IKEA Cafe - An Unexpected Find

I do camp at random cafes often to get most of my blog article writings done, as well as replying emails and doing "paperwork". Why not work from home? Because home is too comfortable, with the bed constantly calling me for short quick naps, the ever present gaming PC with friends forever online with frequent invitations for a game of DotA and basically I have programmed home to be just home for rest and play and not conducive enough for productivity and serious work. Besides moving out of the house into a new environment has its psychology explanation on how it can boost productivity. With good coffee, comfortable environment and a huge enough table for me to work, I am set.

I have some favourite locations that I rotate around but recently I found this really awesome place, and an unexpected one: Ikea Cafe.

All images were taken with Motorola G5S Plus smartphone camera, using Google Camera app ported over and HDR+ feature enabled for most shots. 

An important criteria for my cafe "workstation" is large working space. I cannot work on a cramped table or small seating areas. That is a Lenovo Miix 510, a 2-in-1 tablet/PC device that I have used to write my blog articles for the past 2 years. Yes, it is a Microsoft Surface clone. I bought a clone because obviously the original Surface is so overpriced and I cannot afford it

The abundance of natural light is great to create illusion of space. I have generally favored bright working locations. I hated all my previous employment working offices that use the health damaging, headache inducing and skin-tone disaster fluorescent lighting. 

Everywhere you look at, even up above the ceiling level, the whole place is just beautiful!

The awesome thing about this place? It is not that packed during weekdays, which is fantastic. They serve good coffee too, and at super cheap price in comparison to many other hipster cafes in town! A cup of Latte here costs about RM7.40, in contrast to the typical RM12 found everywhere else. I can't vouch for the coffee quality, but the one time I tasted it was decent enough. 

I honestly cannot imagine how busy and packed this cafe will be during the weekends, when humans from all over the place crowd IKEA for no reason and there is that cheap coffee just outside. I probably will never find out and just come here during the non-peak hours in the week working days. 

I thought to myself, hey this place looks really gorgeous and lets take some photos! I whipped out the ever ready smartphone and started snapping away. Although this particular shooting session was a brief, non-serious and purely for personal "visual diary" purposes only, I did not take it easy. Every photo that I took, even if it is personal use and has no consequence if I screw up, I made sure I did my best and found ways to make them look as good as I possibly can. Photography is about constantly seeing, working your vision and doing the best with what you have in hand. While the tool may be simple (smartphone camera) but the photographer can surely work harder to get good shots. No excuses and stop being lazy! Put some effort, and just start shooting away. 

The smartphone may have a lot of limitations but you know what? The limitations should not stop you from shooting. Same goes with whatever camera you have with you. I see so many friends or photographers feeling defeated when they do not have the latest, most powerful and coolest camera or lenses. I am not saying don't upgrade your camera, I am just saying, whatever you have, just use it. An image is an image, no matter how grainy the high ISO is, how limited the dynamic range is and how little the megapixels it has. 

Coffee is only RM7.40! Probably cheapest "overpriced" coffee in town. 

Obviously all furniture are from IKEA, and the cafe has the IKEA smell. 

Some buttery sugary fatty food to feed you and make you fat. 

I don't think the culture of returning trays, culteries and bowls/plates will catch on in Malaysia anytime soon. 



Using the Motorola G5S Plus for a while now, especially with the Google Camera app installed, I don't think I wish to have a better smartphone camera anymore. 

Yes, it is not perfect, in terms of image quality, autofocus, limited manual functions, and no RAW file support. Seriously, for all these demands, I can have them all satisfied with my Micro Four Thirds system for any serious shooting. For everyday snapshots, the smartphone is sufficient. 

I also found that the HDR+ feature to help tremendously in situations with difficult lighting conditions. Unfortunately, using the HDR+ on the Moto G5S Plus slows down shooting operations significantly, and there is a lag between shots. 



If you walk by that IKEA Cafe during weekdays, do have a peek inside. You might just find me in there working, writing my latest article for Ming Thein, or for this blog here. 

And if you buy me a cup of coffee, I will feature a portrait of you here! Sounds like a good deal?

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10 comments:

  1. Wait till you try the meatballs Robin, you will never leave.

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    1. I've Swedish and Finnish friends who told me that the meatballs in Ikea Malaysia aren't the same!

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  2. Uh...did you say if I buy you a coffee, I get a Robin Wong Original Portrait shot of myself...published on your blog?? Wow. Sounds great. Except for...the cost of flying to Malaysia. Hmmm. Are you ever working at the IKEA cafe in Costa Mesa, California? If so, the deal is ON!! ;-)

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    1. Steve I do have Malaysian blog readers too you know!

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    2. Of course! My humorous (intended) comment was more on the ubiquitous nature of IKEA than any comment on your diverse readership...FYI: the IKEA cafe in your photos is very swank compared to the one in Costa Mesa, California, which is more like a budget cafeteria. The famous meatballs here are...okay? Probably best in Sweden!

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    3. With the amount of Hipster cafes everywhere here, if IKEA is doing any less, people will choose to go elsewhere!

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  3. To state the obvious, those pastries are junk. Stay away.

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    1. Hah, but a quick fix of sugar is necessary sometimes! Bad, but we Malaysians have very sweet teeth.

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  4. Only eat freshly homemade ones. Otherwise you'd consume large amounts of oxidized fat and cholesterol that'd wreck havoc to your blood vessels.

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    1. You are damn right. Nothing beats our homemade ones. Always make your own.

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