Thursday, March 30, 2017

Café de Coral or was it Café from hell?

Another Hong Kong food post. Don't worry. It's the last one. I'm a bit sick of it myself.

Okay, this happened on the day we went to Disneyland. We left Disneyland in the late afternoon to go to Tung Chung which was just two MTR stations away. Hubs wanted to look for sneakers at the factory outlets. Our intention was to go back to Disneyland at night to catch the fireworks.

We decided to get our dinner as well. The shopping mall we were at (I think it was Citygate) was huge but none of the expensive restaurants called out to me. Finally, in desperation, we ate at McDonalds. The fries tasted different by the way, less crispy.

After our meal, I was attracted to a walkway which led to another mall. Hubs saw a sign for "Café de Coral" and he said some blogger had recommended it and it was too bad we had already eaten because it was a place he wanted to try. I thought about it and I didn't want hubs to regret not eating at Café de Coral. I mean, we were there so I decided that we should go have a light meal at the cafe since we were never going to be in the area again.

Upon entry, we saw the menu on one wall and I decided to try C1 while hubs opted for L4. The menu had English translations so I was very happy about that. We had to order at the cashier and pay immediately. After payment, the cashier gave me a piece of paper with our order and waved us off.

I walked further in and figured that I had to go to the kitchen counter to hand over my order chit to the kitchen crew. Hubs went to get us a table. It was free-seating. A male kitchen crew took my order chit away and started putting stuff on a tray. The default drink for my order was a milky concoction which I didn't want. The other options were iced lemon tea or just tea. I tried to explain to the male kitchen crew that I wanted iced lemon tea and discovered he couldn't understand any English or Mandarin. After a lot of pointless exchange going nowhere, another male kitchen crew popped his head from behind and asked if I wanted "black tea". He spoke Mandarin! Black tea was close enough so I accepted it.

My order of French toast came and the kitchen crew waved me away.  I told him I had another order but he kept waving me away. I pointed to the container of fulfilled order chit and asked for mine back but of course he didn't understand a word. I decided to look for hubs. I was kinda close to tears already. I told hubs that I was not given his order and the order chit was taken away from me. We went back to the counter and I kept pointing to the order chit bin until eventually, the kitchen crew found my order chit and he gave me hub's order which consisted of a glutinous rice soup, a chicken wing and a samosa. Except I was given two items instead of three. The samosa was missing. The male kitchen crew kept pointing to some Chinese words on the order chit and asked me what it was. It was very puzzling. He kept asking me what the words were. I had no idea how to read the words. We were going nowhere. Finally, the head waitress was summoned. She scolded the kitchen crew for not being able to read the words. Actually, neither could she. She made a phone call and the person over the phone told her what it was - curry something. The samosa! After telling the kitchen crew what the missing order was, the head waitress left. Hubs went back to the table and I stood waiting.

Eventually an older female kitchen crew started talking to me in Cantonese. I couldn't understand what she was saying. Although I understand a teeny tiny itsy bit of Cantonese, the locals speak rapidly in bursts. Couldn't catch a word. I looked around for the Mandarin speaking guy but he had disappeared. Her voice grew louder and louder and I wasn't sure if she was scolding me. Probably. Eventually, another female kitchen crew was summoned from the kitchen. She was literally pushed towards me. I heard her protesting in Cantonese that she couldn't speak English. Anyway, she used some hand gestures to indicate that I should go, sit down and eat. The missing samosa would be brought to me. I don't know how I understood her but I did. So I went to sit down.

I don't know how I could still smile because the inability to understand the crew or get myself understood really wore me down.

Eventually hub's samosa arrived. He must be the first person to ever order it. I think hubs enjoyed his food.

My tea and french toast were quite horrible. The french toast strangely had peanut butter on it. Who puts peanut butter in french toast? Later I realised that the menu did state that the french toast came with peanut butter. I was too blind to see it.

The restaurant is really spacious and comfortable. If only the food tasted better and I didn't have to go through hell to get it.

The funny thing is the next two days, nearly everywhere we went in Hong Kong, there was a Café de Coral.


Christel Goh said...

Hi Jane. I was curious what that purple drink in your photo was. Turns out it's bubur pulat hitam? Did your hubs taste any "taro" in it? :P

I used to love Café de Coral, when my family visited HK some 10 years ago. Sadly I think the food is just okay now. (Or perhaps it has something to do with my growing up and have better taste in food LOL)

Projects By Jane said...

Hi Christel, yes the purple drink is bubur pulut hitam with taro. Hubs says there's actual taro in it. I don't think our Singapore version has taro. I don't eat such food because I think it's hard to digest.

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