Hot, strong, sweet and rich… Not only the ingredients to the best kinds of romantic heroes, but also to the best cups of hot chocolate!
Most of the hot chocolates here in Hong Kong are insipid little things – sad, unsexy cups of limp, cocoa-flavoured water. But that just makes it all the more noteworthy when a smoking hot version comes along, like the Belgian Sipping Chocolate at Original Playground.
Quarry Bay is stuffed full of postage-stamp sized cafés, but Original Playground has to be one of the cutest. The space is narrow but long, with quirky bright décor that gives it a playful but homely vibe. I loved the crazy-paving style shelving on one wall and the funky little figurines scattered throughout; you feel like it’s a place that’s been created by individuals with love and fun, rather than a conglomerate with cash and gimlet eyes. The staff here are also really lovely, warm and friendly, which helps!
Like many of the cafés in Quarry Bay, its speciality is coffee – but as you may remember, Rach doesn’t drink coffee so doesn’t care two cocoa beans about that. There’s a small set lunch menu ideal for nearby office workers, plus some froyo dessert offerings (presumably a hangover from Hong Kong’s now sadly-departed craze for froyo, which robbed me of all but two of my beloved Crumbs – including the one in Quarry Bay).
But I’m all about the hot chocolate; Original Playground does a normal version too, but as soon as I spotted the mysterious “Belgian Sipping Chocolate” on the menu, I was taken. An intense chocolate love-in, this cup straddled the balance between sweet but not too sweet, rich but not too rich, and thick but not too thick – shagadelic stuff! It remains eminently, deliciously drinkable from first sip to last slurp. It’s the kind of hot chocolate you have longing, lust-worthy thoughts about at inappropriate moments… So obviously, it’s a total winner!
Also of note are Original Playground’s delicious Shaken Iced Teas, which come in a variety of fruity flavours perfect for hot and humid summer days where even chocoholics like me would struggle to get a cup of the hot stuff down. The flavours are a little more inventive than the ones at your average café chain; I’ve tried the Ginger Peach and found it happily refreshing, with a nice little gingery kick at the end.
So if you’re in the QB hood and need a heart-racing chocolate hit, make a play-date with the Belgian Sipping Chocolate at Original Playground!
Original Playground, Shop A03, A2 Hoi Wan Street, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2562 3008