Mansion 1969 serves local and Western fare and is steeped in the charm of decades past, writes Es Tung
ONE could have easily missed this cafe which sits at the junction of the South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE)’s Teluk Panglima Garang exit and Jalan Klang-Banting. From outside, the black old timber house would not have raised an eyebrow. It is as inconspicuous as most rural houses in the neighbourhood. However, an old bus in its compound caught my attention while I was returning from Morib recently.
As my wife and I entered Mansion 1969 to check out what’s for lunch, I el felt as if we had been transported back to the 1970s. The paraphernalia around the reception area of Mansion 1969 gave the impression that we were in a time capsule of sorts.
The walls of the cafe were decorated with enlarged pages taken from a historical book. Utensils and devices from a forgotten era fill up what is best described as the cafe’s lounge. The items that triggered fond memories of the past included an old kerosene pressure lamp, a lantern-torchlight, a vintage folding studio camera, an old postman’s bicycle, a manual cash register and even an old Olivetti typewriter.
At a corner table, old cameras huddled together beside an old Camedia, a long forgotten digital colour printer. Perched on the timber beam overhead was a convoy of toy buses, a familiar sight in the 70s. I also spotted the space car rocket which those born in the 1960s would remember well.
The dining area sits just behind the coffee bar. Cosily-lit, the dining section has about 10 tables which can be set up in various configurations to take about 80 diners. Fully air-conditioned, the dining area overlooks a shady garden filled with mature rambutan trees and a few others.
Mansion 1969 (the latter being the year the house was built) was set up by three partners. I met one of the partners, Pierre Teh (the others being Dr Ser Wue Hiong and Teh Deng Qi), who gave me a brief history of the year-old cafe steeped in historical charm. Apparently the house was the ancestral home of the Ser family but it has been refurbished.
“Those days, this house was located deep in a forested area. The owners thought they had located this house far enough from development but as you can see, it is today sitting at the junction of two busy roads,” said Teh, who is in charge of the cafe’s daily operations.
“The main structure has been maintained but all the wall partitions for the rooms had to be removed. To air-condition the dining area effectively, we had to modify the ceiling so that the cool air would not escape.
“There used to be a water trough for rain water at the back. It was built with half of it outside the home and the other half inside so that family members could scoop the water for use without having to step out of the house. Unfortunately, that too had to make way for the dining area.
“The garden was originally overgrown with unkempt coffee bushes which we also had to remove. Only the original trees, including the rambutan, were kept.”
The artefacts inside the cafe are mostly from Teh’s own collection. Some, like the books and an old typewriter, were donated by customers.
“That studio camera was given by my former boss from a photo studio in Klang where I once worked,” he said. “The old cash register was bought for RM600 in Malacca in the 1990s and I later found out that it once belonged to a prominent recording studio. I started collecting the items even before people realised their historical value, like the postman’s bicycle which I bought for only RM230 back then.”
Teh is constantly adding to the cafe’s collection of artefacts, including the bus parked outside, which was refurbished for its Western dining area.
Since it was our first time there, my wife and I went for the familiar. She ordered dry chicken curry noodles (RM12.90) while I opted for the green curry rice (RM12.90).
The cafe has its own signature meals like the Golden Age noodles and Sixty-Nine Porridge.
The portion of my wife’s order is large, much to her surprise. It comprises a big piece of curried quarter chicken and a large potato. The noodles are springy to the bite and the chicken tastes almost rendang-like, with soft and tender meat.
My bowl of green curry consists of bite-size eggplant, potatoes and chicken meat bathed in fragrant thick green gravy. The rice has a pleasant almost pulut-like consistency and fragrance. I remember seeing a red chili symbol on the menu book but to my surprise, the green curry is not at all spicy.
I learn that Teh’s partner, Deng Qi, is responsible for the menu. The pork-free cafe serves a wide range of hot and cold drinks, including various teas and coffees, but no alcoholic drinks. There is also no service charge or GST.
MANSION 1969 (PORK-FREE)
Lot 389, Jalan Klang-Banting, Batu 13, Kampung Sungai Rambai, Jenjarom, Selangor
Tel: 03-3191 5969
HOURS Noon-10pm daily; Closed on Tuesdays
FOOD Local and western dishes, with some house specialities.
PICK Everything here is good, says Pierre Teh, Mansion 1969’s operations guy.
MOOD Quiet dining experience with a bit of heritage thrown in. The view of the garden is this place's plus point.
SERVICE Quite fast and efficient.
I SAY... ****