Eat Drink KL: May 2024

Friday, May 31, 2024

Nicky Voon of 103 COFFEE, winner of the 2024 Malaysia Latte Art Championship, reflects on the road to success


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Now a three-time title-holder in Malaysia's Latte Art Championship, barista Nicky Voon of 103 COFFEE is reflecting on her recent triumph in the national tournament.

She trained for five hours every night for two months, crafting latte art for 100 brews each time, on top of making coffee for customers at 103's cafes. Hunched over countless cups, she persevered through posture pains, taking up physical therapy for her shoulders.

“I worked like a machine, performing non-stop pouring. The process helped me refine the details of my latte art patterns. One by one, I adjusted my angles for each cup to continue improving," Nicky told EDKL in an interview this week.

"During the championship last weekend, I was quite nervous, because you can’t anticipate what will happen - but I feel very relaxed right now," Nicky admits.

Set to represent Malaysia for the third time in next year's World Latte Art Championship, Nicky is inspiring the next generation of baristas with her discipline and determination.

Fun fact: 103 COFFEE’s baristas have now won the Malaysia Latte Art Championship for six consecutive years!

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Nicky's journey as a barista began a dozen years ago, when she started working at a cafe near her home in Seri Kembangan to earn extra pocket money as a secondary school student. 

At the age of 15, she pursued a passion in latte art, learning through YouTube before following latte artists on social media.

Nicky believes in the beauty of latte art, striving to create a wholesome experience where patrons can slow down and appreciate their coffee better.

She eventually became a fan of 103 COFFEE's co-founder Irvin Quek and joined his team in 2016, two years before Irvine won the World Latte Art Championship 2018 in Brazil. 

Irvine and 103 COFFEE's owners, Ken Wong and Jewel Ting, became Nicky's mentors. In less than a decade, she's now 103's Head Trainer, using her experience and expertise to guide the brand's youngest baristas.

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Nicky’s intricate artwork is inspired by animals, a theme that sparks conversations.

“When we do artwork animals, the first impression among customers is very strong," Nicky says. "Oh, it’s a dog! Oh, it’s a bear!”

Nicky harnessed her skills to create a rooster, mountain goat and elephant in her three designs for this year's national tournament.

For budding baristas, Nicky says consistency in training is key. Latte art requires constant recalibration, since heat and temperature impact the consistency of the barista's creations. Nicky's espresso settings in the morning are always different from the evening, 

Practise keeping your hands steady, Nicky notes - a necessity for baristas competing under the close scrutiny of judges, camera crews and an attentive audience. 

“I remember during my first competition, my hands were not shaking, but my whole body was shaking.” Despite her jitters, her art turned out to be competition-worthy.

Next year, Nicky will represent Malaysia in the World Latte Art Championship for the third time. She has improved in each participation, being a semi-finalist in Berlin in 2019 and a finalist in Warsaw in 2022 - a notable international feat for someone who considers English her fourth language after Cantonese, Mandarin and Hokkien.

Through it all, she keeps her mind laser-focused on the attributes tattooed on her arms - 'humble' and 'effort' - reminders to do her best and learn as much as possible from others.

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Follow Nicky's latte art journey at
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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Zenzero Restaurant & Wine Bar: A video feature

Experience Executive Chef Paolo Cola's modern Italian marvels at Zenzero, plus a new private dining room and lounge Notte!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Kaya Kappo & Kissaten, SS15 Subang

Subang’s new Kaya Kappo & Kissaten woos us with wood tones to warm up its Japanese inspirations, combining a kissaten-inspired coffee shop with kappo-style restaurant.

Matcha and coffee (including Kaya's own chocolaty-creamy Ethiopian-Brazilian blend), plus cakes and sandos, are served starting in the morning, while hot fare is offered from the afternoon, including set meals of wagyu beef tongue with hamburg, grilled anago, clams and mussels with mariniere sauce, and much more.


Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Mines Shopping Mall's Fantastetic Food Fest: Buy 1 Free 1 meals, lucky draws & culinary workshops through 30 June 2024

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Tantalise your taste buds at The Mines Shopping Mall's Fantastetic Food Fest!

Enjoy Buy 1 Free 1 meal offers and F&B voucher redemptions; experience culinary workshops; and complete simple challenges for over RM10,000 worth of SenQ Cash Vouchers!

All the flavourful fun is happening at The Mines now until 30 June 2024 - bring your family and friends for exclusive promotions at participating restaurants and cafes, including Starbucks, Esquire Kitchen, GO Noodle House, Teppanyaki, Bask Bear Coffee, Kee Nguyen and Kenny Rogers Roasters.

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Double the delicious delights with Buy 1 Free 1 treats!

Spend at least RM100 at The Mines on the same day (in a maximum of two receipts) to redeem a Buy 1 Free 1 voucher at the L3 Information Counter (limited to four redemptions per shopper).

The Buy 1 Free 1 offer includes a tall complimentary handcrafted beverage at Starbucks; meals such as Shanghai steamed dumplings, fried dumplings or sui kau at Esquire Kitchen; value set meals at GO Noodle House; chicken teppanyaki at Teppanyaki; value set meals at Kee Nguyen; and white peach fizz or grapefruit yuzu fizz drinks at Bask Bear Coffee.

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Don't miss the Yum! Yum! Challenge too.

Just spend RM15 at any F&B outlet to secure a Yum! Yum! stamp card. Then, complete simple challenges to earn a lucky draw entry - over RM10,000 worth of SenQ Cash Vouchers is up for grabs, with the Grand Prize valued at RM2,000!

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Also mark your calendar for playful culinary workshops, including a Sandwich Making Workshop, Clay Burger Making Workshop and Father's Day Cookie Decoration Workshop.

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Finally, savour flavourful redemptions by spending at least RM150 on a maximum of three same-day receipts to redeem a special F&B voucher - rewards include Kenny's Nasi Lemak Solo at Kenny Rogers Roasters or a RM10 voucher at Bask Bear Coffee!

The Mines Shopping Mall

Monday, May 27, 2024

Roberto’s: Bangsar's Italian-run osteria is a haven for pizzas till midnight, Tuscan wines & happy hour cocktails

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From morning to midnight, Roberto's remains Bangsar's bustling restaurant where Italian inspirations are always abundant.

Lunch on powerful pastas, linger for happy hour cocktails from 3pm to 7pm, then dine on oven-fired pizzas paired with top Tuscan wines. 

Whether you're craving Italian cold cuts and cheeses to share, fritto misto for a seafood feast, or a Venetian Aperol spritz to sip, Roberto's has it all and more.

Founder Roberto, operations director Paolo and executive pizza chef Ciro, all from Emilia-Romagna, recently welcomed another Italian to Roberto's - manager Laura, who hails from Treviso near Venice. 

Together, they assure Italian authenticity, from the restaurant's menu to its service.

Fun fact: This is the original Roberto's, having launched in Bangsar Shopping Centre in October 2020. Since then, Roberto's has opened two more outposts in Tropicana Gardens Mall and NU Sentral.

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Roberto's in BSC is brilliant for a breezy alfresco meal - casual and cheerful, leafy and lively, vibrant and vivacious, in a spacious setting that evokes a resort escapade with a modern poise and polish. Find your favourite corner, then make yourself comfortable for a terrific time.

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Roberto's is perfect for families and friends to come together, with plenty of pleasures to share.

Tagliere e Formaggi (RM128) is a beautiful board of cold cuts and cheeses - a pork-free selection of multiple meats, including beef, veal, turkey and duck, plus regional cheeses.

The board boasts bresaola, beef salami milano, smoked veal ham, smoked turkey ham and smoked duck, all with a savoury, earthy depth of flavour.

Cheese enthusiasts will enjoy northern Italy's Grana Padano, Veneto's Asiago and Lombardy's gorgonzola, each with its own unique character, taste and texture.

This colourful board comes complete with fried focaccia, artichokes, capers, olives and sun-dried tomatoes, marvellous for munching.

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Roberto’s Fritto Misto (RM72) is a flagship platter - a hearty heap of batter-fried seafood such as fresh squid, oysters, tiger prawns, whitebait, half-shell scallops and cuttlefish, plus zucchini too - addictively crispy, rounded out with a creamy tartar dip.

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For something lighter, try the Beef Carpaccio (RM58) - Angus beef, smooth and sumptuous in delicate slices, topped with rocket leaves, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and streaks of mustard sauce for zing and zip.

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Fans of seafood pastas, bookmark Roberto's for your favourite dish.

Seafood Spaghetti (RM76) brings a boat's bounty of tiger prawns, squid, scallops, cuttlefish, clams and mussels - crave-worthy crustaceans and molluscs, sweetly thick and tangy with San Marzano tomato sauce, plus a pinch of chillies for extra punch.

Salmon and Asparagus Tagliolini (RM46) is a delightful duet of fresh salmon and smoked salmon, lined with asparagus for a juicy crunch to enhance the tender tagliolini.

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Roberto's serve pizzas all the way to midnight daily - for a late-night pizza fix, this is the place, showcasing nearly two dozen varieties of classic and contemporary pizzas. We could sample a different pizza here everyday for three weeks!

The BSC (RM58) is the namesake pizza to represent this Bangsar mall - a triumph of tasty toppings, generously garnished with smoked turkey ham, beef sausage, porcini mushrooms, scamorza cheese, mozzarella and tomato sauce. 

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We're also fans of Roberto's Calzone (RM48), comfortingly hot from the oven, folded with a rich, robust filling of smoked turkey ham, champignon mushrooms and artichokes, luscious with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.

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Main courses span seafood to meat. Seabass al Cartoccio (RM68) conveys the traditional Italian style of baking in a pouch-like parcel to seal in the essence and moistness of the ingredients. This is the ideal way to relish the seabass fillet, parchment-wrapped with black olives, shallots, potatoes and cherry potatoes to combine the potent flavours of ocean and land.

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Chicken isn't a cliche here - the kitchen serves a gorgeous Galletto al Forno (RM68), a whole spring chicken, succulently roasted to a golden brown, aromatically glazed in notes of honey and truffles, cushioned with capsicum and eggplant caponata for a balanced ensemble.

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Don't skip dessert - Semifreddo al Mascarpone (RM28) is a scrumptious semi-frozen mascarpone cheesecake, chilled for an icy treat, dotted with dried fruits, Bologna-origin Amarena cherries, caramel and whipping cream.

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Roberto's Panna Cotta (RM24) is house-moulded for silky, melt-in-the-mouth sumptuousness, jazzed up with strawberries, blueberries and passionfruit sauce for ripe, fruity flair.

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Happy hours at Roberto's run from 3pm to 7pm everyday - customers can relish three different cocktails (the Bay Breeze, Sunrise Gin and Roberto’s Martini) for a total of RM88, representing spectacular value before sunset.

Alternatively, the Aperol Spritz (RM44) promises the time-honoured potion of Aperol with Prosecco and an orange wedge, transporting us in spirit to the Grand Canal of Venice.

Bonus: All these cocktails are served with focaccia and a house-made dip during happy hours!

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If you're searching for top-tier Italian wines, Roberto's is your destination - its range includes the Brunello di Montalcino, crafted with 100% Sangiovese to earn Italy’s highest DOCG classification, and other Tuscan vintages that represent the country's most revered vineyards.

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Roberto’s 1020 Osteria
G109 & GK3, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Jalan Maarof, 59000 Kuala Lumpur. 
Daily, 11am-12am. 
Tel: 017-394-8050