A heady fusion of cultural influences
8c Lebuh Carnarvon, Georgetown
T: (04) 261 2063
If you’ve come to Penang to experience its fantastic local cuisine, a cafe serving Mexican and Mediterreanean specials may not necessarily be top of your must-visit list. However, like Georgetown itself, The Daily Dose Cafe is a heady fusion of cultural influences, and with its pan-continental menu, great stash of wines and some of the best coffee in Penang, it is much more than your average cantina.
Located on Lebuh Carnarvon, near the junction with Lebuh Chulia, it is also breathing new life into a slightly shabby and neglected street that was once occupied almost entirely by Chinese undertakers. Happily, the coffins – and, more importantly, their dead inhabitants – are now gone, but this is still a great place to sit and watch Penang’s bustling street life, and to catch a snapshot of how Georgetown was before the developers started to move in.
Housed in a traditional 1920s shophouse, the Daily Dose is understated and simple. Inside is a cool mix of metallic greys and whites, punctuated with colourful knick-knacks, some seriously yellow chairs, and some interesting artwork. It has a relaxed, arts-cafe vibe, with free WiFi, and the shady streetfront verandah is a great place to cool off on.
Like everywhere in Penang, the owners really care about good food and one of the main draws here is the daily specials menu, which includes hearty tacos and burritos with crispy-skinned belly pork, piquant Mexican stews and Spanish casseroles, all for around 20 ringgit. Alternatively, try the range of bagels, sandwiches and unusual salads (10 to 20 ringgit) or come slightly earlier for a tempting brunch menu (15 ringgit).
Our favourites are the huevos rancheros, the banh mi with roast pork, pate and pickled vegetables, and the fresh fruit palatas (ice lollies) in flavours such as mango and lavender, cucumber and lime, and hibiscus flower. The prices are not the cheapest in town, but you can almost taste the love that has gone into preparing the food.
The other main draw is the excellent coffee and if you have been subjected to one too many cups of Malaysian kopi, a dose of their freshly ground blend – sourced from an independent producer in KL – will soon perk you up. Meanwhile, bottles of the house Chilean wine (69 ringgit) are also about the best value in Penang, and there is a good stock of ice-cold Coronas, so it would be perfectly possible to come for brunch and not need to leave again until evening.
If you’re feeling guilty for whiling away too many hours here and not taking in some of the cultural sites, the famous Khoo Kongsi is a short walk away, and if you are craving Chinese food, check out the nearby Tek Sen restaurant for inexpensive Hokkien, Hakka and Teochew specialities.
By Mark Thompson
Last updated on 30th August, 2014.