I like to creep.
I’m always on the Internet – Yelp’s “Hot New Businesses” section – creeping on grand openings and new establishments. When I spotted a new cafe, I almost passed over it because 1) I rarely drink coffee, and 2) there are cafes on every block. But this Kopitiam Cafe boasted authentic Singapore and Malaysian fare so I had to try it out.
Kopitiam Cafe is located in the Seafood City plaza in Milpitas, on Landess across from the Target Shopping Center. I had the chance to stop by on a Sunday afternoon was pleased to see that there were several patrons inside. Unfortunately, I already ate lunch so I decided to just order a cup of hot teh-tarik to go. Teh-tarik is Malay for “pulled tea” and is a version of milk tea made with black tea, distinguished by a head of froth. I gave my order to a young woman at the counter and then sat down on a white chair to wait.
As I waited, I took in the cafe. It was somewhat trendy minimalist, with white furniture and pops of color. A bookshelf in the corner hawked Kopitiam gear like shirts and mugs. A table of Chinese mothers were having a late lunch and a little boy was “bussing tables” (but really trailing drinks and food on the floor on his way back to the kitchen). While my mother joked about the element of child labor, I turned to observe the cafe workers. The young woman was standing at the counter, sometimes walking to the back to figure something out. A man with glasses who greeted us stood at the drink machine looking back at me. Wait…who was making my drink then?? I speculated that maybe it was being “pulled” in the back and resumed sitting in my place. After another while, neither the man nor the woman showed any sign of activity so I glanced at them impatiently. At this, the man asked me to “Hang on, yeah?” and consulted the young woman, who seemed to have an epiphany and walked to the drink area. Where she proceeded to tell me that my nasi lemak and teh-tarik were coming. No, I only ordered a teh-tarik I said.
Let it suffice to say that I will not be returning to Kopitiam Cafe unless I have a life-threatening hankering for laksa. A cafe that couldn’t even get my one simple drink order straight is not probably not worth returning to (while making the teh-tarik, which is NOT pulled by the way, she had to ask me to clarify whether I wanted it hot or cold). A cafe that pretends they didn’t forget my order, tries cover it up, and doesn’t apologize for a ridiculous wait time is definitely not worth a second trip. Maybe they were new business owners? Maybe they were still getting over some kinks? They definitely shouldn’t have been in the weeds, seeing as how it was just my one drink order and another lady’s one food order.
Maybe some time will pass and I will venture to give them a second shot. I’m a pretty forgiving person and easily persuaded by the advent of roti and laksa.
Kopitiam Cafe: 1535 Landess Ave Ste 147 Milpitas, CA 95035