Standing Theory could be the coffee bar that sets the bar formidably high; this is one of 2013's most outstanding new cafes, sitting pretty on a relatively less-traversed commercial row in SS2.
What sets Standing Theory apart is the sum of its parts: It's built by people for whom passion, creativity & craftsmanship represent the beating heart of their business, not mere catchphrases.
They include Perng, a Malaysian who came home after five years in Melbourne & founded the Flightless Mule coffee roasters. His collaborators at Standing Theory comprise two partners, plus at least two of the Klang Valley's most respected baristas, one recognizable by his penchant for bandanas & the other perhaps known for his scientific perspective on coffee.
Standing Theory takes a risk, being the rare coffee specialist that serves pork; it pays off _ the current house specialty's a "V.D. Roll" sandwich evocative of banh mi, with a house-made pork patty tinged with cili padi (the meat hails from a butcher down the road), pork liver pate & fresh, crisp veggies in even-fresher, crunchy bread.
The soft-launch menu is compact; tantalizing prospects for future months include painstakingly cured bacon partnered with Belgian waffles & Fatbaby cornflakes ice cream, or potentially with sweet potato croquettes & feta cheese.
For now, seekers of soul food can rest easy here & relish hot, hearty bowls of chili con carne with corn bread. Standing Theory opens 11am-9pm, except Mondays, but note that this week, it remains shut Wednesday, Nov. 6, & will resume operations Thursday.
Food prices are kept low, with nothing breaching the RM20 mark.
March 2014 Update: Popular additions to the menu include the tasty BBC Waffle (made with Standing Theory's own batter), featuring crispy house-cured bacon, bananas & cornflake ice cream by Fatbaby.
A lunch special this year: Bovril noodles with meatloaf. Simple but satisfying, in a home-cooked fashion.
Next, the coffee: The cafe's name underscores an ambition to challenge the standing theories on how coffee can be roasted, brewed & served for maximum satisfaction, exploring everything from temperatures to methodologies & more.
It's a basic setup right now; what's to come includes nitrogen-imbued cold brew coffee, reputedly smoother & maltier. For more fun facts, try interrogating Standing Theory's owner or baristas about why the beverage you're sipping might have been enhanced with a tiny drop of magnesium.
Like an increasing number of coffee bars, Standing Theory is ecologically & ethically conscious, sourcing beans _ such as West Javan organic arabica _ through channels that benefit indigenous farming communities.
The ristretto? Enjoyably deep yet clean-tasting.
Can't fault the flat white either, creamy & not-too-steamy (won't scorch our tongues!).
March 2014 Update: Cold brew on the rocks.
And of course, there are cakes, colossally big ones baked by the ironically named Little Tee Cakes, a Shah Alam-based two-sister enterprise.
Peanut butter chocolate is the most popular bet, satisfyingly rich. Carrot walnut & choc hazelnut look insanely tempting too, but try ordering only one first to share.
The friendly vibe at Standing Theory extends to an effort to foster positive ties with various cafes; soon, coffee fans can obtain loyalty cards to use collectively at outlets such as Standing Theory, The Brew Culture, Butter + Beans, Epiphany & Rekindle Cafe.
And here's Rekindle, another lovely new SS2 cafe nearby with quirky touches.
Rekindle serves a soy latte that's worth trying, even if you're not lactose intolerant.
The coffee's also enjoyable, as deep in flavor as it's dark in color.
Love the peanut butter chocolate cake here, thanks to its creamy layers filled with bits of real nuts.
Jalan SS2/103, Petaling Jaya
25, Jalan SS2/64, Petaling Jaya
The Oct.-Dec. edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites is now available in an eBook for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones. It comprises reviews of 100 eateries that span various locations, cuisines & budgets: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Oct-Dec-2013 (link expires Dec. 31, 2013; see blog entries after that date for new link).