Friday, June 27, 2014

Grinder @ Damansara Kim

Our longer-than-expected wait for Grinder to open finally grinds to a halt; it's another suburban spot with a measure of promise on the Damansara Kim shophouse street that's home to Kompassion & The Kitchen Table.

Grinder's appearance fits what cafe-hoppers have come to expect from residential neighbourhood nooks, professionally put together to straddle the line between casual & chic. As a bonus, local artists can have their work exhibited for free on the walls. Service is efficient without being effusive, but there's an easygoing vibe that could make this place a favourite for many patrons.

Grinder's kitchen opens for lunch & dinner; the menu takes the 'less is more' route in terms of diversity but it's encouragingly distinctive, steering clear of the Klang Valley's current cafe cliches with an unexpectedly French-influenced repertoire, which includes this enjoyable traditional onion soup (RM10).

The food here makes for a pleasant lunch, particularly since prices fall within a reasonable range. We'd have liked a more convincing dressing for this salad & a less barely-there rationing of toasted walnuts, but the choice of leaves was a nice one & the crunchy croutons topped with creamy brie & honey were tasty. RM14.

Love Grinder's take on the croque monsieur (RM17); perfect to curb carb cravings, thanks to thick, fluffy slices of grilled bread made flavourful with tender chicken & cheese. But the roast potatoes on the side tasted like limp leftovers, even if they weren't.

Duck confit plays a significant role at Grinder; you'll see it in a salad & sometimes with pasta here, but the more unusual preparation might be these wonton-like crispy dumplings stuffed with duck & served with a choice of orange reduction sauce, sour cream with chives, or sweet chilli (customers can only have one sauce with each order). RM7.

Plenty of escargots in this linguine with crushed cashew-broccoli pesto sauce (RM23, or RM17 without the canned snails). It's a recipe with a rustic, nearly home-made feel. Sauces are made from scratch at Grinder, which emphasises healthier ingredients.

Penne arrabiata with prawns in a well-balanced, lightly spicy sauce made with San Marzano plum tomatoes, chilli peppers & garlic (RM26, or RM17 without the five-or-so prawns). Decent bet for a light lunch.

Desserts are obtained from other suppliers; we liked the moist chocolate cake with a hint of Earl Grey & a raspberry coulis topping, while the salted caramel macaron was worthwhile too.

For now, Grinder's food is better than its beverages (unexpectedly so, since the cafe's name is meant to evoke coffee beans); the latte (RM10) needs work, the presence of the milk steamer with dark chocolate pieces (RM12) could be reconsidered & the pink grapefruit soda might not warrant forking out RM9. But we're optimistic that everything will improve in the months to come. 

Grinder Cafe
45, SS20/11, Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Open Tues-Sun, 10am-10pm (with kitchen closed between lunch & dinner). Tel: 03-7732-4689

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21 comments:

  1. Ahhh... sad to hear that the drinks were below expectation. The grapefruit soda look like a glass of plain water :-(
    The pastas look nice.

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    1. Melissa: ooo, actually maybe my photo-taking skills should be blamed for how the soda looks :) definitely enjoyed the penne. it was fairly basic but well-prepared. the linguine was worth trying in its own way too :)

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  2. At least they didn't take the "e" out of the name, lest people think it was the app :P

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    1. SC: haha, yeah, we asked one of the co-owners about the reason they chose the name, and one of the first things he laughingly said was, it has nothing to do with the app :D note though, if you're ever here, take a look at the sign outside the men's restroom ... it might raise an eyebrow :)

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  3. Prices kinda steep for just a little cafe. What's outside the men's room? ;)

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    1. Suituapui: actually, they're prices that we'd probably expect for a cafe in this part of PJ these days :) oh, apparently there's a symbol of two male figures on the door instead of the usual one. or so i hear, since i didn't see it for myself :)

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  4. First thing I thought is the app, hahaha! :P
    Only espresso based coffee? Or they serve hand drip too?

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    1. CK: haha, ya, the name will cause some people to think that :D only espresso-based coffee served here ;)

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  5. I am very familiar with French cuisine being that I live in Quebec, (Montreal), and French onion soupe au gratin is something I absolutely love! Looks like a really nice place!

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    1. Linda: i love a good hot bowl of french onion soup on a rainy evening :)

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  6. Sounds like my-kinda place, the spaghetti seems promising anyway :D

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    1. Ken: it's a nice recipe ... i think the spaghetti was very slightly on the overcooked side for me, but we still enjoyed it :)

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  7. Erm... do they sell only desserts and coffee when the kitchen is closed during breaks?

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    1. Chong: ya, only desserts and drinks between 230pm and 6pm :)

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  8. hehe, nice sharing about this cafe~ wish to go try~ =D

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    1. Happy Walker: yay! hope you enjoy it :)

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  9. The drinks look super disappointing :( And the interior... haiyo, cheapo ikea pendants with the bare lightbulbs thing. Very sien already. But the food does look interesting. Hmm... perhaps a LGBT-friendly cafe in the making? Or a 'real life Grindr' perhaps? :p Haha... :) Should just have rainbow smoothies, or hang rainbow flag outside lah. ;)

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    1. Ah Kit: yeah, the food works better than the drinks here, for now :) heh, it's still good to have a cafe like this in more neighbourhoods beyond TTDI :) ah, i suspect they'd happily welcome the pink dollar here :)

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  10. Hmmm .. Prices are reasonable for the neighborhood . Food is at least more creative than the usual cafes' - just like u mentioned. Won't mind tryin the duck confit dishes!

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    1. Rebecca: yeah, i like french fare, and am always happy to see any restaurant trying to do french, heheh :D

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  11. when do they open! i've been there twice and they were closed :( (i didnt go on a monday) and i can't find their fb page or anything

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