KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — When one thinks of Third Wave coffee havens in the capital, hip-and-happening neighbourhoods like Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Bangsar come to mind. After all, specialty cafés are synonymous with hipster joints, right?
Perhaps not. The quiet suburb of Taman Desa, just off Old Klang Road, is slowly but surely emerging as a must-go coffee enclave. Instead of caffeine junkies, you have families and retirees enjoying the slower pace of life by lingering over a gently brewed cup or two.
Here are four Taman Desa cafés where you may spend a lazy afternoon reading magazines, catching up with old friends or simply reflecting on the good things in life.
A cup worth waiting for
Start with Await Café, the earliest specialty coffee bar in Taman Desa. Hidden away on the second floor of a busy row of shophouses facing the popular Sri Kota supermarket, Await Café is a sanctuary of calm.
Owners Jane Lee and Chang Lee Peng welcome customers to the world of slow-brewed single origin coffee from around the world. Every cup here is brewed by hand using either the drip or siphon method.
Expect a minimalist décor with white walls, comfortable sofas, a wooden communal table and plenty of pinewood stools at the balcony to sit and watch the world in the streets below go by.
There are plenty of books and magazines to browse through. Don’t miss the to-die-for cakes by FatBoyBakes and fresh fruit juices by Smooshie Juice too.
Latte art central
Unlike airy Await Café, newcomer Doiffee has more of a dark wine cellar ambience with plenty of wood and concrete employed in its interior design.
There is even a faux fireplace at the entrance for that pseudo-European atmosphere. Espressos, flat whites and piccolo lattes rule here, with some truly stellar latte art for dedicated Instagrammers.
Coffee — a blend of Brazilian, Colombian, Ethiopian and Sumatran beans by Singapore roaster Highlander Coffee — is offered as both medium roast and dark roast.
If you are not sure of which you should order, just ask friendly head barista Sing Thong who will point you in the right direction. When he’s not busy pulling shots, he can often be seen checking on whether customers enjoy their coffee and uses their feedback to further refine his next cup.
Down the rabbit hole
For something more whimsical, head over to Le Lapin Café which has a very specific Alice in Wonderland theme: rabbits! “Lapin” means “rabbit” in French, and there are bunnies everywhere.
Spot them in every nook and corner, made from recycled magazines or porcelain. You certainly won’t miss the giant rabbit mural on the wall!
Owner Eliza Ong has created a space for lovers of dessert cafés, surely. Cool down with Le Lapin Café’s Arabica heart-shaped ice cubes with cold milk. Do you pour the milk over the coffee cubes or tip the cubes into the milk? A red pill/blue pill decision a la The Matrix, no? For those who prefer “coffee desserts” to an actual cuppa, try the cold brew coffee jelly with coconut ice cream and gula Melaka syrup.
A slice of Aussie charm
Fans of French pastries should head over to Encore Patisserie Café, located in the same row as the ever-popular Sanuki Udon. Affable co-owner Peter Chong first encountered the original Encore Patisserie Café when he was travelling in Australia.
Fast forward a few years and the Sydney-based patisserie founded by experienced pastry chef Barry Symington has expanded to Malaysia with this quaint neighbourhood café.
Besides their coffee offerings, the highlight has to be their sweet treats, naturally. Try their signature mille feuille (layers of puff pastry sandwiched with custard cream), sinfully rich mud cake and my personal favourite, their moreish almond croissant. They also have an assortment of pies for those hankering for something savoury.
9-1-5, Jalan 3/109F, Taman Danau Desa, Kuala Lumpur
Open weekdays 11am-8pm, except Thu closed; Sat & Sun 9am-8pm
10A, Jalan Desa Jaya, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur
Open daily 12pm-10:30pm
Tel: 014-924 5331
Le Lapin Café
31-1, Plaza Danau 2, Jalan 109F, Taman Danau Desa, Kuala Lumpur
Open Wed-Mon 9am-6pm; Tue closed
Tel: 03-7497 0407
Encore Patisserie Café
1, Jalan Bukit Desa 5, Taman Bukit Desa, Kuala Lumpur
Open Tue-Sat 12pm-12am; Sun 10am-12am; Mon closed
Tel: 03-7972 7988