RAW reincarnated: This might look like an nondescript residence in an evergreen neighbourhood, but its placidly innocent facade is deceptive. RGB & The Bean Hive is set to become one of KL's buzziest new cafes, run by the caffeine-passionate pioneers who spearheaded the recently closed RAW Coffee in Wisma Equity.
Step boldly through the signboard-free entrance of this bungalow on Ampang's Jalan Damai & breathe easy once you spot the coffee-brewing counter in this spartanly clean, brightly white-walled interior. The team members at RGB - which stands for either 'Roast Grind Brew' or 'Rather Good Beans,' depending on whom you interrogate - were initially taken aback when we popped in as surprise visitors, but they proved thoroughly warm, winning & welcoming.
The place, nicknamed 'The Bean Hive,' still seemed like a work in progress on a recent afternoon; RGB aims to become a full-fledged multifunction venue that'll not only house a coffee bar but a boutique micro-roastery, vegetarian eatery & events space.
Farther inside, here's the comfiest section of RGB, filled with cushy chairs; on a calm occasion, we could linger for hours.
London Calling: Check out the British-themed corner with a couch that's certain to host dozens of derrieres in the week ahead.
Love the choice of novels for browsing; this is the rare place where Goethe's Faust shares shelf space with Sex And The City.
RGB's menu will furnish a sense of comforting familiarity for RAW loyalists: the Tempeh Lettuce Tomato coconut-oil wrap is back, though RGB says the recipe has been fine-tuned even further. It's a terrific treat for fans of tempeh; other wraps available include ones with eggplant & freshly made pesto, hummus & roasted veggies, or four cheeses & tomato.
Bargain-hunters, take note: It's well worth heading to RGB on Thursday or Friday this week (August 28 & 29). As an opening promotion, these wraps - as well as most of RGB's other food offerings - will be sold at RM10 nett per plate. Only about a five-minute drive from KLCC, RGB's the ideal lunchtime oasis for folks working in the city centre.
We polished our plate too for this vegetarian burger; RGB's patties are produced on-site with components that change from time to time. Our patty comprised a chewing-optional blend of broccoli & mushrooms, partnering perfectly with a nice, crisp bun with an enjoyably yeasty flavour. Oh, and for health-watchers, there's no microwave here.
Other options include angel hair pasta, frittata, pumpkin soup & a salad tossed with house-made mayo that's prepared fresh daily, with the selection expected to expand eventually. These past years of experience have done a world of good for the food creators of RAW/RGB; their wholesome recipes are more delicious than ever, with convincingly balanced tastes & textures.
Ask for RGB's chocolate brownie, served with yoghurt & orange zest. Densely gooey, richly nuanced, it's captivating.
And of course, coffee; RGB baristas Han & May currently strut their stuff with Sumatran Mandheling. Times have changed dramatically for KL's third-wave coffee scene since we first visited RAW years ago, back when it was still an unknown brand in an infrequently patronised location in a city where great coffee remained rare. And here's some more encouraging news: RGB is also scheduled to open another outpost next week at GTower, so watch for that too.
Housekeeping notes: RGB at Jalan Damai is open Thursday & Friday this week, 8am-4pm. It'll be closed this weekend (Saturday-Sunday), but will officially launch on Monday, Sept. 1, & remain open everyday, closing early in the evening. The other GTower branch will probably also maintain office hours.
'Hidden cafes' & coffee bars at pleasantly unexpected locations or with acronyms for their names have performed very popularly in the Klang Valley throughout this past year; expect RGB to keep the track record running. Thumbs way, way up for this revival of a potentially resurgent favourite. Expect to hear much more about RGB in the weeks to come.
RGB & The Bean Hive
35, Jalan Damai, Off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-2181-1329
Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for July-September 2014, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter.
Link expires Sept 30, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link.
Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link:
Eat Drink KL: Small Businesses, Huge Flavours is the first eBook to help customers navigate the diversity of independent F&B entrepreneurs who bake & boil in their own kitchens, offering some of Malaysia's finest, most fascinating food products.