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Tuesday March 18, 2008

Resort-like restaurant in Rengit gains popularity among outdoor lovers


The newly-opened Sarang Tempua Café in Kampung Parit Ahmad Laut, off Kampung Bumiputera in Rengit, Johor, never fails to attract curious onlookers. 

The resort-like eating place is slowly gaining popularity among bargain hunters heading for Kampung Bumiputera, which is famous for its second-hand goods. 

Welcoming: (From left) Nafisah, Nurul, Azam and Ismail standing beside the cafe’s signboard.
Many are surprised to see such an outlet in an orang asli village and give their thumbs-up for its Balinese-style setting. 

On weekdays, the outlet offers local dishes such as soto, mee rebus Johor, mee hailam and nasi goreng kampung, and nasi minyak on weekends. 

For afternoon tea, customers can chew on local snacks such goreng pisang, keropok lekor, jemput-jemput ikan bilis and ubi rebus

Resplendent: The Sarang Tempua Cafe in Kampung Parit Ahmad Laut off Kampung Bumiputera in Rengit, Batu Pahat.
When it comes to the bill, diners are pleasantly surprised as all they need not pay is according to normal hawker prices.  

Prices aside, what attracts most is the ambience, decor, landscaping and small huts perched on the bank of the irrigation canal. 

“The café is a labour of love and it took me about a year to finish,” said owner Ahmad Azam Johar in an interview recently. 

He wants customers to enjoy the ambience and be patient for orders, as cooking is done by him and assistants Ismail Ibrahim, Nurul Hidayah Ibrahim and Nafisah Padikutty. 

Outdoor eating: Customers enjoying afternoon tea in hut perched beside the irrigation canal.
The night-market trader said he spent RM50,000 on the project, adding that it was modest considering he did it on his own with some help from friends. 

Azam said it would have easily cost RM100,000 if he had engaged a contractor, landscape consultant and labourers. 

He needs no introduction when it comes to landscaping in Batu Pahat as he won first place in the Johor Landscape Contest in 2003 in the kampung and single-storey terrace house category. 

Azam has won several top awards from local Malay décor magazines for his creativity in recent years. 

He restores second hand furniture diligently and makes garden furniture, water fountains and pergolas. 

Amiable: The dining area.
Azam said the skills of carpentry and electrical wiring were useful when decorating the café. 

He said one got a sense of satisfaction when one did things on one's own and it cut down on the cost of hiring experts.  

“Most of the wood used in the project are recycled, except for the kelerai and attap chee-leaf roofs,” Azam said. 

The kelerai are woven bamboo panels for huts bought in from Indonesia while the attap chee-leaf roofs were ordered from Parit Besar near here. 

The windows in the main building were from an old mosque and the wood for chairs and tables were salvaged from old kampung houses. 

Azam also displays collectibles such as old radios, fans, Malay silverware, glassware and paintings bought from orang asli traders. 

For details, call 012-797 0064.  

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