Forget IKEA – Muji is where the new furniture dining experience is at. Did that previous sentence make sense? I don’t think it did.
Anyway there’s good news for Hong Kong fans of the minimalist clothing / furniture / stationery / general household products company. Muji has opened their first Cafe & Meal Muji outlet outside of Japan… in Causeway Bay!
For those of you not in the know, in Japan Muji is huge. In Japan, Muji has food, florists, home appliances and even tried out cars (rebadged or is that unbadged? Nissan Marches) and… houses.
For those rejoicing at the introduction of a new Muji brand into Hong Kong, you might want to take note that you’re getting a really scaled back operation. In Japan there are separate Cafe Muji and Meal Muji outlets, being cafes and restaurants respectively. In Hong Kong, you’re getting a combo Cafe & Meal Muji outlet with a greatly reduced selection of menu items. It remains to be seen if they’ll expand their operations here to scale up to full scale Cafe Muji and Meal Muji outlets. Given Hong Kong’s soaring rentals, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
So enough with the backstory and on to the Hong Kong outlet. Cafe and Meal Muji is located in Causeway Bay inside the flagship Muji store located in Lee Theatre Plaza. It’s rather small, leading to the somewhat odd (but efficient) dining experience. To grab a bite a Cafe & Meal Muji, this is the process flow:
- 1) First, you queue up for a place to sit. You are allocated a seat and given a reservation placeholder which you place in your seat.
- 2) Second: now that you’ve secured a place, you line up to order your meal, canteen style.
- 3) Third: you order your meal, pay for it and take your tray back to your seat. Bon appetite!
Given the size of the place, it makes sense to have to secure your seat first before making your order.
So what can you order? The “cafe” selection is limited to a few desserts, some teas (hot and cold) and some coffee (hot and cold). I counted roughly 10 items on the drinks menu inclusive of the hold / cold permutations.
The food selection is also limited. There are cold dishes and hot dishes. The meal comes in either a three dish set (HKD88) or a four dish set (HKD98). The sets come with a drink of your choice and rice. For the rice you get to choose between white rice and ten-grain rice. For the dishes, you get to choose two hot and two cold dishes for the HKD98 set and either two hot and one cold or vice versa for the HKD88 set. Desserts are around HKD40 and include puddings, flan and ice-cream. You can expect those to run out pretty quickly on busy days.
The dishes themselves are rather limited – there’s around 20 dishes both hot and cold to choose from. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they don’t run out – they do run out of some dishes on busy days.
So pictured above you see a four dish set: there’s pumpkin mash, a croquette, pickled fish (kibinago) and milk and sesame tofu.
Overall, the meal was pretty good. As you’d expect from Japanese-style cooking, the food is simple without being bland. However if you’re expecting a huge flavour blast, you’d be out of luck. Like most simple Japanese food the flavour is clean and understated. It’s probably a very healthy meal too.
Is is worth HKD98 though? That, I’m not too sure.