26th. November 2001
Amidst the shops and hawker stalls of Jalan Bunga Raya, until recently Malacca’s main shopping center for over 40 years, there is a gem of a café that offers cool refreshing drinks, good Portuguese-style baked seafood and, of all things, a travel library.
It’s called the Discovery Café and, as the name suggests, quite a find. If you’d like to research the tourist attractions of the state, as well as of the rest of the country, while enjoying a snack and drink, this is just the place.
Mini Travel Library
It’s no surprise then that on hot afternoons, there are always a few tourists in the bohemian café, leafing through the numerous travel books, guides and brochures. According to owner David Heng, many use the café as a center for all their travel information such as transport, phrase books, interesting sites, local customs and rituals. Although the extent of Heng’s travel literature fits into the rustic wooden cupboard he calls library, there is enough material to satisfy the most ardent traveler. In addition, Heng has also added Internet facilities to allow for a more complete search.
“There are few places in Malacca where visitors and tourists can get the information they need. But I wanted to set up a place where people can browse through travel books and brochures at leisure over a drink or a meal.?Said Heng.
Food & Drinks
The food here is by no means secondary. Heng serves on of Malacca town’s best Portuguese baked fish, which is actually crisp barbecued fish topped with hot and spicy sambal sauce. His café also offers baked crab, baked prawns and seafood served in various styles.
Several other Malaccan specialities like Pongteh chicken (RM4.50 to RM 10), Ginger Chilli Lala (RM10), a type of shellfish cooked in spicy hot sauce, and hot Portuguese favourite dish Devil Curry (RM4.50 to RM10).
Ther is also a selection of coffee and tea that is extensive enough to rival any of the designer cafes, not to mention an interesting list of fruit and vegetable juices like Sour-sop Milk at RM4 each.
The café is decorated with knick-knacks from the past like pre-war sewing machines modified into tables, old grandfather clocks, yellowed photographs of Malacca, pots and kettles. The colours are vibrant and lively, and further emphasise the bohemian characteristics of the café. The café is divided into two section; an interior showcasing the past and the outdoors.
Dining under the stars may not be all that uncommon, seeing as how there are so many hawker stalls by the roadside. However, at Discovery Café, the ambience is special. The glittering lights that adorn the poles and trees, the soft music and smell of open air cooking make dining outdoors here almost magical.
of Malacca Town
The second floor of the café is for special functions and to accommodate guests on days when business is exceptionally good. The rooftop is an experience in itself, especially during sunset. From here, you can look out past the quaint rooftops of the old pre-war houses in the Jonker area to the new bridge across Malacca River and the Stadthuys building yonder.
Such a breathtaking view, in a place that provides loads of information on travel for the mere price of a drink and snack makes the Discovery Café a splendid little outlet.