Dubliners Cafe @ Greentown – A Proper Halal Cafe in IpohJune 22, 2011 | 9,202 views
I have to admit that I have never been a fan of ‘halal’ cafes in Ipoh. Not that there are many to start with. Wait, when you think about it, there is probably none. Aside from the overpriced, over-hyped and over-rated Laksamana Cheng Ho, serving a myriad of Thai, Chinese-Muslim and whatnots cuisine in Greentown. If you’re a fan, then pardon this outright criticism.
I have eaten at the outlet in Greentown Business Centre (the corner lot, which I think have since ceased operations) once, and the larger premise painted stark red along the same road just a short distance away from Brewster’s and almost directly facing MP Steamboat. All the visits came out pretty lacklustre, leaving me puzzled as to why we kept going back although the dining experiences were far from stellar.
Seafood Vol-au-vent (RM4.50/USD1.50) – A mini flaky pastry punctured with a hole from the top; then filled with a creamy filling of mixed seafood and mixed vegetables.
Then lo and behold. It dawned on me, a revelation much akin to a dumb blonde finally realizing why she’s branded as such in the first place.
Ipoh’s been suffering from a serious dearth of good ‘halal’ eateries; especially one that serves decent Western cuisine. To cut the story short, your perpetually fruitless search might end here. Today. This instant. Since Dubliners Cafe was more than I initially thought it was, or ever will be.
Irish Lamb Stew (RM10.50/USD3.50) - Hearty stew of almost uniformed cubes of tender lamb, potatoes and carrots. The thin, sprigs of crispy scallions (wait, was it onion?) added dimension, yet was awkwardly out of place in our opinions.
Yeah, a proper ‘halal’ cafe in Ipoh? A saving grace in the form of Dubliners Cafe. The name sounded nothing like a halal eatery though; for the first impression was of a watering hole that serves drafts after drafts of beer to ensure a tipsy Ipohan clawing his way back home after a good Friday’s night out.
But that ain’t the case, obviously. Not when a Halal logo was plastered in the front of the shop, and you see more Muslims dining there than the other races on a Saturday evening.
Being the odd ones out, we soldiered on and put our faith in their Western fares; more than the array of Thai dishes available on the menu.
As you might have already noticed, Greentown Business Centre can be a very tricky place to set foot in if you’re one who’s business-minded or seeking to operate a restaurant here for dinner. Especially for dinner hours only; and on weekdays. More often that not, the sheer pressure to keep up with overhead costs and the excessive promotional effort thrown are not met with justified returns.
In short, doomed to fail. Okay, maybe not until that extent, but you do see cafes opening every now and then only to disappear after the initial testing the waters period.
Unless you’re of a good pedigree, already earning the bucks from the lunch crowd, been there for more than a decade and cooks/bakes with passion, OR just want to spread the lurve for good food no matter how dire the circumstances are against your rightful venture.
Fish Pie (RM12.50/USD4) – A rather filling pie with mashed potatoes, fish and prawns; resembling more of a gratin than the traditional pies with a browned crust.
Grilled Tenderloin Steak (RM15.00/USD5) - Portions may not be sufficient for a carnivore of enormous proportion, but don’t dismiss this just yet. For less than RM20 per serving, this might be a steak worth trying; especially when you don’t get tough-as-bark sirloin or worse, slabs of chewy beef with veins.
Strawberry Milk Shake (RM4.20/USD1.40) was a tad too sweet to my liking, but heck …. where else can you get a full glass of milkshake with whipped cream for less than RM5?!
So here’s the lowdown on Dubliners Cafe;
Chef Niaz Khan returned to Malaysia from his working place in Dublin, Ireland for more than 10 years. Bringing with him a decade worth of experience in the kitchen, this is his first venture into the F&B business right smack in the heart of Ipoh city. Combining the best of both worlds, he started Dubliners Cafe designing a menu that caters to the different tastebuds; pizzas for the younger crowd (but has since been taken out, sadly), pies for the light eaters and for sharing, stews and steaks for a more wholesome feast, and Thai-inspired dishes for the locals seeking for an Asian touch.
Currently (okay, this was about a month ago, so don’t quote me), this menu is a trial version with promotion prices. Hence you don’t see anything above RM20, which is a good start in my opinion. Had he decided to go upmarket and mark up the prices, for sure the place will not go down well with discerning and careful (fussy?) diners in Ipoh.
A rather serene sight for a Saturday night. But a stroll around the place would reveal the reason behind this; Greentown Business Centre just ain’t the same like it was years ago. Nor Ipoh town, for that matter.
There are other interesting items on the menu worthy of a try. Now let’s keep the fingers crossed for them to run this place much longer, or for a permanent spell, perhaps? So that I can gladly bring any Malay friends over for a bite come night time, and don’t have to resort to the same old kopitiams or ‘mamak’ stalls.
Or worse, over-rated ‘halal’ restaurants.
DUBLINERS CAFE (Halal)
7, Persiaran Greentown 8,
Greentown Business Centre,
30450 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel No : 6016-628 3470
Business hours : Mon-Sat, 11.00am – 10.30pm. Note that they take a break from 3.00-5.00pm.
Google Map to Dubliners Cafe