Contempo Bakery & Cafe may be closed but regulars at the Quincy spot may recognize the new owners – Laurence Louie, son to Contempo’s owner Joyce Chan, and his wife Rary Ratsifa have taken over the space and a new restaurant has taken shape. Rubato, a modern Hong Kong cafe, is slated to open this summer in the space on 412 Hancock Street, serving up classic Chinese food and flavors with a contemporary vibe.
Louie and Ratsifa were set to open their first restaurant in London just before the pandemic, but like a lot of folks in the industry, they changed plans and headed back to Boston to regroup. When Chen decided to retire after 22 years, Louie — who grew up working in the bakery — was the natural successor to the culinary throne. Named for a musical term for a change in tempo, Rubato is a playful nod to the new generation of Contempo, and perhaps even an ode to his rock-star mom (she plays in a locally-known Chinese band of the same name).
Anyone who has lived or visited and eaten their way through Hong Kong will be happy to find plates on the menu like 蒸包 savory Bao (fluffy steamed buns) filled with Cha Siu pork, beef brisket, and Sichuan veggies; 菠蘿包 buttery Bolo Bao (sweet topped bun sandwiches), stuffed with fried chicken, spam, egg, and cheese, or your choice of assorted ice creams. There will also be 粥 Congee rice porridge with multiple toppings; 朱腸粉 Ji Cheung Fun (steamed savory rice rolls) topped with curried fish balls, beef brisket, or sesame and hoisin, and 港式西多士 Hong Kong French Toast served with condensed milk and cookie crumbs. They will also serve a selection of hot and cold Hong Kong drink faves like milk tea, cold brew coffee, and Yuen Yeung (a popular Hong Kong coffee-tea combination).
The space has been remodeled with a minimalist ivory and tortoise green tile interior, featuring a neon sign and window counter seating — all designed to resemble the coffee bars in the Kennedy Town district of Hong Kong where the students hang out. Plus you can eat on a student’s budget at Rubato as nothing is more than $10 per item. Getting there is easy by car, or take the Red Line to the North Quincy station and from there it’s just a four-minute walk. They will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 7:30am to 4:00pm; follow them on Instagram for updates on opening day (including lots of menu testing pics).