Miri, Sarawak has been my home for nearly two years now, and initially my major grievance with this place was that there were no decent cafes around for me to get a good cup of Joe and some nice desserts. However a few months after I arrived a few good places made an appearance and I have to say, the cafe culture in Miri is really starting to get strong! Here are the top three cafes in Miri, Malaysia based on my experience, so that you can solve your own First World problem of needing some good ambiance and nice coffee, even while travelling.
1) Route 66 Cafe, Lutong
Route 66 Cafe is the first cafe that I fell in love with here in Miri. Initially I put off going because it is a small cafe and I had my doubts about it, but decided to give it a shot since it is very close to my workplace. I’m glad I did because now it’s one of my favorite haunts.
Ambiance: As mentioned earlier, Route 66 is a small cafe, but it’s quaint and has a lovable air to it. When empty, it’s an excellent place to just sit down and do your work or have a one-on-one meeting. It’s air-conditioned and has WiFi thus making this a great stop for being productive or just having a nice chat with some friends. The baristas are friendly and helpful (one of them was patient with me for quite some time as I pondered over which of their coffee tumblers to buy).
Coffee: The coffee here tastes nice and their frappes are pretty awesome, though a bit on the sweet side. The Earl Grey tea latte I had here once however was only mildly sweetened yet made to a very appreciable standard (also this item wasn’t on the menu at the time but they made it on my request).
Desserts and meals: I have tried many of the desserts here and most of them are quite enjoyable especially in a place where good Western desserts are hard to come by. I recommend the caramel cheese cake, brownies with ice cream, cheesecake with cheese shavings ( forgot the name) and their pies. Do note though that save for stuffed croissants and reheated pasta, this cafe does not serve any other food.
Price: The prices at Route 66 are just a tad more expensive than the other cafes I’ve been to including the other two in this article, but since worth it for the good service. Also, they accept Visa/Mastercard for purchases above RM50.
2) Motown Motor Coffee, Lutong
Motown Motor Coffee has only opened a few months ago (at the time of writing), but I’ve been there a few times already. A cafe with a big hipster vibe, this place is a joy to be at if you can handle lack of Wi-Fi.
Ambiance: Motown Motor is bigger than Route 66 and even had a section which has cushioned armchairs. It is spacious and the lighting is adequate for you to get work done. It is suitable for larger groups of people to gather and hang out, but personable enough for you to be comfortable when alone. The barista are ever ready to help and are willing to accommodate changes to their menu items.
Coffee: The coffee here gives me a big caffeine kick and is sweetened just right, which I love. Haven’t tried their signature frappes but they seem pretty innovative and you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Desserts and Meals: They have a smaller selection of desserts here than Route 66 but I will say that they have a bigger variety. Besides cakes and brownies they also sell eclairs and pretzels to fulfill your cravings, though they weren’t the best I’ve had. I love their Nutella brownies though. In terms of meals, they have a couple of good options that are satisfying. I recommend the all day breakfast and the mini burgers, which had tender patties (pictured below, albeit half eaten).
Price: The prices of the good and beverages here are very reasonable and they occasionally have buy 1 free 1 promos which are a real bang for the buck. However they only accept cash for payments.
3) Brewhouse, Permaisuri Imperial City Mall
If you happen to be in Permaisuri Imperial City Mall and want a quiet place to relax for a while, this is it. Brewhouse is a moderately sized cafe that is very simple, but effective. Besides coffee and desserts they also sell coffee-making equipment, wines, and different types of teas. I stopped by here just once but fell in love with it, regretting that I didn’t go earlier because I assumed that the prices would be high seeing that it is a mall cafe. I was wrong.
Ambiance: Brewhouse tends to be quiet most days, though on weekends I notice that seats can be all taken up. The lighting is just right and suitable for hanging out with friends, family, or even a special date. The different items for sale on the shelves give it additional character and is quite interesting to look at while you wait for your coffee. Baristas are friendly enough and are willing to answer your questions about anything on the menu.
Coffee: The time I went I ordered a Peppermint Mocha, which is one of my favorite drinks in the world. I would say the coffee in the drink was strong enough to be tasted, yet does not overwhelm the chocolate and peppermint flavors, which is good. I enjoyed the beverage and was happy than it is much less sweet than its counterpart in Starbucks. I saw many people buying coffee here so I think in general the coffee must be pretty good even on its own.
Desserts and meals: Like Route 66, there isn’t much choice in terms of meals here, but unfortunately the same can be said of the desserts. They had many different types of brownies, homemade ice cream, and cake, but that’s about it. I tried a red velvet brownie and while the taste was on point, but the consistency was dry and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should. Perhaps it was just the fault of the barista overheating the brownie, so I’d say try your luck and give the brownies and other desserts a go.
Price: Brewhouse has been, thus far, the most easy-on-the-pocket cafe I’ve been to in Miri. The coffee was very reasonably priced and the desserts were value for money because of their large size. Also, they accept debit/credit card, though I did not inquire if there was a spending threshold before you can use your card.
These are just some of the wonderful cafes in Miri. There are also others like Meet D’Brown, The Maker Cafe, and so on, but these three were the ones that really captured my heart. So, if you need a place to find your zen and have a good cup of coffee/tea in oil town Miri, you know where to go now!