Small Tables is a sidewalk cafe serving trendy Ipoh fare like spicy curry mee, fatty, melt-in-mouth roast pork & more

by Christabel Tan

It’s a common sight to see throngs of people making a pit stop at Ipoh for a meal or two — it is one of the best foodie towns in Malaysia, after all.

Here’s a swanky spot to fulfil your poached chicken, curry mee, and chee cheong fun cravings, at none other than Small Tables, a sidewalk cafe in Orchard.

small tables
Photo: Small Tables

Located in Pacific Plaza, the cafe & restaurant takes a trendy, modern approach to Ipoh’s lifestyle of gatherings over meals and watching the world go by, with a minimalist, dark-hued setup of (literally) small tables and long-booth couches.

The interior is decked out with decorative accents reminiscent of a simpler era, such as antique mirrors, retro grill gates, and condensed milk tin cans.

Expect a menu of signature Ipoh dishes ranging from hearty mains to small bites, alongside a selection of beverages like Ipoh White Coffee, tea and wine.

small tables
Photos by Confirm Good

The proudly authentic yet progressive Ipoh Curry Mee (S$20) is the signature dish you’re bound to find on every table. Noodles in a spice-heavy curry base enriched with fresh prawn stock are topped with ingredients like poached chicken, char siu, siu yoke, braised pig’s ears, pig’s skin, poached prawns, bean sprouts, and mint leaves.

small tables
Photo by Confirm Good

As for the noodles, choose from Ipoh Hor Fun, Yellow Noodles, Bee Hoon, Nakaki (Konjac) Noodles (+S$5) or a mix of any two. The hor fun is also made fresh daily in Ipoh with natural spring water (for a silky smooth texture).

You can order either the soup or dry version (I preferred the latter), and even opt for it to be non-spicy (but where’s the fun in that?). Oh, and portion sizes are generous, which explains the higher-than-usual price tag.

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Don’t miss out on the exquisite Ipoh Chee Cheong Fun (S$12), or rice noodle rolls, served with lashings of Ipoh curry, special chilli sauce, green chilli, and crispy fried beancurd skin.

One of my all-time favourite hawker dishes, the Cuttlefish & Water Spinach (S$12), commonly referred to as “cuttlefish kangkong“, is presented as a “modern salad” here. The special sauce is rich and robust, but I’d go for the traditional (and way more affordable) hawker version any day.

small tables
Photos by Confirm Good

Thai moo ping fans will absolutely adore the Chinese-style Pork Belly Satay (S$16) that’s served with a spicy dipping sauce; the skewers were juicy, beautifully charred, and perfectly delicious on their own.

Another meat dish I couldn’t get enough of was the Special Roast Pork Platter (S$24), a sharing platter of house-roasted char siu and siu yoke that elicited many an expression of delight. The char siu, in particular, was the epitome of fatty, melt-in-your-mouth decadence — take me back!

Photo by Confirm Good

Served in the “Ipoh Big Tree” style is the Hakka Yong Tau Foo (S$16), a selection of fried beancurd and vegetables like red and green chilli, bitter gourd, beancurd skin, and five spice meat rolls (ngoh hiang).

Instead of being blanketed in a brown sauce, the yong tau foo here is served with a savoury, mildly spicy dip with a texture akin to that of sambal. It makes the entire dish a lot less cloying, which I can appreciate.

small tables
Photos: Small Tables

If you’re dining in a larger group, do not hesitate to order the while the White Chopped Kampong Chicken with Sand Ginger (S$20 for half, $36 for whole) or the Whole Fish Otah (S$28), which features a whole deboned yellow croaker stuffed with otah and baked in banana leaf.

End your meal on a caffeinated note with the signature Ipoh White Coffee (S$7.50 for hot or cold brew), prepared using coffee beans roasted the traditional Ipoh way. Although I tend to find coffee with condensed milk too sweet for my liking, this Ipoh-style milk coffee was surprisingly well-balanced (I downed the entire cup). Each cuppa is also served with an adorable custard or kaya-filled taiyaki.

Photo: Small Tables

Other alternatives include the Cinosaur (S$6.80), or coffee with milo, and DLC (S$6.80), tea with lemon “muddled and shaken, not stirred”.

Regardless of whether you’ve got a first date, a casual lunch with colleagues, or a haughty mother-in-law to impress, this charming cafe will definitely get the job done!

Reservations can be made by contacting +65 6452 9388.

Small Tables
???? 9 Scotts Road, Pacific Plaza, #01-09/10/11/12, Singapore 228210
???? 11.30am–10pm (Mon to Thu), 11.30am–1pm (Fri & Sat), 11am–10pm (Sun)

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