Fans of Hong Kong treats like sweet and savory stuffed bao (buns) and congee rice porridge can rejoice because Rubato is now open at 412 Hancock Street in Quincy and filled with all the flavors from Asia’s World City.
The new restaurant, which is housed in the space that was formerly Contempo, takes its cues from the coffee bars in Hong Kong’s Kennedy Town area, which is popular with students. Inside you’ll find minimalist ivory and tortoise green tones, neon signs, and window counter seating. Also student-friendly: the prices — nothing on the menu is more than $11, so you can try a little bit of everything and not break the bank, like 菠蘿包 buttery Bolo Bao (sweet topped bun sandwiches), stuffed with fried chicken, Spam, egg, and cheese; 朱腸粉 Ji Cheung Fun (steamed savory rice rolls) topped with curried fish balls, beef brisket, or sesame and hoisin; or 港式西多士 Hong Kong French Toast, topped with condensed milk and a sprinkle of cookie crumbs. Wash it all down with hot and cold drinks like milk tea, cold brew coffee, and Yuenyeung, a coffee-tea combination.
Quincy natives and Contempo customers may recognize owner Laurence Louie as the son of Contempo’s owner Joyce Chen. Louie grew up working in the bakery with his mom, a local legend who named Contempo after her locally-famous Chinese rock band. Louie and his wife Rary Ratsifa were about to open their first restaurant in London when the pandemic hit, and instead headed back to Massachusetts to be with family. When Chen decided it was time to close the bakery, Louie and Ratsifa saw their chance to fill the space. To honor the culinary torch passing, they chose the name Rubato, which is a musical term for a change in tempo.
Rubato will be open from 7:30am to 4:00pm Wednesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). Head to Quincy by car and park on the street or at one of the nearby garages, or take the Red Line to North Quincy station, which is just a four-minute walk from the restaurant. Check out their website for the full menu so you can plan your meal strategy ahead (plus online ordering for takeout and delivery), and give them a follow on Instagram for lots of beautiful bao photos and updates on events and happenings.