Fallin’ Back on Plan b @ Ipoh Old TownAugust 27, 2013 | 7,464 views
The spark that ignited the invasion of BIG Group in Ipoh?
Plan b; a brand under the rampantly-expanding BIG Group already has 5 branches in the Klang Valley; although some are under slightly different names, eg: Puran b @ One Utama & Journal @ Publika (which you can view here). Continuing the momentum of establishing their foothold, Plan b opened up their 6th venture in the heart of Ipoh old town; directly adjacent to what-could-be the most famous kopitiam in Ipoh; Kong Heng.
A very laid-back yet industrialized feel; largely contributed by the clever mix of earthy tones, red brick walls, various steel and stone elements, plus quirky (a word to best describe any of the Plan b restaurants, actually) addition of light bulbs powered by exposed wires and ceiling fans hanging from extra height.
A few months on, yet I was not entirely enticed by the less-than-stellar feedback and some rather acerbic comments belittling the outlet.
“We don’t need another cafe serving overpriced coffee when the local old town white coffee’s already the grand daddy of them all!”
Naturally, with all new eateries; the teething period during the first few weeks or months is expected. I didn’t expect Plan b to waltz into the market unscathed, what more with elevated prices compared to the overall cafe scene in Ipoh.
The natural sunlight streaming in from the glass roof above creating a perfect setting for a casual breakfast on a weekend morning. And a delight for food photography enthusiasts.
This used to be an old furniture warehouse; seemingly abandoned for years but never an eye sore. Maybe the layers of thick green foliage surrounding the building lent a mysterious air to the otherwise sickly structure. To which Plan b took advantage of the authenticity of the architecture; accentuating the old school charm by complementing the ambience with decor largely centering around the rustic nature of the premise, and also enhancing the warehouse/industrial aura with pale palettes except for the yellow-hued cushions.
And of course, stealing some thunder from Purple Cane, Plan b injected some lively elements of green by planting trees within the premise.
The main dining hall that can accommodate a healthy crowd of hundred or so; and couches for lazy evenings when all you ever wanted is a cup of strong coffee, a slice of cake and great companion.
There are sections for single diners, table for two’s, and even long tables for a celebration or two. Notice the gunny sack-wrapped cushions juxtaposed against the brick walls, and pots of plants welcoming you?
In the midst of preparing their BIG Breakfast (RM29/USD10) that comes with tea/coffee and orange juice
The interior design of the outlet was nothing beyond my expectation, after numerous visits to Delicious (previously owned by them), Plan b, Ben’s and their other landmarks in Publika. Should they be commended on anything, let it be their creativity in conjuring up unforgettable yet comfortable dining environments.
As far as the food is concerned, nothing too far-fetched or ambitious. You get an interesting breakfast and brunch selection (served until 6pm), burgers and sandwiches (they also have Ben’s Salt Beef Sandwich here), pastas, soups, salads and some heavier mains including Asian fares.
That being said, expect to pay around RM 22 – 26 for the mains, around RM 20 for the sandwiches and salads and about RM 10 – 15 for the cakes. Not as scream-inducing/blood-sucking as some have claimed and blown the matter out of proportion.
Duck Confit & Orange Salad (RM23/USD7) – Strips of duck confit, arugula (rocket leaves), butterhead, red cabbage, fried quinoa, green apple, cucumber, pear and orange segments, tossed in maple orange dressing.
Traditionally, Delicious has almost always impressed with their salads. Immaculately planned and tossed together clashes of different food elements; pairing unconventional ingredients in a beautiful matrimony, the salads at Delicious were beyond just another starter.
The duck confit salad has been a staple at Delicious ever since they first started. Plan b continues this trademark, yet the version served at this outlet faltered miserably. Chunks (instead of slivers) of duck confit were tough on the jaw (instead of crispy and the meat still firm/tender), two miserable segments of orange rendered the colour combination slightly dull, and the dressing was a bit off. To a point where we were munching on bland arugula (still fresh and juicy, thankfully) and left a quarter of the serving untouched.
Eggs Benedict (RM16/USD5) – 2 poached eggs with golden runny yolks, turkey bacon and Hollandaise sauce on toasted sourdough muffins.
I read about how some patrons complained about burnt breads, and ultra lengthy time for their food to arrive from the kitchen. However, the salad and the Eggs Benedict arrived at our table within 10 minutes or so, after our drinks were served. The sourdough muffins were splendid; I foresee these going well with plain butter and jam. The poached eggs smothered with their Hollandaise sauce were faultless in my opinion. Trust me when I say I have had much worse poached eggs when the yolk appeared to have been overcooked, and Hollandaise sauce that tasted like cream and vinegar rather than the real deal.
Comfort food in my books; Turkey Ham& Cheddar Toastie (RM17/USD5) with shoe string fries and a cup of salad, plus a cup of Cappucino (RM8/USD2.50)
Simple as slices of turkey ham and melted cheddar cheese wedged between slices of wholemeal breads may sound, the Turkey Ham & Cheddar Toastie excelled in my books. This was also a staple back in their Delicious days; comfort food for a ‘lighter’ breakfast or in-between meals. The portion is filling, mind you. Instead of served with sweet potato fries, we were given shoe string fries as sides. The only lament was the slightly lengthy waiting time for this; more than 25 minutes and after the salad and Eggs Benedict were long gone from our table.
Latte, Cappucino served with biscotti and Cakes from the counter.
Looks like iodine bottles, no? Free flow of drinking water is available FOC here.
Even the washing basins and washrooms are decorated to blend in with the dining environment.
The breakfast was not ground-breaking materials, or anything out of the box when compared to offerings in most cafes in Klang Valley or even Penang. However, the menu at Plan b can be considered as extensive when compared head to head with most Ipoh cafes. Yes, if given a choice (and my limited time in Ipoh on weekends nowadays), I would definitely visit my favourite white coffee and breakfast haunts, and only fall back on Plan b as ….. well, my plan B?
Next to Plan b is Kong Heng; one of the oldest and most visited coffee shop in Ipoh.
Sekeping Kong Heng is a retreat in the heart of Ipoh old town; in between Kong Heng and Burps & Giggles.
There is also a library of sorts for guests of Sekeping Kong Heng, and also walk-in visitors.
Retaining that dilapidated aura of an old, broken down shophouse behind of Kong Heng, this mini library connects to Old Town Gallery that opens on weekends only.
Old Town Gallery @ Ipoh Old Town – Opens on weekends and public holidays only, from 9.00am – 5.30pm. You can view the paintings from local artists and even purchase them, but be warned that they do not come cheap.
The library and Old Town Gallery are located beside Plan b, and behind of Kong Heng. Definitely make it a point to visit all the landmarks highlighted in this post.
If you think you have tasted them all, think again. There are at least a dozen more delicious food options that you should not miss in Ipoh Old Town. Sin Lean Lee in the picture above is a hot spot for thick, robust coffee and the crazily famous Golden Char Koay Teow.
PLAN B (pork-free)
No. 75, Jalan Panglima,
30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel No : +605-249 8286
Business Hours : 9am – 10pm daily.
Refer to the Google Map of Kong Heng, and you will find Plan b next to it.