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PHI Coffee & Pancake is refreshing, and for Mei Foo this is a good thing (if you live there, you’ll understand what we mean). We accidentally ran into this new café while out doing our weekend errands and were attracted to the light wood decor and coffee pick-up counter. The restaurant is bright and spacious. It feels welcoming, and we were excited to give it a try – honestly, we are eager to try anywhere that offers fresh-made coffee.
The café has great frontage to the bus and MTR interchange, so we expected it to be quite crowded, but it wasn’t on the day we visited.
While diners are guided to sit inside the café (and there are menus on the tables), it is actually a counter-service spot. This made us feel annoyed, especially when we had spent time reading the menu and were ready to order, only to be told we needed to walk up to the front and order at the counter.
The menu items are limited, which is fine for a café. However, the menu offers too many carbs (pastries, pastas, pancakes, French toast, sandwiches).
My husband ordered the mocha ($38) and was disappointed in the lack of flavour. In his words: “It tastes like hot chocolate from a mix.” He later ordered a latte ($38) and was equally disappointed. The coffee is the sole reason he would not go back.
I ordered the signature soufflé pancakes ($85) with mixed berry compote, and I was pleased, although the dish came without syrup, which I needed to remind the server to bring over. The soufflé pancakes are very fluffy. They are not too sweet (which a lot of soufflé pancakes in Hong Kong tend to be), and they taste fresh, with a hint of egg white. I also like the fresh-looking mixed berry compote, which is also not too sweet. As far as fluffy pancake experiences go, this was a good one.
A few things that caused us to scratch our heads
The café has obviously spent money on the decor, logo design and uniforms, but it seems to have forgotten that it needs to focus on service too. The servers are nice, but seem absent-minded or just not into it – there is no passion or excitement in their eyes.
The logo of the café appears on everything – napkins, menus, servers’ aprons– but we scratched our heads about the name. What does “PHI” mean anyway?
Please use bigger teapots. The iron teapots are a nice touch, but they constantly need to be refilled.
People seem to like the salmon and avocado pancake dish that is no longer on the menu (unless you know the secret handshake).
One of my pet peeves with restaurants is small cups and glasses. These go in the “why?” category for me as they’re not only annoying to use, but they’re also as non-server-friendly as it goes. So when I first saw the decent-sized cups used at PHI, I was excited. But this is the catch – if a bigger cup means drinking more bad coffee, that would be a non-starter.
I will go back to PHI for the fluffy pancakes and perhaps order them to go so that I can enjoy them without having to drag my hubby along for a round of bad coffee.
Shop 91A, G/F, 69–119 Broadway, Mei Foo, 2887 6728
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