home easily” but then you try to and it just never tastes anywhere as good. But as she started licking the bowl I was tempted and I ordered one and it really was that good.
The hot chocolate is, well, not on their menu which is generally a sign that there isn’t a whole lot of love going into that particular drink. I read a lot of reviews about their delicious hot chocolate but perhaps it is seasonal and this isn’t the season because what I got was just ok. It didn’t have the fluffy marshmallows or fancy flavour combinations my research had promised me. If you are in Hong Kong in winter, or even better around Christmas time, this sounds like it would be the place to be for a good hot chocolate but in November, not so much.
Verdict: Great spot to stop and recover or prepare for the buzz of Central. Order the brussel sprout salad… Elephant Grounds Mid Levels, 61 Caine Road, Central, Hong Kong Island.