After the conclusion of my church’s Easter presentation on Thursday night, Adam and I headed to Box Hill to find a place that was still open just after 9:30pm. I had been craving bibimbap from Yami Yami all day but unfortunately, they were shutting down early that night … as were many other places that would normally stay open until very late. The only places that were still open were a myriad of dumpling restaurants, any of which I was more than happy to duck into. Adam, however, was not at all keen on eating dumplings yet again and so we entered the only other option: New Age Cafe.
This joint has been around since my high school days. In fact, it was popular with the girls at my school who would often schmooze with their boys after school. Funnily enough, I never went there myself (I was too much of a ‘Shoppo Hanger’ which says a lot about me… heh). And while I am not overly fond of cha chaan teng cuisine, I wasn’t in the mood to argue with Adam and hey, I WAS kinda curious so in we went. We slipped in an empty booth, between a group of fobs who all seemed to have chosen pasta dishes. Looking at the 400+ item menu, it was obvious that one would not complain about the lack of variety nor the unoriginality of the dishes. From nasi goreng to ‘spaghetti with pan-fried lamb and pesto sauce’ to seafood udon with XO sauce, there was a dish to appeal to everyone.
Adam’s Hong Kong iced coffee ($3.30), which tasted a lot like Vietnamese iced coffee but lacked the depth and strength.
His pork chop with onion sauce on rice ($8.80). Watching Adam attempt to eat his way through his food was pretty funny. He said that it was ‘something that [his] grandmother would cook up’, which was meant to serve as an insult. I took one bite and immediately winced. The bloody sauce was just so one-dimensional and … sickeningly salty. I would not have been surprised if they just used packeted gravy mix as the base and improvised the rest using whatever random ingredients they could grab. Horrible.
My green tea milkshake ($4.80) which tasted more like honey dew rather than green tea. Hm.
I chose the crispy fried egg noodles with seafood ($12) over all the pasta dishes which, judging by the uneaten plates of pasta on the adjacent table, seemed watery and bland. I probably would have been better off with a pasta dish though as the noodles weren’t anything to sing about. I also found it odd that New Age Cafe’s version included mussels which I had not seen elsewhere … and cooked bean shoots. Que?
Given our less than awesome meal, one must wonder what brings all the kids to the yard cafe. It’s definitely not the food, that’s for sure. And although I’d say that the prices are reasonable given the massive serving sizes, I’ve been told that the prices are pretty expensive for a cha chaan teng cafe. Perhaps it was good back then but not anymore. Who knows? Either way, I know I’ll be making Adam eat dumplings with me if we’re ever wandering around Box Hill late at night looking for something to eat!