Do you like queso? Because you’ll be eating a lot of it here.
This place follows Restaurant 101: keep people coming back by smothering food with cheese. Though we were shocked at how full this place was at a weird dinner hour (5 pm), we weren’t surprised that many Ipohites favour Konda Kondi Cafe, a hip eatery with greasy comfort food that warms the soul.
Ambience & Amenities
Konda Kondi sports an industrial chic aesthetic. The walls and ceiling are made of corrugated steel, decorated with pop art to keep it from looking too grim. Concrete slabs make up a bench seat by the open-air window. The seating is a mix of standard wood tables and higher bar tables, with more seating on their sidewalk patio. There is also an additional upstairs dining area that can be accessed by the staircase next to the side entrance. Even with all these tables available, be prepared for a queue on the weekends.
There is an exit across from the register counter, where if you turn right you’ll find the handwashing station. There is soap provided here, but nothing to dry off with. I didn’t use the toilet during our visit so I can’t vouch for its condition, but it is located up the stairs next to the handwashing sink within their upstairs dining room. Interestingly, there is also a surau (prayer room) right on-site.
The menu is mostly what I classify as western food, but there are a couple of Asian-inspired appetizers and two short pages of rice dishes. In my opinion, the highlight of Konda Kondi Cafe’s menu is the Tex-Mex cuisine – tacos, nachos, and queso for days – which is a rarity in Malaysia. The food is all Halal, but the menu is so meat-heavy that vegetarians won’t have much to choose from. Ordering is done on a slip with every menu item listed on it, and you put the quantity you want in the adjacent column.
The Apple Mint (RM5 each, cold) drinks were a yes from both of us. It was perfectly sweet, not tart, and with the right amount of pulpy texture. This is more of an apple drink, as the mint flavour is very subtle.
The Nachos El Capitan (RM13) is the perfect appetizer size for two. It’s not so huge that you fill up on it, but not so small where it feels like a ripoff. Tortilla chips are layered with white cheddar, tons of queso, meat sauce and finished with paprika. There was one proper sized meatball at the top which was too perfectly round to be fresh so I assume it’s from a frozen premade pack. Mark felt that this was the best of the three dishes we ordered.
The Lamb Burger (RM20) is a great amount of food for RM20. This oblong burger is packed with two thin lamb patties, cheese, lamb fat cubes, a pineapple slice, and – what else – more queso. The first few bites are so indulgent with a strong lamb taste, two kinds of cheese and the rich lamb fat to boot. Once we ate our way to the pineapple, it provided some welcome freshness and sweetness. The two lamb patties were a bit much with everything else going on in this burger. One slightly thicker patty would’ve been a better balance of flavours. In case you haven’t ingested enough queso at this point, a ramekin of more queso is provided for the fries!
The Creamy Fireball (RM15) sounded mysterious and interesting, and when it arrived, it was just as fascinating. Seven irregularly shaped meatballs come swimming in a creamy paprika sauce. Make use of all the excess sauce by dipping the curly fries into it because ketchup doesn’t come automatically. I love curly fries so these were delicious – piping hot, crispy and a bit spicy. Eat these fast though, because there is a short window of time before they get soggy. The meatballs look and taste much more homemade. They’re okay, but after about the third meatball, the taste gets very samey. The meat itself has very little flavour, so all you’re tasting is the paprika sauce for every bite of meatball. In the end, I had to leave two meatballs behind on the plate as I was tired of the flavour.
Konda Kondi Cafe is a place where you can get gluttonous food for a cheap price considering how much arrives on your plate. They go over the top, and you can never complain that they skimped on a certain ingredient. Some dishes need a little tweaking to be perfect, but you can’t beat the value. Konda Kondi is just shy of the level where I would be a regular if I lived in Ipoh, but I would consider coming back once in a blue moon… maybe on a day where I felt like gaining five pounds after one meal.
Price for 2 Pax: RM58.00
Nachos El Capitan: RM13.00
Creamy Fireball: RM15.00
Lamb Burger: RM20.00
Apple Mint, Cold x 2: RM10.00
Konda Kondi Cafe & Bistro
183, Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, Ipoh, 30000 Perak
Weekdays (except Tue), 5pm – 12am (12:30am on Fri)
Sat & Sun, 1pm – 12:30am
Closed on Tuesdays
Alcohol Served: No