This modern café takes its design cues from Club Monaco, with white, black, and taupe dominating the colour palette. We sat ‘al fresco’ or, to be more precise, we sat inside the mall under canvas umbrellas looking out at Lion Rock from behind a multi-storey glass wall.
While Simply Life’s atmosphere feels warm, the service is very much café style, where food comes out uncomfortably quickly (we’re always suspicious of restaurants where prep takes no more than one minute). But at least, unlike other cafes, they don’t rush you out the door as soon as you put your dessert fork down. Management here obviously see the benefits of allowing patrons lingering time (the more you linger, the more you may come back). During our lunch there were numerous small groups who had leisurely enjoyed their meals, and subsequently stayed for many rounds of beverages afterwards.
But we digress; let us talk of the food. A cup of fresh crab salad with chilli sesame-peanut dressing ($88) was simply presented; with fresh crab meat (we expected imitation in a casual spot like this), though the greens were somewhat drowned in the dressing. This is the problem with dishes prepared in advance. Hint: Dress salads to order.
One thing we did like was that an entire column of the menu was dedicated to healthy brown rice mains (is this a trend? If not, it should be). The organic brown rice with seared sea bass and fennel ($88) tasted of a nutty risotto, creamy with the assistance of lots of butter, of course. However, the seared fish with basil pesto dressing was a little small size-wise (equivalent to a deck of cards) and, unfortunately, tasted rubbery (most likely flash-fried and finished off in the microwave right before serving).
By this point we were ready to give it two stars, but then the bread arrived. Great crust, slightly moist, and straight from the oven, it could’ve come from Robuchon himself – that’s how good it was. Just when things were looking up, the lifeless cheesecake ($25) knocked the star rating right back down. Report card reads: could do better. Alan Wong
Level 2, Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong, 2265 7418. Daily 11am-11pm. Meal for two: around $400.