Top 10 Scones In Hong Kong To Try This Spring 2021
Now, now, we all know the age-old questions surrounding these buttery Scottish baked goods. Originated in the early 1500s, these round, plate-sized, griddle baked Scottish quick bread used to be made with oat. Rumour has it that the word “scone” was derived from the Stone of Destiny, where Scottish kings were crowned. Then in the 18th century, it was Anna, the Duchess of Bedford who made scones a fashionable afternoon tea tradition when she ordered some sweet bread and grew fond of it ever since. With a wider selection of ingredients aside from flour and butter available nowadays, you can expect to try some curious flavours. For those who love a good classic scone—or “scon”—it’s always a battle between clotted cream or jam first. Tatler’s resident scone enthusiast, deputy editor Lauren James of Birmingham, says she’ll have hers always with jam first. But she warns, “anyone who gets worked up about that is silly”.
However you take your scones, here are ten of our current favourites.
1/10 Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
For those who love classic desserts and pastries, the five-star hotel’s cake shop is a no-brainer. Since its opening in the 1970s, it has been dominating the sweet world with its 1963 Mandarin cheesecake, chocolate truffle cake and, needless to mention, classic scones which come in two flavours – butter and raisin. Their scones, each bigger than my fist, are probably one of the largest you’ll find in town. But fear not if you have a small appetite. There’s a reason why they remain popular throughout the decades. The buttery scones aren’t greasy and not too crumbly – just right for elegant enjoyment. Led by executive pastry chef Christophe Sapy who has served Thailand’s royal family, Mandarin Oriental creates their own rose petal jam; the recipe for which is a closely guarded secret. The dark red puree has a hint of sour berry but, unlike regular berry jams however, it’s less sweet and fruity, which pairs well with their light clotted cream and rich scones for a less filling cream tea.
Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central, Hong Kong; hongkong.mandarinorientalshop.com
2/10 The Peninsula, Hong Kong
Two in the afternoon is always a busy time at the grand colonial lobby of Hong Kong’s most historic hotel. Its afternoon tea, which is a sumptuous feast of jewel-like confectionery accompanied by live music performance by The Lobby Strings, remains popular since opening in 1928. It’s an experience you have to queue up for, but is absolutely. It’s totally worth the wait, for their golden and warm plain and raisin scones taste as good as they look when served plain, with clotted cream or strawberry jam in their afternoon tea set. These adorable homemade British pastries are created by Parisian executive pastry chef François Delaire, who started making scones when he worked in London in 2014. Their scone formula is added with zested lemon peel, which gives the pastry a fresh fruity hint. “I prefer to separate the scone into two pieces with a top and bottom. Then, spread clotted cream first followed by jam,” Delaire says. “The way to keep the scone in the best condition is just to keep it warm but not too hot.” The Peninsula offers a wide selection of teas to go with the set: from the classic Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Peninsula Breakfast and Afternoon, to spiced, flowery, fruity, citrusy and saffron infused options. Delaire himself prefers earl grey tea with milk or a slice of lemon. “A nice hot coffee latte also works,” he says. Elevate your experience with a glass of Deutz Peninsula, Brut Champagne if you’re in an extra celebratory mood.
The Lobby, The Peninsula, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Somewhere in the middle of the long lane of Hoi Chak Street in Quarry Bay is a little ocean blue café-restaurant called Grotto. As its name suggests, walking into this ground-floor cafe gives you a feeling of venturing into a cave, where earth-inspired baked goods await adventurous foodies. Grotto was founded by four friends: Jacky Siu with a background in the F&B industry; his wife Jasmine Tse, a Le Cordon Bleu chef; Andy Dark, celebrity chef who met Tse at the same cooking school; and Vincent Mok, the branding expert behind the cosy deco of the place. “Le Cordon Bleu taught me the essentials of French cuisine. You need to know the basics before you can play around.” says Dark, who’s in charge of the menu together with Tse.
Tying in with his “cave” café concept, the four handmade scones—called “stones” at Grotto—are Amber (classic butter); Aventurine (pandan leaves and shredded coconut); Black Onyx (charcoal powder, candied orange peels and Grand Marnier); and Kasan Seki (hojicha and mochi). We particularly recommend the black scone; despite its with a daunting look, its citrusy scent and the chewiness of the orange peels work surprisingly well with the house-made rhubarb ginger jam and rich dough. “I love having my scones hot, and we make sure our scones would be great just on their own,” Dark says. “I would recommend having a glass of Dirty to pair with our scones. ‘Dirty’ is made by pouring a shot of espresso into cold milk; the first sip is stronger and hotter, which amplifies the original flavour of the scone.”
Grotto, 19 Hoi Chak Street, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong; facebook.com/grotto.hk
Taiwan-born lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Nana Chan has been serving organic tea, cakes and baked goods for almost a decade in the much-loved teahouse in Sheung Wan. Chan says her mother used to bake cakes and the family would gather at the table during teatime for a bite. It’s a fond childhood memory that the entrepreneur tries to recreate through the teahouse where all sorts of tea—and strictly tea but not coffee—are served: organic floral tea, masala chai, green tea, to name but a few.
Teakha doesn’t have a regular scone menu, meaning that their recipes change every three months to tie in with the best ingredients and flavours of the seasons. Available from now until May are strawberry basil, apricot rosemary, earl grey lemon as well as, for the first time on the menu, almond flakes with caramel, which has a molten caramel filling inside the scone when heated. They’re also bringing back some signature flavours including pineapple honeycomb and matcha white chocolate. Teakha’s American “drop” scones can be purchased in single (HK$38) or in a box of 6 (HK$180).
Teakha, Shop B, 18 Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong; teakha.com
5/10 Fortnum & Mason
This London brand has been serving scones since 1928. But the establishment of Fortnum & Mason dates back to 1707, when Queen Anne gave her footman William Fortnum, who was also an entrepreneur, permission to sell discarded candles from St James’s Palace. Fortnum founded a grocery business in Duke Street jointly with his landlord, Hugh Mason at around the same time. You may wonder if a grocer’s scones are actually delicious. Ask the Queen herself. Fortnum’s holds several warrants throughout its history, including two from Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales, and does both classic and savoury scones.
In Hong Kong, the brand sells fresh scones daily and rotates flavours monthly. The specialty for March is the smoked salmon and spring onion scone. Fortnum’s have more than 80 jams, jellies, marmalades and curd products to choose from. Even when it comes to just orange marmalade, there are wild orange, orange and champagne and blood orange options, as well as pale lime marmalade and orange curd. "Personally, it’s always jam first then cream. Aesthetically, white, red, white looks more appealing and this way you can get more cream on your scone. But of course, cream first or jam first, it is up to you – they’re both delicious!" says executive pastry chef Roger Pizey. If you have a sweet tooth, why not go for the complete afternoon tea experience with more goodies?
Fortnum & Mason, Shop 022, G/F, K11 Atelier, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong; fortnumandmason.com
6/10 Grandma's Scones
Le Cordon Bleu graduate Evon grew fond of the British pastry when she studied cooking in London in 2015. But when she returned to Hong Kong, there wasn’t a lot of places that sold scones except for hotels. After gaining experience as a pastry chef in local hotels and restaurants for several years, she decided to set up her own online store in 2019 to make scones a widely available, easy-to-order treat with eight new, creative flavours: maple, rum raisin, hazelnut and cocoa, matcha and black sugar mochi, hojicha mochi, sea salt caramel chocolate, Baileys and Lotus Biscoff, sweet potato, pineapple and sesame red bean mochi. She named her shop after all the grannies of her UK friends who always had the best family recipes, but her own scone recipe isn’t traditional at all. Instead of making dry and stiff scones, she adds Japanese buttermilk to French flour, butter, sugar and raising flour to retain moisture. No eggs are added. Her scones have a crispy crust, a soft core and a strong buttery and flour taste. Do check out Evon’s latest homemade jams which differ from time to time. She previously creations include dragon fruit as well as strawberry and rhubarb jams. You can order online at least three days in advance or head over to Sheung Wan’s Kaffeine or Blue Bottle Coffee in IFC to “butter up” your afternoon.
Find out more at instagram.com/grandmas_scones
7/10 Butterfly Patisserie
Rosewood Hong Kong’s executive chef Holger Deh, a chocolate master in his own right, is no stranger to the city’s pastry world. The legendary German chef who once baked a birthday cake for the king of Malaysia is the brain behind the craft chocolates, artisan gelato and jewel-like pastries and cakes in the beautiful boutique of Butterfly Patisserie. Even when it comes to the basics such as plain and raisin scones, Deh remains exceptionally meticulous. He only uses French butter, French cream, Korean sugar and European flour. He prepares the dough the day before and lets it rest overnight in the fridge. To make them fluffy, Deh reveals that he uses a fan-forced oven which creates a lighter texture. The scones are not sold as separate items and can only be served in their signature afternoon tea set. Why not? The Butterfly Room itself has the regal wonderland set-up for the optimal scone-tasting experience. Now, raise your pinkie and munch up.
Butterfly Patisserie & Butterfly Room, 2/F, Rosewood Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong; rosewoodhotels.com
8/10 Brekkie Lab
For something a little more adventurous, how about some sakura shrimp or truffle scones? Charlotte Tsui founded Brekkie Lab, which stands for a little laboratory that experiments on turning breakfast baked goods into an art. Tsui's pound cake and scone recipes are inspired by her travels around the world. She incorporates mostly street food flavours or ingredients to the traditional recipes. Currently on the menu is PJ, cinnamon Biscoff, truffle and scallion. Dare yourself to try some seafood or mushroom scones. You may just find your next new favourite.
Online orders only. Find out more at instagram.com/brekkielab
9/10 Gontran Cherrier
Hailing from the French capital is pastry chef Gontran Cherrier, a fourth-generation baker. It’s no surprise that his croissants were praised by both food critics and customers as the best in Paris when Cherrier opened his first boulangerie on rue Caulaincourt in 2010. Nine years later, his shop expanded to Hong Kong’s prime retail mall K11. Apart from classic French pastries, occasionally modified with a modern twist, the Parisian baker has a dozen more recipes up his sleeves. One of them would be British scones. If you’re looking for rustic and dense scones, Gontran Cherrier’s buttery cubes have a grainy texture with a crunchy crust and a softer core, made with flour and butter flown in from France. They come in a variety of flavours and are served with clotted cream and strawberry jam – the best way to check out the menu is simply to head over to the open bakery-factory-kitchen at K11 where Gontran’s team of pastry chefs knead doughs, bake bread and give final touches to the pastries every day.
Gontran Cherrier, Unit B205-B207, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong; gontran-cherrier.com
Wan Chai’s Tai Wong Street East and Soho's Staunton Street are always packed with suckers for Grégoire Michaud’s baked goods, inspired by artisanal European neighbourhood shops he visited when he was a little boy. With almost three decades of pastry making experience, including an eight-year stint as Four Seasons Hong Kong’s executive pastry chef, Michaud owns a “factory” where all sorts of pastries—sourdough egg tarts, cinnamon and pecan croissants, danishes, rolls, cookies, doughnuts, quiches and many more—come straight out of the oven every day. When it comes to scones, Michaud makes sure to import fine flour from the traditional Suire Mill in France. After 11am every day, plain scones, cheese and onion scones and apple cinnamon raisin scones will be stacked up in their Wan Chai and Central boutiques. They’re perfect to take away for the afternoon if Bakehouse hasn’t already filled you up with made-to-order lunches and brunches.
5 Staunton Street, Central and 14 Tai Wong Street East, Wan Chai; bakehouse.hk