“Where else can we go besides the usual hangouts here in KL?” I’ve been asked this question many times by my foreign friends each time they visit Malaysia. Being a city girl with a passion for coffee and all things sweet, my response? The cafés, of course!
Words by: Shafiqah Shafie
Born and bred in Kuala Lumpur, I’ve played the token KL-ite too often, dispensing recommendations on the usual attractions. What many may have missed of late is the flourishing homegrown coffee culture here in Kuala Lumpur. From chic cafés with kitschy décor to gourmet handcrafted coffee that will make every coffee lover fall head over heels every single time, coffee and conversations take centre stage in these awesome coffee places in KL!
Garage 51 by CoffeeSociété
51, Jalan PJS 11/9, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Business Hours: 11am till 11pm (closed on Monday)
Located in Bandar Sunway, in the back alleyways of car workshops and surrounded by warehouses and old office lots, is where this incredible graffiti walled, ‘Coffee in a Garage’ concept café sits.
Being Malaysia’s first coffee shop to have ever been built in a garage, Garage 51 by Coffee Société (winner of Time Out KL Food Awards 2013 for Best Place for Coffee) sticks out like a sore thumb with its edgy exterior. Aimed to give café hoppers a place to meet up with friends over a ‘Cuppa Joe’, I was in complete awe when I first heard of this garage concept in Malaysia.
Three seconds after crossing the threshold of the main entrance, I was greeted by the sugary smell of desserts and freshly brewed coffee. The interior was industrious –warm yellow lights hanging from the bare ceiling, oil drums modified and painted into cosy seats, and my favourite part of all – an open coffee bar where the fragrant aroma of coffee beans wafted over to every corner of the vicinity, tempting and beckoning for seconds, thirds and fourths.
Their signature drink “Mochatella on Garage Coffee Cubes” is a must-try, where frozen coffee cubes, Nutella and milk come together in a sugary caffeine-high combustion. Come for brunch and you’ll get eggs benedict and bagels along with other assortments of breakfast dishes, whilst dinner will see pasta (love the Aglio Olio!) and other mains. The menu changes every two months, so don’t take my word for it – go try it out yourselves!
Witches & Brew
Avenue K, 156 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Business Hours: 10am till 10pm
Witches and wizards, rejoice! As a true Potterhead, or Harry Potter fan in Muggle words, it took me only one look at the café for my heart to float like a magic broomstick. Located conveniently in Avenue K (opposite Suria KLCC), this witch-themed café is bound to get you spooked!
Offering a wide selection of great coffees, fresh juices and fat gourmet sandwiches (or shall I say, sandwitches?), Witches & Brew is fully committed to the theme as baristas can be seen donning wizards hats, black attire and magical aprons.
Inside, wooden carton boxes make for hipster-ish tables and chairs, and the mystical allure of the signages shouting “Bubbles”, “Spells” and “Magic” amongst many others will tempt all who love a little magic and mystery. One great thing about this café is its cakes, supplied by home baker Multiply.F, who makes one of the best creamiest carrot cakes in the land with a wonderful hint of nutmeg.
The pairing of carb-loaded sandwiches and the sweet aroma of freshly roasted coffee is a perfect afternoon well-spent for me, where I had a ‘spooktacular’ time hanging out with my friends, and I’ll bet my best broom that you will too!
Butter + Beans at Seventeen
BG- 1a, Happy Mansion, Jalan 17/13, Seksyen 17, 46400 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Business Hours: 8.30am till 8.30pm
Nestled cosily under an apartment at the corner of Section 17 in Happy Mansion, the café is run by a group of young urbanites with a deep passion for coffee, bread and pastries.
For those who’ve seen Ernest Zacharevic’s amazing mural works in the streets of George Town, Penang, you’ll surely appreciate the artwork he has contributed here in Butter + Beans! If you’re not here for the art, then why not stay for the coffee?
The aroma of their freshly-baked bread and grounded coffee gets stomachs growling. Established in December 2012, this place is a cosy home for coffee lovers in Petaling Jaya. From Ristretto to Americano, visitors can enjoy every cup at an affordable price. The beans may be of a local variety (no fancy Guatemalan or Brazilian beans), but the coffee was freshly roasted – a definite must in my books. Good coffee is good coffee, no matter where it’s from, right?
The menu was delicious, the ambiance was remarkable, but what I loved is their perfect little pastries, freshly baked with no preservatives and additives – a good way to indulge without feeling guilty of my body! Now, quiche anyone?
No. 8 Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Business Hours: 9am till 12am (Opens till 2am on Friday and Saturday)
An official member of Cup Of Excellence™, this place needs no lengthy introduction! Founded in Korea by World Barista Championship contender Timothy, every sip of coffee here is a sip of pure EUREKA!
Now brewing with four branches in Malaysia, this multi-award winning establishment serves a whole range of specialty drinks that are just too sinful to resist! My favourite? The creamy Peanut Butter Latte!
Being a coffee-holic, I was more than elated when I got to know that this place also roasts their own coffee blends from Ethiopia, Guatemala, Brazil, Costa Rica and Columbia, with their two signatures called Maestro and Madonna! Each with its own distinct taste–Maestro is rich, full-bodied and flavourful whilst Madonna is light, sweet and fruity like the singer herself in her youth (THAT is up to interpretation, and this is mine).
Warm lighting illuminates the bare cement counters, whilst the no-frills furniture hints that they’re THAT serious about coffee. Honestly, I love the non-pretentious interior where hours are spent just focussing on the many varieties of coffee blends and drinks (try the Avocado Ice Cream coffee – an acquired taste, for sure).
So whether you’re in KL for a holiday or a stopover, be sure to hop over to these places to get a taste of KL’s aromatic coffee culture!
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