A hidden restaurant at the top of Penang Hill with an outstanding view.
For such a popular tourist attraction, there isn’t that much to eat at the top of Penang Hill aside from the food court near the funicular station. Not many people know that there’s an actual restaurant up here. The Bellevue Hotel Cafe is a hilltop eatery where you can get a view of George Town pretty much all to yourself but yet is not outrageously expensive.
After making your way up to Penang Hill, either by hiking or funicular, there should be a map near the upper station where you’ll be able to see the Bellevue Hotel very close by to the north. Take the path that is straight ahead of the picture spot of the giant swing. You may see markers for The Habitat on your left.
Eventually, you should see this sign. Turn right as it directs you to. You will pass a couple of covered shacks: The Garden Cafe and a char koay teow stall. At the end of the lane is the Bellevue Hotel.
Walk past the reception desk, or tell them you’re here to dine at the restaurant, and they’ll direct you to the end of the corridor.
Ambience & Amenities
The indoor dining room is rather plain with some tacky hotel paintings hanging on the walls. The patio is much more welcoming, with tons of potted plants around. There is a washing up sink out here on the right-hand side. The tables have an excellent, sweeping view of George Town and the mainland. Because not many tourists know about this place, it’s very peaceful and you might get the scene to yourself. On our visit, the only other person sharing the patio with us was a man who obviously worked somewhere on the hill.
Down the stairs from the patio, there is an open plain with benches and a gazebo that you should definitely try to snag after your meal (take your shoes off before entering it). The stairs descending further down from here lead to a geodesic dome with amphitheatre seating, but it will be blocked off.
The interior of the hotel looks less like a classy hilltop establishment and more like a hostel. Unflattering fluorescent lighting and rooms with no privacy just make you depressed for anyone staying here (apparently this is only a 2-star hotel).
The washrooms are in the corridor between the lobby and the cafe, and they match the overall dinginess of the hotel. In the women’s, there were two stalls with sitting toilets and paper, though I had to ask the reception desk for an extra roll. To dry my hands, there was just a slightly threadbare towel hanging on a rack. This hotel makes an effort where it can, and beside the sink were pretty bottles of lavender and herbs in an attempt at a high-class decor.
The menu at The Bellevue Hotel Cafe consists of very simple dishes that might seem out of place on the nice patio but is befitting of the general feel of the rest of the hotel. This food feels most appropriate as a casual lunch. The restaurant’s speciality is a steamboat set for two or more persons. Even at an altitude of 800 metres, one cannot escape the Malaysian favourite!
Mark got an Americano (RM12) which was “awful” according to him. It was bitter and had a burnt taste that needed at least a sugar packet or two to make it drinkable. It was probably coffee that was leftover from breakfast that was being kept warm all this time until lunch. I got a pot of Jasmine Green Tea (RM9), which was good for about four cups. I was disappointed to see it was just an Ahmad brand teabag. Ahmad Tea is quite possibly the cheapest tea at the supermarket and not worth RM9.
The Vegetarian Samosas (RM10) are definitely not authentic or made in-house. Based on their shape and size, I’ll wager they’re a brand of frozen mass-produced samosas. These were mildly spicy with a slow burn.
The Bellevue Club (RM18) is not what westerners would call a club sandwich, so don’t expect one. I see why they named this sandwich so. By calling it a “Bellevue” club, they can stick whatever they want in it. The only similarity this has to a clubhouse is that there’s bread and it’s cut into triangles. This had fried eggs and what I think was chicken deli meat. There was no mayo in the sandwich or veg of any kind. Despite the absence of these things, it actually wasn’t as dry as you’d think. On the side were a handful of heavily salted crinkle-cut ships and lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad. Thousand Island dressing was served in a separate ramekin.
Service was mediocre. The restaurant was dead, and the staff seemingly had other things to do around the hotel. They were nowhere to be seen once our orders were taken and food delivered. The staff just doesn’t seem to check on the patio often. They neglected to provide cutlery even though we had a salad with our meal. Since there wasn’t even anyone tending to the cafe, we had to hunt someone down to ask for knives and forks. We had to hunt again when we wanted to order more food.
Useful To Know
You can hang out in the area with the benches or in the gazebo without eating at the restaurant. If you feel awkward about encountering hotel staff while on your way to enjoy the view for free, you can bypass the restaurant. Once in the lobby, go out the door next to the wall of “Folia” pictures. Turn right and continue on the path, and it will eventually bring you out onto the viewpoint.
The food and drink are certainly not worth their prices, but this is the best spot with a view on Penang Hill. I would suggest coming here for drinks and ordering items that aren’t made by the restaurant, such as a Coke or a beer, so you know exactly what you’re getting. This is a quiet, relaxing space where you can take in the view without the crowds, and should not be missed during a visit to Penang Hill.
Price for 2 Pax: RM49.00
Jasmine Green Tea: RM9.00
Vegetarian Samosas: RM10.00
Bellevue Club: RM18.00
Bellevue Hotel Cafe
Inside the Bellevue Hotel, Jalan Bukit Bendera, Jalan Stesen, George Town, 11500 Pulau Pinang
Daily: 8am – 10pm
Alcohol Served: Yes