They couldn’t keep hipsters from finding the place, but they can try to keep them from sitting here! Rabbit x Holdup seems like a tiny, counter seating-only cafe, but there’s much more than meets the eye. The official address is on Jalan Kuala Kangsar, but the entrance is down a short, dead-end alley at the side of the building.
Along with the usual coffee offerings, they also have a fair number of Japanese fusion creations like green tea lattes made of genmaicha or hojicha and matchas in unique flavours. On a clipboard at the counter will be an additional limited-time coffee menu and their seasonal soft-serve ice cream flavour. When we visited, it was kuih bangkit flavour for the Chinese New Year season.
Ambience & Amenities
This place could fit right in on the streets of Los Angeles. It ticks all the boxes: unconventional coffee inspired by faraway places, nonchalant exposed concrete and a mysterious name that makes no sense. All that’s missing are the holier-than-thou baristas sporting offbeat tattoos.
Thank God, this is Malaysia and the staff are just regular Penangites – not a one was wearing a beanie. They were informative when describing their seasonal menu and patient when we were deciding what to order.
After receiving your coffee, the choice of seating may seem disappointing. At first glance, this looks like a very utilitarian place – drink your coffee and get out. There are only four uncomfortable bar stools at the window and two in front of the soft-serve machine. Not the kind of place you’d want to chill for hours.
The big excitement about Rabbit x Holdup is the “hidden area” that you would never find unless someone told you about it beforehand. You don’t have to poke around in the alley or mutter a hush-hush password to the barista. The secret door is actually… behind the innocuous orange “fridge!”
Expertly concealed behind here is the rest of the cafe and a bunch more seating options. It’s like you’ve found a secret bunker! Note that the fridge door has a short clearance. I’m 163cm (5’4”) and had only a bit of headroom left, so if you’re any taller than 175cm (5’7”), duck when entering.
The first seating area you’ll come to is a shadowy room with bench seats. It’s quite dark in here, but still air-conditioned. For natural light, head out onto the patio, where there are squashy couches and a table with cube chairs. It’s a nice space, but it’s entirely enclosed and the roof is covered with transparent plastic. On a sunny day, it’s a sauna in here with absolutely no breeze. On our visit, the cafe only had one fan for the patio area, which another table had already claimed. It was too hot out here, too dark in the other room, so we sat by the window in the non-secret area.
The washroom is out by the patio area, up the stairs. There’s a big space and one big table up here if the other areas don’t suit you. There are two small rooms for the toilets and they were as expected: a clean sitting toilet with paper. Hand washing is done outside the toilet room, where there is soap.
If you just need some caffeine, I don’t think this is the place to go. Our drinks were yummy, but they didn’t do much to perk us up. This is a place to sip matcha and chat with friends or do some work. If you’re not much into coffee, stop by for their ice cream. Before now, I had never seen kuih bangkit in any form other than the traditional chalky biscuit. Who knows what wild soft serve flavours they’ll have next time.
Rabbit x Holdup
Address: 73 Jalan Kuala Kangsar, George Town, 10100 Pulau Pinang
Opening Hours: Daily (except Tuesday): 10am – 7pm, closed on Tuesdays
Alcohol Served: No