Yellow Lips @ Georgetown, Penang

Okay, I have written something that isn’t food for two days over the weekend. Now I feel less awful for writing about food again. So, I shall write about food again. Food in a nice little cafe, this time…

This happened last week. The lunch mate had an errand to run in Georgetown (capital city of Penang, 30 minutes from office), so we ended up looking for lunch in the area. And we ended up in a cafe that seems to be rather popular among the locals lately. The place is called Yellow Lips.

By the way, I hardly venture into Georgetown nowadays, if not for this errand, I would never have come here.

The place is located on Beach Street, Lebuh Pantai. But it is not on that side near the Esplanade, where all the banks are. It is on the other side of the street, very close to Komtar and Prangin Mall. And the cafe itself is rather inconspicuous. In fact, it is rather hard to find, as they don’t have a big visible signage at the shopfront. You’d have to lookout for that little signage at the side. And even then, the door looks kind of dodgy, but you just have to be brave and push and enter.

DSC_0004 (1024x576)
Spot the signage
DSC_0005 (648x1024)
The door

But once you get inside, the atmosphere is instantly transformed into something that resembles a… yes, cafe…

The cafe is made up of two shop lots, front and back. It reminds me of the more well established, Aussie owned cafe, the China House, just a couple hundred yards down the same street. But they don’t have that extensive cake/dessert counter that the China House has.

Still, I’m glad that they resemble a proper cafe, with proper seating, functional counter and staff, and nice decorations. No wonder they are getting good feedback from the locals, and I hope they will be here to stay. So many of those hideously mismatched cafe wannabes have vanished after a few months in business.

DSC_0022 (1024x576)
DSC_0012 (1024x576)
DSC_0011 (834x1024)
Wall decor

Anyway, we came here for lunch, so best to just talk about the food. Let me show you the menu. Nothing elaborate, just one large laminated sheet, but neat and with pictures.

DSC_0009 (1024x675)

First, a minor complaint. They did not serve us plain water. In fact, they didn’t even have plain water as part of their drinks selection. This is something that most cafes usually serve to us for free. So we requested for it, expecting to be charged. And charged we were when we later got the bill. RM 2 for 2 glasses of it. RM 1 per glass of plain water.

You know what will happen when we get charged for plain water? We refrain from ordering the more expensive drinks. You charge us RM 1 for something that’s worth 5 cents, we won’t order than RM 12 frappe. It is what it is…

Anyway.. food, food…

The friend ordered a Soft Shell Crab Burger – RM 25.

DSC_0015 (1024x683)

I did not fancy it, because you know, with soft shell crabs, if you do it badly, the shell becomes rather… chewy, and doesn’t feel as edible as it should be, if you know what I mean. And the few times I’ve had soft shell crabs in Malaysia, it was always… that.

But I did try a small piece of the crab here, and it was good! It was not the poorly done ones that I’ve had before! Maybe I’ll order this if and when I do come back again…

DSC_0016 (1024x638)

So what did I had? I was feeling like having duck, so I went for the Pesto Smoked Duck Breast – RM 24.

DSC_0018 (1024x576)

It was good. Very good! The smoked duck was good, and the pesto for the spaghetti was excellent! I don’t know what herbs they use, probably a few types of those sh*t that I refuse to use when I cook myself, but the blend that they use were just right. Delicious!

DSC_0020 (1024x576)

If you are going to ask, no, I still won’t use herbs in my own cooking at home…

So, yeah… I think this is a nice cafe with nice ambiance and excellent food. Well, I have yet to try their coffee though. Maybe I should come again and try it next time.

Yellow Lips Facebook page

But I do hope they will serve plain water for free. Seriously, I’m not the only one who will think like what I mentioned above regarding the correlation between free plain water and expensive drinks order…


  1. The softshell crab burger was not good at all…they had a mustard-like sauce which was everywhere! the burger bun was so moist and drenched with the sauce; so was the softshell crab. i do not enjoy having wet bread and squishy crab! In my opinion, i don’t think that’s how it should be done. It was not a pleasant meal to have…i could barely finish it. I had the Crabcarbonara as well, which was creamy but actually quite tasteless. The raw quail’s egg did nothing for the dish; it felt more of a ‘decoration piece’ instead of something that helps add flavour or depth to the dish. I am not sure if it was due to the large crowd at dinnertime which impacted the quality of the food that came out of the kitchen…but it was a very disappointing experience and i wouldn’t go thru the trouble of going back there for this type of food quality. Also parking there is an absolute nightmare; good luck finding a spot!

    • I’m so sorry that you had a bad experience there. I suppose you are right, when the place gets crowded some kitchens just couldn’t cope and mess up as a result. I went during lunch time and I was early when the place was still empty.

      Georgetown is a parking nightmare as a general rule, regardless of which part you go to, hahaha! That’s why I would never venture there by myself for no apparent reason.

    • I think free water is a basic expectation with cafes nowadays, that’s why I was (slightly) unpleasantly surprised when it was not the case with this one.

  2. So surprised to read they charged you for the water, and it’s probably something they got straight from the tap. None of this charging nonsense in Australia when you ask for water.

    Pesto pasta is my favourite kind of pasta, and that looks good. The soft shell crab burger looks good too. A lot of the soft shell crab burgers I’ve tried here are crispy, though they cost around $18-$20 Aussie dollars. Come and try 😀

  3. I have been to China House twice when that former Miss Malaysia was in town to invite the gang. I reserve my comments for that quaint place.
    Oh well, this one is so much brighter and probably nicer too. Will tell her to throw her pre wedding session here.

    • I know what you mean, I’m not their biggest fan too. That’s why I said “more well established” rather than “better”. But things that I didn’t fancy, folks here seem to think that is the character and uniqueness of the place. In fact lots of tourists that come to Penang specifically want to search that China House out, probably due to some good reviews on TripAdvisor or something.

  4. I agree on you on the not buying more drinks if we’re charged for our plain water.

    Good thing the food was good though. 😉

    • Yes, the whole crab is edible, even the shell. Usually they are quite small, soft shell crabs, I was surprised with this one too.

  5. Now Penang have many of such shops ya. I have been reading Ken’s blog.Saw many place that he went , from outside looks like old shop but inside very modern and classy

    Now everything also charge lo. Even plain water unless go mamak.

    At least their food is good la

    • But most of such shops don’t really last, only a handful will survive beyond two years. 🙁

      Mamak will charge for plain water lah dei! So far the only places that serve me free water are those new quaint little cafes (except for this one)..

  6. First of all, looking at the prices of the mains, they can bloody well serve you plain water for free! Almost all of the cafes I’ve been to here serve plain water without you having to ask for it.

    And secondly, your not eating those sh*t dried herbs is still intact coz pesto is made with fresh basil (don’t think this is available in dried form), garlic and pine nuts (the basil gives it the lovely green colour). The sprinkling around the plate looks like dried oregano to me. I think your dislike for herbs stems from you using dried herbs (lousy) instead of fresh herbs (fantastic). This is one example that you like fresh herb (basil) already.

    Finally, the smoked duck does look a tad overdone to me simply because they were cut too thinly (you can see that they’ve started to curl up) but the flavours should still be good.

    • Right? That’s what I thought too! Actually most of the cafes that I have been to even in Penang serves free water too…

      Ahh you are on full food expert mode on. I don’t care lah, I think it is more the sight of those fresh herb leaves that make me balk. I didn’t like how they taste as a kid, so I don’t like them now. I’ll eat it if it is in some dish that I ordered in a cafe/restaurant and will probably love it without asking questions, but I will not buy it to put in my own home cooking! 😀 😀

      • I’m no food expert lah! Anyway, I think our palates go through changes as we grow (up). I used to hate liver and bitter gourd when I was young but now I love them. I also disliked rice wine during my confinement but now crave for it. I’m sure there’s something you now love but not previously! 😉

        • Sure, I hated garlic but love it now. I loved durians but not fond of it anymore.

          I hated those leaf herbs but… I still hate them now. I mean, I hate them in their raw and leafy form, I hate dealing with them. I’ll eat them if it is added discreetly in something like the pesto and I’m not aware what’s what. I suppose it is not the taste, but sight. I have been conditioned to think that herb leaves = nasty taste, so when I see them now, my sense of sight will influence my sense of taste: “That thing is nasty, that thing is nasty”.

    • That’s bullshit! But then maybe that is the norm in Singapore. Over here usually the cafes will give plain water FOC.

  7. Yellow Lips, the name sounds very interesting already.. Scrolled down to fast-fast see what food they serve there.. The soft-shelled crab burger looks interesting too, never had that before.. Yes, I’ve had soft-shelled crabs before (usually in Japanese buffet), but in a burger, nope.. But would like to try it..Ahh, pesto! I LOVE LOVE LOVE pesto pasta, creamy+cheesy pesto, wah, sedapppp..

    • But this one not creamy leh, it is more herbs and olive oil.. I don’t know if you might like it as much or not..

  8. what’s wrong with blogging about food?? hey, you don’t have to be me (i do awful food posts), don’t avoid blogging about food when you have so many in the post queue!! anyway, i would also choose that smoke duck breast pesto (and not that soft shell crab burger), it looks good, i love things smoked and i love breast (poultry i mean).. :p

    • No lah, this is a personal blog, so I feel tensed up if it becomes a niched foodie blog instead.

      Hahaha no need to explain, we all love breasts! 😀 😀

  9. Talking about plain water, I also dislike those restaurant didn’t provide plain instead but request us to order something else…but in the end still the same, I would chose plain water no matter….because I lazy to think of other drinks to drink.

    • For me, it will be because since I have to pay for plain water, that will be my paid drink, no need to order more expensive drinks.

      • But during the time when you order the plain water, did you know that you will be charged for it (for you to not order another drink)?

        • I was not sure, but I expected it, and had already decided not to order other drinks. I thought if the water end up being FOC, then next time I come I will order other drinks.

  10. I see a dream catcher at the entrance? *squints into the pic* The decor looks quite inviting, though. If it is from plain tap water, it should be given FOC.

  11. Maybe they serve you those expensive bottled water like pierre whatever and not just tap water.

    Who recommendede this cafe to you or your friend?

    • We read from blogs, the cafe is quite popular among Penangites now (mostly because it is new I guess)…

      Bullshit lah, if it is Pierre, it would never be RM 1 per glass! Impossible! Anyway I’m pretty sure the water tasted like plain tap water.

Comments are closed.