STG Tea House Cafe @ Chateau Garden, IpohAugust 19, 2013 | 28,100 views
Sunset to Dusk; the Twilight Hours when Everything Seems Serene & Surreal (view from the windows on the first floor of STG Tea House Cafe)
Lately there has been a cafe resurgence around Malaysia. Initially the craze started (and still infecting the young minds) with boutique guesthouses & quaint cafes that can barely sit a dozen of customers in Penang, then the addiction spreads southbound towards the other states. Ipoh was not spared when Burps & Giggles, Jose & Deli and B.E.D. joined the fray of an ‘ancient’ industry dominated by old timers like First Coffee House, Rendezvous and Miner’s Arms. (By the way, only 1 out of the 3 mentioned is still “alive”)
Refurbished colonial bungalow into an elegant mansion that fits the Tea House bill perfectly. Can you imagine coming here on a breezy, lazy Sunday afternoon with a book in hand and a cup of tea in the other?
Latest to jump on the bandwagon is STG (acronym for Sabah Tea Garden) Tea House Cafe occupying a double storey bungalow off Gopeng Road in Chateau Garden in Ipoh. Let’s see how this fares against the likes of Indulgence and Secret Garden.
Sabah Milk Tea (Teh Tarik) (RM7/USD2.30) and Hazelnut Cafe Latte (RM11/USD4) made from Illy coffee beans
STG Tea House Cafe goes beyond the extent of serving tea leaves and concoction from the Land Below the Wind. No doubt that’s their key selling point though; positioning themselves against giants like Indulgence, Secret Garden, Brewster’s and even Citrus Wine & Dine to a certain degree.
However, looking past the rather impressive (or scary, depending on how much of a tea aficionado you are) list of Sabah tea (comes in pot for about 3 cups), the menu was awe-inspiring in comparison.
You have probably 3-4 choices in each category; fish, poultry, meat, pasta, local-style fried noodles and starters. For desserts, it would have been splendid had they invested resources in bringing classics like Bomb Alaska or the original Crepe Suzette to the front. But for now, let’s say our prayers for whatever dining options we have here in Ipoh.
Tea Smoked Chicken Whole Leg (RM25/USD8) – Smoked with Sabah Tea
Skipping the relatively lacklustre selection of starters (there’s a Smoked Duck Salad; a couple of creamy soups and some other salad if I am not mistaken), we dived into the mains.
Tea Smoked Chicken Whole Leg instantly grabbed my attention; STG being a self-declared tea house and specialist after all. Which brought to mind Purple Cane with their very-focused array of tea-inspired and cooked dishes and desserts. That’s a whole different ballgame altogether.
Served with grilled eggplants on the side, the flesh was grilled to a beautiful tenderness; almost fork-tender yet retaining that firm bite of fresh poultry. The tea leaves used in the cooking process lent a very faint hint of fragrance to the slightly sweetish marinade, and this dish certainly delivered in all aspects.
Smoked Duck Carbonara (RM24/USD8)
At times, wishing that I possess the willpower to stay away from the most caloric-laden item on the menu, I succumbed to the Smoked Duck Carbonara in a futile attempt to resist the temptation. I had no qualms with regard to my decision.
Creamy, cloyingly-indulgent yet infused with flavours from the bites of smoked duck, mushrooms and cream, the portion was more than enough for a light eater, and will definitely carve a dent in your strict diet regime. Not the BEST carbonara that I have had in Ipoh (the old Italia Mia still holds on to that honour), but one that I won’t have second thoughts ordering again.
Traditional Fish & Chips (RM18/USD6) – Golden fried sea bass fillet
Fresh from a terrifyingly poor experience at OIC Cafe (no review on that one), Mum was a bit wary of another Traditional Fish & Chips (read Uncle Albert’s for the real deal?) that might revoke certain unpleasant dining memories.
But we were all satisfied with STG’s version of sea bass coated in a golden batter; deep fried yet almost miraculously devoid of any sign of grease used in the cooking process. The fish was a flaky fillet of fresh sea bass; with a crispy layer of skin intact for good measure. My gripes? They could have used fresher arugula (rocket leaves) for the salad on the side; drizzled with balsamic vinegar. And exert a little touch of effort in the tartar sauce instead of using pre-mixed ones. Small issues, but the fish and chips here deserves a thumb’s up.
Private Dining Hall on the first floor of STG Tea House Cafe
Selection of Desserts on display; the Tiramisu in cups (RM14/USD5) and Chocolat Brownies being the most eagerly drooled after. If only we came in a more famished state than we were …
HALAL Certification from JAKIM for their meat supplies etc. STG Tea House Cafe is a pork-free establishment.
The courtyard of the bungalow, and the nicely-trimmed grasses made for rolling …
All in all, the dining experience at STG Tea House Cafe managed to impress us. I had doubts after reading up on several lesser-than-ideal takes on their slow service, pretentious attitude, abysmal food choices and quality, etc. However, instead of falling apart like how Secret Garden was in their early days, STG Tea House Cafe succeeded in holding up its head up high; an imposing threat to the other finer restaurants in town. Now … if only they will stop being indecisive and either go full Western/Italian; and drop the RM15/USD5 Char Kuey Teow/Wat Tan Hor!
STG TEA HOUSE CAFE (pork-free)
2, Jalan Taman Kinta,
30250 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Tel No: +605-255 0188
Business Hours : 12pm – 11pm daily
Closed on Mondays
Google Map to STG Tea House Cafe
GPS Coordinates : 4.587964,101.094034
Directions : Coming along Jalan Gopeng/Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah from the Simpang Pulai highway exit towards Ipoh old town, look for a turning to the LEFT into Jalan Taman Kinta, opposite of Impiana Hotel (previously Casuarina) on the same road. If you reach the roundabout with the iconic “Moonlight Grail” fountain, then you have overshot your turning.