Thursday, April 3, 2014

Juan Valdez Cafe @ The Intermark

Featuring Colombian coffee in uncommon preparations & an imaginative menu created by chef Nathalie Arbefeuille, this Colombian coffeehouse chain has opened its first Malaysian branch at The Intermark. This one could be a big, buzzy hit.

This Kuala Lumpur outpost is reputedly also the first Juan Valdez Cafe in Southeast Asia; it's a supremely photogenic hangout, colourfully spacious with beautiful flourishes, helmed by a helpfully friendly team.  The Juan Valdez chain was created by Colombia's National Federation of Coffee Growers to promote their country's beans; through fair-trade policies, Juan Valdez's customers supposedly support some 500,000 farmers who grow their coffee on small farms.

The menu here is uniquely designed for this Malaysian branch, comprising European & South American elements. The lovably luscious salmon blini works wonderfully as a refreshing snack; certainly not cheap for RM10 per piece (especially when each piece can be finished in one mouthful), but this is top-notch. Pretty soon, Juan Valdez Cafe will also feature other tapas such as foie gras cremeaux on ginger bread & cod fish brandade tartine.

April 5 update: More recipes are now available. We really like this salad, generously laden with luscious avocado slices, plus a runny mollet egg, artichokes, marinated salmon gravlax, mesclun, chives & parmesan, as well as excellent bread rolls (RM28).

Juan Valdez's interpretation of the croque-monsieur looks simple but tastes stellar, featuring crafted toast bread with fresh, warm & buttery pastry-like layers (excellent) that conceal emmental cheese & turkey ham, topped with the perfect sunny-side-up.  Sure, it's costly for RM20, but it's absolutely delicious, with a type of toast (dare we say 'artisanal toast') that's not often seen.

Also astonishingly addictive: A savoury salad that's more sinful than virtuous, packed with gorgonzola cromesquis, parmesan croutons, toasted brioche fingers, bresaola, pears, chervils & chives (RM24). Love it.

Another unique creation, prettily presented: Seven layers of refried beans, taco seasoning, sour cream, guacamole salsa, lettuce, blended cheese, sliced olives & tomatoes, served with fried corn tortillas. RM26.

Customers can also try waffles with coconut praline, chocolate sauce & cream (RM20) ...

... or fluffy pancakes with dulce de leche, maple syrup & whipped cream (RM18).

 The coffee? Juan Valdez uses beans from the Colombian coffee regions of Huila, Cauca & Santander, brewed by syphon, French press, chemex or dripper V60.

For something that's meant to be quintessentially Colombian though and more affordable, there's tinto (basically black coffee, RM8.50 for 9oz) with panela (whole cane sugar) for a light sweetness. Might provoke contentious debate; some might like this, some certainly won't.

Macchiato with a hint of milk caramel, alongside the South American traditional 'granizado' crushed-ice beverage. If nothing else, Juan Valdez's offerings are distinctive, a trait that should always be appreciated.

Beans & macarons for takeaway; here's hoping more branches of Juan Valdez will sprout all over Malaysia in the years ahead.


P.S. Juan Valdez might be in the process of securing a liquor license. Crossing our fingers.


Juan Valdez Cafe
Ground Floor, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


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23 comments:

  1. Nice smile, that guy on the wall! :D Hmmmm....I think I'll go and heat up my leftover pancakes now. Slurpsss!!!!!

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    1. Suituapui: yeah, there's an interesting story behind the character and image of 'juan valdez' that was created to promote colombian coffee farmers :) enjoy your pancakes, and i hope they're as fluffy as the ones at this cafe! :)

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  2. Chocolate lovers will be delighted to see all these :D

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    1. Ken: yeah, it turned out that there was a lot of chocolatey ingredients for both the waffles and the pancakes! :)

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  3. That salmon looks yummy, but Rm10 per piece a bit expensive leh. :P

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    1. CK: heheh, ya, i was hoping there would be two pieces instead. but ya, it was really delicious though, heheh :)

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  4. Very delicious morsels of food! I like the concept, haven't been to the Intermark in a while.

    I watched this TV series on AFC about this restaurant in Publika though, I wonder how good that place is. I forgot the name of the restaurant though or I'll have searched it on your blog. :D

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    1. Huai Bin: yeah, this place could be a good reason to return to the intermark once it's fully up and running :) i think the place at publika you're referring to is called elegantology :)

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    2. Oh yeah, that's the restaurant! :)

      Haha! I remember it coz the name sounds quite complex on TV. Thanks Sean!

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    3. Huai Bin: glad to be of any assistance! yeah, it's a bit of a tricky name, that one :)

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  5. Pretty sign, Sean, and I love the red wall!

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    1. Linda: oh yeah, that section of the cafe is the loveliest of all! :)

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  6. I wan waffles and pancakes!! :P

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    1. Rebecca: heheh, can head here the next time you're at the intermark! :D

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  7. I'm not a coffee fan, but I sure do love the spread of food here, so tantalizing!~ Sounds like an awesome place to explore, hmmmm~ :-D

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    1. Christy: oh yeah, this place definitely goes beyond what a regular caffeine bar serves ... the food is even more tempting than the coffee here, heh :)

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  8. any comment for the ambience??

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    1. Samilux: the ambiance is really nice. colourful but calming, with a lot of interesting details to look at :)

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  9. Do u know if they open on Sundays?

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    1. Coffeedreames: yep they're open Sundays :)

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  10. Is it a Halal restaurant? Good place for Lunch? Can make reservation?

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  11. The pic above make me hungry. I'll make an order at Juan Valdez Cafe someday.

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  12. I LOVE SOUTH AMERICAN FOOD IS AMAZING!!!!!! LOVE TINTO

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