When in Kluang, you don’t have to go all the way to the Railway Station for a taste of its famous kopi, kaya toast and other signature items, writes PEGGY LOH
|Laksa noodles, mee rebus and chicken curry|
|Chocolate brownie topped with ice-cream|
|Jack serving his regular customers|
My eager but silent reply was “everything”. But I politely settled for a little of everything instead. It’s hard to resist the classic kopi, kaya toast and every other specialty at Kluang Rail Café, a new branch of the famous Kluang’s Railway Station Coffee Shop that has been whipping up the goodies for 68 years!
Just Like The Rail Thing
It’s obvious that “racial segregation” is unheard of here. Coffee shops such as this are still places where friends of every race swap stories or seal business deals over cups of coffee.
Chinese, Malay and Indian youths, office workers and families and even Europeans employed by multinational companies in Kluang and Batu Pahat are frequent patrons who appreciate the café’s ambience and array of food. Some are such regulars that they order without looking at the menu.
Jack Lim, a fourth generation Lim of Kluang’s Railway Station Coffee Shop, has taken over a corner shop in Kluang new town, turning it into the “Toast of the Town”.
Its nostalgic railway theme and décor is keeping in line with the “rail tradition” of the original coffeeshop that operates at the Kluang Railway Station.
There are wooden tables, stools and plank walls with wire-net windows and lots of natural light, but in air-conditioned comfort. Pointing upwards, Jack proudly drew my attention to double railway tracks suspended from the ceiling!
The affable Jack said: “People are just comfortable here, sitting and eating together.” The right mix of trendy ambience, mouthwatering menu and fair prices is clearly bringing people back for more.
From toast and sandwiches to noodles and rice, there are choices of Eastern and Western favourites to suit every taste.
For me, roti khawin (with kahwin spelt the old way) was simply irresistible. Melting butter and kaya oozed out from charcoal-toasted slices of bread and buns, served in white and wholemeal choices. It’s the perfect “marriage” of butter and kaya in a combination that titillates, bite after bite.
Served on greaseproof paper, nasi lemak and mee siam were fond favourites while spicy mee rebus and curry noodles looked equally yummy. I savoured Rail Sandwiches made of mantou (plain pau) filled with sardine, tuna or sambal ikan bilis with crispy cucumber and pungent onion slices.
I was glad I saved some space for a superb sweet ending, a rich blend of creamy coffee with Milo and vanilla flavours in the cool Railway Float and a wedge of Rail Chocolate Brownie topped with vanilla ice-cream.
How To Get There
Kluang Rail Café is located at No. 33, Jalan Manggis and open daily from 7am to 10pm. Closed on Mondays. You can reach Kluang either by rail or by road on the scenic route from Johor Baru or via the North-South Highway and exit at Air Hitam toll to Kluang town.