Review – Coffee and food|establishment.

11:30am on a rainy Friday I met with a very dear friend at coffee and food establishment aka c.a.f.e (smart name, eh?) After scoring a free parking spot around the corner, I made my way into the cafe where my friend had already secured a two person table near the door.

It’s aesthetically clean, with a whitewash outdoor/indoor colour scheme. The highlights of colour are found in some large modern canvas pieces, which have fluro orange and green designs (they are supplied by artists and are for sale, some are new to me as I haven’t been to c.a.f.e in about one year). I especially enjoyed the charcoal grey/fluro orange collage inspired piece. On two low benches, near the front, are an array of newspapers and magazines available to read, so if you are an early bird to a meeting/catch-up, you can enjoy some articles and forgo the awkward solitary sitting.

The seating is a mix of booths and stand alone chairs, with a reasonable amount of space to walk between either (frequently I have seen mums and prams make their way in with little hassle). At the back is the kitchen and cashier, with a small display cabinet of your general muffins, paninis and mixed salads (though some of the muffins sounded quite exotic and were made to a reasonable size, noted for next time).

I ordered a long black, my friend ordered a cappuccino (you can choose cinnamon, chocolate, or both as your topping for that drink). Hers came in a relatively wide cup, mine came in a decidedly short one. One small plus was the little pitcher of hot water I received to top up my drink, so I gained an extra half cup on the side. The coffee bean used was alright, a rich earthen taste to it. After one sugar (raw, not white) it became quite easy to drink.

For food I ordered a half portion of ‘La Tuti Tuti’, a mix of potato, baby spinach, kranksy, chorizo, oil, and a poached egg on top. My friend ordered curly fries with tomato sauce and aioli as sauces. The half portion was rather small, but meat made the largest percentage of it, which I guess levels the cost. Slightly oilier than I anticipated, but the taste of each item of food was allowed to compliment the entirety of the dish. As to my friends dish, curly fries are always going to be more delicious than standard cut fries (the curl enhances the flavour, I swear). The curls trapped the flavoured salt in between its delicious potato outline, and the aioli provided was one of the best I have tried in Hamilton, not too runny and full of taste.

The service was absolutely charming, and provided an at exceptionally quick pace. I received my coffee in under three minutes and my meal in under ten. Genuine smiles and small banter were provided for free.

If you’re looking for a relaxed part run-of-the-mill cafe, part quirky vibrant establishment, to compliment a dull grey Hamilton day, I’d recommend perking yourself up at c.a.f.e for an hour or so.

E.

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A little bit of NY in my life.

My first highlight, unsurprisingly, revolves around caffeine. That sweet, sweet, nectar that has giveth my degree and taketh away my sleep many a time. A good friend from England, Ollie, introduced me to this place, and I can safely say that when I learn the words ‘shut up and take my money’ in Mandarin this will be the first place I use it.

Hidden away in the relatively new SW developmental area known as Wanda Plaza (Wanda Guang Chang), is a dark brown, unremarkable wall, with the words COFFEEWE adorned in bold white. Underneath the signage is a glass entrance. So far, nothing special. Step inside though, and you are greeted with an interior that could only have been inspired from a New York Loft magazine. Industrial grey painted pipes and air ducts against metallic furnishings (some natural silver, some bright red), brick walls and wooden cork finishings. Comical porcelain characters are shown in cake displays, and the eco-fresh vibe that every coffee house needs is supported through a mountainous wall of vividly coloured keep cups. Towards the back there is a large techno-lit aquarium with the entire cast from ‘Finding Nemo’ contained within, who I hope are planning a just as elaborate escape as shown in the film.

Behind the glass cabinet by the bar is quite possibly the only real cheesecake you could find in China. I have no shame, or regret, in saying I have tried every flavour. The pumpkin and chocolate flavoured one is by far one of the best things I have, and possibly ever will, put into my mouth. The coffee is absolutely magnificent, and some varieties, like the ‘Four Eyes’, will probably keep most tame tea happy drinkers up for a good 48 hours, easily.

The staff here are a wonderful (possibly newly wed) couple. My banter has been mostly with the guy ‘Toto’. No, we do not talk about the rains in Africa. I reckon he’s been taking some sly English lessons though, because every time I come here, which is every day, he manages to convey more and more information about Coffeewe and life in general. Because many of us foreigners are quite (tragically) addicted to coffee, we recruit any and all we know when we find a good shrine. I can quietly boast I have brought many a foreigner here, which has secured me an ‘under the table’ discount for REAL FOREIGN BEER! Oh, the generous ways of hospitality are universally understood and respected. This commodity is worth more than gold, silk, or oil. Great success for me.

Photos to be posted soon.

E.