Barely three-week-old Kafka, the latest brainchild by ex-Secawan on Hutton Lane co-owner, S. Kishen, is fast drawing in the breakfast crowds in George Town. Located in a re-purposed 1960s bungalow, one block away from sea-fronting Gurney Drive, the place exudes the laidback, casual beach atmosphere which tropical islanders in places like Penang, Bali or Hawaii seem to revel in.
A beautiful abundance of green foliage filled the bright, sunny dining rooms, a collaborative effort between co-owner, Kishen, and the folks from Lunabar Coffee down at Clove Hall Road, where it’s known as much for its specialty blends of good coffee, as for its amazing collection of fresh green plants, ferns, cacti and tropical palms.
What we ordered for breakfast this morning:
Shakshuka (roasted eggplant, coddled egg in a spiced tomato sauce), served with sliced, toasted baguette. This Tunisian rendition - the egg was beautifully runny and the tomato/pepper stew was well-spiced - was delicious and turned out to be the best-tasting among the breakfast options we tried.
Egg Benedict with bacon - perfectly-poached egg: only one egg, perhaps to cater to the Penang dining crowd with their small appetites and a penchant for ordering several dishes at a go for the variety. Very tasty, although I’m not very fond of crusty French bread as a base at the bottom instead of an English muffin.
Beef Rendang Egg Benedict - this is a local variant on the Eggs Benedict, and a quite similar approach as a version we had at Kuala Lumpur’s Yellow Brick Road which serves its Eggs Benedict on pulled BBQ chicken instead of bacon. This one has mildly-spiced beef rendang curry instead. Again, delish, with fall-apart tender beef. The curry could’ve been made spicier, though.
Puffed Three-cheese Omelette (cream cheese, cheddar and parmesan) - it turned out to be a rather too-light, almost bland egg souffle, more than an omelette which we expected. The cheese filling was also too spartan for us to appreciate. Good concept, poor execution.
Buttermilk vanilla pancakes, with fresh blueberries and strawberries & honey - this one was good and “almost” worked: a trio of thick, spongey hotcakes, with very fresh berries, a miniscule square of butter, and a drizzle of honey. Had they been more generous with the butter and honey, it may have worked. Or, if they worked in some ricotta cheese into the hotcakes or threw a handful of blueberries into the pancake batter before cooking. So many if’s or what-could-have-been. The dish was adequate, but nothing to lift it above the ordinary.
Coffees - we tried the house blend long black and flat white were good - strong and aromatic.
Lunch and dinner menus offer some interesting salads, pasta and fish/chicken dishes which we’d need to come back and explore.
15, Jalan Kelawai
10250 George Town, Penang
Tel: +604-218 9726
Opening hours: 8am to 10pm daily.