On Ipoh Food
By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
It’s called the Squirrels Hideout at Roots Eco Resort. Lest my dear readers conjure up images of scurries of squirrels jumping about, have no worries as it refers to the nest, a cosy protected place in nature.
That is exactly what the Squirrels Hideout is: a cosy nest in nature situated just past the railway station and 10½ milestone on Jalan Chemor in Tanjung Rambutan. You could easily whizz by and not see the sign which is so discreet that it is almost invisible.
Here where the Kinta River flows, you can order a lovely lunch or dinner and listen to the sounds of nature, either right by the river or undercover, sitting in their outdoor dining area. It is the ideal venue to bring the family over the upcoming Deepavali celebrations, and as the kids roam the grounds, the adults can sit with a bottle of wine or a few beers and enjoy the ambiance while perusing the menu.
Roots Eco Resort is a resort usually catering to groups of eco tourists whom they take on visits to Orang Asli villages, the Chepor waterfalls, sunset trekking, water abseiling, white water rafting and night walks, accompanied by trained guides. A range of villas varying in price from a riverside villa with an outdoor jacuzzi at RM368 to standard twin bedded villas at RM228 and even a tree house are available for rent! All villas come with breakfast for two.
The lunch and dinner menu is eclectic: from Indian, Malay, Chinese depending on the market availability and the whim of Chef Shanty who can cook up a storm.
We had quite a tasting from their menu which is not extensive but satisfying and most of the dishes we tried are to be specially ordered in advance. To begin, we had nibbles on their Snackeroo fish and mutton cutlets which were perfect snacks for pre-dinner drinks. Mildly spiced and deep fried mutton: RM18, and fish: RM16.80. On menu.
Shanty’s Chicken Varuval had all the right notes, using Scotch Bonnet Chilli which can blow the roof off your mouth but you can tell her to tone it down. To be ordered in advance and size to be determined for price. The same goes for their Ayam Masak Merah Sambal, Lamb Curry and the unusual Sardine Varuval.
If sitting by the riverside is to your liking then check what is special for that day or evening. Sometimes thosai is on the cards with different themes changing weekly.
For the kids and adults with a sweet tooth, do check out their Sarah Lee Cheesecakes ranging from Strawberry, Salted Caramel, Triple Chocolate Bavarian and Cookies and Cream Bavarian. Also do check out the Mars mud pie. I know you can get these elsewhere but its the ambiance that changes the whole sweet experience!
There is also a beer bucket promotion with five bottles for RM65 only.Squirrels Hideout @ The Roots Eco Resort10½ Mile, Jalan Chepor, 31250 Tg. Rambutan, Perak.Tel: Sudesh 012 277 0510, S. Agilan 010 371 2498 (Resort Manager)Operating hours: 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-9.30pm