Monday, December 28, 2015

Piccolo Cafe

I remember the day they first opened for business, as I drove past with Dad as we were scouting for lunch. It was Deepavali Day in 2014, which makes them a little over a year old now. It literally takes me only 5 minutes to get to them, which is both a good and bad thing. Good because I finally have a proper cafe in my neighbourhood. Bad because I go to them so often - a little too often!

Who is this "they"? Well, they are none other than Piccolo Cafe, a brightly-lit music cafe situated on the first level of the same row of shops as CIMB Bank Taman Equine.


The owner, the very friendly Alicia, is my age and a coffee + music enthusiast like me! Oh, and throw in the fact that she gets to see my face every other weekend, we grew to be friends pretty quickly. She took me to cafes around KL and introduced me to people and places. I try to return the favour by doing the same, as I have other friends in the F&B business, too.

Piccolo, for those who are not in the know, is Italian for small. Musically, piccolo is the name of a half-sized flute that produces sounds one octave higher than a common flute. Coffee-wise, my first encounter with a piccolo was in Sydney, where a piccolo latte is a small latte. Specifically, a piccolo is a single ristretto shot in a macchiato glass that is filled with steamed milk in the same fashion as a latte.

Let me share with you my collection of photos from the uncountable times that I have been there, starting with their food. By the way, you are able to purchase vouchers and offers for their meals from places like Groupon and KindMeal.my.

Their Big Breakfast (RM16) is a hearty meal of garden salad, sausage, turkey ham, mushrooms, scrambled egg, baked beans, has brown and charcoal bread. Very filling for me and I take very long to finish it every time.


Their Chicken Chop (RM18) comes with choices of original, black pepper or barbecue sauces. For an additional RM3, it comes with rice and a sunny-side-up egg.


Later on, they added an OMG Chicken (RM18) to their menu. It works the same way as the Chicken Chop, just that it is deep-fried and does not come with sauces.


Deep-fried in a layer of their own combination of breadcrumbs and herbs are the fish fillets of their Fish & Chips (RM15). This was my favourite fish until...


... I tried their Chicken Burger (RM15)...


... and their Sandwich with Fries (RM12). I would interchange these two between my visits because I could not get enough of that sauce! What do they put in there, ganja? Why so addictive?


In addition to their Western menu, they have a smaller Asian menu. I quite like their Japanese Curry Panda Rice (RM12), as occasionally I do miss the sweetness of Japanese curry. The rice is balled into panda faces and on days when I am vegetarian, I ask for them to replace the chicken with more potato and carrot. I also try to pair my rice with Green Tea Latte (RM10) in keeping with the Japanese theme.


At one time, they offered a Japanese Grilled Salmon Bento as their Monthly Special. This one, I only had once because I preferred the above Panda one.


For when I was not really hungry, I have their Mushroom Soup (RM5).


For a quick fix of a random waffle craving, I would have their Waffle + Vanilla Ice-Cream (RM16). Please do not compare with waffle experts, The Owls Cafe. 


When I felt like only ice-cream, I sometimes have their Affogato (RM10).


And on very random and rare occasions, I would have a cup of Hot Tea (RM7) in various flavours. There is a box of Twinings sitting on their counter, where I pick my choice and when I am done with my first cup, I would ask for a refill of hot water. 


Most of the time, my coffee selection is Mocha (RM10). Of the many times that I am there, I think I only had Cappuccino (RM8) twice. Max normally has his Americano (RM6). Cath likes her Flat White (RM8). And so, here are the various cups of mocha made by the different baristas.

By Pei Xin

By Pei Xin (Before she learnt how to do coffee art properly)

By Samuel

By Pei Xin

3D coffee foam cat by Chorus (Charcoal Crepe Cake in background)

I normally do not have cold coffee unless it is absolutely withering hot outside. I think this happened only once because my tolerance towards hot weather is quite high. All coffee with additional milk or ice is an additional RM1.

In addition to Alicia, the key element that keeps bringing me back to Piccolo is their selection of cakes. I am always on the lookout for new cake orders and I know that Alicia constantly sources for different cake suppliers to make available to customers a good variety of cakes. All cakes are priced at RM11 per slice while those with alcohol are RM13 per slice.

Chocolate Crepe Cake

Cendol Cake

Strawberry Shortcake

Pandan & Coconut Cake

Chocolate Mud Cake

Carrot Cake

Black Sesame Cake

Rosy Mango Cake

Kahlua Espresso Cake

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey's Frosting

Nutella Ferrero Cake

Black Rum Cake

Chocolate Bailey's Cheesecake

They also cater to functions and large group bookings. Twice, I have had a custom-made fruit platter made for special occasions. 



I hope they stay open for a long long long time to come. Don't worry Alicia, even if there will be new cafes open, I will still be your loyal supporter! *teehee*

Piccolo Cafe
15-1 Jalan Equine 1C, Taman Equine, Seri Kembangan, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 12 363 6004; E-mail: aliciawong11@hotmail.com
Daily 10:00 am to midnight (including public holidays)
Cash transactions only
Wi-fi available
Separate air-conditioned smoking area
Pork-free
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Monday, December 21, 2015

PULP by Papa Palheta

We were a little confused as to which road to turn into from the main road of Jalan Maarof in Bangsar - Waze said one thing while Maps said another. Anyways, we made it there and if your GPS tools fail to make it easier for you to find your way there, searching for New Straits Times Press may help a little. I said may, not will. And so, we were ecstatic when we finally found them.

With only street parking available, it would be less frustrating to come during non-office hours, as with the work crowd around, you would be considered really lucky if you managed to find a spot just outside. Silly me, I have not figured out if we were allowed to park inside, actually, but we did, anyway. At night mah, and the security guard not there also... hehe...


I have a thing for places that are recycled, as in places that support sustainability. Instead of letting leaving empty what used to be a paper-cutting facility of a printing works factory and storehouse, it had been turned into PULP by Singaporean coffee specialist, Papa Palheta.

There were some old paper machinery around, which cleverly blended into the furniture. It was obvious that they were serious about their coffee here, as they roast and purvey their own brand of coffee to coffee lovers in Malaysia and Singapore. 


In fact, they are so serious that they care to educate the public on how to understand and appreciate the coffee that is being consumed. They organise workshops and drive a C-Platform, a forum whereby coffee professionals and enthusiasts alike get to hone their coffee-making skills. 

In addition to selling coffee-related accessories, maintenance tools and equipment, they are also the distributor of the American Synesso, Italian Rocket Espresso and Irish Marco machines in Malaysia and Singapore.


The interior of PULP conveyed the simple message of "come and enjoy a cuppa". Nothing fancy and no wifi, they really made sure that everyone paid attention to their coffee.


Well, there were some nibbles, though. And when nibbles included cake, Cath and I would find hard to resist.


We had a cheesecake. Oh so fluffy little thing, it was. Why can't they make it slightly bigger? I can hear them retort with a why can't I order another one...


And there was no way on Earth that we were leaving the place without trying their coffee... smooth and just right for my liking.


PULP by Papa Palheta
29-01 Jalan Riong, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 2201 3650; E-mail: pulp@papapalheta.com
Weekdays 7:30am to 10:00pm
Weekends 9:00am to 11:00pm
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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Pop Up Dining KL at Einstein Cafe

I was introduced to the concept of a tasting menu in Sydney, when I attended MasterChef Billy's Halloween dessert degustation with Jenny. The invitation to be part of the first Italian tasting menu at Einstein Cafe was my first degustation experience in KL.


The cafe is situated on the first floor of a heritage shop-house on the historic Jalan Sultan end of Chinatown. The climb up the narrow and steep flight of stairs can be a little scary, especially with high heels.


The interior of the cafe exuded a sort of simplistic rustic charm - walls with peeling paint, raw plank tables and benches. However, it felt a little warm inside and I had a feeling that their low ceiling and many light bulbs contributed to that.


The cafe had just started under new management and this tasting menu by Pop Up Dining KL was their first major event. There are a few articles written about them if you Google this name, so I shan't go into details here. I shall, however, share that it was started by three friends; Daniel Yap, Miki Lie and Amanda Huang. They do not have a fixed pop up schedule, which means that following them on FB and Insta would be a good idea to keep track of where in the Klang Valley and when the next pop up will be held. And I believe that their menu is different each time.



Normally, the menu would consist of five or six courses, including dessert. Although they are not halal, they do not serve pork.

Plating of the food took place in full view of diners, who were even welcome to take photographs. When everyone was served their portion, Daniel came round to explain each dish - the ingredients he used and the cooking methods he employed.

We started with a plate of snacks, which I absent-mindedly forgotten to note what it was made up of (sorry). But yea, this was what it looked like:



Then, the antipasto of bagna càuda 'banana' with greens. And because I am Italian-illiterate, I had to look up the meaning of bagna càuda and thank God for the contributors to Wikipedia because I found out that it is a warm dip typically found in Piedmont, Italy but with numerous local variations. It is commonly served and consumed like a fondue. Basically, it is made with garlic, anchovies, olive oil, butter and in some regions, cream. Normally, raw, boiled or roasted vegetables such as carrot, peppers, fennel, celery, cauliflower, artichokes and onions are dipped in it, fondue-style. This explained why I tasted anchovies when mixing in my "salad". The addition of banana to the bagna càuda gave it a distinct flavour. Am quite unsure how to describe that flavour but it definitely was a memorable one with a tinge of sweet.



Primo was a plate of saffron risotto with blueberry drizzle and originally, beef. But because I do not consume beef, they very kindly replaced it with prawns. Being the risotto lover that I am, I had no complains about this dish. I thought the blueberry drizzle went quite well with the prawns and saffron, which I did not expect.



Secondo comprised of chicken 'two services', which meant that there would be two chicken dishes served as second course. The first of the two was quite snap-worthy, as it came in quite an adorable construction - in an onion sitting on a bed of 200°C rock salt. We were wondering where the chicken was and surprise surprise, it actually did come in the onion! No wonder they called this dish braised chicken leg in onion bowl. I enjoyed this dish because I could taste the flavours of the chicken, which was braised for quite a few hours. However, unlike everyone else at my table who ate the entire onion, I gave my onion away. Not much of an onion-eater, I.



The second Secondo was an artistically laid-out plate of chicken mousse, deep-fried liver and oyster ball, orange jelly, cucumber jelly and spinach sauce. My palate was intrigued by the mixture of different flavours and textures. We agreed that the chicken mousse was slightly overdone but found the jellies refreshing. I really liked the deep-fried liver and oyster ball. 



Then came my favourite part of any meal; dessert. It was a plate of carrot, medjool, seeds of various kinds and white chocolate. I liked how when mixed together, the combination of food textures made eating it a fun affair. I also thought that the seeds and carrot helped to balance the sweetness of everything else.



As we did not know what sweet bites meant on the menu, we were pleasantly surprised when we were given a piece of dark chocolate with preserved fruit and sunflower seeds each. How did they know that I am a total sucker for anything with dark chocolate? Hehehe, needless to say, it vanished within seconds.



I really admire these three young entrepreneurs. It is a challenge to adjust to different kitchens, different clientele and all. Good on them for trying out a relatively new concept of casual fine dining in KL. Hopefully, we would get to see and hear of them more.

Einstein Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Einstein Cafe
58 Jalan Sultan, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Mob: +60 12 363 6004

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