Eat Drink KL: November 2020

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Muo.le: Delivery for Southern Malay Dishes

Muo.le's meal deliveries represent generous, gorgeously prepared portions of classic Malay cuisine from peninsular Malaysia's south - the Try Everything Combo Deal is well worth trying indeed, a set of three different recipes with one substantial side for RM55.

The Soto Ayam Mommy is a satisfying rendition of this Indonesian-Malay favourite (regular price RM14). Three pieces of ketupat, neatly sliced into four chunks each, partnered with equally large begedil, chicken, nuts and bean sprouts on crisp soo hoon glass noodles, submerged in savoury spiced soup, rounded out with a thick, strong sambal cili kicap. Every ingredient works to complement each other wonderfully in this soulful ensemble.

The Laksa Joho Mamatok should placate residents of Malaysia's southernmost state for authenticity (regular price RM16). San Remo spaghetti with cucumbers, long beans, bunga kantan and daun kesum in a tantalisingly textured fish-based gravy of ikan parang, still lovely after delivery; the accompanying sambal belacan is extra-punchy, so be cautious while adding it.

Meanwhile from Muar, the Mee Bandung Abah should be a smash for seafood lovers (regular price RM16). Three striking prawns on yellow noodles in a uniquely beefy broth that's deep and rich, with fried tofu, garlic, choy sum and red chillies for plenty of sultry street-fare complexities. This is the heaviest of the meals, so order it if your appetite is hearty.

The set is rounded out with the intriguing Tauhu Begedil Acik Daging that makes for moreish munching, fried tofu cutlets stuffed with potatoes and beef (normal price RM12); there are also chicken and even rabbit variations for this). If we can't travel to Johor right now, Muo.le does a delicious job of bringing the south to us.

WCAFE by WSPACE, Mid Valley City

Mid Valley might be a hive of human activity throughout the day, but WCAFE offers a calm, cosy refuge from the madding crowds. Tucked in an eighth-floor co-working space, it's worth checking out for barista-baked banana walnut cake (RM6; irreproachably fluffy) and brownies (RM6; irresistibly moist and flavourful). You may end up lingering over a croissant (RM6), piccolo latte (RM8) and osmathus apricot water kefir (RM10), reluctant to return to the clamour and chaos outside.

Level 8, Centrepoint North, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur. Open Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm.

Akan's Canteen, Bukit Jalil

Akan's Canteen does an admirable job turning a stark space into a warm, welcoming cafe. Desserts make the trip here worthwhile; the salted caramel brownie is rich and robust, the peach cheesecake is a fruity tropical treat, and the choux au craquelin with chocolate cream is lovably luscious.

Akan's Canteen
UG-3, THE LINK, 2, Jalan Jalil Perkasa 1, Bukit Jalil, 57000 Kuala Lumpur. Open Thurs-Tues, 8am-5pm.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Cakeissweet: Decadent Desserts for Delivery

Roses are red, violets are blue, Cakeissweet: This Malaysian home baker is sugarcoating life's realities with frosted, fluffy fantasies, fresh from her oven. Lily, the founder of Cakeissweet, has been baking since her teens, bringing more than two decades of experience to her lovingly crafted creations.

Green is good when it comes to Cakeissweet: The Matcha Biscoff cheesecake is a decadent dream, creamy as the richest mousse, robust with the aromatic allure of green tea, generously showered with those unmistakable Biscoff crumbs (RM50 for two four-inch cakes). An absolute star of a cake.

Cakeissweet's creativity is best represented by its Onde-onde Cake - pandan butter cake layered with gula Melaka drizzle and coconut flake topping, perfectly capturing the flavour of the classic kuih in a fragrant butter cake that all generations will adore.

We're also instantly smitten with Cakeissweet's cupcakes, with their dense double chocolate base, crowned with irresistibly luscious frostings in flavours like Biscoff or salted caramel (RM36 for six pieces).

Note: Cakeissweet is offering free deliveries on orders placed every Thursday from 12am to 11:59pm for the same day or for a selected date and time, up to seven days in advance.

Cakeissweet (get 25% off with the code CAKE25)

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Fin: Gingerbread People Cookies for Christmas

With exactly a month to 25 December, the hardworking elves at Publika's Fin are busy baking up a storm of Gingerbread Men and Women, with plenty of cute designs to deliver Christmas cheer in turbulent times. There's even a masked gingerbread man among this crew, fun and full of expression.

Handmade with hints of honey, zesty orange and comforting cinnamony spices, these crumbly cookies are a notch above commercialised gingerbread recipes, perfect for sending your love and warm thoughts to family and friends before the year ends (RM5 apiece).

Our package also came with some saucy Christmas cards and fairy lights to brighten the season. Many thanks to Fin for this festive sampling.

06, Block D3, Level G3, Publika, Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur. 
Open Monday-Friday, 9am-8pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-7pm. Tel: 012-780-0270

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Thirty One Fine Bakes: Boozy Cakes for Adult Affairs

More than half a cup of Baileys, splashes of Malibu, limoncello and Cointreau: For Thirty One Fine Bakes, these won't be liqueurs for a cocktail but the ingredients that make its cakes extra-decadent, for a dessert affair to remember.

Baking with booze sounds like a surefire way to lift the spirits, which has special resonance because of how Thirty One Fine Bakes was born. Its founder had fantasised about embarking on her own home baking business for a full decade, but it wasn't until she lost her job in April along with thousands of other Malaysians that she pursued it with all her passion.

Thirty One Fine Bakes was launched in August this year, but its founder has been baking since childhood, helping her mother in their household kitchen. When her mom passed away, she became the de facto baker for her entire family, crafting treats for festivities, including an annual Diwali cake.

What makes these bakes extra fine is her personal philosophy: She believes there’s more to the magic than basic, by-the-numbers cake and cream. She loves textures, she loves layers, and she won't say no to a responsible serving of alcohol to elevate the enchantment of each luscious slice.

Thirty One Fine Bakes is the culmination of a dream, but its cakes are also the creation of dreaming - or more specifically, daydreaming. Its founder spends time pondering how to combine elements of sweet, sour and bitter to conceive a cohesive cake.

One day, she was sitting on her sofa, staring at her plant, contemplating how to widen her range of chocolate cakes. That's when the Baileys Chocolate Cake dawned on her - it has since become her No. 1 best-seller.. 

She insists on the best ingredients for her products, without an ounce of skimping. Belgian Callebaut chocolate, with its high cocoa butter content, is the foundation for a complex cake that's buoyed by more than half a cup of Baileys Irish Cream. As she says, "you'll know there's Baileys in this" - indeed, in the ganache, the frosting, and the gooey centre. If you love premium alcoholic cakes in their full glory, this is one to order (RM197.70 for a six-inch cake).

Thirty One's Malibu Hummingbird Cake (RM174.90 for a six-incher) abides by a similarly successful formula. Take an already terrific cake - in this case, the classic spiced banana-and-pineapple cake - and add in the alcohol that pairs best with it. Half a cup of Malibu Caribbean coconut rum has been channelled into the frosting and the pineapple compote - perfect for a tropical, beach-friendly bake that evokes feelings of watching the sun set on the ocean with a cool drink in your hand.

The Raspberry Limoncello Cake is inspired by the founder's trip to Italy, where she observed how the locals drank limoncello with gusto. She realised the southern Italian lemon liqueur would vibrantly enhance a tangy cake, so she made a vanilla bean lemon cake with a fresh raspberry filling, bolstered by another half cup’s worth of limoncello for a zestier curd and frosting (RM188.95 for the six-inch).

While most of Thirty One Fine Bakes' greatest hits are liquor-laced, you'll also find virgin options. Notably, there’s the cake that she used to help her mother bake, the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake, a can't-fail combo of fudgy chocolate cake, peanut caramel crunch and almost gratuitously thick peanut butter frosting (RM158.20). This would be a smash for celebrations, which is why she makes it for her own family every year during Diwali.

The non-alcoholic version of the Baileys cake is also a crowd-pleaser, the Belgian Chocolate Cake, which stacks chocolate cake, ganache and crunchy Callebaut bits for a popular perennial (RM191.05).

If you like cake loaves, the Gianduia Banana Loaf with Thirty One's own handmade gianduia (the non-commercialised equivalent of Nutella) is a should-try, with its balance of fruity and nutty components. But we also can't resist the Cointreau Orange Butter Loaf, with its blend of delicate French Lescure butter, fresh oranges and Cointreau (though a non-alcohol version is also available), yielding a mature flourish to beautiful butter cake memories.

All in all, Thirty One Fine Bakes promises about a dozen varieties of cakes, which should be ordered at least three days in advance and are best consumed on the delivery date (get your orders in early, as Thirty One Fine Bakes is currently booked up for most of November). Complimentary candles are provided; cake toppers can be recommended for extra decorations.

Thirty One Fine Bakes
WhatsApp 017-287-0445

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Willow, W Kuala Lumpur

From heirloom tomato tarts with anchovy mascarpone to beras keladi with dehydrated watermelon, Willow serves up a menu with ambition and allure in equal measure.

We went for two pasta-based mains with tantalising twists. Our favourite was the zitoni, pasta tubes presented intriguingly, ringing an inner circle of red snapper and Sabah clams, surrounded by a moat of garam masala sauce, for a surprisingly soulful recipe of Italian-Indian influences, textured like the former with dried al dente pasta perfectly matched with flaky and firm forms of seafood, flavoured like the latter with deeply savoury, spiced notes (RM70).

Agnolotti, the stuffed pasta, also secures a modern makeover, filled with fleshy confit duck leg meat, sprinkled with crisp morsels of duck crackling, showered with a rich red wine foam and coriander oil, for a confidently executed ensemble that could fit in comfortably at a Piedmontese ristorante (RM58).

For dessert, the goat's milk cheesecake seems to be distinctly Heston-inspired, evoking the British chef's goat's cheese sambocade, swapping out his elderflower jam filling with fig brulee instead, nectarously buoying the goat's cheese earthiness, sweetened further by mascarpone ice cream and 25-year-aged balsamic for a balanced finish (RM50).

If you prefer a zestier end, the variations of yuzu unpeels the citrus fruit in different dynamics and dimensions, laced in a cake, tinged in puree, rounded out with an olive oil sorbet and perilla leaf granita for another pleasurable preparation that brings the culinary world closer together (RM50).

Cocktails complement the meal from start to finish. The Eden Watermelon works well as an aperitif, gentle with gin and Galliano, brimming with frozen, pulpy cubes of watermelon juice that melt beautifully into a beverage made aromatic with thyme and vanilla (RM55).

Willow's head bartender is Borneo-born, so be sure to sip the Sandakan Sling (RM50; gin and sweet vermouth with Sabah's lihing rice wine, coffee and East Imperial Burma Tonic) and Native digestif (RM35; linutou mild tapai blended with red beans and cinnamony Amaro di Angostura).

Willow Kuala Lumpur

Level 8, W Hotel, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Open for lunch and dinner; closed Sundays. Tel: 013-235-0542

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