Monday, October 6, 2014

The Front Door @ Grocer's Inn, Jalan Sultan, Chinatown

Fans of hidden cafes are poised to flock to The Front Door, which makes its modest entrance this month into Chinatown, tucked inside a nearly century-old, three-storey building that was formerly occupied by Cantonese-speaking retail traders & now houses the Grocer's Inn backpackers' retreat.

The Front Door is still a work in progress, spearheaded by Basil, Wai Hong & Sarah, three relatively young entrepreneurs with family ties to the Grocer's Inn operators. But whatever happens, Basil promises the structure of this street-level cafe - its pilasters, floors & other neo-classical elements - will remain entirely unchanged, preserving the strong sense of history here.

 Come for the old-world charm, stay for the open-face sandwiches, surprisingly even better than expected. These are fabulous, with beautifully tuned flavours that make each toasted creation distinctive & delicious.

Hard to choose which ones we like best; we tried 10 from the current menu. Our three favourites: The gorgeous kitchen-made pesto with grilled chicken & caramelised orange; the luscious smoked salmon with cream cheese, capers & cucumber ribbons; & the sweet-savoury mozzarella with crunchy green apples, almonds & salted caramel.

 Special mention for the beef bacon with honey, cheddar & strawberries, a complex ensemble supplying supreme satisfaction. Or try the pepperoni with pizza sauce, mozzarella & fresh basil. Or for something sweet, the peanut butter with juicy bananas. Everything's thickly topped for big bites of brilliance.

Eggs aren't elusive at The Front Door; we like 'em both fried with a runny yolk (paired with sliced avocado & cream cheese) & hard-boiled (partnered with asparagus, sauteed mushrooms & cream cheese).

 One slice costs RM6, while a set of three is RM15 & five go for RM23. We're calling it right here: Open sandwiches are set to become the next hot trend at the Klang Valley's cafes; so far, the places that do it best (in very different ways) are Thirdwave & The Front Door.

The rest of The Front Door's menu comprises salads (our recommendation's this one with grilled prawns, mango, bean sprouts & cucumber with spicy lime mint vinaigrette & roasted sesame almonds for RM17) ...

 ... with a sprinkling of brunch fare, like the beef-bacon & cheese omelette with sage potatoes (RM15, not the highlight here), ...

 ... & pastas including spaghetti in a house-made arrabiata sauce with prawns & calamari (RM19; skip this for the sandwiches).

 Coffee? Yep, The Front Door has it. Expect to hear much more about this cafe in the months ahead; it has heaps of potential.

 Location? The Front Door is on the same street as Coffee Amo; cafe-hopping in this neighbourhood is a pleasurable breeze.

 Business hours? 10am-6pm on weekdays & till 9pm on weekends for now. Closed on Thursdays once every two weeks.

The Front Door At Grocer's Inn, 78, Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur

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38 comments:

  1. wow, i love the colors! 5 for rm23, that's a steal!

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    Replies
    1. Ken: very photogenic toasts, ya ... and yep, five sandwiches are more than enough for a hearty brunch! :)

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  2. I love the exposed brick! Not being a sandwich lover, I would opt for the spaghetti...minus the calamari! LOL! :)

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    1. Linda: heheh, they also have a grilled chicken pasta with pesto sauce here, since you're a fan of chicken :)

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  3. Lovely place though I can't say I'm a fan of Chinatown. The open sandwiches look great, so colourful.

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    Replies
    1. Suituapui: yeah, i don't mind the parts of chinatown where there's easy parking, heh :) and yup, those sandwiches are very eye-catching :D

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  4. Jeng Jeng Jeng! !!!! Next target locked! !! 😎

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    Replies
    1. Eunice: yay! i think you'll like this place, and you can take a lot of beautiful pictures here :)

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    2. Yesh! !! Hurray. . MANY THANKS to you larr. .. hehe. .. itu KC wants to tag along. . :P

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    3. Eunice: heheh, you BOTH will be able to take beautiful photos here, of the food and the ambiance :)

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  5. Reminiscent of Chye Seng Huat in Singapore... siap with having the entrance be on the side too :P

    But on the plus side, this is wallet friendlier than CSH :P

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    Replies
    1. SC: haha, yep, let's hope they keep the food standards here high and the prices (relatively) low :D

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  6. Ohh finally it's opened. i walked in before Hari Raya and they told me there's no coffee (they yet to have coffee machine), then it's closed for quite long..... last week i saw from my office and i told my friends....hey, there's light! hahahaha. the food looks good yeah. ^^

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    Replies
    1. 女飞侠: ooo, a great convenient location for you ... and ya, the open sandwiches here are very tasty! :)

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  7. I love the vibrancy of the open-faced sandwiches... looks good!

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    Replies
    1. Baby Sumo: yeah, open sandwiches are so versatile ... the variations of toppings seem nearly infinite, restricted only by the imagination! :D

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  8. This reminds me of our '4 season tartine' in the weekend kitchen.
    The open-face sandwiches here look much better and yummier. :D

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    Replies
    1. CK: heheh, oh ya, tartine = open sandwiches ... i think it'll be fun for you to create some more tartines the next time you're back in KL! :D

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  9. Glad they retained the old skool decor...there's a certain charm to it...will visit for ur recommended salad and the colourful n appetising open-face sandwiches =)

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    Replies
    1. Ulric: yeah, the cafe operators made a pledge to just add furnishing (chairs, tables, counters) while maintaining everything else in the building, even the words inscribed on the pillar ... i hope you'll like the open sandwiches (i think you will) :)

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  10. haha, i like the surrounding and thanks for sharing this place..

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    Replies
    1. Happy walker: yup, an interesting venue :)

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  11. omg the sandwiches are so pretty!

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    1. Rebecca: yeah, i wish i had better photo-taking skills though, cos the colours are a bit distorted in mine, but i'm looking forward to seeing other customers' pictures of the sandwiches! :)

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  12. looks interesting. hello there. it's been a while. :D

    m-rated.tumblr.com is my new space.

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    Replies
    1. Michelle: it is ... and it has been a long time :)

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  13. Al those open-face sandwiches look utterly delicious with the colourful toppings!

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    Replies
    1. Choi Yen: so far, customers seem to love the open sandwiches here! :)

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  14. There's a baby cockroach came up to my sandwich plate.
    Overrated place.
    Toasts are tough... not fresh/crispy.

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  15. Replies
    1. Blue ear: no pork is served here.

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  16. Is it a pork free cafe? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Salpaninot: yup, no pork is served here.

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  17. Replies
    1. Fariz: no pork is served, but there is no official halal certification here.

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  18. may i know where did u park?

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  19. may i know where did u park?

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