Tea Room at Bun House
Upstairs, Bun House’s tiny, ground-floor space is perpetually cloaked in steam. Diners—most of them solo—cradle flesh-warm buns, filled with fish or pork or lamb or even custard, fresh from their bamboo steamers. But downstairs, in Tea Room, things are different. When we visit, it is brunch time, but it could also be the middle of the night. There are no windows, and the lighting is dim, excepting the neon signage affixed to one mirrored wall; it washes a lurid green over the tables and conjures a scene straight out of a Wong Kar-Wai film.
If the ambiance is pure Hong Kong, then so are the dishes. Some feint towards staples of cha chaan teng teahouses, including seemingly odd mash-ups like the HK French Toast (slathered in peanut butter and cheese) and drinks like the evocatively named silk stocking tea, bracingly strong and made with evaporated milk. Others aim squarely for hangover-soothing comfort (see centimetre-thick cuts of char siu bacon or satay beef noodles with a fried egg). Dishes like coddled “spa eggs” with soy and coconut-jam toast, or the fried cream puff filled with mauve taro cream, are pure pleasure.
The menu at Tea Room is not without its missteps. We find the plum wine-dosed green ma li—a curious cousin of the Bloody Mary—is acrid and unpalatable. But overall, this is one of London’s most wonderfully distinct brunch experiences.