Elephant Cafe

This article is part of my 2016 Langkawi trip.

Special thanks to Elephant Cafe for extending this food review invitation.

Oriental Village is not just a place for tourists to hang out before or after visiting Gunung Mat Chinchang. There are also a number of eateries that offer food at more reasonable prices. Elephant Cafe is one such example.
Operating since 2011 as Bolaven Cafe, this eatery was recently rebranded as Elephant Cafe - partly to highlight the fact that the café hosts an Asian elephant in the nearby Animal Adventures. Regardless, Elephant Cafe still brews coffee from organic beans supplied by Bolaven Farms.
Elephant Cafe features an animal enclosure adjacent to the dining section, separated only by a one-way mirror. The landscaped enclosure used to host a tigress (more on this later) until her handlers decided that she has outgrown the enclosure and relocated her to Animal Adventures.
Today, the enclosure is the home of two raccoons. Both critters generally hide within vegetation except when they are fed.
Just a 3-minute walk away from Elephant Cafe is Animal Adventures, which is jointly-operated with Elephant Cafe. This mini zoo currently hosts two animal celebrities, but there are plans to bring in ten animals eventually.
Zanah is a female Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris) who was born and raised in captivity. She was allegedly rescued from a cooking pot - something alarming as this endangered species has less than 250 individuals left in the wild. Her new enclosure is very spacious and includes a subterranean walkway for visitors to get up close.
The other celebrity resident at Animal Adventures is Lasah, a male Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) of age 36. Lasah is a gentle soul and is usually shy in the presence of strangers.
Lasah's diet typically comprises of sugar cane, apple, banana and banana stem. Visitors can purchase feed baskets for RM5.00 each. Despite his initial shyness, Lasah is highly receptive during his meal time! Using his trunk like a hand, he retrieves fruits from visitors and delivers them directly into his mouth.
Animal Adventures is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm. The admission fee is RM20.00 and RM10.00 for adult and child respectively. Customers of Elephant Cafe who spend at least RM50.00 can enjoy free admission for two. The free admission does not include additional services like elephant rides.
The gift shops at Animal Adventures and Elephant Cafe have a number of animal-related souvenirs on sale, including the colorful Happy Rainbow Elephant Art (10 different designs). Part of sales proceeds are channeled towards wildlife conservation efforts.
Moving back to Elephant Cafe, it is time for a nice cup of coffee. Cafe Cappuccino (RM10.00) has a thick layer of foam, providing soothing sensation as the coffee trickles down the throat. Judging from the smoothness of this drink, the coffee is obviously of premium quality.
As for something cooling, the glass of Iced Latte (RM14.00) is perfect during a hot afternoon. This cold drink contains two shots of espresso. There is also a scoop of ice cream on top.
Besides coffee, one of the specialties at Elephant Cafe is Classic Chicken Rice (RM15.00). The chicken is reasonably tender and balanced in flavor. However, the rice can use more chicken stock in order to make it more aromatic and flavorful. Chili sauce, sweet sauce and garlic sauce are provided as condiments.
Most dishes at Elephant Cafe are Oriental or Western in nature. However, the restaurant will be expanding its menu to include Peranakan (Nyonya) food - the first of its kind in Langkawi.
For Lamb Rendang, the key to its appeal is its savory gravy through the use of coconut milk. The lamb also carries certain degree of spiciness but it is acceptable for me. The aroma of this dish is pretty impressive.
Enche Kabin is a signature Peranakan dish made from chicken marinated with coconut milk and spices. The chicken is deep-fried until it becomes golden brown. This dish is best enjoyed while it is still warm.
As for Ayam Pongteh, chunks of chicken are stewed with tauchu (fermented soybean paste) and gula melaka (palm sugar). Fried ginger is used as garnish and to provide fragrant appeal.
Pandan Chicken consists of chicken shreds that are flavored with pandan leaves. Although similar to Kai Ho Bai Toei (ไก่ห่อใบเตย) in Thai cookbooks, both dishes are substantially different in terms of preparation process.
Cap Cai (杂菜) literally means "assorted vegetables" in Hokkien dialect. Ingredients included in this dish are shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, wood ear fungus (黑木耳) and rice vermicelli (米粉).
As for desserts, Magnum Gone Bananas (RM18.00) is the right remedy to satisfy one's sweet tooth. The centerpiece is a bar of chocolate-coated ice cream that is served over ripe bananas. This dessert is also given a light sprinkle of crushed nuts, as well as drizzles of caramel sauce and chocolate sauce.
Name: Elephant Cafe
Address: E.01, Oriental Village, Burau Bay, 07100 Langkawi, Kedah
Contact: 04-959-2292
Business hours: 9:30am-6:30pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/ElephantCafeLGK
Coordinates: 6.37144 N, 99.67249 E
Directions: Elephant Cafe is located at Oriental Village, the commercial center at the foothills of Gunung Mat Chinchang and a short drive from Perdana Quay. Elephant Cafe is located within a short walk from the ticket counter of SkyCab.

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