surprisingly good food at this hipster coffee joint in chinatown. I do the following tick-the-box for these new joints: industrial wood-chic, check; coiffed baristas, check; obscure (maybe not quite obscure any longer) locale, check. but what this place has, besides hipster ambitions, is good food and reasonable prices.
and for those latter reasons, this place is made disarmingly charming – well worth repeat visits – and an anomaly in its class.
I take a skeptical ‘tude to these new coffee joints that serve food – I’m too plebian to appreciate the intricacies of regional beans and different roasting techniques, so I only visit to try the food – and then judge it based on that alone. most places fail the test, but what did you expect? the overt emphasis on coffee-making often leads to a less-than-competent kitchen, and in all fairness, they do sell themselves on that dark elixir.
so it’s a surprise when the food turns out good – as it did here. my morrocan salad was a decent serving (hey, food sizes for normal people!) of slightly-before-al-dente crunchy carrots tossed in herbs and topped with yogurt. it might have been a tad colder than I would have expected, but it was really rather delicious.
as were the mushrooms on toast, served with an expertly-cooked sunny-side-up. the yolk was still runny, which made almost for a sauce for the mushrooms – and that well-toasted bit of fluffy bread under the perfect vehicle for everything.
we had gone easy on the savouries to save space for the tantalizing cakes on display – but these were the weakest bit of the meal. the chocolate flourless cake was a little crumbly and too-sweet, as was the carrot cake. not terrible, by any means, but we ought to have gone for those giant buttermilk waffles we saw going to every table. definitely a must-order, next time.
and a next time there will be, which surprises even me. the food was great – the glass counter of salads and savories show a tempting range of food, and I have a weakness for buttermilk waffles.
and there actually was service – straight from the door where a waitress found us a table and food came quickly. perhaps the most laudable bit is their effective crowd control – which I appreciate (to the bottom of my weary soul) after having ventured to a few uber-hyped manic-crowded cafés that clearly can’t deal with the crowds. worth a visit, or two, or three.
Department of Caffeine (D.O.C.)
15 Duxton Road
tel +65 6223 3426
$$: one salad + one entrée + two slices o’ cake = fortyish