Friday, November 25, 2011 By: cyn~♥

Invited Review: Nolstagie Cafe @ Stewart Lane, Penang

Little cafés, heritage buildings.. a combination which is not originally something Penang Island is famous for, but is quickly gaining popularity among Penangites and tourists alike. And it's no wonder because these quaint little cafés, majority of which are located in heritage buildings, possess a certain charm that makes you feel right at home from the moment you walk into the café. I simply love chancing upon new cafés while driving around town, or hearing about them through friends (after which I bug Jac incessantly til he gets fed up and takes me there just to keep me quiet ;))

Nostalgie Café was one of those which I heard about through a friend - and I got all excited, because it's been a while since I lazed an afternoon away at a café. I was in Korea when the café first opened its doors, and the day after I arrived back in Penang I dragged Jac out to go searching for the café.

A view from the front..

Located along Stewart Lane, the café occupies a spacious double-storey corner lot in a row of heritage shophouses. Be warned though, parking can be a real pain since there are limited parking spaces available - you may need to circle the area a couple of times before you finally get a parking spot. Be patient and presevere, you'll soon see why dining at the café is totally worth braving the parking hassle..

The cover of Nostalgie's menu - designed and custom-made by the owners

Our first visit here, we were on our own - it was only Nostalgie's fourth day of business. A week or so later, we received an invite from Criz to attend a review session, so this post will cover the food we sampled in both visits.

Cozy outdoor seating; open-air seating right in the middle of the shophouse; a sofa at the back of the café; the staircase leading up to the second floor, currently a work-in-progress - once done, Nostalgie will double up as a café-cum-boutique hotel

Random shots taken around the café..

Still on random shots..

And yet more random shots.. I know, Jac really went crazy with his camera - Nostalgie café is one of those that you just can't stop taking pictures of!

The moment I walked in to the café I just fell in love - it's the picture of tasteful simplicity, and has that old-style charm that I'm guessing was the owners' intent to re-create (hence the name Nostalgie). I absolutely loved the ornate room dividers that (sort-of) separates the entire ground floor into 3 sections - the front seating area, the open courtyard, and the kitchen/drinks bar area. The doors of the divider were left open, giving the room an airy feel. A vase sits on top of an antique side table right smack in the middle of the divider, probably put there to avoid having guests accidentally trip on the raised partition at the bottom. Jac tells me that this raised partition has a purpose - to keep out the hopping Chinese vampires/ghosts (I really don't know the term - but if you've watched old Chinese ghost movies, you'll know what I mean).

Black-and-white pictures showing various areas of Penang back in the day hang on the walls of the café, along with exquisite Chinese-looking antique wall hangings. The tables and chairs are classic kopitiam style - marble-topped tables, and wooden chairs. The center courtyard is open air, which provides natural lighting to the café on sunny days.

The current capacity of the café - 4 tables that seat up to 6 pax per table, a little cozy corner for 2, and a sofa at the back which is perfect for those who just want to kick back, relax, and enjoy the good company of friends.

Pitter patter.. it was raining cats and dogs during our second visit

On certain special days (read: rainy days) you may be lucky enough to see a pond in the center courtyard. It rained really heavily on our second visit - and a pond blossomed right before our eyes. It's amazing to see - the water level rose til it was almost at the same level as the café floor, but somehow just never spilled over, even though the rain did not let up. This is one place you really wouldn't mind being caught in the rain in, because the rain just adds more to the entire nostalgia theme that is the café.
A beautiful shot taken by Jac.. I love love love this picture!

If it rains reaaaaally heavily though, there may be flash floods along Stewart Lane, and you'll find yourself ankle-deep in rain water as you make your way to the café - reminders of the good ol' times when kids used to love to play in the rain!

Flash flood along Stewart Lane

Moving along.. to the most important part - FOOD! For now, Nostalgie serves mostly Italian-style cuisine (think pastas, pizzas). The options aren't many, but everything on the menu sounded so good that I would have tried everything if I could. The first time we were here, they were fresh out of pizza dough, so we settled for having pasta and a sandwich. Having heard rave reviews about their Chicken and Basil Pesto Linguine (RM21), and since I'm a real sucker for pesto-based dishes, I absolutely had to try this. I usually ask Jac if he's okay with what I select, but not this time - I just pointed at the pesto linguine on the menu and said "I'm having that", and he didn't get a say. :D

We also ordered a Beef Bacon and Cheese Sandwich (RM14). For drinks, Nostalgie serves pretty standard fare - juices, coffee, tea, soft drinks, bottled beer - nothing fancy (for now at least). I ordered a Cranberry Juice (RM6) and Jac ordered a Lime Juice (RM5).

Cranberry Juice (RM6), Lime Juice (RM5)

The Bacon and Cheese Sandwich made it to our table first, and as usual, I patiently waited while Jac snapped away. The sandwich was stuffed with slices of beef bacon, a slice of cheese, a couple slices of tomato, and rocket. It was served with a side of potato wedges that looked so good - I couldn't help myself, I stole a couple of wedges to snack on while Jac was taking his pictures. The wedges were a beautiful golden brown color, and tasted as good as they looked. The sandwich was just as good - the beef bacon was absolutely delish. My only gripe was about the bread - plain white loaf. There are so many other more exciting varieties of bread that could have been used to make this sandwich even better than it already is.

Beef Bacon and Cheese Sandwich (RM14)

A close-up of the sandwich..

During our second visit here, we had a LOT of food to cover - two pastas, two pizzas, one sandwich, and dessert. Joy! We would get to sample a good variety of items they have available.

First up, drinks. We tried the coffees - Iced Café Latte (RM7), Penang White Coffee (RM5). The iced coffees we found a bit diluted, due to most of the ice melting by the time we finished taking pictures. We also had a drink with a bit of a twist, a Cranberry Juice with Longan (RM9).

Iced Café Latte (RM7), Iced Penang White Coffee (RM5), Cranberry Juice with Longan (RM9), Hot Penang White Coffee (RM5)

Moving on to mains.. the Spaghetti Marinara with Prawns (RM24) arrived at our table. Made with homemade marinara sauce, the color of this dish was a beautiful tomato-ey red. It comes with these huge succulent prawns, and is served with parmesan cheese on the side. I really liked this dish, the marinara sauce had just the right amount of flavor, and the only way you could get fresher prawns than the ones served was if you went out and caught the prawns yourself. We thought that it was a bit too dry though, a drizzle of olive oil over the pasta would fix that problem. Jac also thought it wasn't cheesy enough - but then again, he really loves cheese, so if you're like him (a cheese-lover) just ask for extra parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti Marinara with Prawns (RM24)

Next up was the Chicken and Basil Pesto Linguine (RM21). The version we had this round was served with fettucine instead of linguine, wherelse during our first visit here we were served linguine. I can't sing enough praises about this dish - did I mention I love pesto? I've had good pesto pastas, horrible pesto pastas. I'm glad to say that I found Nostalgie's version to be amazingly yummilicious, just pure basil-ly garlicky nutty goodness. Served with little cherry tomatoes, pan-fried chicken breast, and topped off with slices of olives and fresh chili flakes - this was the one dish I wished I had all to myself.

Chicken and Basil Pesto Linguine/Fettucine (RM21)

The Prawn & Chili Pizza (RM30) arrived next. Jac is a huge fan of pizzas (must be all that cheese) so he was practically salivating when the pizza arrived. And it is a pretty impressive-looking pizza - homemade pizza dough, with tomato sauce as the base and topped off with juicy prawns, basil, diced chillies, and lots of mozzarella cheese. I really liked that the ingredients were all spread out evenly so that each slice has all the good stuff on it - each slice had one prawn placed right in the middle. This is one tasty thin-crust pizza.

Prawns & Chili Pizza (RM30)

The second pizza we sampled was the Chicken & Feta Pizza (RM28). This pizza is definitely a unique one for me - it uses basil pesto as the base instead of good ol' tomato sauce! Topped with cherry tomatoes, slices of chicken, little cubes of feta cheese and mozzarella cheese, I absolutely loved this pizza for its unconventional twist.

Chicken & Feta Pizza (RM28)

Yes, we're still going strong.. our final main for the day was a Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich (RM14). Grilled teriyaki chicken fillet, lettuce, raw onion rings, and mayonnaise, sandwiched between two slices of wholemeal bread. Served with French fries, as the potato wedges were not available. I was so sad because I loved those wedges! This sandwich was pretty good stuff too, the chicken fillet was tender and I liked the sweet-salty taste of the teriyaki sauce. I preferred the wholemeal bread used this time round, but I still think there are so many other options for bread that could be used.

Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich (RM14)

Finally we're at my favorite part of each meal. Desserts! Nostalgie currently only has one item on the dessert menu - Carrot Cake (RM12). With only one dessert item, and carrot cake at that, I was initially hesitant about trying it out. I'm not a fan of carrot cake. However I gave it a try and I'm SO glad I made myself try it out, because this cake is the bomb! It's really moist, and super tasty. There's raisins and walnuts, which add a wonderfully nutty flavor to the cake, and a subtle hint of cinnamon. And the cream cheese frosting - just the right amount of creaminess and flavor. However, the cake itself is very sweet - Jac and I found it way too sweet after we had more than a few mouthfuls. It's a great slice of cake, but we would have preferred it to be less sweet. But if you have a sweet tooth you'll really love this!

Carrot Cake (RM12)

The owners of Nostalgie also intend to venture into the boutique hotel business. They are currently in the midst of furnishing the rooms on the first floor of their shophouse - when they are done, there will be 4 rooms available for rent. Being the busybodies that we are, we went upstairs to take a look and at the same time, snap lots of pictures :)

Random shots around the first floor..

Nostalgie Café is currently managed by two lovely guys - Jason and Michael. Jason mans the kitchen and is a one-chef-ship in the back, currently doing all the cooking himself. Michael is the guy covering the floor and drinks as well. I don't envy Michael his job, because it's a whole lot of floor to cover! I am told that Jason's sister Jean is the proud owner of this little café - she's the brains behind the interior design of the café, and is in charge of the marketing side of things too. Jason's parents also help out around the café whenever they can.

So whenever you have one of those lazy afternoons where you just wanna go out and chill with good friends and good food, head on over to Nostalgie.. you won't be disappointed. They are working on expanding their list of food and drinks - I heard Mike does great cocktails, so I'm looking forward to seeing that addition to the menu.

Nostalgie Café
34 Stewart Lane
10200 Penang


Opening hours: 10.00am~1.00pm 6.00pm~9.00pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Contact : 04-2610977

Disclaimer: This is a personal food blog. The opinions expressed here are my own, based on my personal taste buds; others may have different opinions. Also, as we all know, qualities & standards of individual restaurants/food may change over time, so do note the time stamp on this review.

*This review was (partially) sponsored by Nolstagie Café.
Disclaimer: This is a personal food blog. The opinions expressed here are my own, based on my personal taste buds; others may have different opinions. Also, as we all know, qualities & standards of individual restaurants/food may change over time, so do note the time stamp on this review.


Anonymous said...

the operation hours mentioned 10.00am~9.00pm but I went there about 2pm but the staff mentioned to me already closed. If the time change, kindly mention in your web

jacgy said...

Thank you for the update and I am sorry about that. They never notify me that they change their operation hour.

Anonymous said...

Opening hours: 10.00am~1.00pm 6.00pm~9.00pm!

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