Waaaay too many hipster coffee joints have been popping up around town and admit it, they are getting a tad repetitive with their Scandinavian-inspired concepts along with their menu of all-too-familiar Instagram-worthy brunches. They are absolutely nothing new! Ironically, this café reminiscent of pre-World War II days is a breath of fresh air to the Malaysian café scene – well, in Penang at least.
The three owners of Behind 50 know what’s up, by bringing our – more like our parents’ – childhood back to life with the handpicked old school decorations – we’re talking a wooden trunk chest of old toys, an ancient typewriter, old school thermal bottles, vintage cassette players, and… we’ve lost count of the other antiques. As a freelance photographer, one of the café’s owners added his personal touch by letting fifty black frames of photographs occupy their wall, making it their very own ’50 Gallery’, which highlights the artworks of fellow Penang photographers. Oddly enough, a Turkish tourist also lent his artistic hand by painting a mural on one of the walls.
In spite of its ambience – set by the sounds from a vinyl disc player – that reminds us of the kampong lifestyle, the café actually serves staple Italian cuisine like pastas, pizzas, and soup. Other choices include chicken chops, fish fillets, and salads. Their signature homemade mushroom soup seems to be raved about, and it definitely tickled our taste buds with the perfect blend of cream and mushroom. Alcohol and caffeine lovers can perch on the high stools facing the roads, enjoying sips of beer or coffee while people watching tourists.
Behind 50 has also extracted the idea behind ‘suspended coffee’ and came up with their very own ‘suspended meal’, where customers can purchase meals in advance to quench the thirst and fill the hunger of the underprivileged. They are selling ‘suspended meals’ of a set of pasta and coffee for only RM6, and then delivering it to the homeless around Georgetown.
Situated in between the junctions of Love Lane, Muntri Street, and Stewart Lane, this hole-in-the-wall makes for the perfect cure to the overly touristy area filled with hostels. If this is what you’ve been looking for, you’re welcome.
BEHIND 50, MUNTRI STREET
10200 GEORGE TOWN, PENANG
T: 012 556 5509 / 012 493 9230
OPEN: 6PM – 1AM (CLOSED ON THURSDAYS)