Ipoh combines colonial and cultural heritage with jagged limestone hills and cave temples. After a recent tourist campaign, more travellers are embracing the city located halfway between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Culture Trip rounds up the best cafés in Ipoh for coffee lovers in quirky locations as well as cosy spots for tea.
Perak’s most famous concept café, Thumbs Café, combines a strange, but a seemingly fitting mixture of local and Western styles. Sit on the antique Asian sofas or lean against the British-style bar. Local owner, Mr Elias Yahaya, has travelled extensively and used his experience to influence the decorations of this halal café in Ipoh. Expect to find a wide variety of drinks, Western dishes and Asian favourites. Thumb’s opens in the evening and might make a cosy spot to unwind after a day of sightseeing.
Located in the old town, Plan B emphasises on serving high-quality artisan coffee. The coffee shop in Ipoh is one of six branches in Malaysia under the BIG Group. Step inside and the décor immediately feels industrialised with exposed red brick walls and the creative use of steel and stone. Large windows maximise the natural light, giving in an airy and spacious feel. Anyone in the old town looking for a morning fix of good coffee and a light breakfast or early lunch can check out Plan B. Food choices include pastries, cakes sandwiches and pasta.
STG Tea House provides the opportunity to drink high tea inside a former colonial bungalow. The grand, white structure stands elegantly inside its manicured lawns with both indoor and outdoor seating options. Offering a variety of drinks, including alcohol and food, curious tourists interested in Ipoh’s past will appreciate stopping by. Just be aware that STG is a short drive from the city centre.
Petit Mary Patisseries, inside a two-storey converted house, combines a selection of delicious cakes and pastries with a warm interior. Expect to find a European flair and ambience as well as a cuteness factor that makes customers want to stay longer. The scones, Belgium chocolate cake and mango cake are highlights.
The small and difficult-to-find café in Ipoh provides a nostalgic twist in the old town. Book- and movie-themed relics along with old pictures and posters create a classic, chic style. Design aside, Café de Eight offers a reasonable selection of drinks and food at surprisingly affordable prices. Enjoying lunch or a late afternoon tea inside this quirky spot will generate lots of opportunities for photographs.
As the name suggests, Espresso Lab is all about the perfect coffee. Located a short drive from the old town, this café in Ipoh specialises in serving some of the city’s best coffee. Using fine coffee beans brewed by skilled baristas, the drinks include old favourites like Lattes and Americanos as well as some lesser-known types. Cakes and pastries are available here too. Anyone with a love of coffee or coffee connoisseurs will enjoy a drink here.
Step inside this café in Ipoh and immediately get the sense of teleporting across the world to Paris. Using a mixture of concepts, the interior elicits a welcoming environment and a cosy place to sit and enjoy a drink and slice of cake. Conveniently located in the middle of the old town near Birch Memorial Clock Tower and Ipoh’s colonial buildings, it makes for an ideal place to relax after exploring the neighbourhood. The menu includes a variety of freshly prepared cakes with the Crepe Cakes and Crème Brûlée coming highly recommended. Prices range from RM6 ($1.50) to RM15 ($3.80).
For a cup of Ipoh’s famous Old Town white coffee and a local breakfast, head to Nam Heong. This café in Ipoh is one of four branches around Malaysia that specialises in keeping culinary and gastronomical traditions alive. With a selection of drinks, an extensive food menu along with pastries and cakes, this forms a convenient location to stop after or before exploring the old town. Pro tip: a local favourite is Ipoh white coffee and egg tart.
A small café inside the French Hotel in Ipoh’s new town offers not only a trendy place to hang out but also a selection of dishes, pastries and cakes. While it’s relatively expensive compared to most cafés in Ipoh, Jose & Deli Eatery provides a classy experience. Expect to find a variety of fusion meals, Western dishes and Asian favourites as well as finger food.