Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Sconed

Havin' a spot o' tea like the Bri'ish...

It was a beautiful setting - a rustic Tudor house surrounded by a beautiful garden in the cool air of Cameron Highlands:

The Smokehouse Exterior

The dining areas of The Smokehouse were also a visual feast - you will be spoilt for choice between the fresh open air garden area, the traditional yet warm dining room area or the cosy and airy patio area:
The Smokehouse Interior

There are basically two main options for tea:
1) Set 1 for RM18++(Tea, 2 Scones, Strawberry Jam+Butter+Cream)
2) Set 2 for RM25++(Tea, 2 Scones, Strawberry Jam+Butter+Cream AND a piece of fruit cake)

The first thing that peeved me was that they insisted that the big pot of tea cannot be shared... and so I had to pay an extra RM8++ for what was effectively one extra tea bag and a cup.
*sigh*
The Tea

Anyway, the scones were pretty good:
The Scones

Freshly baked everyday, the scones were fragrant with a crumbly but moist texture. Paired with generous amounts of the homemade strawberry jam (loved it!), butter and cream, it proved to be an enjoyable and light treat for the day.

Sadly, the service was lacking somewhat. On both occasions we went there, the wait staff were either:
1) Blur,
2) Slow,
3) Unhelpful,
4) Unfriendly/ Frowning, OR
5) All of the above.

I know this place has a trump card due to its unique setting and ambience, but if they can just improve on their service then it would make a truly wonderful and memorable experience.

Besides, the prices there are not exactly what I would call reasonable. I found it a bit pricey in fact, but since I was "on a holiday" I thought: "Aiyah, what the heck. It's not like I come to Cameron Highlands everyday - just eat lah".
(I even browsed through the dinner menu and saw that most of the items there - even something that sounds simple like a pie - costs more than RM40++)

In any case, FYI: The phone number for The Smokehouse is 05-4911 215 and it is located just off the main road in the Tanah Rata area, somewhere between the Tanah Rata town and the Peak area.
(You should be able to see the signboard from the main road)

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19 comments:

  1. Hey! It's about time you post on this. ;)

    I'll go back there anytime - regardless of the price or service - just for the ambience of being in an old tudor English setting & for those yummy scones. It's really my fave spot in CH.

    Btw, the teapot was a real disappointment for me, too. I honestly thought they could have served us tea in a porcelain pot - the real English style. ;)

    Thanks for sharing, J. :D

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  2. cool! ,aybe i should go to cameron highlands after sarawak since i haven't been there before!

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  3. well, guess the service ain't that bri'ish, innit?

    but like you said, the service aside, the locale is definitely to die for...

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  4. sorry to hear about the service. when we were there (not the latest trip) the staff were friendly. we stayed there once too but seriously, for the price we have paid, it's not really worth it even though it really nice to enjoy the English charms and all the jazz.

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  5. if u want someplace nearer n just as cool with similar ambience try Frasers Hill Smokehouse

    Hopefully their service is as good as what I experienced

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  6. I avoided going there on purpose because I didn't hear anything good about them. However I reckon the scones I had at TCafe were really good (and reasonably priced too).

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  7. One big pot of tea cannot share???! WTF??!

    That is so ridiculous!

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  8. to jemima:
    Haha.
    Yeah - I suppose it's a tad delayed seeing as I went to Cameron's almost 2 months ago.
    :)
    I'd probably go back too (the ambience is nice!) but it's such a pity the service isn't that good.

    to laksa:
    Yeah - I really love the garden area.... Eating there in the cool air, surrounded by pretty flowers is really nice.

    to babe_kl:
    I suppose consistency is the key to continued success... The problem is that a number of Msian eateries just can't seem to pin that down.

    to tonixe:
    Oh, Fraser's Hill has a Smokehouse too?
    Cool - will check it out if I'm in the area. Thanks!
    :)

    to wyejon:
    Well,... the ambience is something special at the Smokehouse.
    :)
    Will definately check out T-Cafe if I'm in the area though... It sounds interesting.
    (Thanks!)

    to Merv:
    Yeah lorr - That's what got me really irritated.
    *sigh*
    I mean, it's not even any sort of special designer tea - if I remember correctly, it was a Lipton or Boh tea bag!

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  9. to wuching:
    A 2 day trip to Camerons would be nice - any more and you may get bored though.
    :)
    (Eh,... are you coming to KL?)

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  10. Hey! I'm thinking of going up soon. I'm in need of a badly needed break.

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  11. to jemima:
    Go! It's a nice place for a weekend trip...
    (And R&R is always good!)
    :)
    Be careful on the drive up/ down though... some of the lorries and buses driving up/ down can be a bit psycho.

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  12. Yep, thanks for the caution. This will be my 3rd drive up if I get to go. HUGS! :)

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  13. Hi everyone,
    As someone who's been going to Smokehouse in Camerons since I was about 5 years old and have met the owners on several occasions I thought I should add a comment when someone pointed out this reviews page for me.
    Smokehouse is a a bit on the expemsive side but I don't think its unreasonable priced considering its a true boutique hotel-and one of the oldest in Malaysia. I agree with everyone that the ambience is great-but it costs the management money to hv it that way-what other hotel has genuine collector's items and antiques literally everywhere?

    I have lived in the UK for 12 years and used to invite my Brit mates back to Malaysia with me whenever I visited-and they agree with me that the Smokehouse is a treasure.....and the scones even better than any we've ever tasted in the UK. As for T-cafe scones (I've also been there and the owner Theresa is lovely), they just can't compare...esp as Smokehouse was the one who pioneered serving afternoon tea in the region...
    I once asked the owner why they only use Boh tea (in reply to one of the comments) and he states its because Smokehouse is keen to support local producers and because Boh has been synonomous with Camerons Highlands and afternoon tea in Malaysia since colonial days (and that's why on the main menu it emphasizes that main course are served w fresh HIGHLAND veg) and I actually think that's admirable.
    Anyhow, I think everyone should give it a go. The staff i admit are a bit on-off but whenever I made a complaint or observation to the supervisors/managers, the problem was always rectified or at least taken into account. Perhaps someone should have asked to speak with the manager when told the unreasonable 'You cannot share a big pot of tea and must pay extra'. Funnily, I always share a Devonshire cream tea set when I go to Smokehouse and never been told that I cannot do so. (However, I once saw a group of teenagers-about 5 or 6 of them, taking up a huge table on the terrace and ordering only 1 Devonshire cream tea and a single scoop of ice-cream between them. Excusable I suppose as they were young, but here I must say I was a bit taken-aback on behalf of the staff when they asked for 5 extra sets of cutlery and tea settings so that they could share their one order)
    Anyway, I hope that anyone who does visit Smokehouse in Camerons has an enjoyable a time as I always have.
    Also, I have visited the branches in Frazers Hill and KL and they were somewhat of a disappointment.

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  14. actually the lakehouse staff were more cocky!

    we met the owner of the smokehouse once and OMG he's such a nice man, so friendly

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  15. to anonymous:
    Wah.
    Comment so long....
    Thanks for sharing....
    :)

    My view:
    (First of all, I thought that the Smokehouse was nice - the ambience and scones won me over)

    Yeah - I realise that no F&B establishment can be absolutely perfect but the closer they are to perfection, the better(ie. consistently good food taste + reasonable price + good service + nice ambience).

    If you have eaten there many times before, you will still go back because you know they are just having a "bad day"... but such inconsistencies may scare away new clientele from repeat visits.
    (This has happened to me before when I bring friends to some of my favourite restaurants)

    Erm.
    Would love it if you put your name/ nick name on the comment next time.

    It's better that way - I always feel like when talking to "Anonymous" commenters, it's like they are an "Oi, you!" or "Jane/John Doe".
    :)

    to babe_kl:
    Haha.
    Malaysian service is fantastic, isn't it?

    It's nice that the owner is nice - sometimes these boutique restaurant ppl can be a bit snobby so it's wonderful to find ppl who break that stereotype.
    :)

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  16. after reading your review I really wanna go to the Smokehouse. Simply because i love going for English cream teas when i was studying there with my flatmate and we used to scour the streets of London for the best best best ones!!!
    Sadly, there are hardly any places here that serve the scones properly with clotted cream. Ritz-Carlton serves theirs with whipped cream, Delicious serves theirs with pure cream. Which is crap.
    exception is Carcosa Seri Negara - pure real clotted cream. Which is the only way they're served in England. Whipped cream/ pure cream/ anything else is unheard of.

    the crucial question: Are the scones served with clotted cream or normal cream?
    If it ain't clotted, its 150% so not british..

    Sorry for the long comment but i'd really appreciate it if you could clarify this for me so that my trip there (which is solely for the scones!) won't go to waste!

    Nadia

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  17. to nadia:
    Sorry to disappoint you but when I asked they just said it was normal cream....
    (It tasted ok though)

    So, it may not be 150% authentic British but the ambience is still worth a try if you're in the area.
    :)

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  18. Sorry about ya encounter with bad service, grrrr.

    I love the scones there, and I agree ... better then anything I have ever had in the UK over 9 years :-)

    http://juliansi.blogspot.com/2007/10/cameron-highalnds-tea-smokehouse.html

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  19. to julian si:
    Well, it wasn't super bad... but it definately could have been better.

    Anyway, looks like you had lots of fun eating there! It's good to see that the food is still yummy and the service is improving.
    :)

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