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15 affordable lunch spots in Soho

By Catharina Cheung 7 July 2020

Header image courtesy of Louise

Lunchtimes over weekdays can be a chaotic affair, especially in Central. But once you go up a little further up the hill, onto the slopes of Soho, you’ll find a lot more choices open for your picking. Trudging uphill in this insanely hot weather may not sound appealing, but you’ll have a nice meal at the end of it to look forward to! Here are some of the best lunch options in the area around Hollywood Road and further south, all under $200.

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Mamma Always Said

While we do miss Jalan a lot, there’s something to be said for Mamma Always Said, the new all-day dining hangout that’s replaced it. Apart from their happy hour vibes, food is also served, taking inspiration from comfort eats and casual plates all around the world. We like their salads ($45 for a half portion or $85 for the whole thing), in particular the Roast Cauliflower, as well as their Malay Spiced Chicken Burger ($95). If the hunger pangs are really kicking in, go for their Spaghetti Bolognese ($105) instead—truly comfort food at its best.

Mamma Always Said, 42 Peel Street, Central | (+852) 2386 2216

Photo credit: @l.hh (Instagram)
2

The Monogamous Chinese

Hidden in a dimly lit corner under the Mid-Levels escalators, The Monogamous Chinese is one of our favourite lunch spots for Chinese food, mostly because of how cheap it is for what you’re getting. For just $88, diners can choose an appetiser, a mains, and a side of home-made dumplings, all washed down with inclusive jasmine tea.

There are four choices for each category, and our recommendations would be Shredded Chilled Chicken with Cucumber or Deep Fried Goose Liver Spring Roll for appetisers, and the Beijing Style Noodles with Spicy Minced Pork for the main course. All of their dumpling flavours are great, so we suppose you’ll just have to return over another lunch to try all of them.

The Monogamous Chinese, 59 Caine Road, Soho | (+852) 2523 2872

Photo credit: @foodtopia.world (Instagram)
3

Chi Chi Cham

Despite its cheeky Chinese name—meaning to mutter surreptitiously to people—Chi Chi Cham is actually a Japanese izakaya concept, but decked out with Chinese decorations for a bit of a melded East Asian vibe. Most people go here for their skewers and small bites over happy hour drinks, but they also serve bento lunch sets.

A Deep-fried Pork Cutlet bento will only set you back by $68, though our pick is usually the Japanese Grilled Pork Patty with Layered Egg & Salmon Roe ($108). Each bento set also comes with a salad and a crab meat miso soup, so it’s sure to fill you up.

Chi Chi Cham, 53 Peel Street, Soho | (+852) 2386 9718

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By Catharina Cheung 12 December 2019
Photo credit: @uma.nota (Instagram)
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Uma Nota

If you see the phrase “Brazilian-Japanese street food” and crinkle your nose thinking it’s weird, you can’t be totally to blame. But Uma Nota is also here to tell you that you’re wrong! This lively eatery combines fresh Brazilian ingredients with Japanese techniques to best reflect the colourful flavours of Sao Paulo.

The star of their lunch is their Unlimited Salad Bar ($95), where you can load up on soba noodles with edamame in sesame dressing, roasted eggplant, mixed greens in ponzu dressing and more. You could also choose to go for the Unlimited Salad Bar + Bento ($120), which comes with four choices of mains.

Uma Nota, 38 Peel Street, Soho | (+852) 2889 7576

Photo credit: @maisonlibanaise (Instagram)
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Maison Libanaise

We love Maison Lib for their hearty Lebanese fare and the decor inspired by the cultural renaissance of 1960s Beirut. Their lunch menu is great value for money at $98 per person. You get your hummus and tahini to dunk pita bread in, a choice of five mains—the Samake Meshoué comes highly recommended—either rice or salad and a baklava dessert. Sit in their alfresco dining area on a nice day and just unwind for an hour.

Maison Libanaise, 10 Shelley Street, Soho | (+852) 2111 2284

Photo credit: @sohofama (Instagram)
6

SOHOFAMA

Tucked away in PMQ, SOHOFAMA raises awareness for healthier living by serving chemical- and MSQ-free food, made from organic and, where possible, locally grown ingredients. Their set lunch ($108) comes with a starter and a main course, served with jasmine rice and a drink, with the option to add soup to the meal for $20 more. Do try the Spicy Sesame Chicken starter, and Grandma’s Ma Po Tofu or the Eggplant and Pork Casserole for your mains.

SOHOFAMA, G/F, Block A, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Soho | (+852) 2858 8238

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Photo credit: Louise
7

Louise

Taking over the old location of Aberdeen Street Social is JIA Group’s newest baby Louise. These are the minds behind some of our perennial favourites including Duddell’s, Chachawan, and Potato Head, in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Julien Royer, so you know you’re in good hands.

Their weekday parlour lunch is a rotation of their Plat du Jour ($158), served with tea or coffee, and available from Tuesdays to Fridays. Our favourites are the picks for Wednesday and Friday: the Saucisse de Toulouse (Toulouse sausage with mash) and the Aile de raie à la grenobloise (Grenobloise-style skate fish), respectively.

Louise, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Soho | (+852) 2866 0300

8

Posto Pubblico

With a name that translates to “public place,” Posto Pubblico’s concept is based on Italian home cooking using simple classic ingredients, with an old New York Italian vibe that makes it a friendly neighbourhood joint. Their set lunch consists of an antipasto, a wide choice of secondi mains, and a dessert, for $148 per person. Go for the Insalata Caesar or Daily Antipasti, and the Farfalle Salsiccia or the Brooklyn Sandwich.

Posto Pubblico, 28 Elgin Street, Soho | (+852) 2577 7160

Photo credit: @hkfoodbae (Instagram)
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Fresca

Some days you just feel that you need greens aplenty, and that’s when you’ll be glad for Fresca. What sets these guys apart from Hong Kong’s many other salad bars is their creative range of toppings: think Sichuan Veggie Mix with Soy Chicken, King Trumpet Mushroom in Sand Ginger Sauce, or Cashew Cream Coleslaw. You can choose from a three-topping ($87) or four-topping salad ($110), and add $20 for each additional choice. The toppings change daily with specials each day, so go regularly to taste a wide variety!

Fresca, 54A Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2770 2282

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10

Pici

Of course, we wouldn’t be able to leave out everyone’s favourite pasta bar! For the uninitiated, Pici specialises in hearty Italian dishes and fresh, handmade pasta that taste homey and satisfying. $158 will get you a starter, a pasta dish, and a dessert. We highly recommend the Burrata (for an additional $25) or the Beef Carpaccio to start with, then the Strozzapreti Truffle pasta (for an additional $28) or the Eggplant Ravioli, and finally the Panna Cotta to round it all off with. Food coma, here we come.

Pici, 24–26 Aberdeen Street, Soho | (+852) 2755 5233

Photo credit: @indulgenteats (Instagram)
11

Bun Cha

The walk up the hill of Aberdeen Street is worth it because the unassuming Bun Cha serves some fantastic pho and spring rolls. Our go-to is always the Pho Bo ($75), and the Cha Nem ($88) fried spring rolls or the Cha La Lot Cuon ($70) grilled pork rice paper rolls. If you’d prefer not to sweat over a steaming bowl of soup noodles, then the Bun Thit Co ($85)—lemongrass pork neck vermicelli—is also a great choice.

Bun Cha, G/F, King Ho Building, 41–49 Aberdeen Street, Soho | (+852) 2858 1900

Photo credit: @meatshk (Instagram)
12

MEATS

Eschewing carbs and loading up on proteins? MEATS is your answer! For $148, you get to choose a small plate, a meaty mains, a side dish, and a dessert. Everything is fantastic here, but we particularly recommend starting with the New England Clam Chowder or the Meatballs, then going for the Stone Grilled Bavette (at an additional $15), with a side of Appleslaw, and finishing the meal with the Cafe Affogato. Fuelling up without carbs? We’re here for it!

MEATS, 28–30 Staunton Street, Soho | (+852) 2711 1812

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Photo credit: @kongfoodhk (Instagram)
13

Oolaa

Every time we go to Oolaa, we feel a bit more relaxed and chilled out, so this will be the perfect spot for a more leisurely Friday lunch. A two-course lunch will set you back by $158, while the three-course option is $178. Choose one of the soups of the day—which will always include a vegetarian option—or start with the Crab & Avocado Tian, then move on to the Herb Poached Salmon Fillet for mains. While we don’t normally go for their desserts, we do know friends who like their Raspberry Chocolate Mousse. Oolaa’s set lunch is dine-in only, but if you vacate the table by 12.30 pm, you can enjoy 20 percent off your bill!

Oolaa, G/F, Centrestage, 1–9 Bridges Street, Soho | (+852) 2803 2083

Photo credit: @foodiepoison (Instagram)
14

DOUBLESHOT by Cupping Room

It’s rare to find one place that does a fantastic cup of coffee, lip-smackingly good food, plus a great cheeky tipple, but Doubleshot is one of those places that you never knew you needed, smack bang in the middle of Hollywood Road, no less!

Their lunch menu is separated into smaller and larger plates; of the former, we highly recommend the Roasted Cauliflower ($78) as well as the beautiful “MF” Potatoes ($88). For larger plates, order the Katsu-sando ($158) served in toasted brioche with housemade aioli, or The Ultimate Bacon Carbonara ($168) for some indulgence. If you order a large plate, you can also get a side for free, including choices like Crispy Brussels Sprouts or 24-month Ibérico Ham. Good luck trying to nab one of their famous window seats though.

DOUBLESHOT by Cupping Room, 1/F, 49 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 9225 6639

Photo credit: @mezzo_foodstagram (Instagram)
15

Bouchon

It might be quite easy to walk past Bouchon and not even notice it there among its flashier neighbours, but that’s what we like about them: that they’re not uppity like a lot of other French restaurants have a tendency to be. Instead, its overtly Parisian bistro décor is unpretentious and inviting. Their lunch set is priced at $138 for two courses and $158 for three courses. Do order the Soupe à l’Oignon or the Artichoke and Peach Salad hors d’oeuvres, and the Chicken Forestière or Steak Tartare (at an additional $48) for the plats principaux.

Bouchon, 49 Elgin Street, Soho | (+852) 2525 9300

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Catharina Cheung

Senior editor

Catharina has recently returned to her hometown of Hong Kong after spending her formative years in Singapore and the UK. She enjoys scouring the city for under-the-radar things to do, see, and eat, and is committed to finding the perfect foundation that will withstand Hong Kong’s heat. She is also an aspiring polyglot, a firm advocate for feminist and LGBTQIA+ issues, and a huge lover of animals. You can find her belting out show-tunes in karaoke, or in bookstores adding new tomes to her ever-growing collection.

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