Monday, July 22, 2013

Aku Cafe Gallery & Moontree House @ Panggung

One KL backstreet is now the unlikely home of two cafes worth sniffing out for coffee hounds; let's start with Aku, a soothing sanctuary for stressed-out souls.

This hidden hideout's not exactly a hipster hangout: Aku exudes Chinatown charm, reflected by its blast-from-the-past furnishings. This isn't a cafe that could have existed in the 1980s, but its historical inspirations lie in plain sight. Rocking horses rule.

Aku's in its soft-opening phase, so the menu's limited; we're fans of the cafe's signature cake, meant to pair perfectly with coffee. A buttery treat with walnuts & chocolate chips. RM5.90 only.

Love how the coffee's served here. Looks deceive: it's siphon coffee, not our grandfather's kopi. Hand-picked Sumatran Gold Top Mandheling (RM12), robustly nuanced.

Other highlights: Hainan toasts, cucumber sandwiches, chocolate brownies & yogurt cheesecakes, for enjoying with ice-drip coffee, Earl Grey tea & orange-ginger-mint juice.

Aku Cafe doubles as an art gallery; later this week, it'll screen a Tsai Ming-liang movie, with the Malaysian-born director potentially present, if current plans work out.
Update: Here are the film screening times. Colorless on Sept. 7, 6pm, Love is Everywhere on Sept. 14, 6pm, Hole on Sept. 21, 6pm, & Face on Sept. 28, 6pm. Admission is free, call the cafe for more details.

Aku Cafe is owned by the folks who also operate Old China Cafe (only a one-minute walk away) as well as Central Market's Precious Old China.

Aku Cafe opens 11am-8pm, except Mondays. Wonderfully serene on a Wednesday evening.

Next door to Aku, check out Moontree House, which serves a respectable range of food & coffee.

Moontree House has sometimes been described as a "feminist's book cafe," reflecting the sensibilities of its owner, who's a writer & poet.

Not interested in browsing through mainly Chinese-language publications on gender studies? Homemade "zakka" goods _ puppets, bags & assorted accessories _ created by Malaysian female artists are also available for purchase here.

Intriguing snacks here include otak-otak with handmade mantau steamed buns (RM14).

Tiramisu & lots of fresh cookies will help satisfy the need for sweetness.

Moontree takes its coffee seriously too, offering siphon & ice-drip varieties.

The signature blend (RM14) is a combination of Malaysian Liberica & Indonesian beans from central Javanese highlands produced by small-holder growers.

Sumatran Mandheling ice-drip, ideal for countering scorching-hot climates.

Do take a hike: Open-air parking lots nearby boast building walls with enthralling artwork.

Aku Cafe & Gallery,
8, 1st Floor, Jalan Panggung, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2857-6887

Moontree House,
6, 1st Floor, Jalan Panggung, Kuala Lumpur.
Open 10am-8pm, except Tuesdays.
Tel: 03-2031-0537

Aku Cafe & Gallery,
8, 1st Floor, Jalan Panggong, Kuala Lumpur. Somewhat near Petaling Street.
Tel: 03-2857-6887

Moontree House,
6, 1st Floor, Jalan Panggong, Kuala Lumpur.
Open 10am-8pm, except Tuesdays.
Tel: 03-2031-0537

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40 comments:

  1. Love the interesting decors! More spots for coffee and my caffeine tolerance is getting from bad to worse. Sigh!

    Still I think I can still pop by and enjoy the ambience and smell the coffee scents!

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    1. Missyblurkit: yikes, oh no ... hmmm, maybe you could share a cup of coffee with a friend if you visit during the daytime. my caffeine tolerance is hovering on the 'moderate' level now, so i try to avoid coffee after 8pm =)
      but yeah, both Aku & Moontree House are nice places to seek refuge from the world outside. very calm, very comfy & both unique in their own right :D

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  2. A very unique and attractive decor here.

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    1. Linda: yup, the ambiance is alluring, alright :D

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  3. Interesting. Dunno where the location is though - not familiar with the backstreets of KL. Wink! Wink! Hehehehehe!!!!

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    1. Suituapui: heh, the backstreets are where the action is at (well, sometimes, sorta). And in this case, coffee-brewing action!

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  4. We post about Aku cafe at the same day! LOL

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    1. CK: omigosh, we could have met each other here if we had visited Aku on the same day. hope you enjoyed your experience here! i liked the cafe, and i hope it does well :D

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    2. We were there yesterday noon time, haha.

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    3. CK: oops. haha, oh, we were there at very different times then. i was there on a wednesday night. managed to reach there just one hour before they closed :D

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  5. this place is pretty nice! i luv having teatime at this kind of environment..!! cool! thanks for sharing :)

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    1. 镜框外ザ軒: ya, i think this place is ideal for a weekend tea break! the environment really puts us at ease. can definitely spend a peaceful hour here =)

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  6. very neat decor, my problem with most of these cafe places is that they're not opened by 7:30am!

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    1. KY: yeah, very thoughtful touches in the decor here. hmmm, i wanna see a cafe like this in KL someday that's open 24 hours, 7 days a week! heheh :D

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  7. Ooh, must find these spots!

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    1. The Yum List: it's really cool that both these cafes are side-by-side. You could visit one and then hop over to the other! :D

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  8. Hehe, Devil and I were just there yesterday! Ordered makanan sama some more. Devil pointed out Moontree too but we're saving that for another weekend.

    So did you get any WKW/In the Mood for Love vibes from the cafe? Especially the lagu-lagu... ;P

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    1. Kenny: gosh, if only our antennae had been more in tune with each other, we could have bumped into each other here. we're destined to forever be ships passing each other unknowingly in a dark-as-espresso night =) ya, hopefully Aku & Moontree can complement each other, since they both have a different vibe. ooooh, Aku seemed to be playing Frank Sinatra songs during my visit, so it felt more like a movie i haven't watched before :D

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  9. They both look so cute! Love how they bring together the heritage feel with the quirky cafe vibe, unique and cosy! Coffee looks pricey, RM12 for a small cup?

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    1. YouHadYourLunch: yeah, you're right, this is great use of decades-old buildings that might otherwise fall into neglect and disrepair. they've both done beautiful jobs refurbishing their spaces =) ya, the coffee's definitely pricey, but i think it's worth it. from my limited understanding, these are among the most coveted single-origin coffee beans we can find in kl :D

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  10. Both cafes has its uniqueness.

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    1. Melissa: yeah, i hope both cafes will get some loyal fans :D

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  11. i like the cafes' laidbackness! but they only serves desserts? no main course?

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    1. Constances: oooh, light snacks are available at both cafes. Aku Cafe serves toasts and basic sandwiches :D

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  12. Am already in love with the decor in AKU cafe. Felt the calm from the photos. Just that Petaling Street is one place where by parking can be a challenging task.

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    1. Sycookies: ya, you're right, Aku Cafe is a real refuge. it's one of those precious places :D yup, parking can be problematic here on weekdays, but there are actually quite a few open-air parking lots nearby within a five-minute walk. i think the best time to head here is on a weekend =)

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  13. Okay,..I shall bring my incredible hulk with me when I explore this. It is always scary to walk around this area.

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    1. Sycookies: heh, that's true, it is a rather dodgy street, especially close to sunset. but hopefully you'll stay safe =)

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  14. Worth the visit especially the Sumantran ... Whatever ... Coffee !

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    1. Wong: heheh, it's one of my favorite coffees to order :D

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  15. Hmmmm you guys went to the same Cafe ( CK and Sean) Cool! Nice shot Sean!A buttery treat with walnuts & chocolate chips. RM5.90 only - affordable, looks good, does it taste good?

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    1. Cquek: oooh, ya, the universe works in wonderful and unexpected ways sometimes! :D thanks! yeah, that cake's worth trying. it tastes fresh & flavorsome =)

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  16. The decor looks pretty homey. The tiramisu looks good too.

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    1. Baby Sumo: yeah, we could definitely make ourselves at home here! the tiramisu's memorably thick and creamy :D

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  17. Quaint name for quaint cafes! I wonder why "Aku"? ;-)

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    1. Pureglutton: heheh, dunno, but i guess Aku sounds artistic, sort of :D

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  18. Coffee joints are sprouting rapidly like what burger bars did for past year. I only got to try a handful of them only.... or maybe 2 out of many newly opened ones.

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    1. Chong: yeah, I think we'll easily see a couple of dozen more coffee joints opening by the end of the year! Luckily there seem to be plenty of caffeine addicts around, heh. But yeah, I guess you can pick and choose the ones that appeal to you the most =)

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  20. imma go to KL next month, and imma stay at KL Sentral and could you give me the directions to this place via train or bus? Thanks

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