Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Q Cup Cafe @ Imbi

By EDKL Writer A. A.


Step inside Q Cup Cafe and you’ll find a charming cafe that unabashedly professes its love for coffee. Coffee art lines the walls; there's a counter full of coffee bean samples (take a whiff!); and with a cheerful proclamation sitting on the countertop, you’ll also discover that the cafe won a local tournament award this year for its espresso. This coffee roaster & cafe takes coffee seriously, so that customers can enjoy a satisfying cup, thanks to its primary founder Yu Tack Yuen.


Yu's passion for coffee literally knows no borders; he has travelled to plantations in Central America for great beans, meeting farmers to explore the process of cultivation. He has a good heart too, making an effort through his sourcing choices to support the livelihoods of impoverished coffee-growing communities in countries like Honduras. And his determination to offer the best coffee is conveyed through a coveted Panamanian varietal that Q Cup secured by bidding in an online auction.


So naturally, we have to start with caffeine: Providing the foundation for the Best Espresso title at the Malaysia Open Barista Championship 2017, the Ethiopia Sidamo Bensa G3 Natural (RM22) is a single origin that promises a pleasurably intense fruitiness, naturally balanced in acidity and sweetness. Try it both black and white to experience evolving facets of this coffee.


And from the highlands of Panama, specifically the family-run Hacienda La Esmeralda estate, comes a Geisha that’s reputedly ranked among the world’s best (RM60 for a pot that’ll suffice for two or three patrons). This limited-availability micro-lot coffee is not something you’ll chance on in a lot of places, so it’s worth sipping it here for a soothingly structured coffee that might make your afternoon.


You can also opt for fun beverages a Cappuccino Freddo (RM15), Chilled Valrhona Chocolate (RM18) or vanilla-loving Snow White (RM19). Tea lovers aren’t neglected either, with the French Hediard Superior Earl Grey Tea (RM18) furnishing a distinctive, delicate brew.


We were pleasantly surprised by Q Cup’s food menu, recently expanded to supply more options than ever before, many of them relatively unique in KL’s landscape of cafes. The Pomegranate Salad Bowl (RM18) is lovely, brimming with light, green goodness, modest with the dressing. Order a few starters to share - the Crab Pate on Sliced Baguette (RM18 for three slices) is a snack that’s rich in crustacean creaminess, while the Pan-grilled Tuna with Mango Salsa on Puff Pastry (RM24) is an interesting combination of the fishy and the fruity, with the pastry breaking apart easily in your mouth.


Here for brunch? No problem - the Turkey Ham Pan-Grilled Cheese Sandwich (RM18) oozes with cheese, layered with ham, packed into fresh bread that Q Cup bakes itself (no shortcuts here!). The Chicken Sausage and Scrambled Eggs (RM18) come with a bagel for a tender chew, with the sausage proving juicy and savoury while the well-portioned eggs are nicely fluffy.


Hot meals are also available, crossing continents with ease. Q Cup offers a tapas menu that originates from its wine bar upstairs, with plenty of options like the classic Spanish Gambas al Ajillo (RM26), or garlic shrimp with herbs, slightly spicy and altogether addictive. Asian temptations are represented by the likes of Japanese Curry Rice with Deep-fried Prawns (RM26; crunchy breaded prawns with rice and a sweetish, richly satisfying mild curry), and Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Chicken Paste (RM20), which might evoke some interpretation of yong tau foo.


We’re still not done yet: It’s fairly impressive to see how quality and care is extended through Q Cup’s entire repertoire, which also includes European-inflected mains. The very hearty Ratatouille with Puff Pastry (RM19) is an interesting way to bring crisp textures to the moist heap of the beloved French vegetable stew (vegetarians will be happy to note that they’re not treated as an afterthought here). For omnivores, order the the Italian Breaded Chicken (RM28), a juicy leg, scattered with breadcrumbs for yet another thoughtful twist, partnered with fried turmeric rice pilaff for a can’t-fail protein-and-carb partnership.


Desserts display a sense of uniqueness too, from a surprisingly presented Honey Toast (RM15) with mixed fresh fruits to the meticulously crafted Strawberry Lover (RM20; a croissant bowl with Q Cup's own-made vanilla ice cream, custard and strawberries) and Mango Churros (RM23), pairing churros with thinly sliced mangoes that leave a memorable impression.

Note that Q Cup is more than a cafe; upstairs, there’s a cosy wine bar with a cool selection that stretches from Japan to New Zealand - suitable for mellow catch-up sessions or even business dinners. Coffee tasting sessions and brewing workshops are also offered - check out Q Cup’s Facebook page for their schedule.


Thanks to the terrific Q Cup team for an afternoon well spent.


Q Cup Coffee Roasters
72, Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur.
Daily, 8am-8pm | Tel: 03–2113-0320

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Shuang Xi @ Tun H.S. Lee Road

Chinatown's latest hidden cocktail hangout is a true chamber of secrets, crammed with curious corners. A Sphynx cat observes its surroundings from a windowsill, near a small garden growing out of a bathtub. A poster of ├Źn The Mood For Love takes up prime wall space; the nostalgic surreality is buoyed by strains of Faye Wong's Ni Kuai Le floating from the speakers.

The chilled-out, welcoming vibe at Shuang Xi - which means Double Happiness - complements easy-going original cocktails with names like Sweet Dream, Linger Ginger  & Familiar Stranger, blending the likes of vodka with banana milk & salted caramel, or plum wine with ginger. Reservations via Facebook are essential, as Shuang Xi caters to a limited number of customers per night; proceeds from beverage sales are channeled to a community of local artists. Yep, this is no ordinary bar.

Shuang Xi
177A, First Floor, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, Kuala Lumpur. 
Generally open Tues-Sun, 9pm till late. Contact:

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Tae Yang Island @ Cyberjaya

By Aiman Azri


When wondering where to eat, Cyberjaya is probably not the first place that comes to mind. It's especially not where we were expecting to find some Korean cuisine - but that’s exactly we enjoyed at the recently opened Tae Yang Island.


We started with the Gim-mari (RM8) as an appetiser, deep-fried seaweed rolls stuffed with Korean glass noodles. This turned out to be almost an inverse of crunchy food - the exterior is soft and chewy, while the centre is crunchy. Texture aside, it's quite delicious for whetting the palate.


Next came the Spicy Chicken Wings (RM10 for 4 pieces). It was only mildly spicy for us, but our threshold for fieriness could be relatively high. The chicken was nice and tender, and the sauce was tasty. But some customers might prefer food that scorches their tongues with the heat of the sun.



The Beef Bibimbap (RM15) is served in a bowl that’s packed tightly with more food than the eye might behold. The beef is cooked well through, delightfully flavourful. All the vegetables taste fresh too, and the thick gochujang paste is delectably spicy. With all the rice layered beneath the beef and vegetables, this is a complete meal package for your money’s worth.


Finally, the Fried Chicken & Tteokbokki (RM48) is suitable for two or three patrons, coming with deep-fried chicken, rice cakes (tteokbokki), vegetables, fish cakes, chicken sausages and cheese, served in a pot that's filled with kimchi soup cooked at your table.


The outer ring of the pot features the chicken, cheese and kimchi soup, which meld together really well once cooked. The savoury flavour complements the meat’s juices and the soup's spiciness. We also just really like seeing the cheese melt and ooze. Mmmmm.


The middle of the platter offers up the rice cakes, noodles and an assortment of meat. The rice cakes are pleasurably chewy, while the springy noodles go really well with the soup.


As for drinks, we were highly recommended the Dragonfruit Longan (RM6.90), a refreshingly fruity and pretty drink.


Tae Yang Island has been operating since 15 May this year, and we hope it flourishes for a long time to come. Thank you to the restaurant for having us and our appetites.

Additional photos courtesy of Tae Yang Island

Tae Yang Island
Daily, 1130am – 10.00pm | Tel: 03-8319-1928
P3-17, Shaftsbury Square, Persiaran Multimedia, Cyber 6, Cyberjaya