The Wrong Place for food and drink
By Hilary Ho
Photos by Julian Sim
YOU WOULDN’T BE THE first to think ‘Wrong Place’ is a gimmicky name for a food establishment. Just as you wouldn’t be the first to realise that it is more than just a gimmicky name, but rather a place designed to challenge misconceptions and uphold the phrase, “Do not judge a book by its cover”.
This is – if not the first to embody the indie-rustic vibe Carpenter Street’s new wave of cafés are known for – the first to have an ever changing and evolving nature to its look and feel.
Don’t be surprised if you notice something different around you in this diner of sorts, from new chairs, to furniture in different locations, and different artwork from when you made your last visit.
The constant change here reflects the personality of owner Ivan Chen who believes that sometimes, a different path to your destination does not mean that it is wrong, but can make the journey exciting and fresh. In this manner, different and ever changing styles keeps your dining experience exciting and fresh as well.
Similar to its décor, the food has also gone through a few specials and changes since its inception, and the ones that we sampled in this article were recommended for its originality in relation to food served in other restaurants.
We’ll begin with a signature drink, the Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie. It is worth noting that you would be foolish to underestimate what RM8 could get you here, considering the fact that at that price in some cafés, RM8 could get you only a simple black coffee at best. If you are having a meal here, it would be wise to share it if you do not have a big appetite.
Why would you need a big appetite one might wonder? This smoothie is thick, but in a good way. You would be hard pressed to find a drink elsewhere with flavours as rich and full as theirs, with the goodness of savoury peanut butter and sweet banana just hitting you in the taste buds. Again, this is a good thing. There are of course other choices as well, and I am sure they are made as rich and full-bodied as this one.
You will notice their food menu is a pretty interesting mix of local and Western diner and street food. Once again, throw away your preconceived ideas of a café/diner/restaurant out the window. This is the wrong place for that kind of idea. Instead, you will notice quality throughout but for an example of uncommon food in Kuching, we’ll be going through a few recommended items. These items will come a la carte or with a choice of additional salad or fries for an extra RM2.
While the fries are fairly standard, the salad is a rather lacklustre mixture of pale and purple lettuce and a couple of onions with a squirt of dressing. It’s nothing to sing about, but for RM2 you get what you pay for in terms of cheap fresh produce on your plate.
The Mary Lamb Rose Stew is a hot dog of sorts with a filling of stewed lamb, carrots, potatoes, onions and some lettuce on a long bun. The lamb is scented and flavoured well with rosemary, stewed until it’s juicy and sliced to bite-sized chunks for easy eating.
The thorough stewing process brings outs the sweetness of the onions and carrots in the lamb and rosemary stew, making the filling even more luscious. The bun, however, doesn’t do much to add flavour and is not dense enough to comfortably hold the stew.
The Chili Dawg is another interesting menu item. It takes your conventional hot dog and tops it off with a Chilli Con Carne of sorts (minus the heat) and beef Bolognese. The flavour is slightly sweet and sour from the tomato and the mince is still moist and fatty, which adds well to the plump sausage hidden beneath. The bun is similar to the Mary Lamb Rose Stew, but as it does not hold as much filling as the former, it does a good job holding everything in.
Although obviously inspired by the traditional Chilli Dog, its biggest difference is how messy the Chilli is, which is not at all. It’s neatly arranged and in three uniform scoops which makes for easier eating and sharing, if that’s what you’re into. That is of course if you don’t devour it all before you divide it up for you and your friends.
The last item we’ll be talking about is the Veggie Burger. The patty is a blend of shitake, tofu, long beans and carrots coated in panko.
The tofu provides a soft body while the long beans and carrots provide savoury and sweet flavours respectively. It is also a delight to have the panko provide a light crisp. The patty sandwiched between two soft buns makes for a delicious vegetarian meal.
The Wrong Place overall is a delightful place to have a meal if you like being surprised with a delicious assortment of food. The concept may change from time to time here, but the goal will always be to provide the best meal possible.
Being in Wrong Place will make you realise that it is anything but the wrong place to be in.
The Wrong Place is open daily from 12:00pm to 12:00am except on Fridays when it is open from 2:00pm to 12:00am.
For more information, you may head over to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wrongplace.carpenterst/info?tab=page_info or their website at http://www.wrongplace.webs.com/
Hilary Ho is a teacher, aspiring writer and food traveller who writes about food and lifestyle for his blog urban-palate.blogspot.com. When he is not teaching or writing for others, he enjoys wandering the streets in search of food and the stories of the people behind them. He currently resides in Kuching.