My second Char chan teng recommendation is actually more of a coffee house serving Western mains like steak, seafood pasta, and the like.
These places are especially plentiful in Mongkok and open until very late ! You can find them behind the blue tarpaulin of Ladies’ Street or almost anywhere along Nathan Road.
This time we stopped at the rather cheesily named Sweetheart Garden Steakhouse.
When we entered the place, I felt a little like turning back. The furnishings were old, worn, fraying plasticky looking booths and the lighting was the kind of dim that no talented interior designer would ever venture to call ‘ambient’.
Just at that moment, an aging waiter scuttled past me with a sizzling hot plate of what looked like lobster and steak and then sloshed some crazily good smelling garlic sauce all over it. I was gripped. It smelled like Jack’s Place before Jack’s Place became Eatzi Bistro and boring. It smelled like the Ship, when all their staff were friendly Hainanese uncles.
Nostalgia is a funny thing – It comes at funny moments, when you least expect it, and it was enough for me to want to give the place a try.
Prices are very reasonable. It worked out to only about $20 per person for us, and we all had main courses plus soup and a drink.
Everything at Sweet Heart is delightfully nostalgic and reminiscent of older, better times. Watch !
Maggi seasoning on the side? Something you will never see in today’s anti-carb, anti-preservatives, heck, anti-eating society !
Even the buns are so old school!!! They really remind me of the buns they serve at Western food stalls at kopitiams my grandfather used to bring me to when I was a kid.
Then the food came – huge and homey portions with no frills. There is no gastronomical revelation or delicacy. There is only perfectly cooked thick hunks of meat and seafood covered by a pungent but super tasty garlic pepper sauce.
Check THAT out ! Hahahaha. We spotted an elderly couple at the next table bracing themselves with their napkins and caught on really quick. Thank goodness for that.
YUM. Sorry photos are so blur. Booth was very small plus my lenses kept fogging up from all that steam.
K and I had the mini lobster, his with a Kobe beef steak and mine with a regular T-bone, which was rather tough. His Kobe steak on the other hand, was meaty juicy tender perfection. Mark also had wagyu, and his was even more melt-in-the-mouth.
What can I say ? A hungry bun with food is a happy bun !
Stop by if you have the time ! Make friends with the friendly uncle waiters and you might get more sauce and upgraded drinks like we did ! 🙂
Sweetheart Garden Restaurant 花園餐廳
G/F-2/F, Wingco Mansion, 36-42 Soy St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
French food next time !