The Old Malaya Cafe is a Malaysian themed restaurant offering Malaysian street food. We visited The Old Malaya Cafe at Tampines Mall recently. It has the potential to be a unique cafe with rustic charm and inviting comfort food but is a case of the best is yet to be.
The Old Malaya Cafe at Tampines Mall is located in the basement food hall. From the outside, the cafe looks quite attractive. It is decorated to resemble an old style coffee shop and has pieces of interesting old furniture and memorabilia dotting the cafe. The space is quite small. Almost half of the place is taken up by the popiah making counter and cashier’s counter at the front and the kitchen behind.
Once you are inside the cafe, it does feel like an old coffee shop in Malaysia. However, so things can get too real in a themed restaurant. Large waste bins in the kitchen area can be seen from the dining area. Used utensils and plates with leftover food are piled up high on one of the dining tables – sort of like what you would have seen in coffee shops decades ago. The cafe is probably a victim of the high rentals and manpower shortage in Singapore but what we saw during our visit certainly did not enhance our dining experience at The Old Malaya Cafe.
The menu is a simple affair with about 10 one dish meals. The Old Malaya Cafe at Tampines Mall operates with a system where you order and pay at the counter. You will be given a number tag to place on your table. The staff will walk around the cafe hunting for your number when your food is ready. That may mean that the server will be walking up and down the cafe with your food for a while before your table is eventually found.
We ordered the Penang Assam Laksa ($5) and JB Trishaw Kway Teow Soup ($4.50). A cup of Kopi O was $1.40. We thought the prices were reasonable as the portion was fairly substantial and they were not stingy with the ingredients.
JB Trishaw Kway Teow Soup was simple comfort food. The light broth was rich and flavourful. The kway teow had a good texture. It was enjoyable like home cooked kway teow soup but with more ingredients.
The Penang Assam Laksa looked the Penang laksa and seemed to have all the right ingredients. However, it lacked the richness of the better Penang Assam Laksa we had tried elsewhere. It satisfied the hunger but not much else.
The coffee was good aromatic kopitaim kopi.
We did not particularly enjoy our experience at The Old Malaya Cafe at Tampines Mall. However, they have a good variety of Malaysian street food and their prices are reasonable. If they can spruce up the place and improve on the service, it could be a good option for a simple affordable meal.
Overall Rating: 2 TOPs
The Old Malaya Cafe at Tampines Mall
4 Tampines Central 5 B1-10
Tel: +65 67899008
Nearby MRT Station : Tampines