Drink a Charcoal Brew at Arang Coffee in Bayan Lepas, Penang
Arang Coffee is immensely popular.
I’ve been there three times over the past couple of months at different times of the day. Just to check why it’s so popular for folks to drive up just to drink a charcoal brew at Arang Coffee in Bayan Lepas.
The café is packed with business people meeting up. Others are waiting, chilling or working. This is the place to network and where deals are made.
Busy Bayan Lepas
The bustling business neighborhood of Bayan Lepas/Bayan Baru is growing and groaning with insufficient car parks. On two of my trips there, it was a struggle to find a car parking lot.
Driving in circles kills the mood for me in the noonday heat. On my last trip, I used an App Car. (Finally clever!)
Still, we headed there, magnetized.
Pet Peeves (Eye Roll)
Waiting for a table is not something I enjoy. Waiting to key in my own order is another nightmare. The same goes for writing on bits of paper with multiple choices. Reading menu booklets is another peeve.
I’m old school and incredibly cheesy. I’m beginning to sound like a grandmother going to lunch with a techie kid. Sorry kids!
I absolutely hate
1. Reading incredibly small prints (yes, you can read 7pt I know! Wtf)
2. Reading a menu that is numbered 1 to 80 or more (omg, so I always pick no. 1; the kitchen is bound to get this right, right?)
3. Keying my order when the pretty little cashier spins the tablet around (Why? Why? Why?)
Life as I know it ended in the 90s. When I went out to eat, we go to a coffee house. Where coffee is sold. Plus other drinks and ice cream sundaes. We love the coffee house in the 70s and 80s.
Tip Top, Top Top, Café 21 were the IN places back then.
Eating out means, we go to any of the cafes listed above. These places are dim but cool and each table has a little candlelight or lamp.
We are shown to our table; sit in circular booth seats, huddled close together. We sit down and get a nice big menu to read. A nice waiter in uniform comes and takes our order.
Later the waiter serves our food. They hover nearby to refill our drinking glass. Clears our plate, brings the bill. We get to pay at the table.
Alas, reality bites back.
The last coffeehouse era ended when beloved Eden closed down.
Cafe Style Nosh
So there we were. My two engineers and I had lunch at Arang (means Charcoal in Malay). We parked and walked in the blistering heat across the tarmac.
It’s just enroute to Olive Tree Hotel.
I wanted to be childish and demand to go to the cool Cups & Mugs at Olive Tree Hotel. Ambient temperatures of 24C is a big draw.
Plus I think the tables there are well placed and are the perfect spot to chill out, unwind and think. Well, we can drink some coffee here. There’s a good selection of delicious pastries, snacks, and rich desserts.
I was polite. I smile brightly and trudged to Arang.
The Big But…
Everyone wants to hang out at Arang.
So we stuck around, waited in the queue to get in. Michael wanted to “jom” a table. I volunteered and collapsed in a heap.
I wanted an Americano and a Burger. After that, I wanted a Salted Caramel Coffee. I wanted 4L drinking water after a site walk to check the condos under construction.
So Goh and Michael ordered our food at the counter. It was a fast food counter set up to pay before you get your food. Then the long wait to be served drinking water.
Oh, there’s none apparently on the menu. I looked twice and asked like any parched person would, in need of a miraculous drink of water.
Sweat. Literally. The place is packed and noisy. There’s no soft furnish, everything surface was hard metal, wood, glass, and steel. So the cutlery clatter and glasses clink noisily.
I said to myself, the food better be darn good.
Charcoal Brew Coffee
Michael who loves Matcha loved his Green Tea. I hate Green Tea. My coffee is quite ordinary. End of story.
Tasty Tip: If you’re buying me coffee, make that a salted caramel coffee.
Arang Beef Croissant Burger
One of the mysteries of life. I hate squid ink and charcoal anything. And, (lets out a big SIGH!) I ordered a Charcoal Croissant. The beef was stringy and hard. What was I thinking? BLEK
End of story.
Deep fried breaded chicken topped with melted cheese. Michael loves fried chicken with cheese. I love XXXL Taiwanese Fried Chicken.
End of story.
Goh loved the heavy cream in the Carborana. So did Elizabeth from the next table. The Carborana (which I had a taste) was not memorable. I wanted Crab Linguine Pasta (Linguine al Granchio) Elizabeth is unforgettable.
End of story.
Let’s just say it’s way out of my way to go even to meet up. Even if I do, I’ll stick to the nice quiet ambient temperature of Olive Tree Hotel.
Having said that, everyone else seems to love Arang. If there’s a popularity poll, Arang wins hands down.
Pssttt… lots of networkers here.
Arang Coffee | 72G, Persiaran Mahsuri 2, 11900, Bayan Lepas, Penang.
Business Hours: 10 am to 10 pm. Closed on Mondays.
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