From themed cafes to those selling specialty grade coffee, the capital city of Kelantan has them all, writes Hanna Hussein.
SOME may say that Kelantan is a dowdy state with nothing much. I beg to differ.
Okay, there may not be skyscrappers in Kelantan but this charming state in the east coast of the peninsular isn’t that old-fashioned.
You’ll be surprised that Kota Baru, the capital city, has kept up with the hipster scene just like in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Ipoh and Penang.
So here I am in Kota Baru to explore a couple of cool and trending hipster cafes. First stop, Kopi Mesin.
This little coffee shop in Kubang Kerian may look like a typical kopitiam but Kopi Mesin offers specialty-grade coffee.
It uses a hand-crafted blend from three distinct direct trade single origins — Mountain Mogiana from Brazil, Sigri Estate from Papua New Guinea and Kaapi Royale Robusta from India. This blend is masterfully roasted to a medium roast for a fully complex tasting coffee.
I’m not a coffee drinker. But since I am already here, I may as well do some premium coffee-tasting.
The coffee menu is quite extensive. For those who do not really know coffee (like myself), the menu provides illustrations.
There’s a choice of expresso, latte macchiato, doppio, flat white, cappucino, americano, cafe latte and mocha.
Kopi Mesin also serves non-coffee choices such as chocolate, teas and more.
I ordered the signature drink — German iced coffee — while my sister and mom try the Matcha ice blended and hot mocha.
Kopi Mesin undoubtedly wins my heart and tastebuds. The German iced coffee, popularly known as Eiskaffee, is an interesting mixture of coffee and ice-cream. It’s a must-try. It is rich and bitter, with a twist of creamy vanilla sweetness. Yummy!
Kopi Mesin offers a lot of dishes too. I recommend the Kapsalon chicken or lamb. Priced at only RM10, it’s a mix of fries and meat with a special spicy sauce.
For heavier options, try the cheesy chicken grill and cheesy lamb grill — both have generous portions, priced at RM13 each.
Address Lot 572 Batu 3Ω, Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra, Kubang Kerian, Kota Baru, Kelantan
Opening Hours 9.30am-midnight
Price Cheap! From RM2 to RM13
For dessert, my sister and I head to Tiny Elephant. Here, you can find the best soft-serve ice cream in town.
The little shop is crowded but we manage to get a table outside. Orders can be made at the counter inside.
For soft serve, you choose a base of either cup or handmade cone. Then you pick a flavour and add toppings. Easy.
It also serves tempting desserts such as buttermilk waffle with soft serve (which we order), hot snacks such as fries, pop corn chicken and pizza.
For beverages, we try the specialty which is Milky Butterfly, a combination of milk and butterfly pea tea. It’s said to be a favourite of many customers. The cafe sells coffee too!
Address 1122, T/B, Jalan Tengku Petra Semerak, Bandar Kota Baru, Kota Baru, Kelantan
Opening Hours 12.30pm- 11.30pm
Price Affordable. RM5 -RM19.
HEDWIG BOOKS & CAFE
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you must not miss the one and only wizardry-themed cafe in Kubang Kerian.
Once you step into the cafe, you’ll be transported into the world of this popular franchise.
Be part of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry students as you can play dress up with robes and props.
Psst.. there are also a few wands you can pick — or let the wand pick you!
It’s a photogenic cafe where you can take a few selfie shots.
There are a few photo spots in the cafe including the fireplace, bookshelves and the iconic 9 æplatform. Be sure to not come alone.
There’s a reason it is called Hedwig Books & Cafe — here you can chill and read the array of books available while enjoying a cuppa.
There are also board games you can play including Harry Potter-themed Scrabble and UNO Stacko.
Interestingly, the food has a witch theme. Cute!
My sister and I try the Hedwig Choco Cake, which is rich and chocolatey, as well as the McGonagall Mac and Cheese.
For drinks, we just have iced mocha and iced macha.
Address PT 1667 Tingkat 1, Jalan Raja Perempuan Zainab 2, Kubang Kerian, Kota Bharu
Opening Hours 10am-10pm
THE BOLD LAB
Another coffee hangout in Kota Baru is The Bold Lab.
As the name suggests, this quirky cafe has a lab theme, thus the flasks, beakers, test tubes and other wacky lab equipment as interior decoration.
Bold Lab serves specialty-grade coffee. The menu includes hand-brewed coffee using pourover, aeropress and siphon techniques.
It also serves non-coffee beverages such as tea, match, chocolate and exotic mocktails.
My sister and I want to go all out so we order the Peach Jab mocktail, a homemade peach tea. It’s sweet and refreshing.
We also order the signature hot chocolate. We are surprised to see that it comes with a cup of warm full cream milk with hard dark chocolate on a stick to mix it ourselves.
A plate of delicious carrot cake goes great together with our sweet drinks.
Address PT 2497, Kg. Cherang, Jalan Abdul Kadir Adabi, Taman Kenangan, 15200 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Opening Hours 11am-11pm