The Maling Room in Canterbury begins with a revelation of why it’s called ‘The Maling Room’ being situated on the corner of Canterbury Road and Maling Road, the building used to be the old mailing room! It maintains its classic feel (and personally, reminded me of one of my old high school classrooms) with a dressing of stained glass windows at the front-end of the cafe.
There’s no clear order of service and I was left wandering whether to sit down or be seated, the slow attention and response of the waiters only made it all the more awkward, “Don’t you know what to do?” The one waitress who ‘welcomed’ me was rather abrupt and frankly, a smile would have been nice.
Upon placing my first order, it came out promptly by the barista himself and a polite casual comment made about the coffee was much appreciated. The environment, given that it is next to a busy main road, is a little noisy but nothing that isn’t drowned out by the sound of the busy coffee machine and the chatter of others patrons. The setting of the cafe allows for one to simply sit back and enjoy with friends or a nice book to relax.
I had heard that the place had good coffee so I ordered a ristretto to give the coffee its first test. The coffee is a rich and full-bodied, smooth at first but a slight bitter though not sharp aftertaste all with a hint of chocolate. I followed that with a cafe latte and was disappointed to receive a dirty glass, but proceeded nonetheless. A different barista made this coffee and while the presentation was good, it did not meet my expectations made by the ristretto. The froth was firm, the coffee well-balanced by the cream, but was a little bit too milky instead of the creamy texture one would expect.
Overall, while it did not live up completely up to the recommendation, it certainly is a place worth trying for the coffee. The baristas are talented, from observation, and I seemed to just get a bad draw on the cafe latte.