Country Charm

Guests relaxing at Agnes Cafe [Ground floor patio]
Country charm at Agnes Cafe

When Sennet and Agnes Tzinberg moved to Kuala Lumpur for work, they planned to stay for two years but as they discovered that this is a country where all cultures live and respect each other, their plans changed. 

Their daughter Ellesse, who was born in Kuala Lumpur, has such a talent for riding that she represented Kuala Lumpur in many equestrian competitions.  This shared passion for riding caused the family to look for a place to pursue this sport and they found the ideal spot in Sedenak, Johor. 

Twelve years ago, they designed and built a country manor complete with stables and started a charming resort they named, Riders Lodge.  Over the years, the resort earned a reputation as a family oriented leisure getaway and their hallmarks of personalized service and great food in Agnes Café have kept regulars coming back.  That’s because the café’s namesake, Agnes, personally oversees the kitchen and inspires the team to come up with healthier dishes that not only pleases her but are also a pride to serve guests.

A section of Agnes Cafe at Riders Lodge

At Agnes Café, wooden tables covered in cotton gingham are neatly arranged on the patio with several tables in the comfortably shaded rear garden.  Fresh flowers on each table and sea-shell mobiles tinkling in the balmy breezes exudes a homey charm.  In the morning, their Farmhouse Country breakfast of eggs, sausages, hashbrown, waffle, pancake, toast and fruit, served with freshly squeezed juice and a choice of coffee or tea, is a hearty meal to kick-start any day.

Regulars agree that part of the fun in staying with the resort is discovering new and interesting items in the daily set menus at Agnes Café.  In fact, some diners will even take a leisurely drive there, just to enjoy a meal in the charming country ambience.  The personal touch is a plus point here because if guests prefer no rice with their meals, a simple request is all that’s needed for the meal to be modified into a sandwich.  Vegetarians too, can confidently order from their menu, assured that the ingredients will be suitably changed and personalized to meet their dietary requirements.

Auggie, serving signature drink, Milo Frappe
At any time of day, children of all ages will drop by at the little bar to order a fortifying glass of Milo Frappe.  As its name suggests, this milky freeze is a chocolaty creation made with Milo, a nutritious beverage popular with the young and young-at-heart.  Auggie, one of the friendly associates in Riders Lodge, is adept at making this cool blend, served in a tall glass lined with chocolate sauce and serve it, topped with a generous dollop of cream and lashings of yummy chocolate sauce!

“Our scones are made fresh every day for afternoon tea,” said Agnes, referring to the Devonshire Tea set served daily at the café. 

This exquisite set comes with two freshly-baked scones with a side of whipped fresh cream, butter and jam, and your choice of coffee or tea.  Pick from a choice of Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Camomile, English or Jasmine teas, or savour fragrant Lavazza coffee with your warm scones.

Devonshire tea set served at Agnes Cafe

When Agnes asked a guest who happens to be from Devon, to comment about the scones, she promptly replied, “Good!”  She also added that ‘cold hands’ are needed to make good scones.  Agnes interpreted this theory along the lines of how some people with ‘green fingers’ can tend gardens more successfully and was glad that Agnes Café has someone with ‘cold hands’ to make their scones so beautifully!

“I want to offer guests food they can’t be bothered to cook at home,” laughed the affable Agnes who encourages her kitchen team to try out unconventional recipes and create dishes unique to their cafe.  Through this exercise, a variety of salads and sandwiches as well as local fare are constantly being added into their Halal menu.  She said very often guests who particularly enjoyed a meal, will ask her for the recipe and she will gladly share it!

Refreshing chunky grilled Chicken Salad at Agnes Cafe
To reach Riders Lodge by the North-South Highway, exit at Kulai toll from the South and from the North, exit at Sedenak toll, to join the old trunk road.  Riders Lodge is located in Sedenak oil palm plantation, adjacent to the Legends Golf & Country Resort.  

In 2006 and 2007, Riders Lodge received the Excellence Award for Best Child-Friendly Resort from Expatriate Lifestyle Magazine.  The Best of Malaysia Awards – Travel Awards – recognised Riders Lodge with an Excellence Award for the Best Family Holiday Resort in 2009. 

For reservations, Tel: 07 – 6525330 or Fax: 07 – 6525331. For more info, visit website:

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 19 March 2012

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