Musings on Ipoh Food

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

One normally doesn’t expect good food in a pub, let alone a Sports Bar. It’s usually desultory finger food or stodgy fare. But things are different at Healy Mac’s where they have been serving yummilicious roasted pork knuckles, great tasting pizzas and other hearty fare ever since they opened three years ago.

Healy Mac’s has now added leisure activities to their palette of offerings and in addition to exercising your elbows in raising your glass, you now have a choice of playing pool or a game of electronic darts where a little more elbow grease is called for. In fact you can even compete with your Darts pals on the other side of the globe.

All this elbowing is now available in the newly-opened Healy Mac’s Sports Bar which is right next door to its eponymous big brother. And while you’re quaffing your beer, sipping your wine, or nursing your spirit(s), crack your head at deciding between the new items on the menu which Head Chef Litha Letchimanan has put together.

I had written glowingly on their existing menu when they first opened (IE150) but the new additions are equally tempting. Before we even looked at the new dishes, titbits which are every bar fly’s favourites, appeared at the table. Designed to whip up a thirst for even more drinking, the traditional French fries had been one-upped by sweet potato fries – thin slivers of sweet potato fried the traditional way and tasting even better than the usual ones – RM12 – followed by a plate of delectably crispy ikan bilis with chilli and onions – RM16 (listed as Spicy Anchovies). Order a mixed collection of sweet potato and regular fries or mix them up with onion rings. Other bar snacks include Fried Calamari and even Chicken Varuval and Lamb Vindaloo for those hankering for some spice.

Chef Litha came to explain all the new dishes starting with the Vegetable Moussaka, a dish of Greek origin, made with eggplant, capsicum, redolent with thyme and tarragon and topped with a béchamel sauce. Delightful at RM20.

Braised Pork Belly in Bordelaise sauce was tender, melt-in-mouth chunks of pork belly served with mashed potatoes and broccoli – RM45, while the Lamb Tagine, a traditional Moroccan dish of braised lamb served on a bed of fragrant saffron/turmeric rice was embellished with slivered almonds. The lamb was aromatically flavoured with Chef Litha’s homemade blend of the classic Middle Eastern spice mix, the Ras-el-hanout a mixture of nutmeg, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, paprika and others not unlike our Garam Masala but with distinctively middle eastern nuances – RM40.

Classic BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) was given a makeover as a wrap instead of the usual sandwich and was voted by our group as one of the best small meals of the day – RM21. Another item which won favour in our midst was the Bangers and Mash, the classic English/Scottish/Irish comfort food except that in this instance, the banger was an imported Hungarian Pork sausage which accounted for the price of RM36. It was indeed a hearty meal as the banger was very tasty, unlike the bland stuff that pass for sausages in other establishments. Topped with onions and a Dijon and whole grain mustard sauce, and served with peas, this dish would certainly fill out your ribs.

The pièce de résistance was yet to come in the form of dessert. As readers of my column would have gathered by now, I am inclined towards all things savoury and desserts just don’t turn me on. But I have to say I was most impressed with their Brownie Bites, the most sinfully delectable bite I have ever put into my mouth. Rich regular brownies are cut into bite-sized pieces, battered, then fried and served with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. It’s what I would call a ‘heart attack’ in a bite!! Absolutely worth the risk at RM16.

Do check out Healy Mac’s Sports Bar. The menu is the same in Healy Mac’s Bar and Restaurant next door. They even share toilet facilities.

Healy Mac’s Irish Bar & Restaurant and Healy Mac’s Sports Bar
#2 Ground Floor, Persiaran Greentown 4,
Greentown Avenue, 30450 Ipoh.
Tel: 05 249 3627
GPS: N 4° 35.932’  E 101° 5.531’