Monday October 24, 2011
Cafe with a difference
I ENJOY my coffee in a fancy café or in timeless coffeeshops. Each experience will be different and I’ve come to accept and relish that fact.
However, I wasn’t prepared for the dining experience that Coffee in Love was about to offer.
When my editor asked me to check out this place, I did a little research online and found it to be a nice nook surrounded with antiques and lot of hanging plants.
I thought the café was outdoors in a shopping complex in Hartamas but, boy, was I wrong. It is actually situated in a nursery not far from the Hartamas Shopping Complex and Plaza Damas.
I'd describe Coffee in Love as a cross between a roadside hawker stall and an antique store.
The entrance to Coffee In Love.
Being somewhat of a history buff, I was amazed at how the proprietor, Pat Hew, had used old toys and knick-knacks from days of yore to transform the shaded front part of the nursery into a cosy area to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Hew is a gifted artist with a penchant for coffee, who poured her creativity to turn the place into a cosy place to enjoy a cuppa.
“I was sick of concrete buildings and I wanted to be different. That’s why I transformed this area into a café,” she said.
Instead of spending money on new furniture, Hew used items most of us would normally discard or put away in a storage room.
Tables and chairs at the cafe, for example, are old-fashioned wooden school desks instead of shaky aluminium café tables. She also uses old jam jars to store sugar.
There are also semi-private areas which she furnishes with old rattan furniture to achieve that homely feeling.
“I get most of my furniture from friends and some I’ve inherited from my grandmother,” she said.
She also employs a more organic method to keep away creepy crawlies and buzzing nuisance. Citronella in the front yard to keep away the mosquitoes and long cinnamon barks to repel ants.
Where’s the menu?
Another unique thing about Coffee in Love is that it doesn’t have a proper food menu although it has a good list of coffee-based beverages to choose from.
“Everything is made to order and this allows me to give a personal touch to the food before serving it,” she said.
SIMPLE FARE: Nothing tastes better than good coffee and a few pieces of Soda Peng.
Hew added that normally patrons would call in advance to place their food order with her and show up at the agreed time to partake in the feast.
However, should a customer walk in without a reservation, they are served with whatever Hew and her team has prepared for the day.
On that day, Hew whipped up a helping of melted cheese on toasted croissants with a side of salad. It was divine.
But what's a trip to a café if you don’t sample the coffee?
Hew uses Colombian Arabica coffee beans in the beverages. She claims that these lightly roasted beans makes a cup of coffee bursting with flavours.
I tried out one of her best-sellers called the Piccolo Latte. While I find lattes a little milky, the Piccolo Latte was a perfect balance of coffee and milk.
I have to say that it was the best I’ve ever tasted. And it only cost RM5, which is about half the price of a latte anywhere else.
FILLING: A simple croissant with cheese satisfied my hunger.
Hew serves her coffee in unique mugs made by a potter-friend. My Piccolo Latte came in a small mug with a little knob on its base which baffled me.
Given my accident-prone nature, I feared that I might just spill the coffee before my lips even touched the brim.
“It’s ok,” Hew reassured me. “It was designed that way and it won’t spill,” she said as she rotated the mug on its base.
Besides unconventional mugs, Hew also serves her coffee with a few pieces of soda biscuits or soda Peng on an enamel saucer.
I found this to be a pleasant change from tiny-sized biscottis that disappear before you’re even halfway through your cuppa.
I also couldn’t resist dunking my soda peng into my coffee the way I do with cream crackers. Bliss!
Besides coffee, Coffee In Love serves other drinks such as the popular Iced Lemon Tea, Cincau, fresh coconut and carbonated drinks. These cost anywhere between RM3 and RM7.50
Hew hopes to expand her business and open another branch soon. However, no time limit has been set.
“But once I do, I’ll definitely have a proper food menu,” she smiled. To find out more about Coffee In Love, visit www.coffeewego.blogspot.com.