Pictures by Gisele Soo
dé Cafe and Rest House
So many restaurants and cafes are now open but how to decide on where to go or what to ‘tapau’?
If you happen to be hanging around old town, you could be eating at a myriad of small coffee shops and cafes and not run out of choices.
One small cafe that has escaped my attention is dé Cafe and Rest House on Hugh Low street or Jalan Sultan Iskandar. Situated on the right side of the road, it is about 100 metres before the traffic lights turning to the padang. Louisa Loh, my new Foodie Kaki and artist extraordinaire, insisted I must try their specialties and off I went the moment restaurants were allowed to have dine-in guests.
Young proprietor Dawson Tham, who hails from Pulau Ketam (Crab Island) is a young man who is proud of his birth place, renowned for its seafood.
Waxing lyrical about the abundance of crabs and other crustaceans from his hometown, he has taken traditional dishes to a new level.
Like his Nasi Lemak.
Eschewing regular prawns (often used in the sambals), he has decided to offer mantis prawns instead and serves them battered and fried as an accompaniment to this traditional dish. Just as we may occasionally have a piece of fried chicken or fried fish with our Nasi Lemak, here at dé Cafe, we have Mantis prawns, which are sweeter and more tender than regular prawns, RM10.
Served with a well-balanced sambal, neither too sweet which is the usual case, nor too spicy and you can taste the belacan without it overpowering you; the sambal is a lovely compliment to the fried egg over green veg served on the platter.
Another option is the Nasi Lemak accompanied by a petai, prawn and sotong sambal (RM11), again with the same crispy fried anchovies and peanuts. I loved the plain sambal so much that I had to ask for an extra portion to go with my coconut rice.
Dawson also ventures into western dishes with his Pesto spaghetti ranking high on my list of favourites. Cooked al dente and tossed with his homemade pesto sauce, fresh mushrooms, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, specially imported Spanish olive oil and grated parmesan, this is a vegetarian dish par excellence and one that should delight the vegetarians amongst you, RM16.
Another fusion option which I found most innovative is their Fuyu Pasta, a pure vegetarian dish using Chinese fermented bean curd (the white variety) creamed with milk. The addition of sultans imbued it with a tang of sweetness while the fried tempeh pieces added more protein content to the dish. All in all a most healthy dish, RM12.90. I had it ‘tapau’ed’ home and even after putting it in the microwave (for less than a minute as advised), it still tasted al dente and moist. Worth considering when deciding what to serve the family for dinner.
Whether you’re dining in (they adhere very strictly to social distancing SOPs) or doing takeaways, the piece de resistance which you MUST order is their Yam cake. Layers of creamed fresh purple yam are sandwiched between fluffy sponge cake and topped with a layer of whipped cream.The addition of santan is the added magic. Not too sweet and Paradise in a mouthful. You can try it out at RM14 for a wedge and RM75 for a whole cake.
So whether you dine in or do a takeaway, do check out dé Cafe. I promise you a taste treat and while you’re at it: HELP THE SMALL BUSINESSES.
dé Cafe & Rest House
35, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 30000 Ipoh, Negeri Perak
Tues- Sun. 10am – 5.00pm