Capital Cafe Truly Defines 1Malaysia

By Nabilah Saleh

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 (Bernama) -- Capital Cafe at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman is just like any other restaurant.

Without any advertisement, the restaurant sees a number of customers every day. The restaurant, which spans over 500 square feet, is always full. In addition, loyal customers prefer to either to dine at the restaurant or pack their food so that they can eat at home.

Although the place is 'ageing', with old ceiling fans, the restaurant promises a unique experience to its customers.

The restaurant is divided into three sections: Chinese food area, Nasi Padang area and Indian food area. This restaurant indeed portrays the concept of 1Malaysia.

THE FEEL OF 1MALAYSIA

The restaurant has been in existence since 1956, during the pre-independence era.

Even after 56 years, the restaurant, which is located at the shopping spree street, has not failed to provide tantalising food to its loyal customers.

Abu Bakar Wahab, 61, has visited the restaurant a number of times.

"I get a very warm welcome every time I have my meal here. The service here is very good. Food is tasty, and I have never lost my appetite," said Abu Bakar, who is blind.

Apart from the strategic location of the restaurant, tasty food that is served at the restaurant is another reason why Abu Bakar likes to dine at Capital Cafe.

NO BOUNDARIES

While interviewing Abu Bakar, noise that was present in the surrounding area reminded the author of the harmonious concept of Malaysians living under one roof.

Once in a while, Capital Cafe's owner, Lim Kit Yue, 50, interacts with his customers.

Abu Bakar said, "There are no boundaries. All of us, including the Malays, Chinese and the Indians, crack jokes and share stories.

"1Malaysia is a popular concept. It had started earlier, along with the existence of Capital Cafe," said Abu Bakar, who is also a big fan of Bernama Radio24.

Samsudin Tayin, 58, has also received a warm welcome from Lim.

"Lim and his family members are like siblings. My friends prefer to dine at the restaurant as there is a variety of food to choose from," said Samsudin.

"The restaurant sets a good example of 1Malaysia. There is a variety of food and customers of all races and backgrounds like to dine at the restaurant. This is the perfect example of 1Malaysia," said Samsudin.

HISTORY

The 'City Hotel' sign can still be found at the entrance of the restaurant's kitchen. The sign also states the date of establishment of the restaurant.

There are a number of pictures which show how Capital Cafe has evolved over the years. The photos are old but priceless.

On the right side of the restaurant, there is an old frame with menus written in Jawi.

Today, two individuals run Capital Cafe. They are the descendents of the people who had started the restaurant. Lim and Asril Wahab, 53, are accompanied by helpful family members.

The restaurant opens for business at 7.00am and closes at 8.00pm. It operates every day, except Sundays.

"My father and Lim's father have been close to each other since their early age. Both of them started the business, and we should continue their legacy.

Although my parents came from Sumatera, Indonesia, both the families were very close. Even today, we work together and have come up with a variety of food under one roof," said Asril.

Ever since Asril started preparing Minang dishes, he has upheld the restaurant's ancient values.

"The hotel upstairs has become a historical site. Now, Lim's 95 year old father is staying there with a few relatives and some staff. I have developed this restaurant into a production centre so that I can make ample money to feed my family.

Lim and I are not keen on making changes to the restaurant. There is nothing that I can change. We want to preserve the ancient moments. As long as it is safe and comfortable for our customers, we are happy," said Asril.

UNIQUE FOOD

A customer, be it a loyal customer or someone who is new to the restaurant, who dines at Capital Cafe, will definitely try bihun hailam and kuetiau.

At the Nasi Padang corner, a variety of traditional Minang dishes are available. These dishes can be eaten with white rice.

According to Asril, Nasi Padang has become one of the most popular Malaysian meals since 1962.

"Those who love food will definitely try daging rendang, ayam kalio, rendang jering and daging cincang," he said, acknowledging that most of the tourists who dine at the restaurant are Indonesians and Singaporeans.

For those who prefer light meals, they can try mee rebus, curry me, rojak mee and rojak sotong.

Asril added that close friends and family members cook at the restaurant.

"They may be old to do chores like serving customers, but they can still contribute in another way.

"Our recipes will remain a secret. As long as people enjoy dining here, we are happy," he said.

SYMBOL OF UNITY

It is no doubt that food can be a symbol of unity for Malaysians. It is not impossible for food to become the 'heart' of Malaysians. Food can unite Malaysians.

Capital Cafe has proven that the term '1Malaysia' is not just a slogan. The food is appreciated by all the races in Malaysia.

Although Capital Cafe has been around for many years, it still attracts people of all ages and backgrounds.

-- BERNAMA