But the thing about sunrises is: while they are a feast for your eyes, they have little to no impact on a sleepy mind. And that is where cold, caffeinated drinks enter the picture.
I walked into a nearby Second Cup instead, and it was probably one of the nicest Second Cup locations I had ever step foot into: high ceilings, an abundance of small tables in addition to bar seats, and even a brightly-lit circular bar area for socializing. The girl at the cashier was also very cheerful, and offered to make an Iced Matcha Latte for me even though it technically did not appear on their menu.
I decided to round the corner to Sweet Jesus at this point to observe the current length of the line. By golly! It was even worse than last time. I hovered at the end for about five minutes, but noticed that the line had ceased to move an inch during that time and came to the conclusion that the lineup should be avoided at all times after lunch hours.
Pearl King (also called 明珠樓), is an establishment that I've researched several times already while browsing Zomato and "Eats in the Entertainment District". Their concept is quite interesting: the restaurant is part dimsum-serving, part-sports bar. The interior is modern and minimal, relying heavily on wood and wood-like elements to create a sense of cohesiveness between shiny white tables and slight industrial touches. For diners that exhibit indifference to the cigarette-smoking population of the Downtown Core, patio tables are also offered so that the Chinese "tapas" can be enjoyed outside, weather permitted.
Egg tarts are available in a variety of forms and styles. The Cantonese egg tart (the more common version) typically has a smooth, pale yellow surface after baking, where as Portuguese egg tarts (of Macau origin) are known for having seemingly unevenly browned patches. For the cholesterol-conscious crew, T&T also has a selection of tarts with egg white filling.
For the tart itself, bakeries will likely offer both a butter tart shell and a puff pastry shell. This is less common with restaurants, who generally only produce egg tarts in puff pastry shells.
Furthering the above discussion on egg tarts, I shall move on to critiquing the pricey trio from Peal King. To put it shortly, it didn't quite meet my standards. The puff pastry shell, while flaky, was soggy - it did not emanate the soft crunch that freshly-baked egg tarts give off. As seen below, it was also incredibly greasy - both to the touch and taste.
The filling - runny (and untraditionally so) - was eggy and much sweeter and than it was milky. (Is this a trend?! Millie tends to go a bit crazy with their cake frosting too...). The egg-sugar-milk ratios were unmistakably off.
At this point, I believe I should also point out that the filling was slowly separating from the shell, which is not a commendable characteristic of an egg tart whatsoever. I'll take my four dollars elsewhere, thank you very much.
Stabbing one of the freshly-steamed buns, I created an escape path for a fluid orange substance. This was, I presume, the Duck Yolk filling. Ever so delicate, the fluffy white barrier began to give way to the oozing sweet-and-salty mixture with each and every small shift in movement. A Thai tea-coloured molten extravagance was in complete view once the bun was split in half.
The Egg Yolk Buns were truly unique and extremely decadent. Averaging to $2.00 each (and an unthinkably high fat content), these would undoubtedly be categorized as a guilty pleasure.
It was also interesting to learn that they are a member of Vicinity, and that dollars spent towards both dine-in and takeout meals apply for points collection. Initially, my card was denied by a casually-dressed, middle-aged Chinese lady. She informed me that "This (was) the Chatime Vicinity. We don't accept this.", to which I responded with a "It's the same card; it just looks different since I purchased it there." She gave me a dubious look, but I knew it worked when she handed the card back to the waitress.
I can positively say that I have tasted better Chinese food elsewhere, and for a much lower price. Although, given Pearl King's location and niche market, it makes sense that their menu is designed to suit the palette of tourists and wealthy businesspeople. Frankly, I fit into neither of those groups, which means that this may be the last time I visit while sponsor-less.
Walking around a little while later, I discovered that Kekou Gelato had opened another location! (Or perhaps they just moved shops?) I'm uncertain of whether they were open or not, but it's nice to see that they now have a larger shop (with seats!) and are more accessibly via public transit. (Note to self: Check it out stat while the Sweet Jesus frenzy is still on.)