Wholey Wonder

Special thanks to Wholey Wonder for extending this food review invitation.

Wholey Wonder is a new eatery at Hin Bus Depot, an art center near Hotel NEO+. Opened last month, Wholey Wonder is a 100% vegan café serving homemade whole food. In case you are unfamiliar with this term, whole food is food that is unprocessed or minimally processed.
The café was restored from a dilapidated shop that has been abandoned for several decades. Therefore, much of the restaurant has to be rebuilt from scratch. For instance, the kitchen, countertop and stairway were constructed anew. Plaster that once had covered the walls was meticulously chipped away, revealing the red bricks underneath.
Wholey Wonder has two entrances. The back door provides quick access to the central courtyard of Hin Bus Depot. In line with the proprietors' belief in recycling, wooden cable drums have been retrofit as outdoor seats. Meanwhile inside the restaurant, swings suspended from the ceiling provide seating at the bar.
At Wholey Wonder, food ingredients are mostly sourced locally. With the sole exception of pizza crust, food is largely prepared from scratch in the modestly-sized kitchen. Despite the high cost of using premium ingredients, the proprietors refuse to cut corners when it comes to food preparation.
One of the signature dishes here is Naked Burger (RM27.00). The mini burgers are "naked" because the patties are sandwiched between portobello mushrooms instead of buns. When served, this dish permeates the immediate surrounding with appetizing fungi aroma.
The patty is made from quinoa, a type of crop cultivated in South America and is a rich source of protein for vegans. I like the spread of baba ghanoush (بابا غنوج‎‎), which is a Middle Eastern condiment made from eggplants. Meanwhile, chickpea is used as the binding agent for the patty, but I think this should be improved because the burger tends to fall apart when it is bitten into.
Served on the side is red cabbage marinated with molasses and vinegar. The resulting texture is similar to sauerkraut. Also included are red hummus (حُمُّص‎‎), tempeh, lemon wedge and a generous amount of red coral lettuce.
Another recommended dish is the Wholey Pizza (RM20.00). The ultra-thin crust is supplied by Yin's Sourdough. Oven-roasted to perfection, the light crisp is scrumptious indeed. Moving forward, Wholey Wonder plans to offer a gluten-free version for people having wheat allergy.
As for pizza toppings, customers can choose between tomato sauce and pesto. I prefer the latter as herbal aroma of basil appeals to me. Other toppings that are used in the Wholey Pizza are tomatoes, zucchini, king oyster mushrooms and radish sprouts. Meanwhile, the sprinkle of vegan "parmesan cheese" is a close match to actual cheese.
Pastries are also baked fresh in the kitchen. An example is the Peanut Butter Cheese Cake (RM12.00). The "cheesy" custard is made from peanut butter supplied by Carver's, a home-based producer in Penang. The custard carries intense sweetness from date honey, so it should be consumed in small bites in order not to overwhelm the palate. Meanwhile, the crusty base is made from nuts, oats and dates. Sweet cacao nibs are used as garnish. Overall, I find this cheesecake to be satisfying.
Banana Almond Crumb Topped Muffin (RM8.00) is another freshly-baked pastry. The crumb toppings are rolled oats. Unfortunately, I have yet to sample this muffin.
Magic Ice Cream (RM19.00) is usually served as two scoops in a glass; this one-scoop serving is only for this review. There are 2 ice cream flavors: coconut and blueberry cheesecake. Both are prepared from scratch in the kitchen.
The coconut ice cream is made from coconut meat, coconut milk, coconut water and coconut nectar. As neither milk nor emulsifier is used, the ice cream attains slushy consistency which resembles sorbet. This dessert is also served with granola and peppermint leaf.

At Wholey Wonder, espresso is extracted from coffee beans supplied by Lighthouse Coffee. This local roaster used to operate a café at Logan Heritage until 2014. Thanks to the use of premium beans, the coffee delivers a strong dose of caffeine while soothing the tongue with pleasantly bitter aftertaste.
Each cup of coffee, including Long Black (RM9.00), contains 2 shots of espresso. As for Latte and Cappuccino, customers may choose between soy milk and almond milk. Both vegan options are prepared from raw ingredients using a cold-pressed juicer and do not contain added sugar.

As for smoothie, Penang Passion (RM15.00) is blended from passion fruit, pitaya (dragon fruit), mango, coconut water and coconut meat. No sugar is added to the drink. Apart from natural sweetness of constituent fruits, the smoothie carries cooling freshness of coconut water. This drink also includes a generous amount of chia seeds.
Wholey Wonder also has a yoga studio upstairs. Yoga classes run from Tuesday to Sunday. For a limited time, the walk-in price is RM20.00 per session. Meanwhile, regular yoga practitioners can also take advantage of the 10-session package for RM160.00 only.
Name: Wholey Wonder
Address: 61, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-218-9006
Business hours: 11:00am-6:00pm (Sunday), 11:00am-8:00pm (Wednesday-Saturday), closed on Mondays & Tuesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/wholeywonder
Coordinates: 5.41190 N, 100.32809 E
Directions: Hin Bus Depot is located at Jalan Gurdwara in George Town, near the junction with Lebuh Presgrave. Wholey Wonder is one of the shops here. There is a small car park inside Hin Bus Depot. In addition, street parking is available along Lebuh Presgrave.


  1. Regarding location, its latitude does not tally with my map which shows 102 deg East for George Town.

    1. Hi, I think you mean longitude for "east", right? :-)

      I just checked and 102'E is in the middle of the Malay Peninsula, not the island of Penang. :-)