Oppa Coffee Bar Restaurant
G/F 1F Kimberley Street Tsim Sha Tsui
For serious lovers of cheese who can’t go a meal without indulging their dairy cravings, Oppa Coffee Bar Restaurant is a pilgrimage well worth the journey cross-harbour. With 80 percent of the menu items made with cheese, this Korean fusion eatery is a genuine cheeselover’s paradise. Think melted mozzarella smothered on everything from thick-cut pork ribs to crispy volcano rice and spicy rice cakes.
While a popular weekly hangout for local residents and Korean food fiends, Oppa Coffee Bar Restaurant is relatively unknown to Hong Kong’s expat crowds. But if you’re walking down Kimberly Road and you catch the aroma of sizzling meat, spices and bubbling cheese – you’ll know exactly where to head. The humble, minimally adorned eatery belies the belly-busting meal that awaits – one look at the menu, and you’ll know you’re on the path straight towards glutton town.
The fast-casual eatery was opened by two Korean friends, Jim Kim Byeongjin and Sugar Fung, who decided to create a full-on K-fusion restaurant to stand out from the many traditional Korean barbecue joints already set up in the area. Thus, classic kalbi ribs and pork belly have been replaced by a menu that’s a creative mash-up of East-meets-West ingredients, with copious amounts of cheese as the main event.
Check your diet restrictions at the door and dive in with the juicy marinated pork ribs, slathered in a gochujang sauce and tender to the bone. The thick caveman ribs come sizzling on a hot cast-iron skillet, buried under a layer of melted mozzarella that’s been crisped under the grill. As you spear a rib and lift it from the plate, twirl your fork a few times to wrap the meat in a cheesy cocoon – combining the two elements into one delicious mouthful.
The gourmandising continues in the form of spicy ‘volcano’ rice, which arrives tableside under a blanket of shredded cheese. The server torches it before tossing the mixture in the skillet, coating the individual grains of rice in the stringy, gooey cheese. Each mouthful is velvety with the creaminess of mozzarella, which mellows out the spicy Korean chilli powder and kimchi, and makes every single morsel more delicious than the last as the cheese continues to melt in the searing heat of the pan.
If you still have stomach to spare, you can finish off your meal with spicy Korean fried chicken, blanketed in a fiery red sauce with a scattering of toasted sesame seeds. Or try triangles of haemul pajeon (Korean pancakes) pan-fried with fragrant green onions, and a take on kimbap featuring fried rice packed into strips of nori with centres of molten cheese. The bold and spicy flavours are bound to have you reaching for the drinks fridge all night. Luckily, there are plenty of ice-cold Hite beers, chamisul soju, fruit ciders and mixers to go around.
Oppa Coffee Bar Restaurant feels more like a friend’s house than a restaurant, with details such as white brick walls, wooden paddle boards and menus that boast the cheeky slogan, ‘Say cheese!’ on their covers. As K-pop videos play on the flat-screen and merry chatter fills the air, it’s easy to feel right at home as you dig into your third platter of cheesy pork ribs.