Sunday, October 19, 2014

Einstein Cafe @ Chinatown & Midsummer Night @ OUG

Two educators teach us how it's done, opening hidden cafes with a unique charm: Einstein Cafe, run by maths tutor Tan ...

... & Midsummer Night, the dawn of a new initiative by a college lecturer who's fascinated with film & television.

First up, Einstein Cafe, tucked on the first floor of a shop-house on Jalan Sultan in Chinatown. The cafe has no signboard, so look for Sinn Optical & the little red door beside that store. 

Take the stairs up to enter this very welcoming cafe, which is filled with friendly, positive vibes. Business hours are a convenient 1030am-930pm daily; it's worth noting that this is now Jalan Sultan's third cafe, joining the ranks of Coffee Amo & The Front Door.

Einstein Cafe is gorgeously atmospheric; come here on a weekday afternoon & you might find its founder chilling out with his family & friends in a setting where abstract paintings by a local artist hang on the walls.

The reasons for the cafe's name are a pleasure to discover: Einstein was vegetarian toward the end of his life, & this cafe's owner is vegetarian himself, serving strictly meat-free fare. Also, the cafe is expected to house a section by next year where students in need can receive informal maths classes.

Einstein Cafe's food is prepared with a lot of heart - it's surprisingly delicious. Don't skip the "Four Seasons Pizza' (RM14.80), with a wonderfully crispy-fluffy 'roti canai' crust crowned with mock meat sourced from a family friend, green peppers, black olives & mushrooms.

Single-plate meals can be savoured for south of RM10, from spaghetti (creamy but not cloying) to rice with spicy mutton curry that comprises mock meat made with mushrooms (fleshy & possibly even better-tasting than the real thing). Note: This photo does not reflect the actual serving; the owner & his friends were kind enough to share what they were eating themselves.

Hot or cold? Einstein's lattes are made with blends by the team that ran Kota Damansara's now-closed Coffee Famille, while its banana milkshakes are constructed with fresh fruit & milk, with no sugar, syrup or preservatives added.

Next up, Midsummer Night in OUG; hundreds of potential customers have driven past this street in recent weeks, since it's where MyBurgerLab is located, but Midsummer Night is on the first floor farther up the road, concealed without a signboard above an auto workshop, so it's still been an oasis of crowd-free calm so far.

True to its name, Midsummer Night's hours are mostly after sunset - 7pm-midnight, Tuesdays-Fridays, & 3pm-midnight on weekends - since its owner still has a full-time college day-job.

Midsummer Night - which is also run by genuinely warm & hospitable people - is a true cave for movie geeks, filled with posters & postcards for some of Hollywood & Hong Kong's best-known extravaganzas.

Love the focus on the nineties; we remember Meet Joe Black, Tin Cup, Heat & even The Arrival (Charlie Sheen!) very well.


Simple & satisfying home-made desserts are available here, from rum-&-raisin cakes to chocolate cheesecakes. 

 The coffee blends are supplied by Artisan Roast; there are cold brews & also special creations like the 'Trouble White' (featuring single origin coffee with milk, named because it takes more effort than the norm to prepare).

We really like Einstein Cafe & Midsummer Night; we think others will do. Expect to hear more about both in the months ahead.

 Einstein Cafe @ Jalan Sultan
58 Jalan Sultan, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 1030am-930pm

Midsummer Night 
36A, Jalan Awan Hijau, Oversea Union Garden, Kuala Lumpur. Tues-Fri, 7pm-12am; Sat-Sun, 3pm-12am

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32 comments:

  1. I like their decor...will visit at least once =)

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    1. Ulric: oh yeah, can combine a visit to Einstein with The Front Door, and a visit to Midsummer Night with MyBurgerLab! :D

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    2. Ulric: enjoy! especially since Midsummer Night is quite near our neighbourhood ;)

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  2. so many cafes so little time! I must look out for that red door. The postcards at Midsummer are nice too!

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    1. Ciki: heheh, ya, luckily to door to Einstein is bright-red, otherwise we'd never find it :D and yup, those movie postcards brought back happy cinema memories for me! :)

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  3. wow, how did you manage to find this place! haha

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    1. Ken: a good question, but i don't have a good answer, haha :D

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  4. You mean they are/were teachers/lecturers gone into the food business. Hmmm...I should have done that too when I was younger. Pizza looks great and I bet that rum & raisin cake is to die for!

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    1. Suituapui: yep, teachers/lecturers currently in their 30s (i think) who are now exploring F&B :) i loved that pizza (finished every bite) and the rum & raising cake had a nice rummy flavour and lots of raisins :D

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  5. Einstein Cafe has such a rustic look. And love those hanging postcards at Midsummer.

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    1. Baby Sumo: ya, the owner of einstein cafe preserved a lot of the old-world charm of the place, but added a lot of personal touches too, so it's a great balance :D
      and yup, it must have taken hours to hang up all those postcards at midsummer night! :)

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  6. What an interesting concept, Sean! I would be concerned about the wooden tables, though. What I mean is if the wood isn't laminated or finished in some way, you can't really clean it and there could be health issues due to bacteria?

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    1. Linda: that's an interesting perspective ... i think it could be OK for the cafe that serves only desserts and coffee though, especially since there wouldn't be meat on the tables :)

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    2. But another thing is that people put their hands on tables and often people don't properly wash their hands. I guess I can't help but thinking this way, especially since I had the C Difficile bacterial infection last July.

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    3. Linda: you're right though, better safe than sorry, and to take precautions :)

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  7. Replies
    1. Happy walker: glad you like these cafes :)

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  8. Love the deco and the vibe in both cafes, nice.
    I visited 4 lovely cafes in the weekend too. Hehehe

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    1. CK: ya, these two cafes are quite memorable ... nice to hear you enjoyed your cafe visits this past week too! :D

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  9. Where you u park if you go to einstein cafe?
    And for Midsummer - wonderful hours for late people like us who needs a quiet place to write! :)

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    1. Rebecca: ooo, there's a small complex directly across the road from einstein cafe that has safe and sufficient basement parking :D
      and yup, midsummer night is pretty spacious, so there's lots of corners for people to do work on their laptops :)

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  10. Cool, cafe without signboard! I think they didn't expect passerby patrons?

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    1. Choi Yen: maybe they'll add signboards later on, heheh :D

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  11. I'm gonna put Einstein Cafe into my cafe pocket list, so in love with the decor, especially the red wooden door!

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    Replies
    1. Audrey: i think einstein cafe is a place that a lot of customers can fall in love with! and ya, love the door too :D

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  12. Nice sharing! Thanks Sean!!! XD

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    Replies
    1. Chuen-Y: glad you like this :D

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  13. Sean, try seafood pizza and asam fish next time,yummy yummy o....

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    1. Tan: will remember your suggestions :)

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  14. Einstein Cafe looks like a perfect recommendation for our guests staying at our hotel. Great find!

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    1. 5 elements: and your hotel looks like the perfect place for travellers looking for a place to stay in the area. love the photos of your rooms :)

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