Hong Kong Restaurant Review: Beans the Greenhouse in Shatin Offers Cool Respite for Ikea Shoppers

Beans the Greenhouse is located in Shatin’s Grand Central Plaza. Serving coffees, teas, smoothies, light meals, and desserts in smart, comfortable surroundings, it makes the perfect spot for a quick bite or a relaxing caffeine fix after shopping till you drop at Ikea.

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The facade of Beans the Greenhouse at Grand Central Plaza in Shatin. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

I’ve walked past Beans the Greenhouse on countless trips to and from the Ikea outlet at Grand Central Plaza near the Shatin MTR station, and every time I’ve been tempted to walk inside and have something to eat or drink

And every time I’ve resisted temptation.

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The entrance of Beans the Greenhouse at Grand Central Plaza in Shatin. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Where to Eat in Shatin

Yesterday afternoon, however, there was more than the smart decor that attracted my attention. There was that sign advertising Peking Duck Buns and Pork Belly Buns.

It was the thought of Peking Duck Buns that pulled at my heart strings. Could I resist temptation and make my way past the eatery on my way out of Ikea and eat dinner at home as I had originally planned?

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Seating for solitary diners at Beans the Greenhouse. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

I managed to walk past Beans the Greenhouse after shopping at Ikea and took the five flights of escalators back down to the ground floor, where I saw a large crowd of people gathered at the entrance.

“OMG! It’s a downpour, and I forgot to bring my umbrella,” I thought.

“And I’m not about to make the trek back to the MTR station without an umbrella.” .

I looked at my watch. It was 5.30 pm.

“Should I have an early dinner?” I wondered.

I figured that a deluge like this wouldn’t last long. I could feast on one of those Peking Duck Buns while waiting for the rain to stop.

So I took the five flights of escalators back up to the fifth floor, walked up to the entrance of Beans the Greenhouse, and asked for a table.

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Caesar salad at Beans the Greenhouse. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

I knew exactly what I wanted: the Peking Duck Bun, which was one of six set lunches, varying in price from HK$58 to $HK72.

The only question was, what did I want to go with it? Set lunches included a choice of  three beverages, and none of them was what you would normally find at a Western restaurant in Hong Kong.

Included were honey with lemon, ginger tea with brown sugar, and Americano.

When I opted for honey with lemon, I was asked if I’d like it hot or cold.

Make that six choices …

A Caesar Salad could be added for HK$20. Should I? It was a no brainer. I asked for the Caesar Salad, as well. I hadn’t yet fulfilled my daily quota of fruits and vegetables.

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Beef Stroganoff Spaghetti at Beans the Greenhouse. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

A waitress returned moments later to inform me that they had run out of Peking Duck Buns. Would I like to order something else?

I hadn’t really come in because I was hungry. I came in because it was raining – and I really DID want to try the Peking Duck Buns!

I looked out the window at the roof garden, and it was still raining. I might as well stay – even if they had run out of the dish that had enticed me into the restaurant in the first place.

Beef Stroganoff Spaghetti.

I took another look at the menu and settled on the Beef Stroganoff Spaghetti.

It was an old favourite, even if I didn’t have any idea what  to expect.

I knew that beef stroganoff in Hong Kong never bore any resemblance to the beef stroganoff I have had in the United States.

American-style beef stroganoff is usually made with sirloin steak, fresh mushrooms, sliced onions, and that defining ingredient: sour cream.

In Hong Kong, beef stroganoff is usually sweeter, lighter, made with tomatoes, and there is never any sour cream. But it’s yummy nonetheless …

The Menu …

Beans the Greenhouse serves all-day breakfast, set lunches, and afternoon tea.

The all-day menu features entrees running from pastas, pizzas, and risotti to some mouth-watering sounding choices like Roasted Baby Back Ribs, Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine, Roasted Pork Knuckle, and eight-ounce Angus Beef Cheddar Cheese Burger.

And they call these “light meals”?

Drinks run from coffees and teas to lattes, smoothies, chocolate  drinks, sparkling drinks, and “seasonal others”.

The dessert menu looked downright decadent!

The Ambiance …

Beans the Greenhouse had a nice vibe. It was finished in earth tones, with marble tabletops.

Ther was an artistic sculpture made of drift wood and artificial plants at the centre.

The space wasn’t crowded, and there was a picture window at one end.

Seating ranged from tables to booths. There was also an island in the middle with seating aimed at solitary diners.

The Verdict …

Western restaurants in Hong Kong usually offer a choice of cream soup or Russian borscht on  set lunch or dinner menus, but salads are rare.

If you do want a salad, you’ve usually got to order a main course salad rather than a side salad, so I appreciated this option, even if I had to pay extra for it.

The Beef Stroganoff,  was like no beef stroganoff I’ve ever had before: neither in Hong Kong nor in the United States.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it! First of all, it was beautifully plated. The appearance of it really did whet my appetite.

It was scattered with barely cooked cherry tomatoes, which had been cut in half. They were delightfully sweet, and literally bursting with flavour.

There were also slices of red bell peppers and onions and I’m not sure what else. The sauce was fresh, light, and tomatoey.

As for the beef, it was perfectly cooked, and the flavour of the beef rang through. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

I also enjoyed the choice of interesting choice of beverages. I was tempted to finish off with a cup of coffee. The rain, however, had stopped, and I decided to make my way home.

Beans the Greenhouse is one of six Beans outlets in the New Territories.

There are other Beans outlets (all with different names) in Ma On Shan (Beans Be Water), Tseung Kwan O (Beans the Backyard), Taipo Beans the Courtyard), and Tsuen Wan (just plain “Beans”).

I’m waiting for a Beans outlet to open closer to home in Sheung Shui! And if one does, i wonder what they will call it?

Where

Beans the Greenhouse – Shop 503, 5/F, Grand Central Plaza (Home Square), 138 Sha Tin Rural Committee Road, Sha Tin, New Territories, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 2777-7078.

The restaurant is located in the same shopping mall as the Ikea outlet in Shatin. It is a roughly 10 minute walk from the Shatin MTR station, exit B.

新城市中央廣場(Home Square)5樓503號舖 (港鐵沙田站 B 出口, 步行約7分鐘)

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