LOKL Coffee's main claim to fame might be a celebrity connection _ Cheryl Samad owns it _ but it isn't a hollow vanity project. This is one of 2012's nicest new cafes.
Sharing a space with the Backhome hostel on Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, this bright, roomy outlet seems tricky to spot, but it's worth the hunt _ a mercifully air-conditioned retreat amid a cluster of shops serving kuey teow soup, chapati & banana leaf rice.
Fresh salads & sandwiches are the highlight. After trying LOKL's beautifully crisp peanut slaw (RM10.90, no taxes or service charge), rippling with shredded veggies, peppers, peanuts & Parmesan cheese in a weightless mayo dressing, we may never order KFC's coleslaw again.
Lettuce, Mandarin oranges & honey-coated almond slices in a vinaigrette dressing (RM10.90). Tastes as vibrant as it looks, terrific for perking up a tired palate.
Hainanese-style meatloaf (RM12.90) _ thick, fluffy bread fried to a golden crunch, stuffed with chicken, chestnuts & prawns & served with Worcestershire sauce. A calorie-laden counterpoint to LOKL's salads, this is crazy-good; despite its pork-free nature, we enjoyed this more than, say, Yut Kee's roti babi.
LOKL makes its own gelato, creamy & well-flavored. A recent choice: Pistachio (RM6.90).
Cupcakes supplied by the Purple Cow bakers are available; this frosting-rich peanut butter chocolate rendition (RM5.90) is irresistible in its sweet-salty stickiness. Mille-crepe cakes by The Food Foundry are also sold here.
Freshly brewed hot latte (RM10.90), with marshmallows on the side (RM1.50).
Kopi susu (RM7.50) _ local coffee with condensed milk. You'll be asked while ordering whether you'd like reduced sugar in this.
Iced cappuccino (RM10.90). Even though LOKL only opened this month, no teething troubles are evident _ service is cheerfully sterling & everything listed on the menu is available.
Lychee syrup infused ice-shaken tea (RM9.50).
One complaint: LOKL (pronounced 'local,' the name isn't an acronym for anything) operates only during office hours on weekdays. But if you work around Lebuh Ampang, it's worth walking here for lunch; others can steal a couple of hours on Friday for an extended afternoon meal.
Note: LOKL is closed today & tomorrow for a last bit of renovation. Should reopen Wednesday, but call Backhome to make sure. Park at the Ming Building or on Jalan Gereja.
LOKL Coffee Co,
30, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, Kuala Lumpur.
Location: On the portion of Tun H.S. Lee road near St. John's & the Telekom museum.