{ bkk } kaizen coffee co.

8:13 AM sians 0 Comments

the traffic was quieter in the morning. i watched with interest through the window of the jeep as we weaved through the narrow lanes - locals gathered around the street stalls, peppered randomly along the corners of the main streets, satisfying cravings from the plethora of street foods and engaging in light conversations with the vendor. 

my local coffee connoisseur friend had told me that i'd had to sacrifice some sleep to wake up earlier on a weekend morning despite the late night prior. as the car parked into an empty parking space, i noticed the commercial row was only about to rouse from its lazy saturday slumber.
so was i.

i was told the meeting with a blonde mocha at kaizen coffee would be worth the precious sleep i was missing.

jazz music filled the all-white narrow but long space that was accentuated by the straight minimalist black lines spanning the walls with a single striking blue line in the middle. the natural light streamed through the full length glass entrance that gradually melded seamlessly with the soft yellow lights as we walked deeper into the cafe. little round marble tops stood sparsely aligned in a similarly straight line along the dark grey cushioned bench against the wall. a diner was seated with a book in the hand while the coffee cools on the table while enjoying the soft music in the background.

baked goods crowded the quaint white counter right in next of the white spiral stairs that led to a similarly minimalist second floor of the cafe. we snatched up the last choc-almond croissant that was sitting behind its label as we quickly contemplated our breakfast choices. the other side of the stairs centerpiece where small bottles of cold brew coffee stayed cool within the illuminated glass case on a silver counter.

seated at the end of the comfy cushioned bench closer towards the entrance, i was splitting my attention between watching the traffic going by at a slower pace on a typical weekend morning to occasionally admiring the barista's working her magic at the espresso machine that was shining brightly in the spotlight while indulging in food conversations and waiting for our drinks to arrive.

displayed pastries :: almond croissant

i bit through the buttery, flaky crisp shell of the oddly shaped croissant (not quite a crescent), expecting the airy layers. instead it was more chewy, the croissant delicate layers were mushed by the sweet almond paste, hits the tongue cloyingly almost in a coy manner that it masked the nutty aspect of the almonds.

displayed pastries :: choc-almond croissant

similar rich butteriness and textures were emulated by this chocolate counterpart but its difference was what made it lovely. the heavenly melted chocolate injected a deep cacao richness that was a wonderful contrast against the sweetness the almond paste. chocolate made this a winner between the two.

displayed pastries :: apple-walnut raisin muffin

the cinnamon aroma hits the nose before its announced its prominence via the first bite, paired with its classic partners-in-crime sweet apple and nuttiness of walnut. a buttery and moist delight - similarly an apple crumble tart but in a dense, rich cake-like texture.

coffee :: blonde mocha

a double shot ristretto rendition was the reason behind the distinct mild bitterness of the coffee nuanced with cacao notes enhanced by the sweet chocolate. the chocolate shavings succumbed to the mild warmth of the coffee + milk, melted as i took a sip. a strong start of chocolate richness but yet the coffee managed to distinguished itself from each other but complement each other in a delicate balancing act for a smooth round finish as it trickles down the throat. definitely a flavor cup of mocha despite it being a little to sweet for me.

beverage :: hot chocolate

it were the same high quality chocolate that was the main star to this comforting drink of ye cold winter's night. the lovely chocolate was distinct but leaning towards a creamier/milky finish. a lovely drink nonetheless.

coffee :: cold brew 

a mini bottle and a paper cup with ice appeared on the counter before me as my dining companions merrily immersed in a coffee conversation with the barista. it read "fruitberry". my nose crinkled at the unexpected tartness followed by the transient bitterness that was fleeting - much like a period at the end of a sentence. ahh, first sips.

a coffee full of character from its floral notes flirting with the citrus lightness but finished with clean clear flavor as i continued to slowly savor the coffee. it was as if a little fun fair in my mouth with pleasant surprises of taste notes that collaborated in sync together.

tldr // kaizen coffee co thus was my first introduction to bangkok coffee scene and it was beautiful. coffee is a must here and blonde mocha may be the way to go if you love a strong chocolate+coffee combo. best with a double shot ristretto to have a balanced bitter-sweet relationship. on the cooler side, the cold brew is an awesome little surprise package. our pastry picks were mediocre.

kaizen coffee co | location
tai ping tower,
582/5 ekkamai soi
26 and 28
bangkok, thailand
{opens daily: 7am - 7pm}

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


{ bkk } bangkok coffee trending

9:16 AM sians 0 Comments

as i stared in fascination at the exposed light bulb fixtures hanging from the high ceilings, my thoughts were interrupted by the sudden screeching of the espresso machine. it snapped me back to reality as i glanced quickly at a girl sitting across from me at the white high top communal table, sipping her iced coffee while typing briskly but quietly on her notebook.

my dining companions were engaged in a conversation as i looked around the café, waiting for my latte to arrive. the night was chilly as i watched the pouring rain through the ceiling high glass panes. as i breathed in the space (and coffee aroma!), i made mental notes, comparing the modern and artsy industrial chic yet rustic decor to the cafe i was in earlier that day for a lovely breakfast.

my thoughts quickly shifted to the latter, an all-white, petite but long space where geometric minimalist black lines filled the walls. small round marble tops stood sparsely aligned on one side of the room along the dark grey cushioned bench against the wall. the other main feature of the café besides the espresso machine that was shining brightly in the spotlights was the white spiral stairs that led to the similarly minimalist second floor of the cafe.

travelogues were amassed throughout the six days with every food and adventure encountered in bangkok.. well... at least when i was not TOO distracted by the shopping sprees. despite that, a recurring theme throughout was apparent.

-- it may or may not be true that i've visited more cafés in that six days than i have in a month in kl...

cafés in the bustling city of bangkok has evolved to something more than mere coffee (or perhaps tea) spots - cozy and inviting sanctuaries for caffeine enthusiasts, sipping the warm liquid appreciatively to savor the subtle flavor nuances while immersing in a conversation. all these cafés have one thing in common and it happens to be THE MOST important one - attentive baristas who brew delicious, high quality cups of coffee. (or on the flip side, steep tea leaves to impart beautiful floral fragrance of tea with a depth of flavor)

one too little cup of latte later, i'm craving for more from my relationship with coffee (or occasionally tea) in bangkok, inspiring this bangkok cafe series - to spill the beans on why "café hopping is a must in this beloved popular thai city".

// #bkkcaféhopping 

my stories of coffee discoveries will be shared over several entries, pegged with the hashtag.

of how i've met #mochithecat in a quaint cafe or of the tiramisu made to order at the table. or of my meeting with blonde mocha.

the previews.

//1. kaizen coffee.
the home of blonde mocha and excellent cold brew coffee.

//2. d'ark piman 49.
a sprinkle of whimsy to the classics - just like its rendition of tiramisu.

//3. tealily cafe. 
for tea lovers.
or in this case, hyperactive cutie patootie scottish fold cat lovers.

//4. casa lapin. 
not merely coffee.

//5. roast. 
familiar new american favorites. with a side of ice cubed espresso latte.

//6. ceresia coffee.
back to basics, a cuppa that takes centerstage.

p.s. full entries to follow soon.

and the list was merely the few i've been.

most of which were stamped with approval by my local companion, who drinks enough coffee that she could recognize a barista's brew style just from tasting the coffee.

and "by george, i think she's got it! :)

no doubt that the bangkok food scene is as abundant in variety as they are mouth-wateringly delicious. just remember to do yourself a favor, drop by a café and revel in a comforting mug of coffee or tea while sinking in familiarity, serenaded by the screech of the espresso machine.

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


after black cafe

11:21 AM sians 0 Comments

one of the best places to open cafes is near universities. 

in fact, the commercial row across from sunway university has had quite a change in cafe growth spurt since my last time i was around here trying out garage 51

wait a second...

...so that means my last time here was almost 2 years ago....

well, okay. i have my reasons. 

if truth be told - there was not much of a compelling reason to return before, especially with the mandatory face-off against an almost impossible challenge every time i head there for food called "blank parking space".

the latter is reason enough. 

after black.

the typical industrial chic decor of black metal + wooden panels and furniture against the dark colored walls which was illuminated by the warm morning sun streaming through the window panels along the walls.

strings of bulbs of warm light were hung across the room and interjections of petite potted greens and art pieces against the wall added a little something to the decor. some vintage pieces found at the back of the cafe and rows of books breath personality and whimsy to the space.

one thing though, i'd imagine the room being rather dark after dark....

...which may be its intention after all, with its name and all... perhaps?

the menu was an interesting mix of asian fusion where the food seemed hearty and familiar. ultimate value set -- the pairing of selected mains with carbs (i.e. pasta or the black rice) were also up for the picking. most importantly.  i've read that coffee stands in the limelight at after black so it was a must for me to try.

coffee & chocolate // hot :: latte (rm 9.90)

i've read many good things about the rose latte at this cafe but i thought it was best to stick to the classics to really taste its coffee flavor notes - nutty notes, ending with a bitterness that was transient. the beans they picked didn't have that full bodied flavor profile i typically adore in my lattes but overall it was a decent cuppa.

coffee & chocolate // hot :: toffee nut chocolate (rm 11.90)

{mh} craves for this and had talked about this deliciousness a few times previously. so it wasn't a surprise when she knew what she was gonna order even before we got there. this cup of hot sweet beverage had all the flavor notes that the name promises - nutty within the chocolate-y goodness ending with an undertone of rounded sweetness of the toffee. not too cloyingly sweet and not as rich as i'd imagine - lighter flavor nuances but delightful and comforting.

ultimate value set :: garlic herbs roasted chicken whole leg + cheese baked black rice (rm18.90 + rm 1)

served with a generous scoop of potato salad, the grilled chicken with beautifully seared skin on the chicken rested upon a lettuce leaf, glistening slightly with the light drizzle of honey. the meat under the lovely crispy skin was moist and seasoned nicely with subtle garlic flavors while the occasional textural crunch of the skin and sweetness of the honey. the underside of the chicken leg offered an unexpected heat, which was a welcomed variation to the flavor profile. not sure if that was an intended but it certainly worked to their favor.

the potato salad was a chunky mashed potato dressed in a mix of mayo and a light sour cream but it was carb overload with the side of potato salad and the baked cheese rice. i would have very much preferred a vegetable sauté to balance out the meal. for the record i wasn't much of a fan of the potato salad mainly because it was strong on the mayo and lacking in seasoning.

the cheese baked charcoal colored (black) rice is a signature at after black, interestingly i'd probably call it as a dish mascot. the charcoal hue is attributed to the addition of squid ink that gave it a subtle seafood saltiness to the rice, mellowed by the gooey cheesy goodness baked atop. the rice was slightly underdone resulting to the bits of crunch and despite that it was pretty good.

ultimate value set ::  grilled chicken chop with sweet basil bbq sauce + cheese baked black rice (rm18.90 + rm 1)

{mh}'s pick was doused in a thickend sweet & sour like sauce with chunks of pineapple but i just didn't find nor taste the sweet basil. the grilled chicken chop rested on a pile of sautéed string beans and tomatoes. it was a pretty huge serving of food especially with the addition of the cheese baked black rice to which {mh} was munching it up happily.

dessert :: matcha chocolate mille crepe (rm 9.90)

although we were stuffed almost to the brim, but i guess the saying "there is always room for dessert" is true! plus we were sharing and i skipped the potato salad and didn't really finish the rice either. (why am i trying to justify here.. i don't know lol!).

anywhoooo, i took the first bite that had a strong green tea punch and soon realized it was because of the heavy sprinkling of the green tea powder on the top and eventually the chocolate took over as we ate our way through the cake. the mille crepe layers were lost in the midst of the cream which i thought was a pity especially after the work put into it. it didn't quite come close to our favorite mille crepe.

tldr // after black offers hearty meals with that familiar asian flavor profile at a reasonable price with their signature cheese baked black rice which is infused with squid ink. their latte was alright, while their stronger point was their toffee nut hot chocolate. overall, while the dishes offered was solid, it would have been nice if they had added special twists in their interpretation of the food as they do with their drinks.

after black cafe | location
23 jalan pjs 11/9
46150 petaling jaya
{opens weds - sundays: 11 am  - 11 pm
closed tuesdays}

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


brunching palazzo viva

9:42 AM sians 0 Comments

telawi, bangsar. 

concentrated with popular brunch spots for the picking. 
the home of one of my favorite brunch cafes, yeast
an ever-changing food scene with new restaurants eyeing to make a lasting impression with food adventurers.

palazzo viva.

rooted firmly in italian roots, the elegant cafe quickly caught my eye with its monochrome colors of marble and black, accentuated by geometric motifs that gave its decor a personality. brightly lit in a spacious dining area where beautifully colorful petite desserts filled the glass counters at either sides of the wall and wine bottles lining the white shelves with intermittent natural greens. while the open kitchen allowed the chefs to show off the mastery to their diners at the back of the restaurant.

offering their signature big breakfast at a special price (rm 25 instead of the usual rm 27 + an additional glass of juice) for weekend brunches, {mh} and i decided to give the italian not-so-new-addition to the cafe scene in telawi a shot.

breakfast :: palazzo's big breakfast | eggs of choice, chicken sausage, beef bacon or turkey ham, salad, yoghurt parfait, baked beans, roasted potatoes, two slices of toast

the components of the big breakfast were a colorful bunch collectively gathered upon a rather large cheese board.  in fact, it was quite an attractive spread with the generous basket of roasted potatoes and a small saucepan of lightly scrambled eggs topped with crisp beef bacon. it came with a glass of juice, which was a choice of mango or pineapple where i picked the former but it didn't quite taste like it was freshly squeezed.

the bread was akin plain focaccia toasted with possibly butter but left an unpleasant greasy taste on my palate that somewhat distracted me from the texture of the bread - a tad dry. the salad was a mix of greens with a halved cherry tomato but very light dressing which was a pleasant tart addition to the combo. the baked beans was nice but the sausage was off-putting and i prefer franks with a bite to their casing, which these lacked. and what i thought was soft boiled egg in a small glass at first glance was actually mango yoghurt, which neither here nor there for me.

my favorite was probably the roasted potato wedges which had a crunchy outer texture and soft insides and seasoned just nicely. the scramble was almost on par where the soft texture was countered by the semi-crisp beef bacon for those salty bits in a lovely ratio to allow the bacon to season the eggs just nicely.

tldr // palazzo viva is an italian cafe located in telawi bangsar dressed in beautifully elegant decor of marble white and black. the brunch special was neither here nor there for me although the scrambles + beef bacon and the roasted potatoes were pretty good. however in general the decor left a lasting impression on me more than the brunch did.

palazzo viva | location
no 10 & 12,
jalan telawi 2,
bangsar baru,
59100 kuala lumpur
{opens tues - thurs, sunday: 9 am - 1 am;
fri - sat: 9 am - 2 am
closed mondays}

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