Upon entering Homewood Café, I was immediately hit with memories of all the small independent cafés scattered throughout Seoul, South Korea. It’s the feel that make or break a café, especially in the décor, which at Homewood is decidedly hip Korean: custom-made wooden furniture, early 2000s itunes music visualizations projected on a brick wall, and a gigantic latte mug over the archway into the outdoor seating area.
Homewood has a pretty decent menu in English and Chinese, and we chose their specialties: the Belgian Set Meal 比利时套餐 (65 RMB), and the New York Set Meal 纽约套餐 (65 RMB). To wash it down we also ordered Peach Ade 桃子汽水(33 RMB), a muddy concoction of peach nectar and soda water, and Fresh Lemon Ade 柠檬汽水(33 RMB), a mad scientist’s version of lemonade—fresh squeezed lemon, soda water, no sugar, and a mystery ingredient that turns the whole thing bright blue. The Belgian Set meal came with a Taiwanese sausage and hot dog, sautéed mushrooms, French fries, a fried egg, and of course, a gigantic Belgian waffle. Now I went to school next to a Waffle House, so I think I know a thing or two about waffles; Homewood was off to a good start, but they let it sit a little too long in the machine, resulting in something just a bit too brown and chewy. Although there was no maple syrup, there was a nice raspberry sauce to drizzle over. The hamburger that came with the New York Meal, along with a piece of Texas toast and french fries, was fine in the meat department, but I’m a bun guy, as regular readers may know, and these were so unremarkable that I feel I would be remiss not to remark upon it.
After all that, we had some hand-drip coffee, which was really lovely and smooth, and a double espresso, which came out scalding and burned, unfortunately. The cappuccino had a very intricate cat face, which was fun. I wouldn’t drive across the twisted-metal hellscape of traffic that is downtown Hangzhou to get there, but if you find yourself in this shopping center filled with overpriced Ch-Italian crap, Homewood will fit the waffle-sized hole in your belly. Park in the F area underground; C is reserved for people with more money than sense, and Lamborghinis.