During holidays, one of the first things I do once I arrive in my hometown Malang, East Java, is spending hours catching up with old friends. Fortunately, there’s no short of places to hang out there, so much so, that many argue that Malang should be called “the city of cafés” for the myriad options of outing destinations. In fact, deciding where to go is always a dilemma.
Millennials tend to follow the hype and to try out newly opened cafés, but for your convenience, I’ve shortlisted some of my favorite hang-out spots for when you next find yourself in Malang:
Jalan Kahuripan 12, Malang
For those who crave coffee, Java Dancer certainly has some of the best coffee in town. Specializing in beverages, the Javanese themed café provide various kinds of single-origin coffee, including Sulawesi Toraja Kalossi Arabica, Sumatra Mandheling Arabica, Kopi Kampoeng Robusta, Kopi Luwak, and my favorite Wamena Arabica. The latter has the combination of tongue-biting herbal taste with strong spices that leaves a smooth aftertaste of vanilla and chamomile. Choose from three options; toebroek (unfiltered), french press, or syphon.
If you’re not really into coffee, you may try their “choco-licious” menu. Try hot chocolate and marshmallow combo: perfect for rainy days and cold weather in Malang. When it’s really hot outside, Chocolate Affogato is an excellent choice. It’s a huge scoop of sweet chocolate ice cream dipped in a cup of thick espresso. It’s bittersweet happiness in liquid form.
Java Dancer is strategically located near the Town Hall and Malang Train Station, which is why it is a tourists’ favorite. That and probably the free Wi-Fi. The Javanese background music and traditional decorations keeps the ambience cozy, though a tad too dim at night. But the latter makes it a perfect place for intimate conversation – definitely not for group outings.
Be warned, however, the place is not so roomy and there is no air conditioner or fan, so it may be quite hot when the temperature rises. And because there is no non-smoking area, they keep the windows open to let in fresh air. This means when it rains hard, the wind may blow in the rainwater.
With items ranging from Rp 8,000 (58 US cents) to Rp 100,000, it’s reasonable priced – definitely less expensive than most coffee shops in Jakarta. The Javanese concept and decoration aside, however, they oddly only serve Italian food, instead of rice and Javanese dishes. I find their Penne Chicken Mushroom tasty, though.
Jalan Kalpataru No.110, Malang
Once I asked my close friend to take me to a place with reliable free Wi-Fi, but that is not too crowded, and she took me to Lenong Rumpi. The place is spacious. You can choose to sit in the non-smoking room with white sofas, or at the smoking area with wide wooden tables for up to six people, or on the outdoor seats in its backyard, where people usually watch football match together.
The menu is wide-ranging, from milkshakes to mocktails, from snacks to heavy meals. And, most importantly, the price is incredibly pocket-friendly. You can have drinks starting from Rp 6,000 to Rp 19,000, and meals at Rp 5,000 to Rp 25,000. So if you have limited budget, but still want to hang out at a nice place, go to Lenong Rumpi.
A plus: if you forgot to bring your phone charger, they do not only provide the power sockets, but also chargers for all kinds of cell phones. Additionally, if you’re enjoy prophecy readings like me, the waiters in Lenong Rumpi occassionally offer a session with a tarot reader for only Rp 5,000. Overall, it’s really convenient, and I strongly recommend this place for any kind of outings.
Jalan Borobudur 27A, Malang
Illustration from www.instagram.com/voscocoffee
If you want to get away from the crowd in the city center, you may try Vosco, another decent coffee shop where you can spend hours talking with good friends or colleagues. The cozy automotive themed cafe has a warm and relaxed indoor ambience, wide-ranging menu options costing Rp 25,000 to Rp 30,000 and free Wi-Fi.
Owned by a creative young entrepreneur, Vosco has an active Instagram account, and it regularly posts pictures as part of its “Morning Show with Vosco” series with captions about national facts and news – from information on West Papuan energy sources to the origin of Rendang. Want a free coffee from Vosco? Simply regram their post and show it to the waitress! In their instagram, you’ll also find videos on how to make their signature recipes to try at home.
- Illy Café
Jalan Arjuno 36, Malang (Inside Lai Lai Supermarket)
Always packed with people, Illy cafe seems to be everybody’s favorite. It serves various kinds of food, but is well-known for its mouthwatering oriental pancakes, which is basically a baked eggs mixture that comes in four different flavours: brocolli and sweet corn, tomato and smoked beef, chicken saussage, and tuna. They provide free Wi-Fi and, like most cafes in Malang, the overall price is inexpensive. You can have the must-try oriental pancakes for only Rp 15,500. Or try their baked pasta or baked rice. A glass of juice, tea, milkshake, or ice-blended coffee starts from Rp 10,000 to Rp 25,000
The place is not so spacious to accomodate its ever-growing regular customers, so if you don’t feel like waiting for a seat, I suggest come early for breakfast or brunch. It’s pretty cozy for group outings, though it may be too crowded and noisy for a real conversation.
Jalan Welirang 41a, Malang
Not in the mood for desserts or coffee? Come to Rumah Opa for some beers to wind down.
Coming off strong with artsy details and vintage ambience, Rumah Opa kitchen lounge was an old house converted into a spacious hangout place. You can choose to sit in one of the well-decorated rooms or at the outdoor tables in the backyard.
They have live music performance every Friday night, where you can enjoy DJ performance or acoustic music. Unlike its name, which means granpa’s house, it has a vibrant energetic youth vibe, and often a venue for outdoor dance parties, garage sales, even fashion show.
Rumah Opa’s selling point is obviously the place, and they particularly specialized in drinks, specifically cocktails. As for food, you may try their American Steak and Pizza Calzone. The food and drinks cost a bit more than at other places, but the wonderful atmosphere makes up for it.
Read Ayunda’s piece on feminist arts.