Imagine the discussions in the 1950's, when planters and tin miners gathered on Friday nights to discuss anti-communist strategy during the Malayan Emergency.
A Dutch visitor commented: 1920s ambiance reminds me of Amsterdam! Feel at home there immediately....Great place for a cold beer in town or meeting up before going somewhere else. I love sitting there in the afternoon with a drink and making my phone calls, then move on to the next destination. Totally like typical Amsterdam cafes like Weyers and the likes of that.
The Cafe serves up old favourites like chicken chop, Hainanese chicken rice, fried rice and sizzling steaks with lots and lots of gravy. This cuisine is typical of the Hainanese cooks who originated from Hainan way back when. They settled in Malaya and were invariably employed as cooks and house keepers for the orang puteh. The rest houses all over the country and hill station bungalows were run by these 'cookies', often a family affair where the husband was caretaker and chef, and the wife saw to the laundry and making of beds etcAfter a couple of sizzling steaks are grilled to perfection beside your table, you meekly say thank you and attack the succulent meat, guilty and embarrassed that the whole room is now filled with smoke and steam due to your steaks!
Treasured wall clocks and even an old General Electric fridge circa 1970 is still in use. The creaky staircase leads to the antique gallery on the first floor.The best part of this tale is that I only recently discovered Old China Cafe myself, through a French lady who practises acupuncture at a Chinese medical hall in Petaling Street. No kidding. Now who's introducing what to the locals, I ask you?