RECYCLED GEMS

Never underestimate things from rubbish for you might find gold in them.  I told Gabby this while we walked our way towards Armenian Street in George Town after alighting the ferry from Jetty. The little-big boy, at first was puzzled until I simplified what it means.

I was surprised when our 7-year-old wonder boy is already familiar with the triple R –recycle, reduce, reuse. Apparently, his mom and teachers have been doing their duties wonderfully. Our casual father-and-son conversation became more meaningful when we spotted several used bath tubs now serving as plant boxes lining the street. Whoever thought of that must have been so environmental-friendly.

As Tina usually wants to spend her Sunday at home whenever possible (for she  thinks and I also agree that she deserves a rest before she begins another work week), it was only Gabby and I who went out to the Island primarily to run some errands (we needed to go to a money changer to have our ringgits changed to pesos as we’re going home to Pinas for the holidays, we also had to buy some ingredients for Tina’s home cooked siomai and a few more pasalubongs for our relatives and lastly, I was asked by my lovely wife to bring her old denims for a change of zippers in a repair shop). However before doing all this, I decided to drop by AMELIE CAFE and grabbed the opportunity to expose my kid to something totally different.

that gem in the mirror

Located in #6 Armenian Street beside a famous tourist spot, Cheah Si Sek Tek Tong that we have yet to explore some other time, AMELIE CAFE is a hole-in-the-wall cafe that serves quality Western food in the heart of George Town.

At  first sight, one would not imagine that this tiny food place can provide a charmingly beautiful gastronomic experience. It actually looks like an ordinary carinderia outside, housed at the ground floor of a pre-war building except that its simple facade was made attractively beautiful by those lavish green potted plants and its unique hand-made sign boards express that there must be more than meets the eye. 🙂

Amelie Cafe is open from 10AM daily except Mondays

Having been an expat for more than a year here in Penang, I completely know that this Malaysian state, particularly in one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, George Town, offers diversities not only in race, religion and color but evidently in culinary department as well. Like mushrooms in the woods, hawker food stalls, restaurants and coffee shops are having healthy competitions despite they thrive side by side.  Food in this part of Asia is more than substantial but a lucrative business too.

With the commercially available kedai kopi like Starbucks Coffee, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf including the popular local kopitiam and the like, AMELIE CAFE, in my honest opinion has greater advantage above all these giants.

It’s edge –the highly creative atmosphere out of recycled materials.

Take a peek at what we had enjoyed inside…

It’s like we entered a hole-in-the-wall eatery-slash-museum-slash-art-gallery. Amazing’s an understatement! 🙂

No corner was overlooked; even its humble ceiling deserves a glimpse.

On top of the door were tin plates displayed beneath those water plants (I’ve known them as celia as told by my old relatives; we have some at home in Butterworth cut from the jetty/ferry station) placed in old bottles of various branded fruit jams.

What’s great with all of these decors, I think they’re highly mobile as the owners can move them from one corner to the other making the interiors of Amelie Cafe uniquely different in a snap.

There’s only one ceiling fan without unusual look but nonetheless functional.

Must have that detail shot…

i want to take that dog & cat painting home!

On the left side by the door is a table and this wall…

Who says you cannot create remarkable things out of rubbish?

As we stepped inside Amelie Cafe, we found out that it only has 5 small tables filled with mostly foreigners dining their brunch. Fortune was on our side when we spotted an available table located at the end, just by the kitchen. No worries for Gabby and I because astonishingly, smoke from the frying pan is handled professionally. I didn’t mind being welcomed by the gentle wafting scent of the bacon at late morning; it was so welcoming actually! 🙂

The limited 5 tables with 3 to 4 stools each do not come in set. Even their plates, cups and saucers never look alike but when put together they contribute to ones’ fantastic dining experience.

Don't let the simplicity of the table and stools fool you; the total dining experience here is more than you can imagine.

The finish of the walls, floor and ceiling was not made perfect but it added to its enticing appeal.

We were greeted by Yen, one of the owners of Amelie Cafe. It’s only Yen and her husband, Hung run the entire show at their very quaint food place. The wonderful duo serve as wait staff, at the same time, do the preparation of food, do the cooking and tender the cashier counter and if chance permits, entertain their diners.  Fantastic! 🙂  I just failed to ask them if they have formal education in culinary or in related fields nevertheless, I think it’s no longer important as they’ve been managing everything at Amelie Cafe smoothly and successfully.

As Gabby and I sat down, Yen handed in the menu…

menu with hand painted cover, made out of cut-out cartons.

She told us, pointing with her thumb (the way Malaysians do it-not the common use of index finger or for us Pinoys, with a pouting lips, hehe!) to the uber artistic dessert menu board beneath the stairs.

After getting our orders, I asked if they have tandas (toilet), Hung pointed towards the back of the kitchen. The kitchen looks like this…

The Kitchen : Everything's prepared and cooked here. Nothing more, nothing less. Isn't it amazing?

These are some of the artworks located above our table. Other than the use of recycled materials, did you notice the recurrent theme?  Mother Nature must be super happy! 🙂

Can you spot that solitary little fish inside the jar that was made into its aquarium and a plant vase too?

Humor in recycled art : Old wooden planks nailed side by side painted with fish spines and dog bone noted with “meow” combined with “oof oof !” ….Nice! 🙂

I believe the couple also did all those colorful pieces. And it looks like they’re also responsible designing the whimsical interiors of Amelie Cafe. How many businessmen do their work with complete hands-on?

With all those eye-catching things, waiting for our orders to be delivered and boredom inside Amelie Cafe didn’t become an issue. After 15 minutes, Gabby and I were already sharing these…

I gave him the liberty to go over the menu and choose whatever he wants. He selected carbonara, hazelnut chocolate parfait and chocolate banana milkshake. That was pure carbo-glucose fix!

After that candid shot, my boy asked me to dunk my fork and eat all those crispy cut bacon strips from the pasta because he doesn’t eat bacon and seldom he likes ham. Sure, I replied to him; I became easily submissive with his wish. 🙂

As Gabby continuously dreams of becoming a chef, a hotelier, restaurateur someday, I told him that putting up a carinderia as gorgeous and attractive as Amelie Cafe would do. Thinking of owning something like this is more than surreal!

Hazelnut parfait was a perfect ending to our mini-brunch. It came with fresh cranberries that Gabby wrongly thought of cherries. The pasta plate was also satisfyingly good, although minimal in serving and less creamy than usual–the taste actually made the difference. And the milkshake?  Refreshingly delicious!

Honestly, the food doesn’t come that cheap compared to what you might expect. The price is comparable to Starbucks Coffee’s. A little more expensive than the common fast food joints. But hey, you don’t get all these visual treats from those commercial food places.

Then the moment of “must sample their coffee” dawn upon me…

The first sip of this cappuccino was for Tina. Yeehaa! 🙂  I really wished she’s with us with this (another) extraordinary experience.

The table where we enjoyed everything…

Just before ending our meal at Amelie Cafe, Gabby told me that he liked everything he ate and appreciated all things he saw inside.  Like me, he loved all the artworks, all the delightful clutter including the simple presence of that fish solitarily swimming in that old jar.  The sense of recycling old things and turning them into great use rather than considering them as useless junks was reinstilled in his young mind. The exposure brain-washing, I guess was successful! 🙂

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38 thoughts on “RECYCLED GEMS

  1. .. indeed a unique set-up cafe restaurant experience, gelo! got curious of the “brain-wash” thing you posted on your wall about gabby, haha! 🙂

    1. at the time of our visit, those plates were only on display. i think they’re just decorative however the ones used to serve food are also noteworthy…i’m not sure if their coffee is really illy or its cup only… i forgot to ask. i was mesmerized by the art works all over… ang husay ng lugar, ang liit lang pero parang ibang dimensyon ang pinasukan namin! kakaiba! 🙂

  2. tama, from the outside, it doesn’t look like a place where they would serve great food. but the place looks so great! may pagka rustic ang dating! nice!

    1. hi carla! it may have a bit expensive dishes compared to common hawkers here that you’ve experience but as mentioned, amelie cafe is unique in its own. nakakatuwa lang kasi sa sobrang liit nya, dinadayo talaga ng turista. ang husay! 🙂

  3. That place has a lot of character! I like the pic of that old table with the uncoordinated stools. Mas romantic siguro kung isa duon sa stools is an inverted kerosene can na ginawang pang-igib ng tubig at isa sa paa ng lamesa ay maiksi at may ilaw sa gitna na gasera na kukulap-kulap LOL. During my field days in Pinas, I’ve been to places like that but unlike the one you blogged here, the food was dirt cheap and only tasted good if you were terribly hungry but the owners treated you like long lost relatives and I missed that…..a lot.

    1. “gasera na kukulap-kulap! hahahaha 🙂 ‘kaw talaga mang bert! 😀

      ….i know what you mean, you’re fortunate you’ve experienced such rustic and natural pinoy hospitality.

  4. man that resto is so cool. i wish i can visit it! i love hole in the wall kind of places. they have so much character and it kind of makes you feel that they are sincere. your boy is lovely. i think he is a smart man so good job there. also, i noticed you run a lot of errands! haha. but two thumbs up for giving the wife a break. that’s awesome.

    1. thanks, pm! buti na lang maraming errands depsite its weekend kasi nagkaroon ng dahilan para dumaan sa amelie cafe.nasubukan namin ni gabby tuloy. 🙂 dapat ma-sampolan ni tina din iyon minsan. next year na siguro… 🙂

      1. haha ikaw pa lang yata ang nadinig ko magsabi ng buti na lang maraming errands despite the weekend 😆 alam mo may ganiyan din dito eh, saverde yung pangalan. paborito ko din siyang puntahan. 🙂 pauwe ka na ba dito niyan? woohoo pasko na!

  5. the eclectic decor lends itself to a more cozy feeling. it’s like going to a friend’s house for coffee and eats.

    i patronize little businesses like this one here. there’s one breakfast place here that decorates it’s interiors with old household stuff from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. it sets the mood for the diners.

    uuwi pla kayo. happy christmas. is the rate higher in penang than in pi that’s why you’re changing money there before you leave?

    1. i’m glad you appreciate and patronize this kind of cafe too.
      going there with gabby was a breather for our usual-mcdonald’s fast food dining.

      yup, we’re going home sooner than you think, hehe (within the week). we need some pesos because we’re only commuting from the airport to my family’s place. kailangan ng piso sa bus at taxi. 🙂

  6. That is such a lovely place! 🙂 A delightful and eco-friendly clutter it is. I hope to visit Amelie Cafe given the chance, or some place similar kahit dito lang sa Pinas. I haven’t been to hole-in-the-whole food spots yet eh. I’m also impressed with the cafe’s owners. It’s not everyday that you get to meet cafe owners who do the food prepping, customer attending and all the operations.

    1. fascinating, isn’t it? good you liked it too, sumi.
      minsan you feature turo-turo or the mobile food stores around offices in makati area in your food blog; panalo iyon! 🙂

  7. OMG THIS IS SUCH A LOVELY PLACE! And it’s actually hard to put together a place like this, I mean di naman any any yung recycled things di ba, may attention to detail pa rin na kailangan.

  8. yan nga yung sinasabi ko sa mga kasama ko ang pagiging resourceful may kikitain tayo jan… oh diba.. akala ko din sa unang tingin ko jan parang junk resto… pero ang cool ng concept super na appreciate ko…

    1. hey, welcome to my humble blog, jeniffer; thanks for dropping by!

      oo, may pera sa recycled materials. sana magkaroon kami ng ganitong uri ng negosyo bullet-day (balang-araw!) 🙂

    1. with your vast experience in traveling and great exposure to various cultures, i know you’re one those who can appreciate something artsy.

      my family and i also want to own similar business like this someday.
      pagnagbukas iyong cafe/B&B mo, do invite us ha. hehehe.. 🙂

      thanks, gay! have fun around the globe and stay safe.

  9. Looks like such a cute place to eat, and, once again Doc congratulations on your gorgeous photos! I hope you, Tina and Gabby have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the company of your family.

  10. What an amazing cafe! I love how they recycled products and I love the little dining table that you and Gabby shared. Nakakatakam yung Hazelnut Parfait!

  11. Pretty weird cafe but unique and makes it popular to tourists talaga. I guess you’re really brave enough to take all those pictures in detail, buti walang nangharang sayo na wag kunan ng pictures mga yun? hahaha ako shy ako sa ganyan e hehehe

  12. Interesting! I suppose the owners enlist the help of people doing the scavenging work for them as they recycle-reuse what would have otherwise been trash!

    Buti pa kayo uuwi for vacation. Next year pa ako. I’m surprised you got your Philippine pesos dyan sa Malaysia – I always get my dollars exchanged in the Philippines kasi the rate is more favorable.

  13. I love the bistro! Thanks for ‘taking’ us there, seriously.

    Mahusay po kayong teacher, nakikita ko the way you brain-washed Gabby. I am sure you’re brilliant in the class- and laboratory rooms.

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