New Coliseum Cafe Has Some Old World Charm



There aren’t many restaurants in town which have been around for more than fifty years. Well in less than 10 years, Coliseum Café will be celebrating its centenary. It has remained popular for decades thanks to the sense of nostalgia it evokes in diners (some of us can say our grandparents dined there) and the mouth-watering Hainanese cuisine especially those that come on sizzling plates.

Years ago, I visited the original Coliseum Café downtown and the waiters were all crusty old men who looked like they’d been around since the café opened. Tablecloths were aged and stained, the café did look like it could have done with a facelift decades ago but the food was so fantastic that all these things seemed trivial.


Now that Coliseum has opened its branch at Plaza 33, there’s no longer any need to go to the original outlet where parking is impossible to find and Plaza 33 just seems like a more convenient location. When I visited over the weekend, the place was quite full although it was just 6.30pm. Some people eat even earlier than I do but perhaps they know better than to arrive after 7pm in which case you will most likely be waiting for a table.

The new Coliseum doesn’t evoke the same level of nostalgia as the original café but how can it when the table clothes are pristine white, the waiters are young and energetic and the only feature that reminds me of the one downtown is the bar at one end of this café which looks so different from the separate bar area at the original Coliseum. Oh well, they have to move with the times and I guess all those uncles who used to serve at the original Coliseum have either retired or remain at the original establishment.


Scanning the menu, it’s evident that prices have increased by hundreds of % since my last visit but that hardly comes at a surprise and doesn’t deter the dozens of customers from ordering their famous sizzling plates. The waiters seem to be preparing those non-stop! I settled on the grilled perch with steamed vegetables (they are under the fish) and mashed potato.

The grilled perch is perfection with the brown sauce. It is chunky thick, tender and melts in my mouth. For RM21.90, this is excellent value as it is so filling. Quality and quantity wise, they score 10 out of 10. I would come back again just for this as it’s one of the best grilled fish I’ve had in my life.


Dessert was Crepe Suzette with honey at RM6.90. For an extra RM2, you can have Crepe Suzette with ice cream but I like mine with honey or golden syrup. The dessert came generously drizzled with honey. The slice of lemon added zing to the sweetness.

I would have liked to have experienced old world ambiance but I think I can sacrifice that for the sake of practicality. After all, it’s much easier scooting off to PJ for a taste of Coliseum than downtown where I have to spend time looking for a place to park. However if I had foreign visitors, nothing beats dining at the original Coliseum for that overall nostalgic feel which makes the meal more complete.