It is quite impossible to miss Ratha Curry House in Raub thanks to its strategic location. You don’t even have to look for it because the restaurant presents itself right smack at the junction leading in and out of the town centre.
Restoran Ratha is inarguably the most famous in town where you will find tourists and locals alike flocking to enjoy a variety of curry dishes, especially their signature Fish Head Curry. I was initially quite skeptical about the watery looking curry but after tasting it I could understand why they are so popular. However, we did not order the Fish Head Curry because there were only two of us and we would not had been able to finish it.
After checking out from Eight Acres, we decided to have lunch at Raub town before driving back to KL. But first we needed some local insights so I consulted my university mate, whose hometown is in Bentong and has been operating an eatery in Raub for the past few years.
He suggested me a few worthy makan places and they were: Ratha Curry House – arguably the most popular restaurant in town, the two coffee shops along Jalan Tun Razak that serve decent coffee and traditional toasts, or at a Chinese bakery called Kim Fah. All of them are located downtown and you could actually walk to them within minutes due to the fact that Raub town is not exactly big.
We hit the Tea House first which sells a variety of pastries and also some other local food like Chee Cheong Fun. If you set the expectations straight (as warned by my Raub friend) you will find the pastries satisfying at least, else there wil be some disappointment.
As much as I want to praise the pastries like others do, I couldn’t find anything spectacular about them. Don’t get me wrong though they are really not bad, but nothing fantastic either. Well, maybe except for the ‘Char Siu Sou’ which was above average and is actually worthy of bringing home.
Many hotels and resorts claim to be eco-friendly and often use it as a selling point. But how eco-friendly are they actually? Would the acts of harvesting rainwater, installing energy-efficient bulbs, use less washing chemicals and encourage re-use of towel and sheets be enough to categorize them as eco-friendly? Some would proudly claim so but the people at Eight Acres are not only doing a lot more than that, they are continuously improvising.
For the uninitiated, Eight Acres is a boutique lodge located in a valley among the fruit orchards, oil palm and rubber plantations in Raub. Like the name implies, Eight Acres is indeed 8 acres in size and was previously a basically a jungle consisting of oil palm and durian trees.
After a few years of careful planning and execution, the resort has finally finished its major constructions, which includes the Brick House (a bungalow consisting of six different themed rooms), a hydro system to power up the resort, a five-step water filtration system as well as some camping tents for the more adventurous.
Durian trees are aplenty at Eight Acres and if you are here during the durian season, you would even get to pick and eat them as soon as they fall off for a minimal fee. Two main varieties of durians could be found here: the highly popular and in my opinion the best – Musang King and D24.
And if there’s one thing Eight Acres is proud of their durians, it would be fact that they are grown without any use of pesticides. So even though the fruits don’t look as perfect as those you could buy on the streets, they taste better. The same for the water too – which is sourced from the stream hence cooling and more refreshing. Plus, it does not taste as ‘strong’ as what we get back in the city since it is void of chlorine.
Besides guests and staff, farm animals roam freely in the resort too. The idea is to rehabilitate the land back to its original condition with hopes of attracting the inhabitants of the wild that used to make their home here. Hornbills are one of them.
Among the six available rooms (Renewal, Contemplation, Discovery, Exploration, Surreality and Culture) we were given the Discovery room which can accomodate three @ RM660/night (no toiletries included so bring your own). The room has two single beds and is entirely surrounded by walls of book shelves filled with donated books.
If you look closely at the room’s finishing you will find that they do not look new although the Brick House had just been completed not long ago. This is because most of the building materials for the Brick House are from reclaimed sources. For example, the wooden flooring are recycled from old buildings, while the walls are constructed using blocks of compressed wood chips.