Monday, March 31, 2014

Monkey Garage @ Regal Valet, Bangsar

Bangsar's Hidden Cafes, Part II: This month, Bangsar welcomes not one, not two, but three new cafes hidden in unlikely locations, each extremely different from the others. This one, Monkey Garage, is fuelled by both the passion & the playfulness of its co-founder Farah Janis & her two partners, all of them born in the Year of the Monkey.
January 2015 Update: Monkey Garage has been revamped & is now a gastropub that serves pork. See here for details.

Thousands of motorists drive past Maarof's Regal Valet auto specialist centre everyday, but few might peer deep within & realise that something surprising has stirred here.

Monkey Garage, yet another very friendly cafe, is partly inspired by Farah's travels _ specifically her visit to a cafe behind a train station in Zurich that served Swiss fare in a setting that seemed like a sanctuary for locals.

The cafe serves daily specials _ come on Tuesdays, when a lip-smacking Laksa Johor is available, the straight-from-the-south recipe with spaghetti & creamy fish-&-coconut gravy (RM13.90). 


On Wednesdays, there's a supremely hearty nasi tomato & ayam masak merah (RM16), while Fridays are currently reserved for nasi lemak & rendang.

Sandwiches are offered too, everything from butter gipfel stuffed with scrambled eggs (RM7) to pumpkin wholegrain ciabatta with hot beef salami & baguette with chicken & cheese. Note that not everything is always available; Monkey Garage is not operating at full capacity so far.

And of course, desserts. The speciality seems to be the Congo Bar (RM5), basically a nutty blondie with chocolate chips ...


... though naturally, there's also a monkeys-love-bananas theme of a light, smooth cheesecake with bananas & peanut butter & a lovely caramel banana tart ...

... as well as milk chocolate cake with marshmallows, banana cakes & other confections to tempt the sweet tooth.

Italian coffee, definitely drinkable. Lattes cost RM8 here, edging slightly toward the lower side of Bangsar's prices.


Hot chocolate hits the spot on a rainy afternoon.

All in all, we spent a very pleasant couple of hours here. It's a nice place, certainly worth a visit for folks in this neighbourhood.

Part I of Bangsar's Hidden Cafes: PULP By Papa Palheta.
Part III: Coming up tomorrow.

Monkey Garage Cafe
Regal Valet, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
Weekdays, 930am-7pm; weekends, 930am-5pm
Tel: 03-2282-1282


Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.


Also, take a look at the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, completely redesigned with a revamped look, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for April-June 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favourites-Apr-Jun-2014 (The link expires June 30, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

PULP By Papa Palheta @ Bangsar

Bangsar's Hidden Cafes, Part I: This month, Bangsar welcomes not one, not two, but three new cafes hidden in unlikely locations, each extremely different from the others. Let's start with PULP, the one that has opened with the biggest buzz.

PULP rests in the shadow of Riong's Balai Berita building, the head office of the New Straits Times Press. It occupies a site that was previously the paper-cutting space for the nearly 50-year-old Art Printing Works factory & storehouse. 

PULP is run by respected Singaporean coffee boutique Papa Palheta, the people behind the city-state's Chye Seng Huat Hardware & Loysel's Toy cafes; it might be the patriotic responsibility of every Singaporean expat in KL to support this place.

PULP's opening afternoon proved the most well-received of any KL cafe's in recent memory; the owners of numerous other establishments _ from Brewmen to Wondermama, Thirdwave to VCR _ could be spotted here, mingling with curious cats & eager beavers, ahead of an official launch in the evening by Singapore's high commissioner to Malaysia.

The pedigree, experience & expertise of the people behind PULP ensure that it's well worth visiting. This is a welcoming cafe with a friendly team, easygoing vibe, singular look & clean layout; even with the legion of coffee bars stirring in the Klang Valley every week, PULP looks poised to be one of 2014's best bets.

PULP _ a name with links to both paper & coffee _ will mean different things to different people: For most, it'll be a hangout where we can nibble on light bites & sip top-flight coffee or buy freshly roasted espresso blends & single-origin beans. But PULP also aims to be a sales & service centre for coffee gadgets & a space for professional training, cupping sessions & workshops.

It was a fortunate coincidence that we shared a table with Art Printing Works' Ee Chong Kok, one of the three brothers who've spearheaded the company since the 1960s. He explained that PULP is part of a vision _ led by younger members of his family _ to create a place that pays homage to the time-honoured traditions of printing while keeping the business relevant at this turning point of history when nearly everyone relies more on smartphones than paper.

This was the only cafe that had a press release prepared for its launch. Its current menu is kept simple & elegant _ accessible & not intimidating at all for casual coffee drinkers, but fascinating enough for people who might instantly associate phrases like "Brazil Cerrado" & "Indonesia Ratawali Valley" with coffee.

 It's a beautiful balance _ the same description that's applicable to our coffee. You'll currently find La Cupula & La Flor Del Cafe (both Antigua Guatemala) & Blue Batak (Lake Toba) here ...

 ... plus medium-bodied cold-brew (Suke Quto, Ethiopia Sidamo) of _ according to the official description _ a candied sweetness & citrus acidity.

No lack of food, thankfully: Familiar, well-executed fare that ranges from chicken pies to mushroom quiches, carrot cakes to raisin scones & fruit tarts.

The Yin & Yang of PULP's desserts, one Eastern, the other from far West. We liked the lovely, fresh-tasting steamed pumpkin rice cake & the creamy-rich chocolate tart. Come right in, the food's fine.

We'll probably explore Bangsar's other two hidden cafes in this blog's next two entries. Want to find out even sooner? Subscribe to the Eat Drink KL weekly newsletter for free before midnight, Monday, March 31, for an advance peek. Subscription link here: https://confirmsubscription.com/h/d/5106C196432BB23D 

PULP By Papa Palheta currently opens 9am-7pm weekdays (except Mondays) & 9am-10pm on weekends. 

PulpbyPPP

Pulp By Papa Palheta
29-01, Jalan Riong, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2201-3650


Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Also, take a look at the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, completely redesigned with a revamped look, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for April-June 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favourites-Apr-Jun-2014 (The link expires June 30, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Atlantic @ Melbourne

The Atlantic, a bustling seafood restaurant in Melbourne's Southbank, prides itself on an “ocean-to-plate” philosophy of serving wild, sustainable fish and top-drawer oysters flown in daily from all across Australia.

The ocean’s bounty shines here through recipes that respect their delicate ingredients and preserve the purity of their flavours. “We treat our seafood like a lady. You absolutely can’t mess around with it,” declares Donovan Cooke, The Atlantic's executive chef since 2010.

Still, for this meal, the restaurant proved that it's no slouch with meat, displaying all the discernment of a well-honed kitchen with this Wagyu bresaola with quail yolk & heritage cauliflower.

Truffled chicken wings with hand-rolled macaroni & broccoli crumbs. A dish that delivers delicious complexity.

The star of the show: Olive oil confit of Ora King Salmon with etuve of spring veggies, diamond clams, artichoke essence, confit tomatoes & soft herb emulsion.

Even the sides are well worth finishing: Crushed kipfler potatoes with parsley, black olives & olive oil, plus radicchio salad fennel with pears & lemon olive oil dressing.

Desserts emerge in sweet succession: Berry cheesecake trifle, featuring raspberry cheesecake foam, cream cheese ice cream, vanilla cookies, strawberry jelly & berry marmalade.

Nougat with Valrhona white chocolate, pistachios & cranberries.

Salted caramel peanut crunch.




The Atlantic
Crown Entertainment Complex, 8, Whiteman Street, Southbank, Melbourne.



Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

As a separate initiative, the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites for January-March 2014 is now online, featuring 100 pretty nice eateries, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter. This eBook of restaurant recommendations is available for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Jan-March-2014 (This link expires March 31, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).

Khrua Thai @ One City USJ Skypark

Only four or five restaurants are open so far at the One City Skypark 10th-floor rooftop, so hungry customers have few options, making Khrua Thai a venue that can get crowded as the evening progresses.

Folks mostly head to this rooftop to take in the view; some stay on to eat, but others might be wary of the higher prices here. 

Steamed mixed seafood in foil (RM28 before taxes). The food's OK, though portions are certainly not generous, so customers might need to either spend at least RM40 per person or risk leaving a bit peckish.

Deep-fried soft-shell crab. RM48 before taxes for three flat ones? Not cool, though to be fair, the illustrated menu did indicate that there would only be three pieces of crab served.

Salted egg yolk squid (RM30). Lots of squid recipes on the menu, from butter-fried to curry to steamed with lemon, tom yam to kam heong. For better or worse, the menu extends beyond being purely Thai.

Stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts (RM20), a dish that leaves no lingering impression here.

Stir-fried paku-pakis with garlic (RM18). Capably prepared is probably the easy description for this.

Note: Patience will be a virtue if the kitchen finds itself swamped. During this restaurant's early weeks, customers sometimes had to wait more than an hour for their food, but the situation has likely improved since then (we hope).

Khrua Thai
Sky Park, One City, Jalan USJ 25/1, Subang Jaya, Selangor


This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.



Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

As a separate initiative, the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites for January-March 2014 is now online, featuring 100 pretty nice eateries, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter. This eBook of restaurant recommendations is available for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Jan-March-2014 (This link expires March 31, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).