BY CK Lam
Public Cafe is just another neighborhood coffee shop in the pleasant surroundings of Gurney Drive. Located next to the famed Song River Cafe, this coffee shop is a favorite spot for me as it has a stall that serves up both delicious yet reasonable seafood noodles and porridge.
Take a pick from the striking mix of ingredients and several types of noodles. The prices varies according to the seafood ingredients, with pawns, crabs, paddy frogs (tin kai/chui kay) and varieties of fish.
Piping hot bowl of Seafood Noodle
We ordered a number of dishes from the available range, starting with the crab noodle. The claypot came boiling hot filled with thick beehoon (rice vermicelli), pieces of crab, cabbage, choy sum and garnished with spring onions and fried garlic.
The thick beehoon was satisfyingly al dente while the soup was simply marvelous, packed with the sweetness of the crab. The crab was quite huge and there were plenty of fresh and succulent sweet meat to go around for everyone. I even went for a second bowl!
The steamy bowl of thin beehoon was cooked with a few prawns along with thick pieces of fish, cabbage and choy sum. Even though I enjoyed the deliciously sweet broth with the fresh bouncy prawn, the beehoon was a bit hard and coarse. It would have been better if the beehoon was prepared with a softer texture.
Followed up was two types of stir-fried noodles, both with harmonious suite of flavors from the plentiful seafood. The round yellow mee was given a hokkien char version, slightly wet while the fine mee tiau was dried-fried. The accompanied sambal added spiciness to the two dishes.
Hokkien char version, an all time favourite
Fried Mee-Tiau was equally good
We chose the porridge cooked with fish. The robust fish soup with pieces of fresh fish was delightfully flavored with light seasoning. The porridge was more like rice on watery clear broth. Chopped coriander, spring onions and a dash of pepper topped off the dish perfectly.
Apart from the noodle and porridge, there are other dishes on the menu as well. We topped off the meal with some stir- fried dishes of green Kai-lan and the tofu with leeks, which proved to be excellent additions to the meal.
If you are looking for seafood porridge and noodles along Gurney Drive, do try out this stall. Click here for the Map Location. I have yet to see a menu around but the prices of the food can be seen on the simple menu written on the board.
Besides this stall, another stall that serves similarly delicious seafood noodle and porridge would be Lam Kei.
Business Hour : Late afternoon till night
Closed on Tuesday
* This is a reproduction of my article published in New Straits Times
Tags: Chopped Coriander, Claypot, Coffee Shop, Crabs, Favorite Spot, Fish Soup, Flavors, Fresh Fish, Fried Noodles, Gurney Drive Restaurant, Light Seasoning, New Straits Times (Life & Times), Pawns, Penang, Piping, Porridge, Prawn, Prawns, Public Cafe Gurney Drive, Rice Vermicelli, Sambal, Seafood Porridge, Song River Cafe, Spring Onions, Steamy Bowl, Sweet Meat, Thick Pieces