You don’t need me to tell you that The Loaf, the gourmet bakery and pastry restaurant owned by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is expensive. There are a few outlets that serve full a la carte lunch and dinner menu so you could enjoy the breads and pastries in-restaurant if you wish. I was at the Bangsar Village 2 branch not long ago and found the food to be generally good and prepared with quality ingredients. And since this is a bakery cum cafe themed restaurant, expect a lot of bread to appear in the dishes.
For example, the Creamy Mushroom Soup @ RM18 is served in a big hollow bun. It is noteworthy that Truffle oil is added into the soup for a slightly earthy aroma, which also explains the expensive price tag.
I really liked the Smoked Salmon Croissant (RM16.80) It is light, flaky but not overly flaky to the extent of not being able to hold itself together. The moist and nutty Norwegian smoked salmon slices are the perfect filling while the shaved parmesan cheese topping is ingenious to bring out the former’s flavor.
It was a nice coincidence that the budget hotel I booked at Kuantan is conveniently located just across Hai Peng Kopitiam. But luck seemed to avoid me. Not only our planned trip to Sungai Lembing to check out the magnificient “sea cloud” was marred by a flash flood, Hai Peng was also closed for that particular two days we spent at Kuantan. Disappointed, I searched the GPS for any Kopitiam nearby just for a quick coffee break. Then we found Kemaman Kopitiam, which seemed familiarly well known so off we went.
They just had a facelift recently. After comparing the before (photos I found online) and after (when I was there) I could say the old, nostalgic ambiance is gone. Now, it feels like just like another Old Town along with the thousands of other kopitiams we have in Malaysia.
To non Penangites, Toh Soon Cafe is a small coffee shop situated at a back lane along Campbell Street that serves a variety of bread and toasts, homemade Hainan coffee and nasi lemak. Before the ‘invasion’ of Oldtown Kopitiam, Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Station 1 and others, Toh Soon was THE place in town for coffee.
For us especially the older generation, it is the perfect old place for breakfast and tea break. Many people who work in the shops and market nearby and tourists frequent this place the most. While for me, I just drop by when I have a sudden crave for a rich cuppa Hainan coffee.
Any set of toast or bread with 2 half boiled eggs and a cup of coffee is somewhere around RM3.80 to RM4, a reasonable price if you ask me. The uniqueness of Toh Soon’s toasts is the preparation method by using a super old charcoal stove. In Penang you could probably see this kind of stove at Toh Soon only, partly because it is modified from an oil drum. The rest have converted to electric toaster to save the hassle (you will see why)
Besides having your bread toasted, they also serve it steamed if you like it less heaty. Other choices include Hainan roti, coffee marble bread, low calorie bread etc sourced from a bakery in Kedah called Luan Fong. Just ask what they have for a better idea.