Missing Marbles @ Ipoh Old Town – Have You Found Yours Yet?December 29, 2013 | 6,275 views
Missing Marbles @ Ipoh Old Town – The expansion of Julie Song’s empire; bringing back the rustic charm of old town from the yesteryears. Think Burps & Giggles but in an Asian way.
Every visit back home rendered me more and more amazed at the speed of new eateries (especially specialty cafes; those focusing on gourmet coffee) sprouting up left, right and centre. The last visit brought me to espressolab and Thumb’s Cafe (a Halal choice), while I missed El Negra Distro and Happy 8 Retreat.
Then in a blink of an eye, at least half a dozen more came bursting to the cafe scene. Though not as manic as the relatively booming cafe scene in Klang Valley, these new outlets injected much oomph and option to the otherwise lopsided food scene dominated by street food stalls.
Missing Marbles is the 3rd joint of lifestyle cafe along the same row of shop, operated by Julie (of Indulgence fame) and her team. Let’s see whether have they lost their marbles or found them in all the right places.
Pull Me Over, will ya?
All the colourful lampshades were knitted by Julie herself; infusing a cheery, vibrant charm to the laid-back surroundings. Aside from removing the staircase to the upper floor, a big portion of the ex-optical shop is retained to sustain that nostalgic aura.
The menu on the wall; most of their items are priced in the ‘teens, except for the Mushu Lamb, stewed and sliced then served with steamed buns. Much like the Chinese rendition of ‘Tung Poh Yuk’
This old Chinese medicine cabinet has been spared the guillotine; instead given a second chance at life.
Looking to rejuvenate your home? Try draping these beautiful lampshades over your sources of light.
Since Missing Marbles is somewhat separated from Burps & Giggles and Buku Tiga Lima; you will have to order your beverages from Missing Marbles instead. No fret. Although you can’t get their signature Bristot brew here, your thirst will be pleasantly quenched by the famous bottled Funny Mountain Soya Bean milk brought to you by Dexter.
On to the food; featuring a selection of essentially Asian delights from Hakata Ramen with slices of imported Lamb from Perth, Mee Siam, chicken Satay and even their rendition of local Rojak with a twist named “Chap a lang”!
“Hakata ramen originates from Hakata district of Fukuoka city in Kyushu. It has a rich, milky, pork-bone tonkotsu broth and rather thin, non-curly and resilient noodles. Often, distinctive toppings such as crushed garlic, beni shoga (pickled ginger), sesame seeds, and spicy pickled mustard greens (karashi takana) are left on tables for customers to serve themselves. Ramen stalls in Hakata and Tenjin are well-known within Japan. Recent trends have made Hakata ramen one of the most popular types in Japan, and several chain restaurants specializing in Hakata ramen can be found all over the country.” (excerpt from Wikipedia)
Essentially, how they designed Missing Marbles is to exert an almost fast food-like setting to cater to the lunch crowd of old town; walk in into the small premise that can hold 15 – 20 pax at best, be seated and order your bowl of noodles, plate of rice or plain stewed meats with salad or buns, then be gone within an hour. Even the drinks are designed to be as such; bottled soya bean milk from Funny Mountain (hands down the most famous soya bean stall with a drive thru service in Ipoh!), and no brewed, gourmet coffee for you to linger.
However, come earlier (they open from 11am onwards) and pick a corner. Indulge in a few sticks of their Herb-crusted Chicken Satay with Rice Balls (RM10.80) or a lighter platter of Baked Black Mussels with Chili Bean atop a bed of crisp, sengkuang (yam bean) salad (RM16), then walk over to Burps & Giggles for a cup of coffee.
The Hakata Ramen (RM18) comes in either spicy or non-spicy version; but no worries if you’re not a fan of spicy food. Even the spicy broth was mild enough to not torch untrained tongues, while the side platter of cold, preserved mustard greens added crunch and contrast to the milky soup laden with flavours from the lamb. The thinly-sliced lamb roulade made from imported Australian lamb screamed quality all over, however if you’re sensitive to the lamb’s inherently gamey taste, then you may want to think twice.
Recycled broken, bicycle seats can be a good canvas for a multitude of ideas
Mee Siam (RM15) is a plateful of soaked rice-vermicelli noodles in a spiced gravy that’s a balance between spicy, sweet and sour, with succulent prawns and boiled eggs as accompaniments. Deviating from the conventional Mee Siam at the many modern kopitiam outlets; Missing Marbles’ version is soaked in a broth instead of served dry. Rather substantial for a light meal though, so be aware of your limitations.
Have I finally found the Missing Marbles?
The area between Sekeping Kong Heng, Plan B and Burps & Giggles has been opened up for seamless connection between the outlets encompassing premises housing crafts for sale and soon an interesting desserts outlet by Dexter himself. The lower right pic is the facade of Patisserie Boutique; the corner lot occupied by a cafe started by a bunch of youngsters. Quite well-received, apparently.
For a brief moment of time-traveling, doing the Hopscotch can be a wise way to ignite that conversation about the good old days with your kids.
Being a pork-free outlet like Burps & Giggles and Buku Tiga Lima, Missing Marbles caters to the lunch needs of the different crowd working around old town. Kinda interested to sample the Slow Braised Lamb Belly and their improved version of Chicken Rice, so I shall leave them for the next trip back. I sense a Chinese New Year avalanche around Ipoh Old Town in a month’s time …
MISSING MARBLES (pork-free)
99, Jalan Sultan Yussuf,
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Same row as Burps & Giggles & Buku Tiga Lima
Tel No: +605-241 1564