Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Food: Aura Cafe @ Kuchai Business Park

In 2011, the group discount phenomenon has really taken off in Malaysia. Nowadays, deal websites are a dime-a-dozen, ranging from GroupOn, MyDeal, MilkaDeal, WeBuy, Everyday, and a whole range of other sites that I don't even know of. 

Although most deals are quite attractive and worth the visit, there are some that just leave us with that "what-the-****-were-we-thinking??" look on our faces. This post we're going to share one of those times when it happened at Aura Cafe.

There's a random clothes boutique in Aura Cafe too.
When I bought the deal on MyDeal, it was advertised as a 3 course meal on weekdays, and a "walking buffet" on weekends. Reading the description told me that it would a buffet, but instead of having to get our own food we would be served! Having previous experience with Carnavale, I was imagining something like that, and so this sounded very attractive.

Seating outside is available. Shisha pipes are available too.
However, things started going wrong even before we got there. The place is in Kuchai Business Park, an area I am totally unfamiliar with. We were told to reach by 8pm because everyone would be seated at that time and food would begin to be served. I didn't understand what they meant since I was imagining a served-as-you-want sort of buffet, but anyway by the time we reached after making a few wrong turns and a call to Aura Cafe it was about 8:30pm.

We were seated facing each other across a long table all joined together. It felt like a speed dating experience, except even more awkward than that. Things went further downhill when the waiter told us we would be charged an extra RM 2.50 per person for service charge. I paid it quietly only because I knew it wasn't his fault. I don't know about you readers, but with me I always believe that...:

PRICES LISTED IN DEAL WEBSITES SHOULD BE FINAL AND ALL INCLUSIVE. If there are extra charges, then those should be disclosed in the terms. It doesn't leave a good impression or taste in my mouth when I'm charged more than what I initially expected to pay. Get my drift?

By now you can pretty much guess the mood for the rest of the night. For drinks, it was self-service of 2 extremely watered-down drinks; one was lemon tea and the purplish drink was some weird syrup. That bowl of soup consisted of a weird recipe involving tauge, taufu, and a bit of chilli that made it spicy. It was very strange indeed.

Before the soup came we were served a salad. But wait! How much salad did I take? Not much, because my portion was rationed by the waiter using little tongs and soup spoons to scoop some veggies onto my plate! Basically every dish that came out was served to us in set quantities, and they couldn't give us more even if we wanted more, because they were afraid there wouldn't be enough to go around. Which brings me to the next point....

A BUFFET REFERS TO UNLIMITED HELPINGS OF FOOD. The food may be crap, but at least the customer has the option of choosing how much he wants. Here we weren't given the option. All we were given was one chicken wing..a few scoops of rice..etc etc. 

A mountain of food, but all tol be rationed between about 30 people.
So yea..that's how the night progressed. Wendy didn't take photos of all the different dishes because she was so demotivated (and also having a bit of a fever & sore throat) by that time. I made a list of all the food we had though, so I'll just list everything out although not according to the sequence in pictures.

The waiters were friendly and tried their best given the lousy circumstances.
After the bit of salad, we were each served ONE chicken nugget and a few fries, the kind of nuggets that are orange in colour and come in heart shapes. Then came the soup. After that we got a chicken wing (top left in the photo) which actually didn't taste too bad. The flavour was good but slightly spicy because of the pepper used.Unfortunately it was cold because it had been left out waiting to be served for too long, and it was unfortunate we could only have one piece.

After that came chicken curry, again served cold. That was even spicier than the chicken wing. And then came:

Mee Hoon - more spicy food! The noodles was wet instead of dry, but had some dry tofu and fishballs.
Sweet and Sour Fish - this was ok. The fish was quite meaty. Tasted like something we could get in a chap fan stall.

Cream Pasta with Chicken (bottom left) - This one again tasted quite average. It was quite creamy and had chicken cubes, but the chicken still had skin on it which made rather slimy. One notable plus point was it was served warm!
Fried Rice - More warm food! Unfortunately very plain without any 'wok hei' at all. Absolutely boring and a waste of calories and tummy space.
Fried Mee in curry sauce with cauliflower beans and celery - Scored points for being a very unique dish that had interesting taste, but yet again it was spicy food.

*** At this stage, we were served a 2nd chicken wing! ***

Roast Beef - one of the rare highlights of the night; the beef was very nice and tender. I would have taken a lot more if I had not been limited to one small slice. =(
More Chicken - Don't know what to call this one. The chicken meat was very soft, but the sauce was very salty.

Pork Belly - This was topped with apple puree. The taste was so-so, but the skin wasn't crispy.
Pork Pasta - Continuing the porky dishes, this was tomato-based and on the sweet side. Another strange concoction.

Lamb Shank. This dish deserves a paragraph all on its own! By the time this was served, we did feel like the food quality was getting better, especially when the meats started coming out. But when I took one mouthful of the lamb (because Wendy didn't take any) my face just went like this - O.o

First impression was it smelt like the bottled up scent of cigarette smoke that lingers in confined spaces! I was one of the first to take a bite of the lamb, and as I watched the other diners around taking their own bite, I saw their faces turn to O.o as well. Jokes aside, it was the Funniest Scene Ever in our history of food blogging!

We suppose it tasted like that because it had been smoked for too long, leaving an extremely strong wood-fire taste to it; either that or something went extremely wrong in the kitchen. After overcoming our initial shock, we dubbed it the most entertaining dish of the night by far!

There were a few more dishes after that, but I was stuffed by then so we didn't try anymore (Wendy had given up much earlier!). For dessert we were served some ice-cream (which couldn't go wrong) and a little bowl of mixed fruits (which cannot go wrong too!).

Finally we had reached the end of the ride which took about 2 hours in total. There were some long pauses in between dishes which is why it took so long. Many diners walked out halfway without even finishing the meal, which I could understand. Walking buffets sound good on paper, but if Aura Cafe want to keep at it, they best take a few pointers from CarnavaleAura Cafe may have a few fans of its own, but unfortunately it didn't turn us into one that night. 

It was also another reminder of the high-stakes game we play that is trying places bought from group discount websites!

Aura Cafe | Site
C-0-1 Jalan 1/127,
Kuchai Business Park,
50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +6 03 7982 6961
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat, 12pm-2am

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