* Some of the establishments / dishes mentioned are not halal.
In just the last six or seven years, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, once tranquil, laid-back, and exclusive to the rich and famous, is emerging as a hot spot for gastronomes and restaurateurs. It’s taken over by eateries of almost every type — traditional and contemporary; vegan and nonveg; Eastern, Western, and fusions.
Despite the rapid development, its old suburban charm stays, miraculously. It’s not as busy as the adjoining neighborhoods (like Bandar Utama). Seldom does it get clogged up with cars, too. No wonder people love it there! Here are six of our favorite spots to hang around whenever we’re in that neck of the woods. (Click on the establishments’ names for addresses and OpenRice members' reviews.)
1. Artisan Roast
When it comes to local café hype, T.T.D.I. stands out among the suburbs. This particular café has been regarded as a pioneer in the field as well as a staple of the neighborhood. Michael Wilson, the proprietor, professional coffee roaster, barista, and former carpenter, built the wooden fixtures that have, alongside the murals, characterized the café’s rustic, cozy, casual vibes. He and his team work hard to source great coffee beans from different places to create unique blends for your enjoyment.
Don’t take coffee? Not a problem. They also whip up rich hot chocolate and soothing teas. Should you feel peckish, check out irresistible homemade goodies — muesli, cakes, cheesecake, pie, dessert bars or slices, and more — coming out of Amirah’s (Michael’s wife) kitchen.
Image courtesy of Domokunest.
2. Frisky Goat
Another “spinoff” of the emerging café culture. And an excellent one for that matter. This café-cum-bakery is a communal and snug one to be in. Thanks to its toothsome offerings that range from bread, cakes, and tarts to savory concoctions and other pastries, it’s become a popular brunch spot.
Try its signatures like Buttered Croissant, crisp on the outside while airy and uber buttery within (need us say more?); Eggs en Cocotte, baked eggs in a baking dish complete with two slices of toast, oozy with wobbly eggs and warm cheese in addition to beef and sausages; savory Belgian Waffles with Seared Salmon, Sautéed Mushrooms, and Tomato Hollandaise; as well as French toast, accompanied with apple chutney, spiced roasted walnuts, honey, premium vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream, good enough for dessert! YUM.
Image courtesy of hope; that’s what keeps us surviving & Eat Drink KL.
3. Pickle & Fig
This young, promising café is known to serve wicked café grubs. Besides freshly assembled salads — a given, of course — cold gourmet sandwiches and hot panini, like Coronation Chicken, Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese, Portobello Hummus, and its signature Rotkraut Pastrami, are also part of the menu.
Wash down all these with the café’s power smoothies, available in dairy and vegan (i.e., no dairy) versions! Try Goji Me (strawberry, goji berry, apple, pineapple, dairy yogurt), Bananalicks (Horlicks, banana, milk, yogurt), as well as dairy-free Power Punch (strawberry, mango, pineapple) and Blue Healer (blueberry, blackberry, banana, apple). They are wholesome, lip-smacking, gratifyingly thick!
Image courtesy of Eunice’s Euphoria.
4. Yong Len Restaurant
It’s not all café here, of course. There are awesome “old-fashioned” offerings, too, such as the ones at this kopitiam
. Its Penang-style otak-otak
, made with fresh fish, egg, coconut milk, and fresh herbs and spices, smells heady with spicy aroma and doesn’t fall apart easily like others do. The char kway teow
is also a winner — slightly charred, not soggy, burst with wok hei
, dotted with fresh shrimp and plump bean sprouts.
And how can one miss out on its famous Penang prawn mee
! The orange-and-red-tinged broth is rich, savory, a wee sweet. It’s complemented with springy meehoon
, pork slices, diced shrimp, kangkong
, bean sprouts, fried shallots, and hot sambal!
Image courtesy of Eating Asia.
5. Mosin Restaurant
Some insist this Mamak restaurant fixes K.L.’s best instant-mee goreng
(a.k.a. Maggi goreng
). Additionally, its naan is notorious for being as big as a large Domino’s pizza. It’s thick in the middle, crusty and slightly burned around the edges, topped with cheese, sour cream, shredded carrot, tomato, and a touch of chili. On the side are the optional sauces — good ol’ dhal, tamarind and mint-yogurt sauces — to dip your bread in.
Image courtesy of Sarah Kambali, via Flickr.
6. Peruvie Chicken
With its culinary inclination toward Peru, it’s expected that the famous Peruvian grilled chicken be served, It’s marinated in heavy doses of spices and herbs, rendering it intensely flavorful, tender, and juicy. Enjoy it with the “obligatory” hot green chili dipping sauce.
For side dishes, how about its corn coconut rice? Or maybe its (almost-)ceviche, whereby plump shrimp are “cooked” in a fresh lemon-juice marinade before getting tossed with cilantro, onion, bell pepper, and mango. It’s a mouthful of contrasting flavors and textures; soft and supple, crisp and juicy, sweet and tart with a little heat.
Finally, for dessert you won’t go wrong with its Crema Volteada con Quinoa
, traditional Peruvian baked custard made with quinoa (yeap, if that hasn’t already made it sound healthier, we don’t know what else!).
Image courtesy of Pure Glutton and Iynas Omar.