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Inside Sour Dough, Chef Dubois' Bready Deli in Wan Chai
by: Rubin Verebes
April 04, 2022
Sour Dough, a new artisan deli concept formulated by eminent pastry chef, Gérard Dubois, has opened on the foot of Wan Chai’s chic Starstreet Precinct, promoting the history of the herby sourdough bread and boasting an array of vegan soups and salads.
The baked goods deli on Queen’s Road East opened to crowds in mid-March, envisioned as a flavourful experiment to introduce affordable sweet and savoury sourdough creations to a hip Island crowd, and kickstart a vegan salad revolution in Hong Kong.
Chef Dubois first opened his signature La Rose Noise Patisserie in 1991, 10 minutes west of Pacific Place, extending the brand in 2012 to become the world's largest up-market bakery consortium. Sour Dough is his latest venture in Hong Kong that follows his 30-year obsession with the fermented bread recipe.
Sour Dough vibrates with energy among its grey surroundings in Wan Chai. Drabbed in a light forest green, the bakery cultivates an invitation for any passer-by to pop in for a sweet, tangy treat or snack on sour breads.
Offering pet-friendly takeaway seating alongside a fitted 24-seat dine-in section, Sour Dough shouts a dedication to sourdough with enlarged closeups of aeriated bread plastered all over the walls, with green walls to promote sustainability and green eating. A ban on plastic decoration and packaging is in force here, too!
The cool interior and warm exterior effortlessly extend the food and beverage hipness of Starstreet Precinct’s collection of celebrated eateries north to include Chef Dubois’ brainchild. “This concept just works with the neighbourhood demographic,” the chef told The Beat Asia.
Food and drink
Sour Dough boasts a healthy and colourful menu of sourdough baked savoury pastries and desserts, vegan salads and soups, salty sandwiches, and a hearty range of white, dark rye, and multigrain sourdough loaves with reduced sugar and sodium.
All baked goods and pastries employ one of three varieties of sourdough starters – rye, white, and dark rye – that Chef Dubois has been cultivating for 34 years since his sourdough revolution kickstarted at the Hilton Hong Kong in 1988.
To celebrate the opening, we began on a fresh and tangy road with Sour Doughs bright vegan salad selection, enjoying a plate of Fregola Green Salad, a pesto sauce-washed medley of snappy peas, fregola, green peppers, sautéed onions, and broccoli, and the Colourful Bounty, a seven-piece salad holding crunchy white and red cabbage, carrots, kale, topped with a vinegar-based salad dressing.
The pesto sauce drizzled on the fregola and greens is among the best of Hong Kong’s nuttiest, herby, and buttery pesto sauce, which works effortlessly to match the watery and snappy greens mixed in. It’s a light salad that skimps on heavy carbs but emphasises on crunch and earthy salts. On the other hand, the vinegar medley in the bounty salad is excellent as a pairing for a more bready mains: a salad that is fun to eat with its tangy vinegar flavouring and crunchy texture.
Sour Dough is not parsimonious when it comes to its singular soup item: an earthy, brown, yellow-coloured Green Lentil and Harissa (HK$38), that evokes Mediterranean-based flavours with a sweet chicken taste, soft and sweet carrots, turmeric, ginger, and madras curry.
The lentil soup is among the bakery’s most beautiful items: an affordable savoury bowl of herby flavours. The carrot and onions cooked within the consume ooze out sweetness, which when paired with the salt, garlic, and ginger of the soup, forms a nice balance of flavours that change with each slurp.
Up next, we couldn’t keep our hands off Sour Dough’s eight juiced-up sandwiches, fit with herb-infused and organic fillings and slammed together with sourdough breads. We picked the Pastrami Sauerkraut (HK$67) as a foray into this selection, with cured pastrami deli slices, pickled sauerkraut, Emmenthal cheese (which smells so rich), Russian dressing, and sweet pickles.
Wow, this is a top sandwich to try for a comfortable price point that packs a punch on each bite. Made with white sourdough rye, it is heat-pressed to keep all juicy ingredients in, but once bitten into, the charred and smoky pastrami lets out all its salty juice, along with the sourness from the sauerkraut and pickles to satisfy the salt-tooth in all of us.
Our equal favourite at Sour Dough is the Avocado Chicken (HK$58), a cosy sourdough brioche sandwich filled with fresh rocket, chunky avocado, sous vide chicken slices, and diced and mashed egg mayo.
The avo-chicken combination is a comfortable duo that won’t shock or surprise any eaters but sticks with the classics of the sandwich. It’s creamy with the avocado, smoky with the chicken (which tastes like turkey; a surprise to us at least), and salty with the egg mayo. Just like the soup, every bite is different, playing into the fun feasting experience designed at Sour Dough.
Last, but not the least, we dug our tiny spoons into the Feuilletine Basket of Raspberry Rhubarb and Mango Apricot ($30 each), a crisp and flaky sourdough cup filled with a rich, tangy, red sauce or a creamy apricot compote.
Despite fitting so much savoury into our mouths prior to dessert, every diner at Sour Dough must understand the Feuilletine Baskets to be a compulsory ordering – they are ridiculous! The raspberry and rhubarb mix is rich with sweetness and tang that forces our brain to release ungodly amounts of dopamine in an involuntary I-need-another-bite reaction. The apricot is similarly sweet, with a dollop of Tahitian vanilla cream beneath each cup to soften the sourdough flakes.
We highly recommend a dedicated trip to Sour Dough, not just for the signature breaded recipe, which boasts rosemary, yeasty notes, but for the accompanying aliments that fit in store: the snappy salads, crusted loaves, and curated sandwiches.
Sour Dough is an apt venue for a post-hike snack with your dog, a quick lunch detour for an affordable sandwich and coffee, and a great match for buying breaded groceries.
Next time, we recommend and are going back for the Pastrami Sauerkraut (HK$67), Salmon Sour Dough Quiche – Salmon ($45), Hazelnut Creamy Brioche (HK$25), the Sour Dough Garden and Quinoa Black Bean Salad, and the Tikka Chicken (HK$58).
This food review is based on a complimentary media tasting provided by Sour Dough in exchange for a truthful review and no compensation. The opinions expressed within represent the views of the author.
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