Night life in Brunei is all about relaxation, lounging, and eating good food. Drinking in bars, loud music, and the like is almost non-existent here. I would have to say that the beauty of Brunei revolves around its culture and heritage sites, nothing much on the party scene. This is why we fell in love!
We, my partner and I, are owls. We love the night time. We love having coffee late at night and finish in the wee hours of the morning. When we arrived in Brunei, it was a shift from our practice. A pleasant shift. 7 in the evening the first night we were there, we headed to a local restaurant called Mamih Cafe or Kafe Mamih. It is located in Warisan Mata-Mata Complex in Jln. Mata Mata, just right next to where we stayed!
The place is comfortable. It uses dim lights to emphasize the comfort that you deserve to get while dining. The spacing between chairs and tables are perfect. You get to move around and it does not have a crowded feel. The color scheme flirts too well with the lights, with its dash of yellow and blue, and sometimes pink and brown. Each table also has a yellow light over it which all the more draws you to your food.
The first thing we noticed when we were handed the menu is that the restaurant serves a lot of Filipino food! They have Kare-Kare and Halo-Halo! They also have Filipino staff who are fluent in speaking Malay but can easily shift to speaking Tagalog and English!
We ordered Bah Kuh Teh and Nasi Ayam for our dinner. According to our host, these are house specialties, and of course, we couldn’t miss it! Bah Kuh Teh is like our very own Gotong Batangas. It is boiled pork rib soup seasoned in exquisite spices such as star anise, garlic, and cinnamon, to name some. They include different ingredients on the soup such as pork innards, enoki mushroom, etc. and it absolutely works! The first time I tasted it here at Mamih Cafe, I knew it’s going to be an addiction.
Nasi Ayam is most commonly known as Hainanese Chicken Rice. This dish is served with 3 different sauces, ranging from the savory, to the sweet, and chili. Although this dish is nothing new to our taste, Mamih Cafe’s Nasi Ayam has this certain tinge of authenticity which really adds to the food’s appeal.
We ordered drinks as well. We would not miss trying Kopi C Iced and Kopi O Iced. As huge coffee fans, we knew that this local coffee is worth tasting. Kopi C is coffee with evaporated milk, while Kopi O is black coffee. These versions of coffee is similarly available in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
We wanted to order sate or grilled chicken but there were a lot of sate on queue to be cooked and we just couldn’t wait any longer. We understand, though. Since a lot of people are having dinner right after fasting, definitely the demand would be high. Plus, grilled food is no good when served cold. They serve it by batch, sadly.
After having our dinner, we were assisted by our homestay host to the counter. According to her, that is how people pay for food in Brunei. People do not hail for servers to give them the check. They walk to the counter and let the cashier know what they have ordered. Pretty honest, if you would ask me. So we paid for the dinner and it was a pleasant surprise knowing that our bill did not go over Php 500!
Our experience in Mamih Cafe is our initiation to Brunei food. It is the start of my love affair with Bah Kuh Teh! Overall, the restaurant serves delicious dishes. It has a calm atmosphere which goes hand-in-hand with the peaceful evenings of Brunei. After a very long day travelling, being in Mamih Cafe is a luxury.