Kowloon Cafe is a Hong Kong themed restaurant in Burwood (and Chinatown). The restaurant is decked out straight from the streets of Hong Kong with booths, green subway tile, neon lights and a truck inside. A truck? Yes there's a truck inside where staff make the drinks!
"Do you need a lift?" I messaged Sophia, around 40 minutes before we were meant to meet at Kowloon Cafe.
"I'm good, I'm already in the city," she responded.
I do a double take and realise that she thinks that we are meeting at the Chinatown location of Kowloon Cafe and I think we are meeting at the Burwood one. We haven't actually specified one over the other but I've had the conversation in my head that the Burwood one has the truck inside it and is therefore more interesting visually but of course I haven't had that convo with her. We decide that Burwood is probably the best one to go to (for the truck) and we make a new time to meet.
When I reach the restaurant there's a small queue that has formed outside. Whenever I go to Hong Kong themed restaurants I'm reminded of my father and there's an elderly man outside that lets me go ahead of him in the queue even though he got there before I did. When I get to the head of the queue I ask for a booth rather than a table and that's not a problem (it's a common request from what I overhear). Sophia arrives a few minutes later and we take a seat at a booth.
The laminated menu is on the table and since Sophia has been here a few times she tells me her favourite items. Sophia has a very different palate from me - she hates raw fish, avocado, peas, tomatoes, yuzu and chilli (all foods that I love) but we always find something we both like. We grab the cutlery from the hidden drawer at the side of the table.
I haven't had Ribena for years and by years I mean decades i.e. ever since I was a kid (truthfully I didn't even know if they still made it) so I order a Ribena float with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's nostalgic and fun although very sweet for my adult tastes. Sophia orders a lemon lime tea which they label as their signature drink.
I love these cheung fun rice rolls with a hoi sin soy sauce and peanut sauce. They're simple, but texturally interesting and fun to eat. The rice rolls are freshly made so that they're soft and soak up the sauces well.
Some of the menu names are quite whimsical like this one (there's also another one that says "SPAM and a lot of eggs and rice"). This dish is pretty much what it says with a bed of soy sauce seasoned rice, scrambled egg and barbecue pork. It's not bad but I probably wouldn't order it again in favour of trying other items.
The stir fried noodles come out as a large plate of noodles and topping. It's good but a tad under-seasoned but once you add a tiny bit of salt they really sing with flavour.
Sophia's favourite item is always the tomato pork chop (and that's when I learn that ironically she doesn't like tomatoes) and it's my favourite dish of the night too. It's a crumbed and fried boneless pork chop that is sliced up and baked with a tomato based rice and diced vegetables which is then stuffed inside a large cob roll and topped with melted cheese. This is pure comfort carbs and very tasty (although neither of us have the fortitude to tackle the bread save for any bits with melted cheese on them).
We ordered the HK style French toast to come out after but it comes with the main food so I'd suggest ordering it after you've eaten the savouries if you want it for dessert and it is best eaten fresh. The French toast is two thick slices of white bread egg dipped and fried, then sandwiched with peanut butter with a pat of butter on top. It comes with a dispenser of sweetened condensed milk (you can also order strawberry jam which I was very tempted to do). It's so delicious and we both love the layer of peanut butter in the centre. Next time I'll get it with strawberry jam for the full PB&J experience.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever tried peanut butter in French toast? And have you ever tried Hong Kong style food?
This meal was independently paid for.
Emerald Square, 11a/27 Belmore St, Burwood NSW 2134
Open 7 days, 11;30am-9pm
Phone: (02) 9745 3888