Friday, 27 December 2013

Morning All Day @ That Latte Place, Persiaran Ritchie, Ampang

What do you do when you happen to have a few hours break in between appointments in KL and you just do not feel like doing anything where the crowd is?  The solution - head to a cafe.  Not just any cafe, but one where you will feel like you're on a relaxing vacation.

Just a 10-minute drive from KLCC, welcome to That Latte Place @ Persiaran Ritchie, Ampang.

Once a home to Artisan Roast Coffee, this semi-alfresco cafe serves decent all-day breakfast menu and some memorable coffee.  With the help of the trusty GPS, it's actually not very difficult to find this cafe.  It may not look like it's the right place from the outside, but do trust your instincts, because this small down-to-earth cafe is hidden within the compound of Yayasan Seni Berdaftar.

As we arrived pretty late in the morning, the cafe was quite empty (but the crowd soon gathers when it strikes 12).  First thing first, head straight to the counter to make your order.

While the menu is pretty limited but if what you need is a good, wholesome breakfast, it has all the choices you need.  Egg enthusiasts would love That Latte Place - their poached eggs seem to be pretty commentable among foodies.

As for us, we decided for the most luxurious possible breakfast on their menu - Hearty Breakfast (RM 17.90).  Well, I do go weak whenever it comes to hash brown, so it was a pretty simple choice.  Comes with two chicken sausages, a hash brown, scrambled eggs with mushroom on a thick homemade toast served with tomatoes, baked potatoes and baked beans, this is actually quite a big portion with lots of good stuff.

The most memorable item as well as the one with the most flavour is, surprisingly, the baked potatoes.  It is well-seasoned and cooked with perfection - soft on the inside with a nice crispy texture on the outside.  The toast is also nice and fluffy but sadly, the scrambled egg was lacking a bit of taste (salt, I think).  Otherwise, I would give a big thumbs-up for this breakfast dish.

The only setback is that this cafe doesn't serve pork.  American breakfast without good old bacon is just like coffee without sugar, like scones without butter & jam (You get what I mean?)

We also ordered their daily special promo - three assorted danishes with a choice of latte or cappuccino - for only RM 15.  That's really quite a good deal!

The danishes turn out to be raisin danish, chocolate danish and pineapple custard danish.  Looks good, actually but I find them a little too dry and flaky on the outside (you should see the mess we made while trying to get a bite of these danishes).  Taste-wise is okay, though - would have preferred if they had taken one extra step to warm the danishes.

I came to know about That Latte Place because of my brother, who gave a very positive feedback of the Affogato (RM 6) - a shot of hot espresso with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, topped with chocolate flakes.  I must say, this is one of the best affogato I have ever found in KL.  It's a thick, creamy caffeinated concoction that you'll never forget.

Despite the semi-alfresco setting, you don't have to worry much about the heat because surprisingly, it's very cooling, with light natural breeze and lots of shades from the thick, luscious landscapes around the compound.

To be honest, food was nothing fantastically out of the ordinary.  But packaged with the environment that That Latte Place offers, it is something that will definitely top my favourite list.  Spending your time here is as though there's a special force that slows down time - a moment where you paused to be mindful of the details of nature and leave behind all the worries from your daily hectic life.

However, apparently (according to most bloggers), the waiting time is actually quite long.  Maybe it was the relaxing and serene ambiance or we just visited during the less crowded time, because it didn't actually feel very long to us.  So, on the caution side, maybe just consider the possibility of a long wait when deciding to drop by here for a meal.

That Latte Place
Yayasan Seni Berdaftar
333, Persiaran Ritchie
Off Jalan Ritchie
55000 Kuala Lumpur

GPS:  3.159108, 101.74026

Opening Hours: 8 am - 5 pm
Closed on Monday

Butter + Beans at Seventeen @ Happy Mansion, Seksyen 17

When KS was struggling to decide a place in PJ to meet up with his friend for a drink, I happily suggested Butter + Beans at Seventeen @ Happy Mansion as it seems to be receiving quite a lot of good reviews.

Situated among the shops below the old but well-kept apartments in Happy Mansion, it is hard to believe that an area like this keeps one of the best most talked-about cafes.

Looking at the chalk-drawn menu on the wall (which also displays a huge portrait of a friendly bear), choices at Butter & Beans are pretty limited, with most standard espresso-based beverages plus a selection of bread and pastries of the day to choose from to go with your drink.

KS ordered the Americano (RM 6), which has quite a fruity aftertaste with a medium body.  I think the ratio of water and espresso is just right, without over-diluting the fragrance of the espresso.

I was quite happy with my cup of cappuccino (RM 9), although it was just slightly below my expectations.  It has a smooth and creamy texture but flavour is slightly mild.  (I'm sorry, but I realized I've recently outgrown my taste for milky, caffeinated beverages)  

After chatting a while, we began to feel hungry (it's almost dinner time) and especially sitting right in front of the pastries display the whole time, I really couldn't resist staring and drooling for just one slice of the beautiful pastries.  I must say, their pastries are selling like hot cakes and are fast vanishing from the display.

We had the Blueberry danish (RM 5), a buttery, fragrant danish with creamy custard and sweet blueberries.  I love the custard as it give a nice moisture and sweetness to the danish.  Blueberries were quite unnoticeable behind the custard and truthfully, with or without them, it wouldn't have made much of a difference.  Although it's nice but slightly on the pricier side.

But what I love the most is defiinitely the ambiance of this cafe.  Butter + Beans feels like your neighbourhood cafe, with very friendly service and approachable attitude.

However, Butter + Beans is a very small cafe and could barely accommodate any more than 10 person inside the air-conditioned cafe.  So, if you're thinking of doing a large gathering of friends/family, you may want to seriously rethink your choice of venue as larger tables are very rare, mostly being outside the cafe.

Despite the extremely small space, never did we feel over-crowded or uncomfortable.  In fact, it was just the opposite.  We continued chatting for over 2 hours while we slowly enjoyed our coffee and snacks until it's time for dinner.

Butter + Beans has definitely made to my favourite cafes to visit.

Butter + Beans at Seventeen
BG-1, Happy Mansion
Jalan 17/1
Petaling Jaya

GPS:  3.123129,101.63461

Opens:  Daily - 8.30 am to 8.30 pm

Old-school Vegetarian @ Organic Leaf Restaurant, Section 17 PJ

When I first looked at the menu of Organic Leaf Restaurant @ Section 17, Petaling Jaya, I was confused and almost stunned to see the words "fish"," chicken", "beef" and "mutton" listed because I clearly remembered entering a vegetarian restaurant.  After (shyly) confirming with KS that those are indeed mock meat, I laughed hilariously.  Well, guess it has been a very long time since I stepped into a Chinese vegetarian restaurant.  

(To me, vegetarian means accepting that whatever you eat is not meat and so, I find it very weird as to why we still need to fool ourselves that those are "meat".  Well...)

First up was the Crispy Fish Cutlet with Dried Chillies (RM 14.80).  Having eaten some delicious mock fish meat at Simple Life, I was very keen to order "fish" again.  This dish definitely lived up to my expectations.

The "skin", made from seaweed, was chewy while the "meat" has a slight firm texture, giving the impression of a real fish fillet.  The gravy was kung-po style, with a mild heat.  It's not too oily and it's pretty appetizing.  Portion was quite reasonable.

Another dish we ordered is the Braised Eggplant with Soy Beans (RM 13.80).  It was slightly disappointing as it was not as fragrant as expected.  There were a little too much of lemongrass and curry leaves, which somehow masked the flavour of the soy beans. On top of that, the eggplant were irregularly cut in length and so, some pieces were under-cooked.  Portion-wise, it was relatively small.

For drinks, I ordered Homemade Ginger Tea (RM 3.80).  It has a very strong ginger taste, which is pretty good to dispel wind from the body, but a little more sugar would have done a great job to tone down the spiciness and make it more pleasant.

In my opinion, Organic Leaf Restaurant is okay for some decent home-cook, Chinese-style vegetarian food, with a slightly modern and homey ambiance.

Parking should not be an issue, but unfortunately, it's located at quite an isolated corner of PJ and hence, can be a little quiet at night.  Not sure if the nearby police station would help give some assurance, though, but with the recent alarming crime rates, it would be good to stay alert if you're visiting here at night.

Organic Leaf Restaurant
No 3, Jalan 17/45
Section 17
46400 Petaling Jaya

GPS:  3.118817,101.629645