Nope, this is not another post about a fairly new hidden cafe furnished quirkily and only offers coffee and dessert items that you need to try the next weekend.
Overlooking the fact that you might not know you’ve arrived at your destination, Ronin, do offer pretty decent (non jap related) food but some of their…antics puzzles me, I’ll elaborate.
Crowded like crazy on a public holiday.
From the guys that brought us The Plain, I had high expectations for their caffeine since I’ve consistently had good cuppas there. I wasn’t disappointed, in fact we couldn’t get enough of it. My hot Mocha, $4.70, was dark without being bitter and not the least acidic, making for a smooth full-bodied finish down my throat. My friend’s iced version was equally satisfying!
It took us quite a bit of effort to get our orders sorted out though, because there are no physical menus for you to browse, nor a hanging menu for you to peruse. Once you are settled down, do catch the attention of one of their young waitresses and they will dutifully recite their menu items to you without prices. Ronin offer basic brunch items, coffees and a few sandwich choices, while pastry items can be found directly at the counter.
I am extremely bothered by the lack of a physical menu for 2 main reasons, I need to know what I am paying for and I very much like to browse through menus, both before I order and partially to occupy myself after I order. There’s also the part where you could be discussing items to share with your dining companions and I guess this is where the idea of a dining experience between me and Ronin greatly differs.
In a way we played hide-and-seek with some menu items, which my friends have read about elsewhere but wasn’t mentioned by the waitress till it was enquired. There’s also the awkwardness when the staff mentioned that there are no menus and we stared blankly at her, followed by us listening intently, trying to remember what they have and quickly decide before it got awkward again from taking too much of her time. Stressed max just from ordering.
The tall glass of Iced Matcha Skinny Latte wasn’t as rich as I would’ve liked, but admittedly I’ve been spoiled by green tea frappes with ‘extra green tea powder’. Try ordering that at Starbucks if you haven’t! Perhaps the hot version would fare better, as our matcha powder became coagulated on the sides of the chilly glass and we have to scrap them off, resulting in a less even mix.
Banana Loaf, $4, was better than I expected, with chunks of gooey banana, walnuts and texture akin to steamed cakes from bigger cake crumbs but it was served with another side of…antics. After placing my order I was immediately told in a rush by my candid waitress, complete with both hands up beside her face, that they ‘do not warm up the banana loaf’. No real issues with that but ooookay. Salted Caramel Brownie, $4?, was sinfully comforting, dense rich chocolate base with a sticky chewy bite and just a slight hint of salted caramel coming through.
Scrambled Eggs with 3 types of toast, $9 with added sides like pork sausage (+$4), lamb sausage (+$4), portobello mushroom (+$3). Very creamy and curdled scrambled eggs, loved by all on the table but I don’t think I can finish a portion by myself despite my undying love of scrambled eggs. The homemade sausages were juicy but I found the lamb to be a little gamey.
A little conflicted about this place, perhaps I will find it better on repeat visits since I would be used to their operational style and only going for the food? We shall see.
17 Hong Kong Street, Level 1
8am to 8pm daily