T.O.S Coffee Bistro @ De Garden, IpohDecember 20, 2009 | 7,850 views
De Garden is projected to be the next hip place to hangout, be it for the retail outlets, or for the admirable number of eateries destined to open very soon. The row of shops (about 60 outlets in all) are all painted in whites, punctuated with funky elements of reds and blacks. I’m never that appreciative nor descriptive of designs and ambience, hence pardon the amateur-ish comments. But to sum it all up, De Garden really does lend a touch of class to the generic/lacklustre designs of the other retail outlets in Ipoh.
The FIRST F&B outlet to open for business @ De Garden – T.O.S (Taste Of South) Coffee Bistro
If the name De Garden somewhat reminds you of another shopping centre (or lifestyle mall, or whatever they fancy the good old shopping complex to be now), that’s probably because the concept vaguely resembles The Gardens @ Midvalley, Kuala Lumpur. The barren whites for the design, the simple layout which screams elegance, and some tall palm trees at the compound fronting the main road of Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah. Some extra foliage would have been a welcoming touch though.
A notch above the average kopitiams, T.O.S took it to a whole different level when it comes to the interior design
Initially projected to be fully operational by December 2009, but as of today, only one cafe has started operations – Named T.O.S (Taste of South) Coffee Bistro.
Serving a rather plentiful array of local and international delights, T.O.S is supposed to be famous for its brand of southern delights, from the various curries and rendang to Katong Laksa, Mee Mamak, and even some Western fares such as Spaghetti and Chops.
Wait. Famous is a rather loose term to use here, for the curries recommended were served in less than 10 minutes. Possibly less than 5, but I was not keeping track. Readily-cooked curries are okay with me, for you can’t hope for freshly prepared curries at any one time. But at least re-heat the curries properly before dishing them out in front of the guests, in their most lukewarm manner. Even cold, when I tasted my first spoonful of the gravy.
The “Ying Yong” Curry Rice (RM8.50/USD2.40) is one of their recommended signatures, pairing a bowl of Monster Curry Chicken and Cinnamon Curry Chicken with white rice. Comparatively speaking, I preferred the latter for the taste was not that psychedelic, compared to the very sour (nope, I don’t even bother to use tangy nor appetizing) Monster Curry. No vegetables was served together with the rice and curries, as evident from the shot above.
Okay, so the curries did not succeed in pleasing us. How about the other specialty then? The Spaghetti with Special Wanton (Meat Dumpling) and Mushroom Sauce (RM8.30/USD2.40)? The pasta was okay, smothered in the thick and creamy mushroom sauce. But the garnishing of shredded seaweed was a little off, for the taste did not match at all. And the dumplings were horrendously salty! The minced meat (chicken, as NO PORK is served at this outlet) was probably marinated with too much salt or soy sauce, rendering the dumplings almost inedible. The management should take note of this.
Beverage-wise, the Gula Melaka Ais Kacang (Shaved Ice with Mixed Ingredients) (RM4.50/USD1.30) came with measly red beans (not the larger, kidney beans variety), diced jelly, two pieces of attap seeds, strips of grass jelly (cincau) and topped with some corns from the can. The mix of gula melaka (palm sugar syrup) and evaporated milk was rather nice though, not too sweet yet milky/creamy enough to render the concoction from being bland and dull.
The Bubur Terigu was indeed the more familiar Bubur Gandum (Wheat Porridge) or “Mak Zhuk” in Cantonese. Not sickeningly sweet, but still comforting enough, this bowl of sweet dessert was potentially the best item that afternoon. At RM3.50/USD1 per serving.
I never set my expectations sky high, for I’ve been repeatedly disappointed by several kopitiams, cafes and bistros in Ipoh previously. Most recent abysmal experience was at the newly-opened Station 1 Cafe in Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh, a short walk away from Olivenz Cafe, and directly behind Sky Corner. Trust me, you DON’T want to go there. Except maybe for a drink or two.
T.O.S sets a fairly too ambitious menu, as in the case of many ‘Char Chan Teng‘ (Hong Kong style of cafes) in Malaysia. The curries do hold certain potential, for I’ve never tasted good curries in kopitiams (aside from the rather good Laksa at Pak Li’s Kopitiam in Klang Valley), and wacky combination of curries may attract the crowd to have a full meal instead of merely a drink. They do serve their own interpretation of the Portuguese style of gravy, which was explained to me as Japanese curry. Ho-hum.
The service was good, attentive and never intrusive. This, albeit the lengthy amount of time I needed to browse the menu from front to back and repeat ad nauseum. The bistro is pork-free, and there is even an al fresco dining area on the outside.
Location & Contact Number :
T.O.S (Taste Of South) Coffee Bistro
13, De Garden,
Jalan Teh Lean Swee,
Telephone : 605-549 5393, 6012-212 8813 (Alan)
Here’s a GOOGLE MAP TO DE GARDEN @ IPOH
De Garden is situated next to Courts Mammoth, which is opposite of Jusco Kinta City of Ipoh.