Antipodean, a cute new café in trendy PoHo was recently described to me as serving “the best coffee in Hong Kong”. Now, I’m not much of a coffee drinker myself, but it had also caught my attention when I heard it served ‘double-rise pancakes’. On the list it went, until a pre-typhoon Usagi breakfast trip beckoned.
There’s a warm, homely feel to Antipodean that’s notable as soon as you enter. This may be due to the homemade cakes and pastries that are the first thing you see on the counter. These are all baked fresh in the open kitchen, filling the room with a heavenly aroma.
The morning we went, there was initially no one there to make coffee; apparently only one person knows how to use the super fancy machine (the same one used at popular coffee shop Fuel), so if she’s not there, there’s no coffee. In fact, the other staff didn’t even know how to make tea, which was most surprising. Were it not for the pancake craving we needed to quell, we may have walked out.
We remained, however, and within a short while, the barista arrived and set to work. When the coffee was finally served – at the end of the meal – it turned out that apparently it is not the best coffee in Hong Kong; “it’s OK, but not worth making a special trip just to get it,” seemed to be the general opinion.
What might be worth the trip though is the ‘real iced chocolate’ – a rich, decadent chocolate milkshake, complete with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. It’s pretty much a meal in itself though, so be warned.
We started with a helping of corn fritters with homemade tomato chutney. Similar to little savoury pancakes, these had a lovely, delicate flavour and the perfect texture. I loved the homemade chutney and the fresh guacamole added some excitement to the mix.
The long-awaited double-rise pancakes with fresh mixed berries were beautifully presented and were some of the fluffiest pancakes we’ve found in Hong Kong. The only thing that let them down was the syrup (it definitely wasn’t maple) and the side of crispy bacon ($40 for two measly rashers was not worth paying).
Service at Antipodean is terrible. Although the staff are very sweet and they mean well, they got confused with our order at least twice and kept having to come back and ask what it was we wanted… and then it took forever to actually receive it. They could start by teaching at least one other person how to use the coffee machine and how to make a cup of tea. Prices are also far too high for a ‘homely’ cafe – we paid around $400 for two dishes and three drinks. It has the potential to be a lovely little place, but unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be rushing back.
3 Upper Station Street