Before you read the rest of this post, just sing along to the lyrics below.
Her name was Suanne, she was a housewife
With yellow apron on her hips and a dress cut down to there
She make d’meringue and make bo-bo-cha
And while she tried to be a star, Ben always want to eat out
Across a crowded blog, they worked from 7 till 10
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?
At the Copa, Copacabana
The hottest spot north of Havana
At the Copa, Copacabana
Milk Tea and Fried Rice were always the fashion
At the Copa … they fell in love
So we went to the Copa Cafe, finally. You all probably know that our boys like Hongkong Style Cafes (HKSC for short, shall we?). That is because they know HKSC always have salted fish and chicken fried rice.
For Suanne and I, we wanted to check out the Prawn and Avocado Croissant that iPanda wrote about. Moreover, we did not even mind the long drive because we wanted to check for ourselves how good Copa is. You see, they had just won the 2009 Chinese Restaurant Award under the Diners’ Choice category of 2009 Best Hongkong Style Cafe.
Copa Cafe is located on Cambie by West 23rd. It is just a few doors away from Corner 23, a Taiwanese eatery.
Unlike many older CCT, Copa is visibly cleaner and bright colors. I don’t know but I think they are new, maybe been in operation only the past year or so.
Having thought that this is a new school HKSC, we would have thought the service will be a refreshing change. But no. The service is aloof and fast … or should I say rushed. I guess they pride themselves as being efficient. After all, Copa is a really busy restaurant.
Moment after we sat down, the menu and the drinks landed on the table.
We were taking our own sweet time pouring over the menus. Yeah, like most HKSC, they have several menus.
But the serious-faced waitress kept coming over with the pen poking the notepad asking us what we wanted to eat when we were still reading the menu. Maybe many of their customers are regulars and already know what they wanted. For us, we need time. You see, there is always a negotiation process we had to go through with the boys who always wanted the same time. Suanne and I kept telling them they cannot have the same fried rice. And they will keep asking why not. And we always say that we are bloggers and we must have different things. We go through this all the time and Copa need to understand that we need time to resolve this amicably.
The waitresses and waiters are well dressed and well groomed. So this is a difference compared with many HKSC.
We like the menu, as bewildering as it seems. They have lots of combos to choose from. What we like especially is that they have both expensive and cheap items. You could find $6 pork chop up to combos that is $13.
The drinks above came with the food we ordered. I notice we all always ordered the same thing. Suanne will always go for the hot milk tea. Arkensen will stick with the simple and predictable cold milk tea. Nanzaro will opt for something different from everyone, lemon tea. The boys almost always never finish their drinks. Suanne almost always will end up drinking all of them because she hate it to be wasted.
This is it … the Prawn and Avocado Croissant that Suanne read about and wanted so much to try. This is $7 and came with a side of mayo-drenched salad of fruits. In that salad there are potatoes, melon, cantaloupe and pineapple. If only their hands is a bit lighter with the mayo, it would have been a perfect feel-good meal.
The croissant is toasted and is unbelievably … flaky and airy. This had to be some of the better croissant we had tasted. It is so flaky that we could hear a light crunch at eat bite.
Avocado is not common in Chinese food. However, the combination of avocado, shrimp and croissant is simple but amazing. It is all round creamy in the inside and dry brittle crunchy on the outside.
Mr Ben had the Rib Eye Steak with Paris Style Sauce. I thought it was worth the try seeing it is only $9. With this, I get a choice of rice, vegetable and linguine. I opted for the linguine.
BTW, slightly off topic … to be spaghetti and linguine is the same thingy. OK, Suanne says that spaghetti is round while linguine is flatter but they are made of the same thing. To the uninitiated, they are for all intents and purposes the same thing.
We like the al dente linguine which is mildly flavoured with what they called the Paris Sauce. But the steak was kind of tough. I am no connoisseur of food and so it is passable for me. I actually enjoyed this even though this is no premium cut in any stretch of imagination.
I was looking for the telltale pinkishness of the meat. I hear that Chinese restaurants uses tenderizers on beef which gives it that hue of pink. I could not see it because the steak was so thin, it was cooked throughout already.
Mr Arkensen had the Baked Seafood with Cheese on Rice. This is $9.
Suanne and I did not understand why Arkensen had been ordering these type of baked rice. We never quite fancy this because when it is served it is always too scalding hot to eat and when it cooled down, it turned into a sticky mess.
But this one is different. It was moist and lightly cheesy. We took a bite and we like it. In this are prawns, artificial crab meat, clam and mussels.
Mr Nanzaro surprisingly did not go for the Salted Fish Fried Rice. Anyway, their salted fish fried rice is expensive at $11!
Instead he had the Stone Pot with Rice. Knowing him, I think he went for this because of the “stone pot” words on the menu.
It was served sizzling hot. He dug into it quite immediately. We thought he should have let it cook a bit more before starting because the rice was all soggy. The sauce is a little spicy but otherwise devoid of taste. Yeah, the sauce which is supposed to provide the most taste to this dish is what makes this dish something we will not order again. This is eight bucks.
Ms You-Know-Who simply had to order the cheesecake. Expensive!
It is $8 and it took a heck of a long time to come. Although we had all the time in the world that afternoon, it took two reminding and 20 minutes before it finally came. Each time we reminded the waiter, he said that they are busy and that it is coming without checking. They dropped the order and they know it. A small word of sorry would have been the least we expect, but no. You see, they are busy and we had to understand that things like this happen. [rolling back my eyes].
For $8, the slice is small. Taste-wise it has almond flavour in it. Suanne wasn’t too happy with this saying she could probably buy the ENTIRE cheesecake from the Real Canadian Superstore for $8.
Hit and miss is what I’ll say about Copa. They do somethings well (like the croissant) and there are things they can easily improve on (like the service). I think they meant well but it was just not right to give the impression to the customer that they are super-busy and we all have to dine to that.
Going off topic again. When the Olympics comes around, Cambie will be one of the many corridors where street parking will be prohibited. It seems like even the side street will be affected too because there are signs that says that side street parking is strictly for residents. I think business will be badly affected during the Olympics.