Old Town White Coffee, City Mall, Kota Kinabalu

Old Town White Coffee is a kopi tiam style coffee shop. A retro eatery from yesteryear featuring coffee made popular in Ipoh, a state of Malaysia.

Sit down, choose, hand over your order and chat.We ended up going there quite by chance. I had called in the posse for a Big Apple Donut taste testing, but when we arrived they were fresh out of donuts, so we had to kill 30 odd minutes waiting for the next batch. The other night Julia and I tried Old Town, but we arrived too late and the kitchen had closed. This time, we were still in time to grab some goodies from the kitchen.

As the name suggest, Old Town White Coffee has a specialty drink, and that is the drink of white coffee, the way they roasted in Ipoh year ago. White coffee, in essence, is coffee with milk in it, as opposed to black coffee, you see? If you ask me, a straight up white coffee taste very much like a Nescafe 3-in-1 (one of those just-add-water tubes of powder with coffee, creamer and sugar all in one), so it’s not my favourite. There are, however, several variations that you can choose from, and those I whole heartedly recommend.

In the meantime, I had ordered a Nan Yang Memorably (sic), which is the Old Town equivalent of a cappuccino and is thankfully much unlike a Nescafe 3-in-1 and is quite palatable. I also had virtually-raw egg on toast (eleven at night and I’m having breakfast?), whilst John ordered some peanut butter toast and Julia got some unidentified-but-sweet-tasting bun type thing which disappeared down our collective gullets very quickly.Old Town White Coffee’s charm is that they do food and drink the way it has been done in Malaysia for decades. I guess that it’s popular with the older crowd. They have a great atmosphere, good decor, and great prices, which is probably the reason why it’s popular with the younger crowd. But young or old, there is an unmistakable vibe at Old Town, a busy menagerie of conversations that draws you inside and instantly makes you part of the neighborhood.

The food and drinks at Old Town White Coffee is exceptionally affordable, and you know something special is going on there, because day or night, this place is always packed. There are booth types seats and the old style table-and-chairs setup, with the tables and chairs featuring marble tops – I have to say, not the most comfortable of seats, but it keeps you moving and conversation interesting.

At the moment, the kitchen closes at 11pm, but soon, said one of the managers, the kitchen will run until midnight and they will stay open till 1am. This is great news for everybody, and there’s many bodies, who loves Old Town White Coffee.

If you find yourself in City Mall in Kota Kinabalu, you need a break, but you don’t want yet another Starbucks coffee (can’t imagine why not, but hypothetically), then head on over to Old Town for a drink and snack.


  • John Saw

    9 January 2008 at 03:29

    To my understanding, this White Coffee is not coffee with milk. It refers to the fact that no butter was added when the coffee bean was roasted. So, the roasted coffee bean used in White Coffee is mocha in color (I know is not white, LOL) as opposed to the dark brown to almost black color of a coffee bean which was roasted with butter.

  • cracked1979

    29 May 2012 at 16:54

    Tastes like a regular coffee, nothing special but when you are a tourist and you need to unwind outside the hotel, this is the best place to be. It's a very popular eatery in Kota Kinabalu and you haven't been to it if you haven't been here (exaggerated? lol)

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