Oct 6, 2016

Highlights Of The Good & The Bad: Botanica+Co, Kakigori, Chocha Foodstore, Leaf & Co, Sis & Co, Pan & Tamper.


This writeup consists of sneak peaks of my recent food rendezvous, some of which turned out to be surprisingly good; some were merely disappointments, but all of which I thought was worth highlighting in this blog.

Pardon me..... but this will be a pretty lengthy though straightforward post.

Have fun reading!


Botanica + Co @ Bangsar South KL

Gorgeous Greens; Average Dishes.



It was a Saturday evening when I decided to pay Botanica+Co a second visit. My first attempt was put to a halt when I found out that there was a 1.5 hour wait at the door - my growling stomach couldn't wait.

This time round however, it was slightly pass 4pm when I dropped by. I was seated within minutes.

A look around the cafe - I really liked what I see, and I can see why the crowd like it here too. It's all about the botanical-themed nowadays, with a modern touch to it of course.

It was nice to be able to feel the warmth from the exposed glass interior, the greens that made the place pop, and definitely a contrasting sight from the conventional industrial settings that most cafes are accustomed to.

I like.

Hot Chocolate (RM14). Fresh Orange + Watermelon Juice (RM14).
The Botanica Burger (RM36) wasn't exactly what'd I expected it to be. The housemade beef patty was on the verge of breaking apart, the flavors were flat, the mushroom ragout with melted cheddar was chewy, and the bun - well, was just a bun. Sadly for me, the best part of the dish was the steak fries. I need more chili sauce.
Thankfully, the Seafood Bisque Linguine (RM36) was pleasant and a joy to devour. The crustacean flavors of the bisque was distinct (though it could be a tad more richer in my humble opinion); the pasta was done al dente; the prawns and clams was bouncy and fresh.
The Churros Donut Stack (RM19) was possibly the most raved about dessert here - and I enjoyed it. Sugar-cated churros wrapped around vanilla ice cream, topped with swirls of meringue, and drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce all over. This could get really sweet (cloying) and virtually impossible to finish on your own. Share! 

Overall Rating: 6.5/10. I'm probably fading way behind the hype now - but seriously.... my meal here was just about fair to average. Would I wait 1.5hour to dine here? Probably not.

Botanica + Co is located at:
Address: G5 Podium, The Vertical, Bangsar South City. No.8 Jalan Kerinchi, 59200 Kuala Lumpur.
Phone: +6016-9656-422
Email: info@botanica.com.my
Opening Hours: 11.30am - 10pm (Mon-Thurs) 11.30am - 12am (Fri) 9.30am - 12am (Sat) 9.30am - 10pm (Sun)


Kakigori @ Seapark PJ

Delectable Desserts; Self Service Only.


Who would have thought that a Bingsu-lookalike could generate so much hype?

Kakigori is the newest Japanese shaved ice dessert hotspot to hit town - queues are routine; crowds are evident - confused faces too for that matter. Here's a simple take of my recent experience.

What I like about Kakigori: 

Love the creativity; Loads of flavors to pick from; Enjoyed my chilled and refreshing watermelon dessert (especially in this scorching weather!).

What I didn't like about Kakigori: 

Everything is self-service - from ordering and paying at the counter, to finding my very own table (the place is small), to collecting my dessert from the service counter, and bringing my empty bowl back to the counter once finished. WOW. I didn't check, but was there service charge?

And the ice is just way to coarse.

Watermelon (RM17) with rose espuma and red fruits.

Overall Rating: 6/10. It felt as though I'm doing all the work here, except making the kakigori of course. I'm sure they can find a better structure to organise the crowd, and please - put on some smiles. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my watermelon kakigori that scorching day, but I thought that the ice was way too coarse for my liking.

Kakigori is located at:
Address: 25, Jalan 20/13, Taman Paramount, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Phone: 03-7865 8999
Opening Hours: 1pm - 10pm Daily. 1pm - 11pm Friday. Closed Monday.


Chocha Foodstore @ Petaling Street KL

Interesting Dishes; Missing Links.



Chocha Foodstore is situated just a few doors away from Merchant's Lane, the veteran cafe which first lured me to the discovery of Petaling Street's vintage charm, the subsequent visits to the area, and today, to Chocha Foodstore.

Without a proper signboard in place, take note of Mah Lian Hotel when waze-ing through.

We parked at the outdoor parking just footsteps away, which by the way, charges exorbitant parking rates, at RM4 for the first hour. We ended up forking out RM8 for 3 hours of cafe-time. Tip: try scouting for parking along the shoplots instead.

The Biang Biang Inspired Noodles (RM16) was really-really interesting - housemade fat noodle (reminded me of the traditional pan mee), drizzled with szechuan chili oil, mixed spice, toasted peanuts and seasoned soy vinaigrette. Strangely and surprisingly, the flavors worked! The noodles could be a little less chewier however. 
The Crispy Chili Squid (RM22) was delicious, consisting of freshly done squid tentacles stacked high, seasoned with addictive cajun spice. A slight tweak: they could do better with the batter recipe. 
Unlucky me not? How is it possible that the Cincalok Fried Chicken with Summer Salsa (RM25) to be the most popular dish here? The shrimp sauce marinated chicken tasted bland, the meat was very dry, and the crust reminded me of way overdone batter. On it's own, I really liked the tomato and pineapple salsa, but if eaten together with the tomato chutney sauce at the side - the flavors clashed. Halfway through, I requested for chili sauce, of which they didn't have any of. How lah?
Lapsang Souchong (RM16) - the original black tea of Earl Grey.

Overall Rating: 6/10. There was a missing link in the dishes I sampled that day. Don't get me wrong, I found each dish to be interesting on it's own, but at the same time, the flaws were rather obvious, both in terms of flavors and textures. Despite the beautiful vintage charm, I think the next cafe, somehow does better when it comes to food - personal preference.

Chocha Foodstore is located at:
Address: no 156, Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 
Phone: 03-2022 1100
Opening Hours: 11am - 10pm Daily. Closed Monday.


Leaf & Co. Cafe @ Petaling Street KL

Lovin' The Vintage Ambience.


With no luck at Botanica + Co during my first visit, me and my friend drove to Petaling Street after that, in a hungry attempt to try out one of the newest vintage cafes to hit town. (This was my second pitstop on that eventful day)

We parked and decided to make our way to the cafe by foot, along the bustling Petaling Street, strolling pass Chocha Foodstore first, before arriving at Leaf & Co. The short walk took us 15 minutes. I have to admit however, that I didn't quite enjoy my walk there - the clutter; the crowd; the passing motorists. Needless to say, I don't think it's safe to walk alone, even for a guy.

Nevertheless, we got to Leaf & Co safely, and was immediately greeted by sights of nostalgia - discolored and peeling walls and mismatched traditional furniture and fittings.   

No Buttermilk Fried Chicken for me that day - I ordered the Signature Chicken Chop (RM21), which turned out to be a delightful treat. The chicken meat was flavorsome, tender and juicy; the skin had a fantastic crunch to it; the creamy asian pesto sauce at the side had hints of addictive curry and cheese flavors; though the potato slides came a tad soggy for my liking. Neverthless, we polished everything up.
The Spaghetti Meatballs (RM20) was essentially a really simple dish. The beef meatballs were delicious - flavorful yet not too dense, and the combination of parmesan sprinkles, basil and tomato puree worked. Having said that, the spaghetti came somewhat overcooked for me - so fat.

Overall Rating: 7/10. I thought the the food was pretty good to kickstart things, both the dishes I ordered was good, especially the chicken chop. Service was pleasant though the staff could do with a bit more training.

Leaf & Co is located at:
Address: 53, Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Waze: Rainbow Laundry)
Phone: 03-6261 2228
Opening Hours: 11.30am - 10.30pm Daily.


Sis & Co. @ Kg Kayu Ara Damansara PJ

Affordable Dishes; Decent Flavors.



"The cafe is so near my house!", I exclaimed to my friend.

Sis & Co. was easily odd one out - secretly tucked in an industrial area, mostly occupied by car workshops and electrical shops. It was a really-really nice sight to see the colorful addition of this new cafe in the area, at least there's somewhere to chill near home.

On hindsight, The Smoking Pig (RM28) looked really small, there were barely any meat to go around! The hickory smoked babyback ribs, glazed with barbecue was delicious, though the meat was rather dry for my liking, probably due to the lack of size. I think I need 3 of these to feed me full. 
The Classic Fish & Chips (RM20) was served with smashed peas, bacon chips and thick fries and tartare sauce. But where's the smashed peas and bacon chips? Replaced by the coleslaw? But why? Anyhow, I was too hungry to notice, I polished everything up quietly.
Fresh Orange Juice (RM9)
Cappucino (RM9).

Overall Rating: 6.5/10. Food was decent; love the ambiance; service was great. If WIFI services are available (whoops... I should've asked), I wouldn't mind returning again for some coffee and food.

Sis & Co. is located at:
Address: Lot 1077 Jln Jenjarum, Kg Kayu Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Phone: 03-7496 7353
Opening Hours: 11am - 11pm Daily.


Pan & Tamper @ Publika KL

Overpriced & Extremely Mediocre Dishes.



Me and my friend grabbed quick lunch at the then newly opened Pan & Tamper, one late afternoon.

Throughout the visit, I have to admit that I had trouble controlling my vocal chords. Every whimper felt like a scream - the cafe echos, especially since there weren't many occupied tables at that time. Thankfully, no one else was paying attention to our conversations (I hope).

Two things. Firstly, I'd liked to apologize for the blue-hued photograph. Secondly, I'd liked to be apologized to - I'm Fun-Ghi (RM28) came in such a small portion! The dish was fantastic taste wise, the wild mushroom sauteed with thyme was delicious, and the potato rosti, 63' egg and baby spinach added toothsome textures to the overall dish. The meager portion was what made the dish felt way overpriced.   
On the other hand, there were plenty of UNO (RM28) to go around. Though the baked eggs and chicken meatballs were hearty, the tomato sauce base tasted bland and in dire need of flavors, we ended up having to season salt and pepper all over. 

Overall Rating: 6.5/10. The food here felt exceedingly overpriced. While the I'm Fun-Ghi tasted marvelous, the portion didn't felt worthy for it's hefty price tag. The UNO too didn't quite work for me. On that note, referencing other blogs online, I realized that menu prices have been inflating over the last couple of months. Not a good thing at all.

Pan & Tamper is located at:
Address: Block D1, Level G3, Unit 9, Solaris Dutamas (Publika), No. 1 Jalan Dutamas 1. Kuala Lumpur.
Phone: 03-6206-2929 
Opening Hours: 10.30am - 9.00pm Daily.
 
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