It was a packed three-day conference that I had to attend recently and the very hotel that held the event was fully booked. Initially I was bummed out foreseeing that I had to choose a place away from all the geeky medical action, but after going through online and booking French Hotel Ipoh, things worked out for the best. Never mind the inevitably cheesy-sounding name but let me assure you the small, boutique-ish hotel is nothing short of affordable luxury.
I enjoyed my three-night stay there not just because the hotel is relatively new - being opened somewhere in 2012 so its amenities and surrounding still look fresh - I also liked the great ambience the ground floor café had to offer. Jose and Deli Eatery appeared so inviting and I could never imagine there's a place in Ipoh with such rustic yet modern sophistication (this is quite a snobbish statement coming from a rather introvert KL-ite though!).
At a first glance the place looks suspiciously familiar to a few cafés in KL under the B.I.G company umbrella. But after a while glancing at what I feel a very mixed decoration thematically (vintage + nautical + country), I instantly felt the distinctions. It was a cosy place and I just felt right at home - I didn't feel like I'm in Ipoh at all. Did I mention that this was my returning visit to Ipoh only after twelve years (the last time was during a school trip for an inter-boarding school wind orchestra competition)?. And did I mention that I was a band geek as well? Haha!
One thing that distinguishes Jose and Deli from other Ipoh eateries is definitely the well thought out, decidedly mixed déco. One section looks vintage and rustic (in a good way), while one corner looks suggestively industrial.
They also sell knickknacks like kitchenware, edibles including various imported fruit juice and coffee and decoration items like these scented candles. The price is affordable but alas, the quality does not justify it - I bought one candle and the aroma is not as vivid as I expected when I lighted the candle at home.
What could be an interesting experiment on fusion food did not materialise as we were at the conference all day long and did not have the chance to sample Jose and Deli's menus. But we did have their complementary breakfast for three consecutive days (a very basic and small-portioned nasi lemak for day one; English breakfast set composing of two sunny side ups and sausages for day two; and a healthy, and rather bland fruit-and-cereal breakfast on day three).
What I particularly like is the bistro-style area outside, near the cafe's entrance - it's a charming sun-washed space next to a big window where patrons could sit and enjoy a cup of coffee whilst people watching...
Words and images by Hafidzudin Zainal