Sunday, April 13, 2014

quar/tet, ttdi

ttdi. 

hipster. but in a good way, of course.

it has become a trendy and popular rendezvous for new cafes to prove themselves with their brunch offerings and coffee. 

in fact, the ideal hunting ground for a caffeine lover such as myself in search for THE perfect brunch.

let's call this mission o1. 



you might have guessed the reason behind the name but interestingly it represents four friends from different indie bands who came together to play a different kind of song - a quaint, charming cafe that serves brunch classics. 

however, it was a challenge to find the cafe without a proper signboard to exclaim "you are here !" since i had to guess where it was based on gps. (please put one up - it will be good for the directionally-challenged)

perhaps the best clues to help with locating the cafe are: 
one - look out for a black canopy; and 
two - it is behind the row that faces the main road. 

hopefully it will help you find the place a little easier....that and good luck! ;)
 


in spirit of its name and true to its hipster neighborhood, the vintage-like contemporary and minimalist decor houses a collection of vinyl records and the record player spinning some almost forgotten tunes. in fact, the music corner was probably my favorite spot of the cafe that suggests a laid back ambiance that is suggested throughout the rest of the space with their choices of comfy furniture.



quar/tet manual: useful food purchasing tips.

o1. the menu: its on every table - limited selection of the usual brunch suspects as well as some sandwiches.  oh and bagel too.


o2. food and drinks are ordered at the counter and pre-paid (the sign asks nicely enough ;) ) and cash terms ONLY.


o3. semi-self service. the drinks should be collected around the corner at the drink station where you have the power to choooooseee! sugar syrup, honey, vanilla sugar, cocoa! take your pick! and you can get complimentary water here too.

btw, food is delivered to your table....hence the semi-self service. drink - counter. food - table.


o4. check out dessert on the way to your table so you would know if you should save some tummy space for some sweet endings after the meal. 


the menu is limited that the handful of food offerings and drinks could all fit in a single page but there was a mix of sweet and savory brunch options.

the coffee department :: latte (rm 9)



commonly this was my measuring stick to test the skills of the barista with the coffee. not bad but not my favorite. mainly overcame by bitterness. off to the next latte.

other beverages department :: iced chocolate (rm 10)


{mh}'s insight: very similar to local's cocoa drink - the milo and she would have preferred more richness in the chocolate.

the food department :: french toast | soaky eggy bread served with golden syrup and berries compote (rm 12)



two pieces of white toasts in thick cut triangles, basked in the pool of golden sweetness and punctuations of red and deep blue hues from the berry mix of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries reduced in a sweet and tart compote and finished with the mandatory sprinkle of powdered sugar. the serving size was huge considering the price which is a plus point. it was as tempting as i remembered from my friend's instagram of the same french toast that induced immediate cravings - i just couldn't wait to dig into it.


while some crispiness bordered the rest of the soft toast, as i cut into one of the edges revealed white insides of the bread. i was anticipating for an almost-bread pudding-like consistency in the  middle so perhaps a longer soak in the sweetened egg mixture jacuzzi could have done a lot of good! the berry compote was borderline cloyingly sweet on its own but was a great accompaniment with the french toasts. even so, it was almost monotone that it left me seeking for the occasional contrasting exclamation in both flavor and texture. two triangles in and i was done - granted that the serving size was huge.

the food department :: eggs ben | turkey ham, poached eggs & hollandaise sauce (rm 15)



presentation was simplistic..minimalist, if you will. it looked rather drab but sloppy on the huge, bare white plate, somewhat clunky. definitely could have used a side salad to bring some color and brightness to the dish to elevate the dish further with an injection of freshness. the under-seasoned eggs benedict was served in the most literal sense to its description on the menu on the too lightly toasted english muffin halves.


the positive, the poached eggs were done beautifully with its rich bright yellow yolk streaming down the layers of turkey ham and english muffin in the sexiest way. all the ingredients were there but the dish itself was just mediocre.

quartet's comfortable, laid back ambiance and friendly staff stole the limelight at this brunch establishment. while it is awesome that the price tags are in the lower end compared to similar brunch counterparts, it was reflected in the basic and very classic intepretation of their menu items where a few tweaks in flavors profiling and execution could elevate the flavors to another level.

quar/tet | location
21, lorong datuk sulaiman 7,
taman tun dr ismail
6oooo kuala lumpur


disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.


Friday, March 14, 2014

les deux garçons

my relationship with macarons started off shaky to the point we almost called for a break up in california but reconciled months after with promise of better things in chicago and subsequently progressed into adoration in tokyo before growing into love in kuala lumpur. 

macarons are one of the most delicate desserts that require quite the finesse to achieve the perfect balance in flavors and textures. so i am constantly in search of one that would even come close to gratifying my picky sweet tooth .

 "it cannot be too sweet... it can't be too soft.. it has to have a crispy exterior... its flavor should be more than just sugar......" 


my acquaintance with les deux garçons began at shell tower in 'little india' earlier this year in january. the danger of temptations was imminent considering it was close enough for me to drop by for some sweet surrender way too often. i wonder if it was a blessing in disguise that i haven't heard of their main patisserie located in taman desa and their more popular location in telawi, bangsar which started more than two years ago. as it is now, i have visited enough times that the friendly staff recognizes me as i walk to the macaron counter at their shell tower kiosk.




much more than just macarons in their reportoire, this french patisserie flaunts what malaysianinsider.com coined as the best croissants amongst all the viennoiserie as well as a range of other desserts that could fulfill one's sweet desires. these confections don relatively steep price tags; justifiable by the creative flavor combinations and attention to detail in each creation which could ultimately lead to contented satisfaction. and like the french, coffee is enjoyed with the dipping of croissant at breakfast while coffee serves as meal-enders after the serving of desserts at lunch and dinner which explains their breakfast sets of black/white coffee with a piece of viennoiserie that ranges from rm 10 - 12.


the petite kiosks of les deux garçons are dressed in classic combinations of black and white hues sprinkled by occasional gold fonts, the perfect canvas for displaying their bright, colorful desserts. the bangsar and shell tower outlets are more designed for to go desserts but has a few small tables at these locations.

coffee :: hot caffe latte (rm 9)


absolutely thrilled to find  illy coffee, and had high expectations that it would rival my favorite coffee from espressamente illy. perhaps i have found a nearer coffee substitute!

first sip, it made me frown slightly.


" too bitter"
 slightly over brewed. sigh.

the lessons from my coffee appreciation class crossed my mind - the taste of coffee is not determined merely by the quality of the coffee beans but also very dependent on the barista's skills & moods.

perhaps it was a bad day for coffee.  hopefully, better luck with the pastries...

but before i swoon on the details of the gâteaux, here's a lesson on french terms :)
(this is also kinda for my reference too hehe)

biscuit joconde
an almond sponge cake that is baked in thin sheets (like for jelly/jam rolls) & 
used to wrap desserts like charlottes and mousse cakes

brûlée
"burned"
typically mixed in whipped cream & sugar and torched to caramelize the sugar

coulis
derived from the french verb couler: "to flow"
a sauce, or more specifically a thinned purée , typically of fresh fruits

crémeux
"creamy"
dense and soft classic pudding

dacquoise
a simple baked meringue with the addition of finely ground almond or hazelnut flour,
to be used as a single layer in a cake or pastry;
also refers to a finished cake, with multiple layers of the nut meringue filled with
sweetened whipped cream or butter cream

gâteaux
"cakes"

feuilletine
used as a textural element in desserts, it is essentially very thin crepe that has been baked through 
until crispy, then crumbled into flakes. it has the tendency to become soft when exposed to moisture,
 so it's often mixed with chocolate and nut pastes. 

les deux garçons
" the two boys"

mousselline
pastry cream with butter added to it. 
a small mousse, or one with a soft or light texture

noisette 
"hazelnut"

pâté sucrée
sweet short crust pastry used to make tarts. 
made with flour, salt, sugar, egg, butter & can include orange flower water

petits gâteaux
"small cakes"


Petits Gateaux


le favori :: pistachio biscuit tender . raspberry brûlée . pistachio mousseline . white chocolate . cocao dust. (rm 17)



resembling a block of miniature golf green, this pistachio dessert was surprisingly light on pistachio taste but seemed to feature green tea although it wasn't described in the place card. the raspberry tartness gave it a fresh tart berry-ness that was inviting and echoed an overall delicate demeanor that was reflected similarly in the two-toned soft textures. if there were white chocolate, i didn't  discern it, which was a delight for me.



l'amer :: 72% dark chocolate mousse . biscuit tender . black mirror glaze . chocolate fence . chocolate pieces . gold leaf . (rm 16)



this confection sang a tribute to dark chocolate with its mousse-like consistency that highlighted the richness of the cacao creaminess but was borderline too sweet for my liking. while it was good, i didn't feel it was anything outstanding but perhaps the chocolate addicts may sing a different tune than myself. :)

le marquis :: noisette dacquiose . crispy feulletines . chocolate creameaux . 72% dark chocolate mousse . black mirror glaze . crushed hazelnuts . gold dust (rm 17)


in comparison, l'amer pales in comparison to the this work of art made out of chocolate hazelnut whose name is le marquis. equally as grandoise in creamy chocolate richness but with a nuttier disposition, each layer was a textural symphony to the taste buds. savoring in nibble-fuls, i was greeted with pleasant surprises from the play of different ratios of chocolate to hazelnut of each layer and smoothness from the mousse and crunchiness of the crispy feulletines and hazelnut for a textural treat. the playful creation that engaged both the flavors and textures in a nice balance made this an irresistible lure for a nutty chocolate escape. it was on the brink of being too sweet but was mellowed by the hazelnut. 
 
 tarte au citron :: pâte sucrée . biscuit joconde . citron creameux . burnt swiss meringue (rm 14)


a departure from the chocolate desserts, the lemon tart was a mini tangy citrus explosion. we had a slight difficulty cutting through the crust but granted it was a rather flimsy plastic fork so it might work better with a proper metal utensils. skipped most of the crust which was a crumbly, buttery shell to hold the tangy, slightly tart, sweetened citrus pudding crowned with the sweet, soft, marshmallow-like torched meringue.

passion :: silky passion mousse . mango coulis . biscuit joconde . velvet chocolate coat . chocolate piece (rm 17)

 
one of les deux garçons unsung heroes of  the tangy passion fruit and its loyal classic sidekick, the sweet mango. a light airy mousse that captured the tropical breeze with a bright yellow coat that pulled me in like a bee drawn to a fragrant flower. the sweetness of the soft biscuit joconde with light nuances of vanilla that countered the fruity tart fragrance of the passion-mango fruit combination just works for me.





Macarons



macaron lovers are spoilt for choice with the variety of macaron flavors les deux garçons has to offer and i've had the pleasure (and perhaps displeasure?) of tasting 8 out of the many flavor combinations - one of which was the premium macaron (doubles the price of the regular macarons - i just had to to satisfy my curious cat inside me)

to pick out my most favorite of the group was not difficult but to narrow the other top second and third has left me undecided. it took me a while but here is the five that didn't make the cut in the top spots.

{ casis } 
sweet and texturally pleasing. the flavor was a punch of blackcurrant.
perfect for those who loves the fruit.

{ dark chocolate } 
cloyingly sweet, despite it being the dark chocolate rendition. 
the filling in the middle wasn't creamy and instead was slightly chewier than fudge,
which was slightly disappointing. 

{ cho + passion}
dark chocolate sandwiched between passion fruit shells where the former overpowered the latter
in an unflattering way. too sweet for me.

{ rasp, rose & lychee }
mimicked the flavors of ispahan but no where near the counterpart. 
no distinct prominent flavors.

{ wasabi }
interesting, yes. 
a favorite, nope. accented the wasabi punch which was odd in a dessert.

it has come down to my top three favorites that i've tried, thus far. a disclaimer: these three are top of the eight i have tried and thought it was special to make it to the list.

winter truffles :: premium (rm 1o)



the fine gold dust shimmers on the two off-white, delicate meringue cookies that hugged the almost pearl white colored filling. the aroma of strong earthiness of the truffle (i am talking about the expensive mushroom, and not the chocolate - which also explains the higher price) emanated as i took a sniff, followed by a punctuation on the taste buds when i took a bite. it was a strange sensation when this petite confection hits the tongue - it was strongly earthy alternating with the sweet which was interesting in an odd way.

but i have to give the patissier kudos for his/her audaciously adventurous spirit in this creation. 

i am still on the fence on this one but truffle lovers may rejoice if they enjoy their truffle with sugar.

pistachio (rm 5.5o)



pistachio flavored - done right. light on the nuttiness and balanced on the sweetness. enough said.


salted caramel (rm 5.5o)


honey, it was love at first bite. 

perfection in the texture - the smooth meringue thin shells had crispy exterior, enveloping the chewy, airy, almost ethereal under the crust that embraced the soft, smooth and light creamy filling to make a complete masterpiece. as i take a small bite, the thin shells breaks to reveal a moist, airy inside.  


what makes it outstanding is the balanced collaboration of the salty and the sweet from the salted caramel. i have been a huge sucker for the marriage of sweet + salty where the sweet from the caramel is rounded and cut through by the faintly salted end note in a gratifying way. the expertise and accuracy in the texture and taste has earned its right to sit in one of the spots for 'best desserts i've ever had'.


les deux garçons is gradually making its mark in the desserts industry via some of its chef-d'œuvre in the forms of croissants, macarons and cakes. whilst there are some room for improvement for some of the creations, its outstanding work of art called the salted caramel macaron has claimed a spot in my heart that induces a nagging craving to seek almost constantly for its sweet comfort.

to that, i'd say:
"go on..... give that salted caramel macaron a try. 
you know you want to" ;)


les deux garçons | locations
menara shell
 ko1, ground floor
menara shell
jalan tun sambathan
5o47o kuala lumpur

bangsar
36, jalan telawi
bangsar baru 
591oo kuala lumpur
(across from tous le jour)


disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.