Food Review: Honolulu Cafe (The Centrepoint)

May 11, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

The Centrepoint had been struggling to reinvent its identity since its previous anchor tenant, Robinsons, moved out in mid 2014 after 31 years. Fortunately, it has realised that Singaporeans are willing to travel (and queue!) for good food and recently drew in new tenants, notably the iconic Mak's Noodles and Honolulu Cafe from Hong Kong - and they are finally helping to bring in the much-needed crowd.

We were pretty sure that long queues would form at Honolulu Cafe today - on its first day of official opening - and decided to join in the festivities too.
At 1pm, the queue was not as bad as we expected.

Recap: First visit at Honolulu Cafe (Hong Kong, April 2016)
We had just tried Honolulu Cafe's signature coffee and egg tarts during our visit to Hong Kong last month, and arrived with great anticipation. 
Honolulu Cafe in Wan Chai, Hong Kong (April 2016)

To recap: Whilst their coffee look better than they taste (or maybe we are just milk-tea lovers), the egg tart was wonderfully unforgettable with its flaky crust - albeit the relative high price at HK$9 (S$1.60). Yes, this is considered pricey when you can get similar quality egg tarts at just HK$4 in neighbourhood bakeries.
Signature Honolulu Cafe coffee and egg tarts (April 2016)

Honolulu Cafe (Singapore, 10 May 2016)

Waiting Time/ Crowd Management
Business was expectedly brisk but the crowd was overall contained. The queue was manageable, with waiting time hovering at about 10 to 15 minutes.

But you know why the queue wasn't long? All the egg tarts and polo buns were already sold out by then - at just 1pm! Better luck for us next time, so we only managed to snap a photo of the poster.

Once seated, we were presented the food and drinks menus which were really cute:

But on closer look, we realised that quite a few of the items were not available:

Nonetheless, this is probably just part of its opening day problems - as expected. 

We were pretty happy that the items were competitively priced. Most main courses are below $8 and one could add a coffee/ tea for just $1.50 (instead of the full $3) if a main course was ordered. 

Honolulu Cafe Signature Coffee
The coffee was very promptly served, but sadly not as hot as we expected it to be. Perhaps it had been prepared in advance to manage waiting time.

Although it was said that the shifu from Hong Kong would be present these few weeks to ensure quality control, the coffee seemed to taste lacklustre. It didn't have that same rich milky taste that we enjoyed in the coffees we drank in the cha chaan tengs in Hong Kong.

Baked Pork Chop Spaghetti
But the greatest disappointment was yet to come. Blame it on our wrong choice of dish, but something made us choose the baked pork chop spaghetti - and it was the worst decision ever. The other diners around us who ordered soup noodles and sandwiches were served in about 10 minutes, but our baked spaghetti was served after 30 minutes. Yes, I understand that a "baked" dish requires more time to prepare, but it was a whole 30 minutes of our preciously limited lunch time.

We won't go into details of how exasperated we felt during the wait, but we did chase the service staff who were mostly nonchalant. Thankfully, one of the female staff noticed how impatient we looked and saved the day with her apologetic gestures and follow-up whilst we were having the dish. 

Anyway, this was finally served after the wait:

I don't know about you, but hey I really did not expect to be presented with such a lopsided-looking egg! Let's just choose to believe that the chef was rushed into serving the dish. LOL.

Nevertheless, presentations aside, the dish was overall decent. Though the pork chop had some rather fatty parts, it was generally succulent and juicy. It was a pity that we had to devour the main course in less than 10 minutes :(

Btw, if you are waiting for your cutlery after the food is served, please just pull open the shelf on the sides of your tables!

We visited the cafe on its first official day, expecting some teething problems. As cliche as it sounds, we would suggest that you avoid visiting until the issues are resolved and initial crowd dies down. 

We will certainly give the cafe another chance to redeem itself, but probably revisit a month later. I already have the order list in my head - hot milk tea and egg sandwich!

PS: While waiting for the baked spaghetti, we noticed the really delicious-looking egg sandwich on the other diners' tables. If you try it before we do, please let us know how it is! :)

Honolulu Cafe Hong Kong
176-178 Hennessy Rd, Hong Kong.
Wanchai MTR Station, Exit A4
(For Google Map directions, click here)

Honolulu Cafe Singapore
#01-33F/G, The Centrepoint,
Singapore 238843.

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