Sunday was an eventful yet uneventful day. What was suppose to be a day of extreme sport saw the group of us all huddled up at Bukit Cerakah because of the shocking rain and then huddled up at Grace’s place. So coming home in the afternoon, all one wanted to do was have nice snooze, which I did and then remembered I had a dinner date with my friend Chia Chen.
However, I called Dan to see if he wanted to join us and so I met him first for a “drink”, before dinner. The venue suddenly changed to Georgetown White Coffee which opened about two weeks ago at Jaya 33. I have seen photos taken by fellow foodie and Head Gym Instructor Su Yee, so that kind of piqued my interest to try the place.
Before they started building the place I was informed it was Penang Food Place so I was rather excited having something like this near where I live as I have not been to Penang for yonks. Last time was in my teens, so that makes it yonkers ago.
So we went it and I must say it was nice and big and had very nice décor and a very old British ambiance to it, with its ornate little cast iron metal décor that was something very British in those days and hardly found around today. The place reminded me of some of the old houses you see in Melbourne where the little patio has a roof or awning and little sharp cast iron points that are usually hand made individually soldered to it. Will get a photo to show what I mean. I thought that was very nice and gave a strange colonial feel to the place, a uniqueness not found in most of the local coffee places. I personally like the French windows and the white squared windows just give it a homey feeling with class. Rather European I should add. Its Alfresco area gives you a very European feel for some reason, although you’re right in front of the main road. I like the way this Georgetown was designed.
The café was well spaced out, and I cannot say how it must be during busy periods but I feel there was enough space to move around and me being the not so small kind could move around with ease.
So there I was supposedly for a “drink” with Dan. The menu appeared and it was illustrated rather well and it was clean and straight to the point. How long its appearance will last is another thing, but today being a two week old place, the menu looked nice. Have to say though I was expecting more Penang oriented food like Lobak, and Laksa and the likes, but here I was staring at the likes of French Fries and other western staples, as well as Malaysian Café staples like Nasi Lemak, Fried Noodles and other café foods found around. I guess its that time when everyone is cashing in on Malaysian Café Concepts so uniqueness flies out the window! They did have a few Penang Staples of course.
I have to confess I am not a coffee person. So realizing there was no tea, I chose a Soy Cendol. Personally I am also not a Cendol fan as I do not like coconut milk, so this should be right up my alley. I love anything Soy.
Dan ordered a Cold Coffee, and then ordered Congee, and Toast Bread and Two Soft Boiled Eggs, and so I ordered Char Koay Teow, simply because this was a Penang concept café. We were here for “drinks” by the way.
Drinks came first. Coffee was good, but I have to admit there is only one place I have worked that served the best Cold Coffee ever, alas the place folded. Pity no one emulated that coffee though. Now the Soy Cendol was good too, I liked it, it was light and refreshing and did not go down my gullet leaving a thick coating of oil. That’s how I always feel when I eat anything with cold coconut milk. This usually happens because the coconut milk is kept too long and so the oil coating rises up to the top and coagulates due to the cold temperature in the fridge.
So enough food technicality , I liked it but I think it would have been better if they used ice shavings instead of ice cubes because the ice shavings would have given it a more richer taste especially with the palm sugar.
So now the food came. Ok Congee being Congee, does not mean it has to look boring. Now for a new place and surely they have seen how their competitions serves it, I felt if they had not used the four space bowl they used, it would look like downright hospital food. The congee was not garnished, a little shallots or fried onions would have brought it out a little. The preserved vegetables came from a tin, the dace fish came from a tin, so in actual fact the only things cooked, in advance I might add was the rice, the anchovies, the peanuts and the salted egg. So much for originality. I am a fan of congee though, I love it whether I am sick or not, but somehow this did not do anything for me. Dan had it of course. The Anchovies used was ok quality when compared to the price. Presentation wise, the bowl had bits of rice on the side. Now as a new place, this is something they should prevent and do it now to set the standard. Look at the photo to see the bits of rice on the side of the bowl. It was not touched till after I took the photos.
The boiled egg, well you cannot go wrong with boiled eggs so I cannot comment there. They did use good quality eggs because the yolk had a wonderful orange color, and I did not have the time to take a photo because he who just wanted to have “drinks” gobbled it up.
My Char Koay Teow…. I have a penchant for Char Koay Teow. I know it’s not wonderfully healthy, but if you offer it I will taste it just to see how good yours is. I have paid more then RM20 for Char Koay Teow so you know for me Char Koay Teow is serious business. And when you call yourself Georgetown White Coffee, your Char Koay Teow better taste Penang like because as said earlier yours truly has not eaten authentic Penang Char Koay Teow for yonkers!
Now for one, my Char Koay Teow was red! I feel a tiny bit of blackness would have been good. I am not one for black colored foods, but this one needed to be blackened a little more. The taste was nice for what it was worth, but it lacked that slight burnt taste only a seasoned frying pan would give. It lacked Wok Hei! And the three prawns was not very fresh. I am not a fan of prawns but I took a bite and it was a trifle bit soft. Dan had a prawn too and confirmed it. I would eat their Char Koay Teow again no doubts, but this time I will specify how I want it. I like my bean sprouts totally undercooked, so next time I go there I will specify this. I did think there were fewer cockles on my plate that day when compared to the photo in the menu and on their website. Still I am just picky when it comes to eating out, so this is just my point of view.
The Kaya Toast came about the same time as everything else, and I feel sometimes waiters should be trained to ask if we want the kaya toast before our meal or after or even during. Ours came last of all the food and beverage we ordered. Now Kaya Toast is a staple in every Kopitiam there is in this country. I cannot give you a proper comment because by the time we finished eating and went for the bread it was stone cold, and really not nice anymore. This is a typical example of a spoilt meal experience simply because of lack of training or lack of food appreciation. This is usually the case when one hired foreign labor without them tasting the food they are to serve when it is good or bad, this meaning, training should include food that is piping hot, and the same food when it is served cold so these staff will know how to deal with these simple details to enhance the customers meal experience.
I am sorry to use those words but other words that come to mind may sound too vile. But just look at the two photos and look at the kaya and you tell me whats comes to mind?
Now why in the world do you serve something like kaya which we so love in that manner. If the kaya is watery, then serve it in a sauce or chilly dish and that should suffice. But since Georgetown Kaya is a little harder and on the floury side, I feel it should be piped on the serving plate and by piping one actually saves. You want another piped kaya then you pay for it. As the photo shows, the kaya was far too much for our two slices of bread. We did eat the kaya because by then Chia Chen came and joined us, but I still feel presentation of this age old favorite can be improved.
Ok I may be a tad unkind, but the food is good enough for the average. It’s a new outlet in PJ and with five outlets around, this are little things that can improve it. While some tastes may vary from area to area. Georgetown White Coffee has five outlets. All seem to have a different look, the one that is best is the Jaya 33 one of course.
Finally, Georgetown White Coffee I think will be around for a while. I feel they should stick to their heritage and improve it some more. A lot of Kopitiams around are big frauds, and so if Georgetown plays their cards right, it can be better then the rest. Of all the kopitiams I have frequented, I think Georgetown is by far the one I like most. By the way total price was RM35 something, so it was not too bad. Service was good, training needs to be done and I have highlighted it above. You cannot blame the waiters for bad service, always blame the people who open the joint and I mean any joint!
I may have bitched about the food and all, but I would recommend you try the place.