Coffee Atelier on Lorong Stewart is adjoined with Cafe 55, an art gallery and a boutique hotel, combining arts, living and leisure all in one, occupying 5 prewar shophouses.
Cafe 55 is an artsy cafe, with paintings and artwork collections from the art gallery.
The trio of flashy neon colored paintings make a stark contrast of modernism against an aged wall. On the first impression, I thought they were just abstract art but on a closer look, the first two pictures are durians, presented as processed photos on canvas, making the normally menacing looking durians rather futuristic.
The corridor is a nice area to have a cup of coffee.
While many cafes have “heritage” and “history” in theme, maintaining the shophouses in their original nostalgic tattered state, Coffee Atelier is more than that because real coffee history happened here in this shophouse, where the back of the shophouse was where Kim Guan Coffee Factory used to be.
The history of Kim Guan and the coffee roasting process are explained through panels on the wall. The coffee beans are roasted with sugar, butter and sesame seeds above the crater, or “kawah” and poured onto a steel platform. A minute too early might leave the coffee too sour and a minute too late might render the coffee too bitter.
What touched me the most was that this was the place where a family earned their living with the hard work they do. All the apparatus look very basic; nothing automated; and everything is about experience, timing and the consistent practice to refine the techniques.
A fair amount of selection on Cafe 55’s menu is dedicated to tapas (a la carte or tapas set for 2), with other items like pastas, starters and salads. I went with the aglio olio with pork back bacon (RM 34) where the pasta arrived in an oval swirl with chunky bacon bits to please.
The pasta was al dente and had a chewy texture. A little different to other aglio olios, it was cheesier and infused with the smoky flavor from the bacon. The amount of black olives was rather copious, not just from the chopped olives but also from the black olive powder which I almost mistook for black pepper.
The coffee art was entertaining though you need a bit of patience to enjoy this because I waited for 45 minutes for this hippo coffee to come (RM 15) ! The staff did preempt me that it will take long so be prepared to wait 🙂
Coffee Atelier Official Website
Address : 47 -55 Lorong Stewart, Georgetown, 10300 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +604 261 2261