Sunday, August 18, 2019

Bakerry La, Damansara Kim

Stepping into Damansara Kim's new boulangerie should spark a sense of excitement for bread enthusiasts, with a counter lined with croissants, cruffins and kouign-amanns, bolstered by a backdrop of pastry chef Barry Lee's freshly baked loaves, French wheat flour sacks and professional butter blocks.

Bakerry La prides itself on long-fermented croissants, constructed with T55 whole-wheat flour and Elle & Vire butter, in varieties like an almond croissant with almond cream and almond flakes that bring extra texture to the croissant's densely crisp bite (RM6.30). Other tempting French-inspired indulgences include the kouign-amann, laced lightly with sea salt that somewhat balances out the sweetness of sugar (RM5.50).

Our favourites here are the Sunflower Danish, with an irreproachably runny yolk that complements the laminated treat's crunch (RM5.80), and the lemon curd cruffin, fluffy and flavoursome (RM7), both capable of brightening up any day.

The Breakfast Toast (RM8) showcases 18-hour fermented pain au levain that packs a little less of a tang than typical sourdough; it's partnered with butter and jam, but for the full French experience, add some camembert cheese for RM2.

Bakerry La
17, Jalan SS20/11, Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, 47400 Selangor. Open 830am-8pm; closed Tuesdays.

This post first appeared on

Therefore, Petaling Jaya

Therefore marks the third chapter in a trilogy (so far) of PJ-based cafes by the Forefront creative agency; after launching with Foremula in 2017, followed by Forebidden last year, the team takes flight from Ara Damansara to Section 13's Symphony Square, orchestrating another beautiful space (the tropics-themed mural outside, with Borneo birds hovering over the rafflesia, should be increasingly inescapable on Instagram) that offers playful Asian-inflected pleasures.

Forgoing the formulaic, Therefore challenges expectations with its Tex-Mal nangka nachos, layering a pile of tortilla chips with shredded jackfruit for a pungent sweetness, balanced with an Asian-style salsa, guacamole, sour cream and cheese sauce (RM20). It makes for merry munching, best followed by the Cheesy Gratin-tude, which doubles the decadence of butter rice with a gratinated blanket of curry sauce made creamy with cheese, with the texture of a Japanese curry but the taste of a Malaysian one, lavished further with clams, mussels, prawns and squid for a seafood worshipper's should-order (RM32).

Therefore's kitchen is a capable one, ensuring the Well TEMPE-red Salmon (RM36) surfaces with the lusciousness that customers love in this fish; the tempeh crust is understated, evoking crushed crackers more than fermented soybeans, but this plate still packs intriguing herbaceous nuances, courtesy of flavoursome vegetables with green pea puree and lime basil coconut sauce. The Rendang-erous Burger (RM35) is also more subtly spiced than expected, but it earns honours for a freshly minced Aussie beef patty, done to juicy medium perfection, crowned with onion marmalade and complemented by crisp fries.

The Money Bag Guarantee won't have you demanding a refund of your RM24, a sizable signature dessert wonton of caramelised apples wrapped in a vanilla crepe, sprinkled with cinnamon and salted Gula Melaka for what tastes like a cross between a strudel and pie, with a side of house-made coconut sorbet. Reviving coolness can also be found in the Assam Lemonade (RM14, tangy with sour plums) and Black Apple (RM15; for a coffee twist, a long black blended with apple juice).

All in all, Therefore is fun enough to have us wondering - wherefore might Forefront's fourth cafe be?

Lot 02-G, Menara Symphony, Jalan Professor Khoo Khay Khim, Seksyen 13, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Currently open Mon-Thurs, 9am-6pm,; Fri-Sat, 9am-10pm; Sun, 9am-6pm. Tel: 03-7625-3119

This post first appeared on

Saturday, August 17, 2019

With a View, Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon

For dining with a view in Yangon, reserve a room at Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake, then order in a locally spiced Myanmarese prawn curry and a cocktail to savour while watching the sun set over the Shwedagon Pagoda.

This post first appeared on

FLO Bar, Persiaran Ampang

The cocktails flow indeed at FLO - mainly familiar concoctions like Negronis and Whiskey Sours, served by a smiling bartender on this first-floor Ampang hideout.

FLO Ampang
First Floor, 24, Persiaran Ampang, Desa Pahlawan, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 017-641-1731

This post first appeared on

SaladStop! Malaysia, NU Sentral

After becoming a stalwart of Singapore's healthy-eats landscape for a full decade, with more than a dozen locations in the island city-state, plus scores of other outposts in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam and even Spain, SaladStop! has finally surfaced in Malaysia, emerging with plenty of fanfare in KL's NU Sentral and Pavilion malls.

Known for its ethos of Eat Wide Awake, SaladStop! was founded by Swiss-born Singaporean resident Adrien Desbaillets and his father Daniel with an emphasis on ethical sourcing, a subject he elaborated on at SaladStop!'s recent grand opening in NU Sentral.

Desbaillets recalls realising how many Singaporean restaurants rely on imported chicken from Brazil because of the frozen poultry's cheaper price, but the fowls there can be heavily pumped up with hormones and live for less than 27 days. SaladStop! sought a more sustainable, organic-friendly source, so it found a farm in Johor for its chicken - that philosophy endures today, as Malaysia's SaladStop! also uses local suppliers for its produce.

That attitude of being conscious of what you consume fuels Eat Wide Awake, knowing not only where your ingredients come from but how they were cultivated and what they contain, to make more informed decisions and to banish preservatives and MSG, for example. SaladStop! believes that if enough people ask these questions and demand more meticulously sourced food, the whole supply chain can change for the better.

SaladStop! seeks to be an everyday destination for Malaysians seeking wholesome nourishment in a convenient form that also satisfies the palate. With more than 60 ingredients to mix and match, as well as 20 house-made dressings, the brand painstakingly offers something tasty for everyone, even if salads have never been your favourite fare.

The menu mainly spans salads, wraps and mixed-grain bowls, with many Asian-inspired recipes for regional taste buds, ranging from the signature Oh Crab Lah (based on Singapore's chilli crabs) to the Japanese-inflected Go Geisha (with soba noodles, edamame, miso and more) to the Korean-loving Yeobo Yeobo (with warm bulgogi beef and Korean chilli vinaigrette).

The offerings we sampled had lively, memorable flavours and fresh, well-balanced textures: The Kokoro is a clean-eating standard-bearer, with tender miso-baked salmon, edamame, furikake and an onsen-style egg atop quinoa, brown rice, white radish pickles, kale and alfalfa sprouts, while the Sabai Sabai heartily combines Thai-influenced lemongrass chicken with quinoa, brown rice, grilled tofu, turmeric, herbs, cherry tomatoes, grapes, cucumber pickles, romaine and crushed peanuts. Western takes are also available, such as the Mamma Mia, harmonious with roasted chicken on fusilli pasta, kale, cheddar, cherry tomatoes, black olives and red onions in a basil pesto sauce. Preset bowls clock in between RM17.90 to RM26.90.

Patrons can also customise their own bowls with their desired ingredients, which is exactly what SaladStop! Malaysia's launch event celebrities did. Chef Wan, Amber Chia and Steve Yap were all smiles as they crafted their own hand-picked lunches; customers can choose six toppings for a serving of the Grain Bowl (RM19) or a salad, wrap or pasta (RM15), with chilled juices for a liquid dose of revitalisation.

SaladStop!'s reign in Singapore might sound like a decade without decadence, but a taste of its offerings proves that nutritious meals can actually be lusciously lovable too. Many thanks to SaladStop! for this peek into its pleasures.

SaladStop! Malaysia
LG 20, Lower Ground floor, NU Sentral Shopping Centre, Jalan Tun Sambathan, 50470 Kuala Lumpur. Also available at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.
Daily, 10am-930pm. Tel: 03-2276-3293

This post first appeared on