KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 – The bar welcomes you in duotone: slate grey for the counter, vermilion wood for the base and stools. On display are the pastries of the day, each lovingly arranged on raised trays like works of art.
Almond croissants and kouign-amann, that most buttery and sweet of all Breton pastries. Apple turnovers filled with caramelised apple and vanilla bean custard. The cross laminated panels of the Coffee Pain au Susie, made with 54.5 per cent Callebaut chocolate, coffee pastry cream and cacao nibs.
Maybe that is what SunSan Bake, a bakery café by day and casual dining restaurant by night, aims to be: a gallery of edible works of art.
Located inside a refurbished bungalow in Taman Shanghai, nestled up a hidden slope off Old Klang Road, SunSan Bake has been on my radar for some time since their soft launch in June.
Perhaps their proximity to my home meant we could be more patient, to let the new eatery settle down first and smoothen their operations. It can be thrilling to visit a fresh face on the block but sometimes restraint is rewarded.
And so it is, when we finally made the trek to SunSan Bake. Mother Nature was beaming at us; the weather was fine for once, with blue skies and puffs of snowy white clouds.
The latter is reflected in the clean lines of the bungalow’s walls; nothing like a new coat of white paint to revive an old building.
Outside the pristine, neatly mown lawn and a smattering of young trees (wooden supports still in place given the height of their slender trunks) create a green environment. You can almost swear the air feels lighter.
The Zen garden path, all gravel and pebbles. The alabaster plumes of wild reeds.
Which is to say many visitors might well become regulars simply for the calming ambience the carefully curated exterior evokes. SunSan Bake is nothing if not inviting.
So enter, and bring the outside with you. Or at least plenty of natural light with you, thanks to the French windows.
Floor-to-ceiling glass always makes a place feel larger than it is, and with a bungalow, it would be a shame not to fully utilise the space.
Cream tones abound, providing a gentle backdrop to the pale pastel yellows and the profusion of wood. Vintage style floor tiles for a pseudo-retro look. All the better for customers to frame their food and drinks.
For you don’t have to be a genius to realise that a healthy majority of visitors come here to take photographs. Given the sunlight and the sympathetic palette, it would be a waste not to.
We are no different. After all, when in Rome...
But we are getting ahead of ourselves here. We still haven’t gotten any caffeine in us. Time for a little pick me up, then a little bite.
Espresso-based coffees are made with SunSan Blend of the Month. For filter brews, they offer two options: "competition” beans such as the Panama Mi Finquita Santa Clara Geisha, as well as seasonal filter coffees such as Ethiopia Aricha G1 Natural and Panama Boquete SHB Natural ASD.
We decide to have a couple of flat whites and an iced Wakatake Matcha Latte, which turns out to be surprisingly intense in flavour, so much so the matcha drinker announces she feels a bit light-headed afterwards. Strong indeed.
Whichever beverage you choose, it’s a good way to slowly sip and linger. Some simple bites help.
The best way to test the mettle of a viennoiserie is by trying their plain croissant, unembellished by nuts or frangipane or other toppings or fillings.
SunSan Bake’s version proclaims itself to be an A.O.P. Croissant, made with beurre d’Isigny A.O.P. (butter from Isigny, France), T55 French flour, fresh milk and pink Himalayan salt.
It tasted... like a croissant, flaky enough that one would forgive the extensive ingredient listing.
We half consider the Black Truffle Shiopan, made with black truffle butter, white truffle oil, bamboo charcoal and smoked Maldon salt. Alas, one of us detests truffle oil, its flavour far too overpowering and nothing like the subtle fragrance of fresh truffles.
The other is simply traumatised by its suggestive shape, which has the last of our trio guffawing with unbridled glee. (Come for the art, stay for the mirth?)
Far safer is the Browned Banana Mountain, where the can’t-go-wrong pairing of browned butter with bananas is lightened with a tangy passion fruit cream cheese and a solitary pecan. Perhaps a bit dense, but nothing determined chewing wouldn’t resolve.
There’s a solution for everything in life, you see. One bite, one sip at a time, taking the day as it comes.
216, Jalan Pisang, Taman Shanghai, KL
Open daily (except Wed closed) 8:30am-10pm
Phone: 03-7972 1441
* Follow us on Instagram @eatdrinkmm for more food gems