Causeway Bay Cafe (Food)

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The best way for me to test the authenticity and taste of a Hong Kong Café is the tea they serve. It is somehwat of a ‘litmus test’ my friends and I have devised to distinguish the many shops due to the flourishing ‘Cha Can Teng’ emergence in Singapore over the past two years.

Hong Kong-style milk, also known as ‘silk stocking milk tea’ is known for its darker brown colour, and thus a very slight bitter aftertaste. It also has a thickness in the texture which I would find similar to the ‘teh tarik’.

Liang Seah Street opposite Bugis junction is a haven of restaurants, cafes and coffee shops of all kinds, each with its own unique selling point. On this night when my friends and I wanted to settle for supper, we came to Causeway Bay Café due to our craving in Hong Kong food and it was not as crowded as the other shops. I should have known better as to why it was seemingly a lot emptier.

Before we ordered the food, we had our ‘tea test’. The cold Hong Kong tea came in little cute air tight containers that we would keep our tidbits, and the hot version in colourful stripped cups. Before we even started drinking, we spotted this slight layer of oil (I certainly hope it is just oil) on the top. We gave it the benefit of the doubt. Then, we noticed that the sugar and the milk were not even properly stirred. The tea while still having a slight authentic taste, was unfortunately too sweet for my liking. Yes, the café failed our ‘tea test’.

We went on to order some food nevertheless. The waitresses were somehow more distracted with their chatting and the television. They told us to fill up the order form ourselves when we took orders. To me, it would be a pleasant gesture if the waitress had taken the initiative to fill it for us since she has already heard our order. But never mind about that.

We requested for a claypot noodles without seafood and with chicken instead. “Fill it up yourself there!”, the waitress spoke in accented Mandarin and once again pointed to the blue order form. The claypot noodles came without chicken and another waitress said “No chicken!”, rolled her eyes and walked away. It was okay if the serving staff could not speak English or understand our orders (even though we spoke in proper Mandarin), but they should have basic courtesy to their customers, no?

The claypot ‘chicken’ noodles that did come was too salty, and the sauce too watery. The thick sauce which would simmer in the noodles was essentially the essence of claypot noodles. The supposedly braised tofu was just the fried version of round tofu found in the local supermarket. Did I mention that I noticed they do not use serving trays? I would leave it to up to your imagination how they served their drinks and desserts.

It is not hard to see that the eating experience here was unpleasant. But aside from mediocre food and prices that are rather on the high side, the serving staff must know how to spell the word 'S-E-R-V-I-C-E' without having customers do it for them.

Food: 2
Ambiance: 2
Service: 1
Value for Money: 2
Overall: 1.75

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