Hidden along Jalan Gajah is a little café worth waking up early on a Sunday morning. ArtSimKitchen opens for breakfast and early lunch. Set up by the owner who is an art and antique collector, the tiny café is best described as quaint, rustic and quirky!
Chairs hang from its ceiling and jostle for space with old pots, pans, cast iron woks, tiffin carriers, thermos and wicker baskets. You may recognize retro curios from the 60s and 70s. Best of all is to dine on real antique furniture. Every old piece is dated at least 50 years old. Or older.
The owner/chef has a small menu with Malaysian/Asian staples. We started off with our order of thick local coffee. This is the real stuff made from “kopi lau”; that’s coffee made by filtering through a sock-like cloth filter!
There Nasi lemak sets come with fluffy blue pea flower rice served with fried ikan bilis, peanuts, sambal, cucumber, and half a boiled egg. There are two choices of chicken, either rich chicken rendang or deep fried chicken. The rendang is a thick, mild aromatic curry with a tender chicken thigh which breaks easily with your fork.
SPRING ONION PANCAKE
A popular Taiwanese snack, this golden, chewy, savoury pancake has the texture of a roti canai with its flaky crust. I like it a little salty and crispy and it goes so well with the dipping sauce. Do we like it? Yes, we ordered double portions to munch on as we chatted.
SAMBAL HARE BEE TOAST
Giant toast smeared with spicy sambal hare bee with a fresh coriander garnish.
KERABU BEE HOON
This house speciality, the Kerabu Bee Hoon is prepared fresh by tossing blanched springy rice vermicelli with a homemade spicy sambal sauce perfumed with kaffir lime leaves, torch ginger flower, coriander, mint leaves and lemongrass! The crunch is from taukwa, raw shallots bean sprouts and roasted peanuts. The squeeze of calamansi brightens it and makes it even tastier.
Full of powdery Pinang yam or taro cubes, Or Kueh/ Yam Cake is a steamed rice flour cake and topped with hare bee, spring onions, chillis and deep fried shallots. This is with a chilli dipping sauce that goes with it.
GUANG JIANG (TEOCHEW STYLE BEANCURD ROLL)
A traditional kueh from the Teochew clan, the Guang Jiang is made from yam and peanut stuffing rolled-up in bean curd and fried. This delicacy is a must have legacy food for major festival and for the first day of Chinese New Year.
Almost forgotten by the modern generation, the café makes a great head start in introducing heritage recipes as a café food.
LOCAL NYONYA KUEHS
The owner makes other local Nyonya kuehs on rotation basics. Do check with the café on the fresh kuehs made daily. We sampled kueh talam, kueh bengka and kueh ketayap which was gone before any photos could be taken.
Morning cuppas include local Kopi-O, kopi susu, white coffee and milo available hot or cold. Other drinks include honey lemon, lemongrass and herbal teas.
72, Jalan Gajah
Call: +6012-669 6486
Tuesday to Saturday 8.30am to 12.30pm
Sunday 8.30am to 2.30pm
Closed on Mondays