Happy 8 Café Ipoh
If you’re looking for a charming setting to enjoy lunch in Ipoh, Happy 8 Café is full of character. Filled with natural timber and murals of jungle scenes, there is something in every corner to catch the eye. You can enter from the small hotel on Jalan Market or from the alley behind also known as Ipoh’s third concubine lane.
Happy 8 Café Menu
The menu has a home-cooked feel with rice, noodles and kampung chicken. There are also several vegetarian recipes that make us feel healthy with their bountiful veg. Don’t be mistaken as I was and think that the veggie recipes are merely sides; they are indeed complete meals in themselves.
Each of the vegetarian choices come with shredded greens topped with sesame dressing and pickled veg. There are also three mounds of brown rice on the side; plain and two coloured naturally with pandan and red rice.
Nutritionally balanced, each meal also comes with a bowl of soup. Often, it’s a vegetarian option, but today leftovers of a fresh cut of salmon have been added to a base of pumpkin, potato and tomato to create a tasty, silky and thick soup.
From the meat-free menu we try Organic Broccoli with Rainbow Vegetables (RM18), Beautifying Mushrooms with Cherry Tomatoes (RM18), and Organic Okra with Turmeric and Onion (RM18). Each is fresh and clearly made from produce picked recently. The seasonings are mild in flavour and ideally mixed with a spoon of rice, a bunch of salad and a piece of the fruit pickle for optimum flavour.
Happy 8 Café’s signature recipe is Grilled Salmon (RM36) and a meal I think could be shared between two smaller eaters. A plump slice of fish is accompanied by a generous tangle of spaghetti and mushrooms along with salad, pickled fruit and charred baby corn.
Choose a sweet temptation from the cake counter or be guided by barista Winnie. She says the Durian Burnt Cheesecake is their signature but for those not fond of the pungent fruit, the Earl Grey Burnt Cheesecake (RM17) is a close runner-up. The dessert is velvety smooth and creamy. It’s a dense recipe, enough for two, and the gentle thread of Earl Grey elevates without overpowering.
Winnie is also in charge of the beverages and is a whizz on the espresso machine. With 14 caffeinated drinks on the list along with over two handfuls of chilled drinks and teas, no one will go thirsty at Happy 8 Café.
The first item on the coffee menu is mysteriously named Signature “Ni Hao” (RM 16) and comes with a story. Winnie personally delivers the drink and tells the tale of three types of people we might have in our lives and what each brings. Family is associated with love, colleagues with learning, and friends with sharing. She says there’s another category too, strangers, and asks what they might bring. The answer is all three – love, learning and sharing – as they hold the possibility of becoming family, colleagues or friends. She continues that you never know how the people you meet might help you, and that is why this drink, Ni Hao was created. She leaves with one final reflection observing that when we meet others we always ask, “Ni hao?” or “How are you?” but ponders how often we ask ourselves the same question. Her last bid is to take time each night before you sleep to check in on yourself, “Ni hao?”
The coffee is similar to the Vietnamese egg yolk coffee. The addition of the yolk represents sunshine. A dusting of cacao powder on top stands for happiness. It’s suggested to stir the coffee before drinking to bring the sunshine and happiness into your life.
Reasons to visit Happy 8 Café Ipoh: healthy, balanced meal options; charming setting; coffee and cake; if you welcome a chat from the barista, order the Signature “Ni Hao” and bring a little happiness to the moment.
Happy 8 Restaurant Ipoh Opening Hours
Tuesday to Sunday: 11 am – 10 pm