We first saw Baby Cafe in Oakland Chinatown a few years back. I never went as it didn’t get the stamp of approval from the Mrs. It is also sometimes annoying parking in Chinatown. Fast forward to now and there is a new location recently opened in Alameda where the old Hot Spot used to be, near Alameda Theater. This is great because we frequent Alameda and I could win the battle of choosing the spot to eat because I now can pull the convenience card out.
I’ve visited a few times since they opened. We got sucked into ordering some of their fancy looking items on the menu. You know the story. The featured items that cost more and have pictures usually means they want you to order them because of their higher margin. “But they look so pretty!”
The menu is fairly extensive with lots of pictures. I love the cover and the time they spent putting it all together. It just feels good in your hands.
Inside they added some nice touches here and there…
like the wood separators around the restaurant. I do remember going to Hot Spot and at times felt a part of someone else’s conversation. “He said whaaaatt!?”Being a part of someone else’s convo is better than them being a part of ours. 😉
Of course we had to try their lemon iced tea. It was what we expected. Pretty decent and lemony.
This is one of those items that takes up almost an entire page of the menu. And when you have a new fancy menu, you better hope it pays for itself! And it did. Beef stew in general is something I like to order. And while this fancy presentation isn’t necessary, it was fun to dig into and compose the perfect bite. The crispy rice was hard and held up to the side of sauce.
Another fun one we just had to get. This took the longest and we weren’t sure if we were going to ever see it. But at last it did arrive and we were pleased with what we received. Again, would it be fine if it just came out on a regular plate? Yes. However, psychologically maybe it tasted just a little bit better with higher perceived value.
The egg puffs kind of disappointed. They were overdone and didn’t have any bounce.
On another visit we sat upstairs and they have those cool call systems normally found in Korean restaurants. Although there seemed to be some wires crossed as when we pressed “pay” the staff member went to another table and didn’t bring a check.
Their HK milk tea is strong tasting, slightly smokey, and a bit bitter. I’m not sure if they put condensed milk in there but hardly any sweetness could be detected. Sugar had to be added for me to be able to drink it.
Last up is a favorite of my parents, shaved ice. Well, here is shaved snow but close enough. You can’t quite tell but it was a generous amount and had a very mango taste. My dad especially was fond of this and he wants to go back to Baby Cafe when they visit again.
We used to go to Hot Spot, but it sort of fell out of the rotation in the last year before they closed. New, better hot pot places opened and we were discovering other places to try. Their closure isn’t surprising to me as it lost its luster. Now that Baby Cafe took over that location we’ll probably go much more often. The menu like I said is huge and is probably over 20 pages. I always liked Hong Kong style cafe’s for the price point, variety, and casual nature. We’ll see you soon Baby Cafe.
Have you gone to Baby Cafe? What do you typically order?
2321 Santa Clara Ave
Alameda, CA 94501