Secret Garden @ Ipoh – A Respite for the Jaded SoulAugust 31, 2010 | 53,252 views
Secret Garden Bistro – The open air dining concept (al fresco) taken to different heights; Sipping on your wine while being caressed by the soothing splatters of water from the fountain, and hopefully …. some lush greenery in the near future.
I would be lying if I say I am not intrigued by the sheer pleasure of introducing yet another new eatery in Ipoh, although this one being relatively new. The official launch of Secret Garden was sometime during the first week of August 2010. The bistro started operating way back in June or July, but the boutique hotel on the first floor (only three premium rooms, as far as I know) designed to exude a certain heritage aura will only be opened for reservations in the near future.
The rustic charm in the carefully executed planning and designing of the facade and interior of Secret Garden deserves a mention; especially those supposedly-REAL barrels used to prop up a glass table top at the bar area.
Many are still kept in the dark about the exact location of Secret Garden, or what type of cuisine one can expect to indulge themselves in. Heck, even if you zoom by this lane leading to Secret Garden, all lined with a tall foliage of trees, you might just miss the place as there is NO huge signboard lighted up with neon spotlights, nor engraved walls/tiles with the company’s name emblazoned on them.
To clear the air of mystique surrounding Secret Garden, read on to discover what could have been Ipoh’s best kept secret …… until NOW.
The landscape fronting the lawns of Secret Garden may take some effort to appreciate though ; given the rather barren lands currently utilized as a free-for-all parking lot.
Greek Salad (RM20.90/USD6.30) – Tossing black olives, tomatoes, crisp cucumber, sliced red onion, green capsicum and feta cheese.
Pardon the grainy shots, for the ambience was really dark and cozy; merely lighted up with soft lighting from the elegant lamps looming over the tables.
Started off with a zesty rendition of Greek salad, combining various fresh greens tossed lightly with a piquant dressing. The serving plate used to present this appetizer was an awkward four-petals flower shaped one. Kooky? Yes. But all in the name of good fun I guess. And different from the usual deep bowls routinely used in other establishments. Although not very space-efficient; given the rather restricted elbow space on the square tables.
Other salads available on their menu are : Nicoise Salad (at Secret Garden, tuna is served), their signature Secret Garden Salad (grilled broccoli and bacon salad with warm dressing), Grilled Chicken Salad, Potato Salad, Smoked Salmon, and the Cardini’s Caesar Salad (with a twist; addition of beef bacon for a more substantial serving). (Salads are priced from RM16.90 – RM23.90)
Complementary warmed wholemeal buns with salted butter
Forgot the real name of this, but a good Beer Snack from the light bites category; a Nachos with Melted Cheese and bacon bits.
The last page and a half consist of Beer Snacks; various savoury bites to go with your choice of liquor. And while we are on the subject of alcohol, Secret Garden comes equipped with a wine cellar. Mr Lim, the proprietor of Secret Garden Hotel proudly proclaimed that they stock up on the finer imported wines, and with far-from-hefty price tags.
Wine connoisseurs rejoice, for here comes another hotspot for you to exchange life stories, sip on fine liquor and have a jolly good time at their lounge.
4 Season (RM20.90/USD6.30) – A set of four types of sandwiches; Salmon with capers on toasted baguette, Salad sandwich of mixed greens stuffed in a pita pocket, English Sandwich with a squared sunny side up, and the Steak Sandwich between whole-grain bread.
4 Season is one of their forte; a set of sandwich selection to be shared amongst diners. Since we were sharing the breads, I only tasted the Salmon which was fresh; rendering almost no role for the dollop of mayonnaise. Squeeze some lemon juice over on the slices of raw salmon, and relish. The others seemed to be okay, but the Salad sandwich tucked in a pita bread was lacklustre; being rather dry without any dressing at all.
Chicken Parmigiana (~RM32/USD10) – A breaded fillet of chicken fried then baked with a sumptuous combination of cheese and a marinara sauce.
Chicken Parmigiana was not on their menu yet, I believe. This was however, one of their Specials written on the board visible from the front door. The other being a Tuna Steak, or something along the line.
Served with a side of spaghetti in marinara sauce (tomato-based sauce without meat) the chunky portion was filling and suits the average eater with a sizeable appetite. Of course, you can complement your meal with various light bites aforementioned, or even a Soup of the Day (usually Cream of Pumpkin at about RM8-RM10 each).
Grill Bacon Pasta (RM20.90/USD6.30) – Fried spaghetti with pan fried bacons and mushrooms.
For their pasta selection; you can choose to have your Bolognese or Carbonara, or an interesting Hokkaido Fusion of raw ingredients topped with caviar (!). The Grill Bacon Pasta reminded me of Pasta House’s version of the Fried Pork Pasta, albeit with more ingredients. Combining the earthy abalone mushrooms and greasy pan fried bacons never faltered; and a perfect foil to the al dente pasta. Pastas are priced from RM18.90-RM20.90.
Opulence, funky and quaint. Don’t worry, the restaurant is fully equipped with air-conditioners; the fan is there to complement the atmosphere.
Soon Secret Garden will be offering the Signature Breakfast all day long; or as Mr Lim himself proclaimed as the REAL American Breakfast with sausage, bacon, eggs, wild mushroom, tomatoes and a glass of fresh orange juice as well as a cup of black coffee.
If you’re a fan of steaks, heave a sigh of relief as you can find Wagyu steaks (marbling grade of 5) imported from Australia here. About RM80/USD24 per 100g, have them charbroiled/grilled to your liking. The rack of lamb (~RM40/USD12) is another one of their famous item, as well as various grill platters and seafood combination. Oh you can also have a platter of various imported cheese and dried fruits to complement your wine, at RM28.90/USD8.80 per serving (excluding the wine, of course).
A desolated refurbished bungalow in the middle of nowhere?
More shots to come later on the second page of this post. For now, just rejoice at the thought of another dining option in a most secluded area in Ipoh.
I guess, the Secret Is Revealed Now?
SECRET GARDEN LIVING, WINE & DINE
No 42, Lorong Cheah Cheang Lim,
Off Jalan Tambun (Jalan Raja Di Hilir)
30250 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Telephone : 6012-575 7584
Business Hours : 4pm – 1am daily.
GPS : E 101 5′ 54.3″ N 4 35′ 50.5″
Google Map to Secret Garden
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