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Cafe Deco remains a favorite, despite the naysayers

By Rebecca Lo in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2014-01-18 08:01

Cafe Deco remains a favorite, despite the naysayers

With dollops of mint yogurt and baby spinach, Moroccan lamb pizza is a signature dish at Cafe Deco Pizzeria. Rebecca Lo / For China Daily

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Authentic cuisine is a hot topic lately, and with good reason. Foodies don't want "Chinese versions" of pizza and pasta when the real thing made by Italian chefs is so readily available.

That is perhaps why Cafe Deco has always suffered a somewhat chilly reception among local gourmands. Ever since the first outlet by founders Graeme Reading and Martin Allies opened on The Peak almost two decades ago, Cafe Deco Group has tried to be all things to all people.

Its venues are stylish without being trendy; its menus will never offend anyone; and it has a wide selection of international cuisines to choose from. It is a popular choice among expats and tourists precisely because it is a safe bet for a night out. With the October opening of Cafe Deco Pizzeria in Elements shopping mall, it brings another option to an audience always looking for the next new restaurant.

Elements itself has undergone a remarkable transition in recent years. More family-friendly and casual eateries are popping up to cater to the increasing number of residents and mid-level office workers who frequent the mall. Cafe Deco Pizzeria fits right into this demographic, with an open, breezy space and tables spilling out into the shopping corridor.

I arrived early for our lunch and took the extra time to thoroughly check the place out. Its location is strategic: right above the indoor ice skating rink and below the cinemas - both prime entertainment venues filled with hungry people. Right behind the tables lining the restaurant's facade is a long bar perfect for after-work drinks and snacks. The bar also cleverly provides privacy for the rest of the restaurant's table seating, which consists of benches for large groups and smaller tables for more intimacy.

I enjoyed the chunky wooden tables paired with gray metallic chairs and barstools, and the gray-brick backdrop with task lamps as whimsical components of chandeliers. The open kitchen with thick sausages and hams suspended above it boasted a humming wood-burning pizza oven to one side.

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