Rating: ★★

Address: 62 Johnston Road, Wan Chai

Telephone: 2866 3444

Some girl friends and I had a nice, relaxing brunch at The Pawn in Wan Chai one Sunday. We sat at a table on the outdoor terrace, and it was simply blissful and serene under the blazing sun.

The Pawn is housed in a heritage building built in the late 1800’s/ early 1900’s on Johnston Road (opposite the Wan Chai Sports Ground), and the ground floor of the building used to be, as its name suggests, a pawn shop back in the days. The Pawn has been opened since 2008 and is run by the proprietors of The Press Room and Classified, which are famous for their homemade artisanal food.

The Pawn is designed by home-grown artist and film director Stanley Wong, and houses a vintage, rustic setting with mismatched wooden benches, vintage leather chairs, leather couches and high ceilings. Numerous expatriates and locals have been enticed by the quaint combination of the restaurant’s modern take on British food and its colonial, historical setting. 

(1) Kedgeree is a traditional British dish for breakfast from colonial India, and usually consists of cooked fish, rice, parsley, hard-boiled eggs and curry powder. My Kedgeree Risotto ($195) with smoked haddock, radishes and soft boiled egg was a touch too salty, but the risotto had a lovely consistency and a sensuous balance of spicy and smoky flavours.

(2) The Pawn also serves other British classics, including the Gammon hams, piccalilli, fried egg & chips ($180). Piccalilli is basically the British take on Indian pickle. It was our first time having piccalilli (which was pickled cauliflower at The Pawn), and we found it wincingly sour!

(3) You can never go wrong with ordering staple breakfast items, like the Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on white, brown, granary or brioche ($95). I don’t have much to say about this scrambled eggs on toast, except that it was quite cool that you got to choose the type of bread!

(4) Even though we weren’t too hungry, we decided to treat ourselves to some desserts before heading back to the office. The Granny Smith Apple & Blackberry Crumble (Vanilla Custard) ($85) was nice and crumbly, and we immediately smothered it with a generous amount of smooth, creamy vanilla custard. The Cold Chocolate Fondant (Valrhona Manjari 64% Chocolate), Almond Biscuit & Raspberry Sorbet ($110) was also nice and chocolate-y, but it wasn’t sweet enough as a dessert for me. The cold chocolate fondant was semi-bitter and not too sweet, so I wished it was paired with a heavy, sugary scoop of vanilla ice-cream instead of some light, fruity raspberry sorbet.

Conclusion: All in all, The Pawn’s food is not as bad as some reviews suggest. At least the ingredients were fresh, the dishes were carefully prepared and there were flashes of brilliance here and there. However, this meal still did not convert me to British cuisine. Instead of coming back for a proper meal, I would prefer to visit again for some drinks on the beautiful terrace, which overlooks the quintessentially Hong Kong scene in the heart of Wan Chai.