Instead of being trapped inside malls, many of Ipoh's most popular new eateries are lovingly set up in culturally fascinating shop-houses & bungalows that now have a new lease of life, such as The Happy 8 ...
... & STG Tea House, both of which work well for visitors seeking brunch or tea in serene settings.
The Happy 8 is a cafe & boutique hotel in a two-storey streetside building that was a residence dating back to the early 20th century before it was turned into a swiftlet farmhouse for harvesting edible bird's nests. Previously crumbling from age & neglect in Ipoh's Old Town, its timber floors have been reinforced & its interior has been filled with local hardwood & bamboo furnishing.
This is now a welcoming retreat that dishes out everything from chicken chop with Japanese curry (RM24) to vegetarian pizzas & mango puddings.
Vietnamese black coffee & a regular ol' latte (both RM12.90, pricier than expected).
The Happy 8's desserts are supplied by the increasingly ubiquitous Free Mori.
Less than a 15-minute drive away, there's STG Tea House, nestled in a two-level refurbished residence with magnificent white walls & pillars, rattan chairs & a sprawling courtyard garden that all exude old-world elegance.
This spacious restaurant's initials stand for Sabah Tea Garden, a Malaysian plantation; its specialities include salads tossed with tea dust & tea vinaigrette (RM15) ...
... that can be paired with tea macarons ...
... & a green tea latte (with premium Japanese matcha, the menu states; RM11).
Sabah Tea, brewed to order with Spritzer mineral water.
The Happy 8
46 Jalan Market, Ipoh, Perak
STG Tea House
2 Jalan Taman Kinta, Taman Chateau, Ipoh, Perak
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