CLOSED: Life Organic Health Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 29 reviews )



10 Shelley Street, Soho, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, China

Modern vegetarian restaurant and bar, established since 2004. Kitchen opens at 10am weekends. Has a deli area for takeaway food. Opposite Pure Fitness on the Soho Escalator. DEC 2015 REPORTED SHUT BY COW AMBASSADOR.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, International, Organic, Western, Beer/Wine, Take-out

29 Reviews

First Review by Petesternz

Life Organic Health Cafe, Hong Kong - Edit

I am advised this place ceases to trade from Sunday 13th Dec 2015.

Updated from previous review on Friday May 16, 2014

I had dinner here on Sunday.

It's very much a world food kind of place rather than Chinese cooking. It's quite stylishly decorated with a big bookcase on 1 side. The menu is all vego and very useful the vegan friendly items on the menu are clearly marked.

I had dahl soup for a start which was very nice. After that I had the vegetable stack as recommended by the waitress. I am unsure why some people comment in the previous reviews about the portion sizes. My hunger was certainly gone by the time I was finished.

Nice food, nice setting, nice staff, central location. It's on the pricey compared with a lot of places in Hong Kong but lets face it, there's a ton of cheap eats to be had in this town. This place was a welcome change from the usual Chinese stuff which while enjoyable, its nice to try something different.

Pros: Vegan friendly

Cons: Closes Sun 13 Dec forever

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Banana cake - Edit

The vegan banana is awesome!

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Nice food, cramped seating - Edit

Went there on a recent lunchtime and have eaten here many times in the past.

This time we were seated on the rooftop which is nice out of summer. However the seating is really cramped with little room to manoeuevre. Some of the seating is also low down stools with no back which are uncomfortable.

The food is always good here. This time I chose the spicy tempe burger which indeed had a kick with the jalapeno peppers. The accompanying sweet potato fries were good. The tempe was slightly devoid of taste but the overall effect was good.

My partner had the Life Organic burger which is always tasty. Previously I have tried the African stew which is great.

Prices are a little high, most dishes around 100-150 plus 10% service charge but the price of rent is extortionate in HK.

I've also tried the downstairs salad bar which is great. I like the filo wraps and some of the salad choices.

Overall a solid choice if wanting veggie/vegan food in the heart of HK

Pros: Good lcoation, Choice of menu, Tempe!

Cons: Cramped seats, High prices

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Good for dining with friends - Edit

Every time I've been to Life I've visited with friends as it has a nice atmosphere for socialising. It has a pretty accommodating menu so there's something for everyone whether you're strictly vegan, or vegetarian, raw, gluten-free etc. The food is decent, not outstanding. I quite like the smoothies. It is a little pricey, but then again, it's Soho.

Pros: Atmosphere/Location, Expansive menu/Caters to taste, Cafe/Restaurant/Shop all rolled into one. Does tak

Cons: Moderately pricey, Food is okay

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Disappointing desserts and unfriendly staff - Edit

Before we arrived in Hong Kong Life Cafe was highly recommended to me, so when we found it we were both kind of disappointed. The food was a little uninspiring (salads, samosas, falafels, and desserts) and I would have asked about the menu but the staff were unfriendly and unapproachable. When we ordered a piece of cake, I thought that they were trying to tell us to go away because they were closed. Turns out she just wasn't the eye-contact and smiling type.

The only thing I've tried was the vegan tofu chocolate cake, but it was bland, expensive and just tasted of tofu - it didn't encourage me to try more, but maybe I'd go back and try a lunch and the coffee. Maybe. The other customers were friendly and smiley at least.

My other quibble is that their packaging was all disposable and just went in the same trash can - there was no option of sorting for recycling. This disappointed me for somewhere that otherwise claims to be environmentally conscious.

Pros: Good looking menu, Outdoors seating, Good location

Cons: Bland desserts, Expensive, Unfriendly staff

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HK favourite - Edit

This restaurant was a favourite for my wife & I during our time in HK. Although it is not vegan, pretty much everything on the extensive menu can be made vegan. Our favourite dishes were the tempeh burger (absolutely delicious!) and pasta, and the pizza was pretty tasty too. The Japanese style table near the bar makes for a wonderfully intimate dining experience. Overall a wonderful restaurant, and although not cheap is good value for money.
Updated from previous review on Friday October 17, 2014

Pros: Tasty food, Everything can be made vegan, Tempeh burger is amazing

Cons: Not vegan, A little pricey

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  Contributions +40

one of my favorites in HK :) - Edit

I've been here many times and personally think that some dishes on the menu aren't so great and are a little bland,etc. but the good dishes are truly really good!! My favorite dish is the spicy tempeh burger (without cheese to make it vegan) you can sub the cheese for vegan cheese or for tofunaise, both super delicious! I also really like the take away salad bar down stairs, really convenient when you're on the go. Their options are super tasty, the options change daily but I personally always find something I like. Give this place a try! I've been there lots of times and think it's definitely worth it :)

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An unpleasant dinner - Edit

I had dinner here one night and it was not a pleasant experience. I arrived at 8:35 and was seated immediately. I ordered a fresh apple juice and the Capital V vegan pizza. Both were clear and utter misses.

First of all, a 1/4 of the juice glass was foam and it had an off flavor. I'm assuming they had just juiced celery because that's all my apple juice tasted like.

Then the "pizza." First of all, it is not a pizza. The only way to describe it is laughable. It is a sloppy cracker dough with toppings. It had tomatoes, onions, pesto and vegan goat cheese. A simple google search would render a better cheese recipe than the one they use. The pesto on top wasn't bad, though. If you must go there, don't order this pizza.

Also, the restaurant closes at 10pm, but I found it odd that at 9:09pm the server started going around to every single table, including mine, and telling the patrons that the kitchen would be closing in 15 minutes and if you wanted a dessert you would have to place your order right now.
I honestly doubt they are selling many desserts with this amateurish behavior. Considering that their dessert menu consists of cakes, breads, and cookies that are most certainly pre-made, I don't see the need for prompting the diners that the kitchen is closing. It felt like nothing more than a means to nudge the diners out well before closing time.

And it worked on me, I quickly finished my cracker with toppings and left very hungry.

Cons: Food was poor quality for the price

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Exceptional Quality Vegan Food - Edit

Superb gem in Central. Staff very knowledgeable and friendly. Had salad and the portion was quite big. Vegetable tower was impressive. All is all a very nice and cosy restaurant. Recommended.

Pros: Vegan, Choice, Staff

Cons: Eggs In Many Foods

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Very Nice Place - Edit

Had lunch here in August 2013- to start with the place was packed which sais it all.
The food was very good and the kids were also content. We had main course and deserts and would certainly go there again.

Pros: location , good variety on menu, food was very good

Cons: small

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Nice atmosphere - Edit

I visited this vegetarian cafe in the afternoon and they were only serving "tea time list". There weren't many vegan options so I opted for soy milk cappuccino and chocolate mousse cake. I think that the cake would have definitely needed some refreshing addition to it, soy cream, ice cream or something like that, as it was really heavy, not very sweet and with really strong taste of dark chocolate. There was a tiny bit of berry jam on the plate, but it should have been much more for me to be able to finish the piece of cake.

The restaurant is really nice looking and the location is great. There are lots of books for the customers to read and a deli downstairs.

Pros: Great location, Nice interior and street views

Cons: Not many vegan options, Limited selection

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Really nice place - Edit

In Jan 2006 I visited here on the advice of a local Vegetarian friend. I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED. Lovely food and nice clean place with helpful staff. I have just finished writing my book, "Around The World in 128 Days Minus 1!" see my Facebook page, I have listed this restaurant as one of the best . :)

Pros: GOOD food, Clean, Resonable price

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Great place to eat!! - Edit

One of the best restaurants in Hong Kong, no doubt!! Tiny hummus...

Pros: excellent food, good value, friendly staff

Cons: small portions

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Expensive but tasty - Edit

Expensive but tasty.
Popular and crowded.

Pros: Good food

Cons: Expensive

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I have eaten here so many times - Edit

Now that I have eaten here so many times, I feel that I should update my previous review. My ultimate advice: get food only from the deli downstairs.

The deli has quite a good selection, including soups, salads, quiches, samosas, wraps, desserts, etc. I usually just get a small salad box for $50, where I can choose up to three salad items. They tend to stuff the box to the fullest and it's enough food for a simple meal. Always tasty. The life salad is also great, so is the tofu sandwich. Desserts are delicious and wholesome in that you won't feel guilty after downing a big slice of cake. I have tried pretty much everything vegan at the deli and the only thing I would not recommend is the dal soup - too watery and salty for my liking.

Although I usually get takeaway from the deli, I have also dined upstairs couple of times. None of them were enjoyable. Menu was uninspiring and never changes. Food was mediocre at best with stingy portion sizes but hefty price tags. Worst part was the service. I have yet to come across a wait staff member that didn't have an attitude. If you absolutely have to eat at the restaurant section, the only two dishes I would get would be the African sweet potato stew and the roasted vegetable tower. The salads are not bad either but a bowl will set you back around $90. The last time I went my partner and I had the sesame tofu stir-fry and the life organic burger on GF bread. The tofu was supposed to be "sesame marinated tofu" but it was actually just a soy product commercially labeled as "vegetarian chicken" that is widely available on the market. The whole dish was a rip-off anyway. Onto the burger, the patty was all rice, maybe dyed with a little beet juice, and tasted very bland. It came with two pieces of "tofu bacon" that were flavorless and all dried up. The two slices of GF bread were very small and smeared with just a touch of "tofunaise". There are two or three other vegan main dishes on the menu too that I haven't tried yet and probably never will.

Honestly I have no idea why the quality of the restaurant and the deli is miles apart. If there wasn't a scarcity of western vegetarian food in HK, I doubt they could carry on without a bit of reforming. So 4 cows for the deli, 1 for the restaurant, rounded up to 3 altogether.

Pros: great deli, wholesome food, good desserts

Cons: service

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smallish - Edit

A smallish restaurant with not many options for vegans. Limited menu but the food was good enough.

Cons: limited for vegans

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good if you don't feel like Chinese food - Edit

Life is right on the central escalators in Soho, so good location. The food was all non-Chinese, which might be good for ex-pats looking for variety, but if you are just visiting HK you should eat as much Chinese as you can! The menu was fairly short, but the food was very varied - pizza, stew, stir-fry, pasta, burgers. Also, we thought that the portions were pretty small. The service was good. It was very expensive by Hong Kong standards, more than double what you would pay in a Chinese restaurant, with much less food. The take away deli downstairs looked yummy.

Pros: location, variety, service

Cons: expensive, non-Chinese, small portions

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expensive but great location and really good food - Edit

The set lunch here was quite expensive at $100 but I was feeling hungry and so went for it. The soup was really tasty and a really interesting combination of flavours which worked well togehter. For my main, I had the tofu burger with salad which was tasty and as dessert a cookie and coffee.

My friend had the salad and hummous and she loved the hummous.

We sat on the second floor as we had not booked but with the fans only it was pretty hot. If you can plan it in advance, best to book the first floor which has air conditioning.

Pros: excellent food

Cons: expensive

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Great food, expensive - Edit

Expensive if you are on a budget, but good food if you are in the SOHO area. I give it a fair for being hard on the wallet.

Pros: good options

Cons: expensive, expatty

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Love it - Edit

I live in hong kong, and if I could I would probably eat from here every day! Downstairs in the deli they always have great salads (tofu is amazing,as is the potato salad), the lentil soups are always yummy and the mouth watering vegan chocolate mousse slice always gets me going. Upstairs in the restaurant the atmosphere is great, especially on the rooftop. The Life Salad is a favourite of mine, and the tofu skewers are to die for! My friends always go for the Life Burger... My boyfriend swears by the pizza and the stir fry. I have tried one or two dishes before that were a bit bland but I now know what to order. Prices are high but in my experience worth it! Lemonade is delicious too...

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Western style veggy place, expensive but nice - Edit

Life has a nice atmosphere, a western style restaurant in a busy bustling location. The food is pretty expensive and portions are quite small. We couldnt afford drinks though they did have a good selection if your budget can stretch. We went because we couldnt find anything else late at night in the area and were pleasantly surprised. The food was good but not absolutely amazing though the atmosphere was lovely. Whether it ticks the spot for you probably depends on what you are looking for.

Pros: good food, western dishes, good location

Cons: expensive, smallish menu

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Vegetarian stand-by, pricey, slow service - Edit

I've lived in Hong Kong going on 4 years now, and Life is one of the restaurants I visit regularly - except that I mostly go to get a take-away salad and a piece of banana cake (I don't even like bananas that much, and I love that cake). Life has a great atmosphere, and the upper deck is lovely if it's not too hot or noisy from nearby construction (which is a constant in this city), but the benches are very hard to sit on. When I think of Life, I think of uncomfortable seating! The staff are often friendly, especially at the take-away bar, but slow upstairs - and I've had many a meal with a waiter that couldn't be bothered. When it gets busy, forget about it. I've had to wait upwards of a half an hour for my meal when I sit in the restaurant. After trying several things on the menu, I have to say that the veggie burger is my favourite, and a good sized portion. Very popular with the local expat crowd, who like to hang out there after a yoga session. Honestly, I'd tend more towards other places in HK unless I'm just popping for a salad, but it's a good place to take visitors.

Pros: good atmosphere, location, varied menu

Cons: pricey, slow service, hard seating

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good splurge - Edit

my 2nd time in hong kong, and here for dinner. nice restaurant with good ethos and delicious food if you can afford to splurge. last time i ordered the layered vegetables with cashew cream, and although really good, it was a fairly small portion. tonight i ate the organic quinoa salad, a really good sized portion and very fresh yummy salad. my dinner companions got the life burger, and the morrocan stew, also both really good sized portions, and they really enjoyed their meals. my husband ordered the pizza which was a bit small, and he felt just average. the eggplant dip was really good, and the vegan chocolate mousse cake decadently rich (share it!). the staff is attentive but non intrusive, and friendly. nice atmosphere, relaxed, attractive environment. an enjoyable place to eat.

Pros: healthy food choices, clearly marked menu - vegan, gluten free, organic/fair trade

Cons: some small portions

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Just average for such a top location in Soho - Edit

Average setting, slightly cramped. If you don't book for lunch you won't sit at the small 8 tables available. Best just to grab a selection of salads or desserts from downstairs. Their daily lunch specials are less creative this year. No more shephardess pie on Mondays :( For Soho, they need to up their game.

Pros: salads, desserts, location

Cons: lunch selection, opening times, cramped tables

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Just OK - Edit

I was really hoping for something great, but didn't find it here. The atmosphere is very peaceful and the setting is nice, but the food was disappointing. Stopped in for a late Sunday lunch, but not many items were vegan. Lots of omelettes, etc. I had a fruit bowl that was 90% cantelope, with a couple pieces of pineapple and maybe 5 blueberries. I expected something better than that. Fresh juice was OK, but not that flavorful.

They have a bakery section downstairs, but again, almost all the items had eggs and/or milk.

Life may be OK for vegerarian options, but not much here for us vegans.

Pros: Good Atmosphere, Quiet, Service

Cons: Vegan Choices, Taste

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Excellent place for lunch - Edit

The rooftop at Life reminds me of Italy! Even at busy lunch hour the place is relatively quiet and a good conversation is possible. The food taste great! I ordered the grilled pumkin salad and its definitely one of the best I've ever tried. I am a little surprise to read about the negative re-views. I hope they could give this place another chance.

Pros: food, environment, variety

Cons: staff could be more knowlegable

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Life - addicted - Edit

I just moved to HK two months ago and for the past month I have been eating practically every day at Life. I am completely addicted - their salads are to die for -- Pumpkin & okhra, barley & mushroom and beetroot & apple... very fresh. And their coffee is good especially with a Spiraneli ball.... very surprised to read other review ~ I love Life!

Pros: Friendly Staff, Fresh Healthy veggies, Spiranelli Balls

Cons: Savory scones like rocks, Addictive

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