**Updated July 2011** – The place has since closed down!
BY CK Lam
It was a moment of relaxation when one sets foot in Kopi Cine, the in-house cafe of Straits Collection set up by Bon Ton. Occupying the ground floor corner unit in Stewart Lane, the cafe occupies a rather small L-shaped dining space stretching to a few tables on the walkway.
Kopi Cine is a casual neighborhood cafe that has a mixed clientele. The cafe with its wooden counter and high chairs has several tables leaning against the wall. The classic old counter looked extremely enticing, with a glass counter filled with cakes. The interior furnished with ceiling fans and decorated with colorful photos and art pieces, provides a relaxing venue to enjoy good food and wine.
They have an interesting menu with separate sections for breakfast, lunch and tapas-style dinners together with an interesting wine menu. I had the pleasure of trying out the food in Kopi Cine on several visits.
Breakfast – 9 am till Noon
On the first breakfast visit, I got to meet up with their proprietor, Narella McMurtrie. She guided me through the menu and recommended a few amazing breakfast items. Breakfast includes several varieties of coffee; all was indeed comforting in their own ways. I had the Macchiato RM8, which gave me a satisfying coffee kick.
Alongside the coffees, there were two egg dishes. The Creamy Scrambled Eggs is presented with Salsa & Toast and generous serving of Smoked Salmon RM 28.
Aside from the coffee, there are the fresh fruit frappes. The refreshing Lemon & Mint RM10 is particular zesty.
The other egg dish was the Brie, Cheddar & Basil Omelette served together with Onion Relish & Toast RM 20. Perfectly prepared and comes with the right portion with the soft aromatic Brie.
Banana Bread has been one of my favorite. I had the thick slice of toasted banana bread slathered with butter alongside with the fresh banana and cream RM12.
A part of its wall is still adored with an old sign ‘Serbuk Kopi Kim Guan’ which reflects the history of the adjacent place which was once a traditional coffee mill. The deep rusted roasting pots are still featured in the open courtyard.
Walkway seating watching the life goes by
Lunch- Noon to 4pm
Lunch for me began with a refreshing Crushed Mint & Lime Soda RM10 and the Iced Caramel with Gula Melaka Ice Cream RM 16. I loved the creamy rich concoction of the Iced Caramel with a unique blend of taste.
Tables are scattered in the walkway
The meal started with a Thai Style Chicken Salad in a pomegranate dressing. It was topped with Macadamia Nuts which added a crunchy texture to this starter.
The next dish was Burger with Melted Cheese, Avocado & Caramelised Onions RM 28. I particularly liked the way it was served, in mini sized portions which makes eating much more convenient. The bun is split open and served inside it was a juicy piece of well seasoned minced beef.
It was simply enjoyable having the mini burger with avocado and slightly melted cheese. A portion of fresh iceberg lettuce round up the flavors beautifully. The Ice Moccha RM 9 paired well with the burger.
On the day of my visit, the Day’s Special was the Tuna Cakes with Mango Salad. The deep-fried tuna cakes served crisp on the surface goes well with the nice touch of the sweet and tangy flavor of the mango.
Dinner / Tapas / Sharing Plates – 6pm to 10.30pm
The dinner menu comes with a good selection of seafood, meat, poultry dishes and beverages. It was great pairing the Crushed Mint & Lime Soda and the Pineapple Mint Tea with the meal. Both were prepared with a nice combination and refreshing to drink.
Dining area inside the cafe
For starter, the Mezze Plate comes with a selection of flavorful thick Hummus, Eggplant Dip, Tomato Salsa, Olive Oil and Dukka with Pita RM20.
It was scrumptious having the warm pita dipped in the olive oil with the crumbly mixture of Dukka. The dips are easily scooped up with the accompanied pita and are easily among the best in town.
Kopi Cine served the Rocket, Avocado, Cherry Tomato & Cashewnut salad RM26 by just mixing with simple soy sauce and lime dressing.
Two of the items in The Day’s Special were The Beef & Guinness Pie with Mashed Potato & Salad RM25 & the Egg Roll with Avocado & Tomato RM12. The beef pie in an egg-washed thin and crispy texture comes filled with minced beef in a rich and pungent flavor. The pies are much sought after as only small batches are baked daily to maintain their freshness.
The Egg Roll with fillings of Avocado & Tomato RM12 makes a healthy snack anytime of the day.
Kopi Cine has a variety of cakes for dessert. I had tasted several during my visits; Tiramisu with Kahlua, Italian Cream Cake and the Chocolate Pistachio Cake. Every piece of the cake makes a great treat especially with a cup of aromatic coffee!
I truly enjoyed the richness of the all-time classic, Chocolate Brownies and loved the big chocolate pieces in the Choco Chunk Cheesecake.
The cakes are sinfully heavenly
A visit to Kopi Cine is not complete without having a look at the neighbouring Reading Room. This place is stocked with books, from art, travel, food to novels including children’s books!
Another section of the Reading Room
Narella did a great job in setting up Kopi Cine in this architectural heritage building. I enjoyed my meal at Kopi Cine and looking forward to making this cafe one of my regular dining places.
The Day’s Special is posted on a blackboard in front of the cafe
There is always something happening at this corner cafe, the place for comfort food while watching the street life go by.
The cafe is just a few minutes’ walk away from several of Penang landmarks, including the house of Mr Lee Beng Chuan, Penang’s famous joss sticker maker and the Goddess of Mercy temple. Click here for the Map Location.
55 Stewart Lane
Corner of Chulia Lane
10200 George Town
Business Hour : 9.00am – 11.00pm – 7 days a week
Tel: 04 263 7299
GPS Coordinates : N05.41917 E100.33777
* This is a reproduction of my article published in New Straits Times