BEAM cafe

7:01 PM sians 1 Comments

the food scene is always spearheaded by a trend.. 

a flavor of the season, if you will.

and i feel that it is especially obvious in kl. when something catches on, everyone wants to be part of it. since earlier this year, cafe & coffee have headlined the food scene with the many brunch spots and cafes dominating the many neighborhoods in the city. even though the movement has considerably mellowed to date, more than a few newbies have entered the scene to take a piece of that cafe pie. 

one of the relatively newcomer that opened in july is beam cafe, located in bandar sri damansara, which is a little ways away past one utama shopping mall on the ldp heading to damansara. unfortunately, the rain decided to 'rain on my parade' as i was hoping for the beautiful stream of dusk light to illuminate my photos with a lovely flair.

capitalizing on the vast space and high ceiling, the cafe is dressed in a industrial chic decor with its main hues of cement grey walls, black detailing of the inner structures that contrasted with the home-y rustic wooden furniture, exposed red brick walls and several potted plants to bring that punch of needed color to the cafe. the walls were adorned with whimsical art pieces, which breathed a special charm to the place.

oh, how i crave for natural lighting for my photos.

the space was oddly cozy.. one that i wouldn't mind spending hours in. my favorite features have got to be the lights fixtures and the coffee-related one-of-a-kind hand drawn graffiti/ art pieces..

it was not difficult to see where beam cafe's passion and respect lie - the coffee. elegant coffee machines flaunted themselves on the shelves that line the walls and a couple of tables. red coffee roasters revealed themselves grandiosely on the second floor. a centerpiece table where the barista offers hand-brewed or by siphon technique (love!) in brewing freshly ground, aromatic blend of coffee beans.

[#protip] pick a table and once you have your chosen table number, order and pay for your food&drinks at the counter. the drinks list on the blackboard at the back of the counter is only a fraction of what they have offer - a complete menu book can be found at the counter.

[#protip] oh btw, it's cash only!

from its limited offerings of entrees (four variations of both panini and salad - that's eight to choose from) on top of the many options of sweet pastries and local kuih, we opted share one of each with a nice cuppa joe for me and a cup of hot chocolate for {mh} to drown the rainy blues away.

ang mo pattern | latte (rm 11)

i always crave for caffeine especially in a cafe that pays meticulous attention to its coffee conception. the best way for a coffee taste test is the basic espresso+milk combination - the latte. crowned with a lovely foam art, that familiar coffee aroma wasn't prominent but the first sip more than compensated for that. the temperature was just right, the bitter undertones of the espresso lingered with the creaminess of the milk. smooth finish. a well done cup of latte which i would rank as one of my favorites after its counterparts from espressamente illy and azzurro.

hot picks | hot chocolate (rm 12)

this was worthy of a cheer-me-upper for {mh}, which was depicted accurately by its foam art in the form of a heart. her thoughts on the cocoa goodness was "the chocolate drink was quite nice. very rich." so if comforting sweetness is what you're looking for as a pick-me-up booster for the day, this might be the beverage for the job. ;)

panini | roast chicken panini (rm 18)

it was a panini kinda day. well, more precisely, we were both starving and craving for carbs to hit that hungry spot. toasty sandwich, served with a side salad of tossed greens in a rather thick italian dressing. a little lighter on the vinaigrette would have done the salad a whole lot more justice but i really liked the mix of the peppery arugula (it's called rockets here) to contrast that burst of sweetness from the sweet cherry tomatoes. the potatoes were seasoned  - cooked through perfectly but slightly chilled.

if i had to describe the panini in three words - chicken pizza sandwich

with slices of roasted chicken with more than a handful of julienned raw onion + green bell pepper, the usual suspects of tomato slices and lettuce, glued together with a generous amount of perfectly melted mozzarella cheese, sandwiched in between perfectly toasted bread. 

simple and light on flavor but seasoned aplenty while featuring the individual components in a wonderful manner. the chicken was almost borderline dry but i loved the melted cheese that came to the rescue, done just right where the melted cheese pulled satisfyingly as i took bites. a great play on the textures although i am not a huge fan of raw onions - but granted that is really a personal preference.

salad | japanese seafood salad (rm 18)

we were very much looking forward to the salad - we are suckers for seafood, after all - especially after a successful session with the panini. a mixed seafood bounty of shrimp, flaky cooked tuna and scallops with edamame to complete this japanese-inspired salad, rested atop a bed of coleslaw... 


-- yes. coleslaw. tossed in a creamy sesame dressing. 

the coleslaw threw me off -- like, a lot.
i suppose it's probably because coleslaw wouldn't be the first thing that come to mind when i think of japanese salad.

this salad rendition was disappointing after a promising start with the panini. the main stars of the salad - the seafood - could have benefited from slightly less cooking time and a tad more salt/seasoning, which was resonated throughout the muted/mild flavors of the rest of the salad. we agreed we would have been happier with another order of panini to be shared. 

with its coffee in the spotlight, BEAM - which is actually the abbreviation for 'bean expedition at manufactory' - displays such love and respect for every stage of  their coffee masterpieces creation. and while i haven't tried their sweet offerings, i have read that 'when tea meets coffee' seemed to reign as the crowd favorite.  in all, it's a great place to get your caffeine fix.

while you're at it, consider getting a panini too ;) 

BEAM | location
no 25 jln gangsa, sd5/3b
bandar sri damansara
kuala lumpur
{open daily except tuesdays; 11am-8pm}

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


{ made } cranberry scones

9:07 AM sians 0 Comments

"clotted cream & jam; 
would you like a cup of tea?
sweet, buttery scones"

*mimics the british accent*
"would you like a cup of tea with crumpets and scones?"

-- why, yes. thank you very much. 
preferably with clotted cream, the freshest jam and maybe softened butter on the side. 

but truth be told, i have never been to england...let alone, tasted the classic scones in the place where it is iconic accompaniment to the english tea tradition and it would be a shame to miss if i were ever in the region.

*scribbles into food bucket list*
*scones in england with a pot of english tea*

in the meantime, i'd just have to try making them, scones myself. in fact, i am in search for the perfect classic english scone recipe. to date, i have experimented with three recipes and nothing has even come close to the ones i had at ye olde smokehouse in cameron highlands, which boasts to bake one of the best scones in the country.  

what makes scones so distinct is its texture, which i find rather special. it's crumbly, almost like a dry pie crust with a biscuit-like texture but remains buttery in the most delicious way. it is the perfect base to slather clotted cream without guilt and the sweet fruity jam to compliment the mild sweetness of the scones. 

despite not having found that ye olde smokehouse magical recipe for scones, my third recipe trial awarded me with some pretty lovely ones to which i added some dried cranberries that i reconstituted in freshly squeezed orange juice as an addition that ol' beloved scone recipe. 

starting with the most basic ingredients of flour, baking powder, milk and butter, the execution of the whole baking process determines if these pastries would become a success stories of crumbly delicious scones or dreaded 'stones', which can somewhat be avoided with the [#protips] to bear mind ;)

o1. most importantly, it is vital to not overwork the dough. that usually is the reason behind stone hard scones.

o2.  cutting the butter into the flour needs to be done quickly and it helps when the flour and butter is cold when you start working with it.  use only tip of the fingers to rub the butter into flour (as so to avoid the butter from melting too quickly) until the flour + butter mixture creates into breadcrumb-like consistency.

o3. kick start the scones' rise with a hot baking tray

o4. buttermilk helps with the texture of the scones but if you can't always find buttermilk, it can be made by combining whole milk and lemon. 

you know the drill... the recipe can be found at the bottom of the entry.

{mise en place.}

{homemade buttermilk.}

{cranberries reconstituted.}

{cutting butter into flour}

{sugar + cranberries + milk.}

{doughing it out}




my mom and my niece is a huge fan of scones, and also the reason behind my making scones. so they would be my greatest critics, besides myself, of course. 

visually - could be a bit more golden. probably need to give it a couple minutes on the top shelf of the oven. 

i consider it a success especially when it doesn't turn out to be rock hard. ;) 

splitting it in half, my first bite was a a mild sweetness with the occasional burst of fruitiness chew from the cranberries. buttery, with an almost moist cake-like biscuit consistency, it wasn't quite as crumbly as i'd like. in fact, it didn't require any additional butter nor cream (which i didn't have in hand at that point anyway) but a generous spread of your favorite jam or marmalade would sweeten this tasting a whole lot more.

interestingly and it was slightly odd that my mom preferred the day old scones (we had some extras left) that were kept overnight because it was closer to the crumbly consistency with a drier disposition (in a good way). so, perhaps there is a choice to have it both ways - fresh from the oven or the morning after depending on your textural inclination ;)

a perfection as a quick breakfast/brunch treat to go with coffee and the tea, this tested recipe is worth giving it a shot to whip up a fresh pastry in no time at all with ingredients that you can pretty much find in your kitchen pantry almost at any time.

{recipe} classic scones with jam & clotted cream
adapted from bbc good food
serves 8 

ingredients |

  • 350g self-raising flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 85g butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 tbs caster sugar
  • 175ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 85g of dried cranberries
  • 1/2 orange, juice squeezed
  • beaten egg with a splash of milk, to glaze 
  • jam and clotted cream, to serve

directions |
  • heat oven to 220C. 
  • put the whole milk into a small sauce pan and heat until warm but not hot. remove from heat, add the vanilla and lemon juice, then set aside for a moment to cool.
  • reconstitute the dried cranberries in the freshly squeeze orange juice in a bowl. 
  • tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder, then mix. 
  • add the butter, then rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. stir in the sugar and add in the drained, dried cranberries.
  • put a baking sheet in the oven.
  • make a well in the the dry mix, then add the liquid and  and combine it quickly with a cutlery knife - it will seem pretty wet at first. 
  • scatter some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it's a little smoother. pat into a round about 4 cm deep.
  • take a 5 cm cutter (smooth-edged cutters tend to cut more cleanly, giving a better rise) and dip it into some flour (i used a glass). plunge into the dough, then repeat until you have four scones. by this point you'll probably need to press what's left of the dough back into a round to cut out another four. 
  • brush the tops with the beaten egg-milk mixture, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray that was removed from the oven. 
  • bake for 10 minutes until risen and golden on the top. eat just warm or cold on the day of baking, generously topped with jam and clotted cream. if freezing, freeze once cool. defrost, then put in a low oven (about 160C) for a few minutes to refresh. 

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