9 3/4 Cafe
Time Out says
The magic is in the decor not the food at this Harry Potter-inspired café
It’s 20 years now since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, a slim novel that kick-started a franchise and launched a generation of Potterheads. Thus, it’s appropriate that Hong Kong, a city that loves its themed cafés, sees the opening of 9 ¾ Cafe. Our only surprise is that’s even taken this long.
We ‘Slytherin’ to the fourth floor unit tucked away behind a wet market in Mong Kok and are immediately greeted by a trolley half-submerged in the wall beside the entrance and a glowing sign reminiscent of the Harry Potter lightning bolt typeface. Definitely in the right place then.
The self-proclaimed magic-themed café – magic-themed to, you know, avoid the obvious copyright infringements – looks exactly like what you’d expect of an upstairs café in Mong Kok: small and packed. So far so mundane. But with the Harry Potter soundtrack playing on-loop in the background and electric candles dangling from the ceiling, not to mention a second half-submerged trolley, the café has enough magical ingredients to satisfy any Harry Potter fans.
We sit down on some snazzy Hogwarts house printed chairs and order a Butterbeer ($48), a must for any Harry Potter-tribute eatery. The staff promptly conjures one up in a glass pint but with tremendously disappointing results – it’s basically a homemade cream soda mix served with liberal amounts of bland whipped cream. But hey, at least it looks good on Instagram and Facebook.
The menu features all the usual Western options expected of an MK café including pasta and small bites like chicken wings and cheesy bacon fries. We opt for the Aragog salad ($62) for our starter and the Hogwarts Feast (an all-day breakfast, $108) as a main. The salad, named after the huge eight-legged spider from the books, is essentially a Thai salad with soft-shelled crab. It could do with a few more greens but it’s well-seasoned and the aptly-named dish gives us a chuckle. The all-day breakfast leaves us in a Hufflepuff. With its sloppy scrambled eggs and insubstantial bacon slices, the Hogwarts house elves would have never let it escape their kitchen.
We wash everything down with Veritaseum, a green apple-flavoured yoghurt soda potion mix. Truth be told, we’re not sure why it’s served in a lightbulb but the glowing green concoction tastes surprisingly refreshing, if a little sweet.
Cutlery and water are self-service and the food isn’t swift to arrive but let’s be honest, you’re likely too busy taking photos or playing with wands to notice. Or care. After all, let’s be honest, no-one is coming here for the food.
Shop 404, 4/F, Prosper Commercial Building
9 Yin Chong Street, Mong Kok
|Transport:||6-minute walk from Yau Ma Tei MTR station Exit A2|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sun: 12pm-5.30pm & 6.30pm-10.30pm|