Monday, 6 June 2016

Bread, Butter And Brownies At Bandar Kinrara

first published in The Malay Mail Online, 06 June 2016

I was slurping beef noodles at a neighbourhood shop when the phone buzzed.

"Hey, I'm arriving at the train station at 1:30pm," said makan kaki Melody via WhatsApp. "Can pick me up? We can go to PL's café," she added, referring to a friend and mutual acquaintance she'd met during a freelance gig some years ago.

I had to wait a bit at the train station, no thanks to a delayed ETS train. The café had better be good.

The Coffee Sessions at Bandar Kinrara opened last April

Since she'd heard about this place, Melody had been chomping on the bit to go there. She knows the people who opened The Coffee Sessions at Bandar Kinrara and according to her, PL bakes some great brownies. Runs in the family, I was told. Plus, the menu looked interesting.

We did get lost briefly en route, but managed to find our way there.

The sign says "Established 2015" but Melody was told the establishment was just a month old at the time of our visit. Planning began last year but it was only in April this year that the café got off the ground.

In the daytime, the interior is bright, comfortable and inviting. Spanking new, not yet worn down by droves of people. By the time we left, however, occupancy was about 80 per cent. This place seems to be a hit with families.

Curry Leaf Pesto Pasta with slices of roast chicken

Despite recovering from a bout of food poisoning, Melody insisted on trying the Pasta Carbonara with chunks of smoked duck. I was curious about the Curry Leaf Pesto Pasta and—is that bread and butter pudding?

Now it was Melody's turn to be apprehensive. "Can finish or not?"

"No problem," I assured her.

Then, she spied something over my shoulder and went to take a look. I found her a minute later, discussing something with someone I was later introduced to as PL's sister. The makan kaki was excited because they had brownies, and from past experience she was confident of their quality.

Creamy Pasta Carbonara with chunks of smoked duck

The flavour of the Curry Leaf Pesto Pasta wasn't strong at all even though the fragrance of curry leaves was palpable. However, I had let the dish and the slices of roast chicken dry out while taste-testing and photographing the other items.

About halfway through, Melody and I swapped pastas; she found the curry leaf one more appealing and cleaner-tasting. I couldn't agree more. While the carbonara was tasty (oh g*d, the smoked duck!), the pasta had too much sauce which was also a bit sour.

I also felt that rich, gamey meat like duck is more at home in pastas that aren't as rich, such as aglio olio or a drier carbonara that doesn't use cream. Did I mention that the smoked duck was served in chunks, some of which still had a layer of fat and skin?

The "Chocolate" Brownie — I think saying "chocolate" is redundant

I'd temporarily abandoned my pasta because of the baked goods. As Melody expected, the brownie shone. Delightfully chocolatey, with walnut inside and out and a drizzle of caramel on top. So powerful, it temporarily overpowered my strong, fragrant "small white" (they don't have flat whites).

Just when I thought this couldn't be beat, my bread and butter pudding arrived.

To filled stomachs, the square of baked chopped-up croissant looked big — at least, compared to other B&B puddings I've had before. Half of it was drenched in a smooth, luscious vanilla custard, while the other half was dusted with icing sugar. More of the custard pooled around the soaked half which was dotted with several raisins.

So. Good.

Bread and butter pudding — highly recommended

Melody and I were graced by the presence of PL herself who had come over with a few friends. From PL's sister and one of the staff, I had learnt that they added "a bit of" lemon juice to the carbonara, which I felt made even less sense. How would the astringent juice cut the richness of the duck in a bath of egg yolks and cream, if that was the intention?

And at RM6 per slice of brownie and RM7 for the bread and butter pudding, the items were a steal—and because they were having a promotion that day, I got the latter at a discount. "Looks like they're baking for love," Melody said, still shocked at the prices.

Still, they are new, and they'll have plenty of opportunities to evolve the menu.

"So, good leh?" Melody said smugly, reminding me of my initial scepticism and how grumpy I was while waiting and stewing at the train station.

"You sound like you're trying to make a point," I noted.

"From your reaction to the food, I think my point has already been made."

I let her have the last word.

The Coffee Sessions
2-G, Jalan BK 5A/2C
Bandar Kinrara
47180 Puchong



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