‘Me-Time’ to me, is where I can indulge in a good cup of flat white and a long-neglected book, preferably in tandem. My retreat of choice is always a café. One that is not situated in a mall, not teeming with people and branded paper cups, not too gloomy nor too bright, not too noisy nor library quiet. And always, always with “proper” coffee.
The rise of “third wave” (some would say “hipster”, some Melbourne café culture-inspired) cafés in TTDI is a great comfort to have within reach. Wikipedia defines the third wave of coffee as “a current movement to produce high-quality coffee, and consider coffee as an artisanal foodstuff, like wine, rather than a commodity.” I’m all for that.
Here are some of the cafés in TTDI that score in my book, with my non-connoisseur palate, for both coffee and character.
THE GRUMPY CYCLIST
Contrary to its name, the baristas and young folks behind this café are actually really friendly, chirpy even. The Grumpy Cyclist is, as implied, a haven for cycling enthusiasts where the interiors boast of suspended bicycles, cycling-related art and biking accoutrements. They even have a shower for those who want to freshen up after a ride and a space to service bicycles. But it is, primarily, an all-inclusive, welcoming café that’s ideal for some down-time whether in solitude or in a group. The coffee at this café in TTDI is excellent, the bakes are delicious and buttery, the food is brunch-y and hearty with a few creative twists (like the Oliver James, pictured below–scrambled eggs and bacon on a pancake on toast drizzled with maple syrup–which is a bit too much for me for now, thankyouverymuch).
36, Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
Open Mondays to Sundays (except Tuesdays), 8AM to 11PM
High Chairs Available + Clean Toilets + WiFi
ARTISAN ROAST COFFEE
Artisan is considered by many coffee lovers to be one of the pioneers of the third wave of coffee in Kuala Lumpur. My favourite Flat White, hands down, is served in any of the Artisan cafés (including Bangsar Village & Petaling Jaya) but the TTDI branch has that neighbourhood vibe that I like. Having been around longer, the interiors are a bit dim and feel more rustic compared to the newbies with their stylized vintage and utilitarian hip but they have nooks and crannies you can tuck yourself int0 for some quiet. It can be a bit of a challenge eating off their low tables when you order their plated meals, but the coffee is what it’s all about here. Paired with one of their bite-size pastries or delicious desserts, you’re all set for some coffee indulgence.
4 Lorong Rahim Kajai 14, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
Open Mondays to Fridays, 8AM to 12MN (Weekends & Holidays from 9AM)
Ok for kids but space is tight + High Chairs Available + Tired but regularly maintained toilets + WiFi
*Photos used with permission from: http://www.sillyepiphany.com
THURSDVYS (pronouced as “Thursdays”)
Thursdvys is a well-designed space with its geometric construction, angled walls, unique accents (like the orange nook, pictured below). Light pours thru their generous slanted windows complemented by a long window seat you can easily sink into with a book and a cuppa. They serve theirs as ristrettos, either black or with milk prepared in 3, 6 or 9 oz. cups. Having been spoiled by Artisan, I find the coffee here ok. The food I have yet to try because the three times I’ve been, the kitchen was quite overwhelmed with orders that it would take an average of 30 minutes to get their verson of a grilled cheese on toast. Work in progess, I assume. Nonetheless, a bright and lovely café to gather your thoughts or gather with friends.
22 Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
Open Mondays to Sundays, 9AM to 12MN (except Thursdays)
Child-Friendly, spacious tables + Clean Toilets + WiFi
*1st 2 photos used with permission from: http://www.theweekendbrunch.com
Orange Nook photo taken by HGKL friend, Rinna
Frisky Goat is, to me, more restaurant and bakery than café. But that doesn’t stop it from being a great “Me-Time” space, with its tongue-in-cheek kitsch, happy blue door & familiar brick wall. The coffee is good but it’s the food that takes center stage here with their waffles as the star. Unsurprisingly, they are the kids’ favourite while I prefer the eggs en cocotte with grilled toast. Yum. I also like their unique take on tiramisu which seems to carry the same distinctive standard as their other desserts and pastries. Unlike the rest of the cafés featured here, Frisky Goat has a full waiting staff who are attentive and responsive to requests. That matters when you have kids in tow (and their 1001 needs) and assuring when you’re on your own and need the airconditioning temperature adjusted just so.
72, Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
Open Tuesdays to Sundays, 8AM to 10:30 PM (closed on Mondays)
Child-Friendly, spacious tables + Clean Toilets + WiFi
*1st row of photos used with permission from: http://eatdrinkkl.blogspot.com
2nd row of photos used with permission from: http://www.theweekendbrunch.com
Quar/tet is a slight departure from the others listed above in that it has more of an indie vibe. Its walls are decked with an eclectic mix of classic & alt-rock icons, anti-establishment visuals (Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, a huge painting with the word “LIBERACION”) & some humorous pop art. The music, which is the passion of its proprietors, reflects this spirit so don’t expect any folksy indie tunes or soft jazz here. Nonetheless, it’s not difficult to find some momentary zen with its Artisan Roast Coffee-inspired Flat Whites (beans are sourced from Artisan as well), indulgent desserts, freshly baked breads and to me, a rare find–perfectly poached eggs with silky yolks and a hint of vinegar on their Eggs Ben.
21 Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 7, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
Open Mondays to Sundays, 8AM to 10PM
Spacious + High Chairs Available + Clean Toilets
*Photos used with permission from: https://www.facebook.com/quartetttdi
PICKLE & FIG
I find it difficult to find fair-priced “gourmet” (i.e. interesting, unique ingredient combinations) sandwiches in this city so I was very happy to discover Pickle & Fig last year. The main draw here, to me, is their sandwich menu, all served with a side of chips and salad, but the coffee is not bad at all. The espressos are potent and flat whites full-bodied. The space itself is relaxed and welcoming with the signature cement walls and flooring, reclaimed wood furniture and pendant lamps that seem to be de rigueur in these parts. A huge communal table dominates the large space. If you decide to take the kids along, it’s a great space to relax with one of the free-to-use, old-school games available like pick-up sticks. They have a small selection of desserts but I would probably opt for a healthier alternative in one of their smoothie concoctions next time. Besides, I think I need a break from all this caffeine talk!
26 Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 2, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
Open Mondays to Sundays, 9AM to 11 PM except on Fridays & Saturdays they stay open to 12MN
Spacious + Tired but regularly maintained toilets + WiFi
And if you are in the mood to take the family, have a look here at Little Rimba, a family favourite!
*1st row of photos used with permission from: http://www.theweekendbrunch.com
2nd row of photos used with permission from: https://www.facebook.com/pickleandfig
Written by Marite Irvine