Beautiful Ice Cream Cakes @ Tanuki by Crustz, Taman Bukit Indah KL

Tucked within a quiet KL suburb, Tanuki by Crustz is certainly worth a visit nevermind your Waze taking you through suburban roads that lead to god knows where if you take a wrong turn. This delightful dessert café is sister to the popular Xiao by Crustz patisserie at Happy Mansion, and it serves creamy ice cream cakes and frozen treats, alongside too-pretty-to-be-eaten gateau offerings.

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The cafe looks unassuming on the outside, but venture in and you’ll find a cozy escape, with an open garden that offers plenty of natural light, and comfortable interiors with lots of wood and beige. Not to mention a beautiful display of cakes and ice cream cakes once you walk into the store. 🙂

WHAT’S THE SCOOP?

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A decade ago, there was no such thing as a ‘dessert café’: if you wanted swanky, you’d go to Haagen Dasz or Swensen’s.

These days, there is no shortage of places where you can go to satisfy your sweet-toothed cravings, thanks to a boom in café culture. Tanuki by Crustz is one of them, but rather than serving ice cream scoops, they’ve differentiated themselves with their ice cream cakes. These are not your Baskin Robbins variety either: they’re a reflection of owner Koh Xiao-Ly’s deep passion for desserts. Drawing from her experience with Xiao by Crustz, Koh’s creative cakes often feature multiple elements and layers, such as compote, jelly, cream, crumble and biscuits topped with sorbet and gelato.

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Fans of Xiao by Crustz can also enjoy the brand’s signature gateau at Tanuki, so if you live in KL, you won’t have to go all the way to Happy Mansion! 🙂
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Aside from ice cream cakes and petit gateau, you can also enjoy cool beverages, which are often visually appealing and just begging for an Instagram photo lol. (Above) the Strawberry Milk (RM16) comes with dollops of preserved strawberries, a thin wafer and strawberry sorbet topped with a meringue piggy. The sweetness and tartness is wonderfully balanced.

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The Peach Passion Sparkling Float (RM16) is a sour and refreshing soda and works perfectly if you’re pairing it with a sweet dessert. It comes with a cute animal-shaped meringue biscuit and passionfruit sorbet.

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The gateau cakes are so pretty, you’ll feel almost sorry to dig in.

Making each cake is a laborious process that can take days. Take for instance the Sunny Side Up (RM17), which features yogurt mousse with mango passion fruit jelly, milk chocolate ganache and vanilla sponge on a sable viennois biscuit base. “It’s not like regular cakes where you bake a whole cake, then cut it into slices. Here we make individual cakes and there are many different layers within. It gives you a nice mix of textures and flavours, but there’s also a lot of work involved,” says Koh.

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My personal favourite is Miso (RM17), which is only available on Sundays. The cake is made with layers of miso caramel cream, miso crème brulee, white chocolate mousse, almond sponge and chocolate sable Breton. The miso lends the dessert a slight saltiness, so the sweetness is not overpowering.

There are plenty of other desserts to try at Tanuki. Koh constantly changes the menu to keep her offerings fresh, especially during the festive season. Although the prices are slightly above average, I think they are fair seeing as how much work goes into making these delectable creations.

TANUKI BY CRUSTZ

26, Jalan Selera 1, Taman Bukit Indah, 58200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 12 – 6PM (Fridays to Sundays)

If you’d like to read about how this young and passionate pastry chef started her business, you can check out my interview with her for Fireflyz Magazine – Page 42 (click for fullscreen):

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Cool Cafes In Puchong: 10 Gram Cafe, IOI Boulevard

[UPDATED 11.10.20 – second visit]

My neighbour is currently doing major renovation works, and it can be hard to WFH when you have to sit through intense drilling from 8am – 5pm every day. (It’s not against the law to start work that early.. but it certainly makes you an asshole -__-)

Monday was one of those days, and I had a few important deadlines to catch. Since I didn’t feel like driving all the way to the office, I thought of checking out 10 Gram at IOI Boulevard, on the recommendation of a friend.

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10 Gram is a popular cafe chain, with branches in Kuantan, Bandar Mahkota Cheras and Cyberjaya. The Puchong outlet is the latest feather in its cap, serving a fusion of Eastern and Western dishes at relatively affordable prices.

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The cafe interior is spacious, with floor to ceiling glass windows that allow for plenty of sunlight to filter in. Wood, black accents and warm cosy lighting complete the setup.

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Needed a boost, so I ordered a Honey Espresso (?) (I forgot the name of the beverage :P). 10 points for presentation – the drink was served on a wooden platter with a glass of coffee cubes and ice, a beaker of a warm milk and a tall shot of espresso. It definitely kept me awake… until 3am, in fact!

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Strong, rich and smooth, with a good balance between bitter and sweet.

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There are plenty of dishes to choose from at 10 Gram, from Western favourites like pasta, pizzas and chops, to local delights such as noodles and nasi lemak.

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Chicken tenders (RM9.90). They were pretty tasty, and came in generous portions.

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Ordered a second drink (Honey Milk) because I was sitting there for too long and didn’t want to be one of those people who order just one drink for the entire day. 😛

The cafe was full during lunch time, but otherwise it’s a nice place to have a cup of coffee and work. There is free Wi-Fi and power outlets for your devices. Service is pretty slow, however, so expect a wait during peak hours.

[second visit] 

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Made a return visit with the fam on a weekend night – we were originally hoping to try Uncle Don’s, but the place was already full at 6pm! Since 10 Gram is just a few steps away, we popped in here instead. Ordered a carrot milk as a thirst quencher. It was okay – but you can tell it was made with a fast blender and all the flavor had been leeched out and destroyed (reason why a cold press is always preferable).

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Bro’s spaghetti alfredo was nice and creamy, packed with mushrooms and slices of ham. Granted, no Italian in their right mind would call it actual alfredo but for its price, it’s tasty and value for money.

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Dad’s fried rice came in a humongous portion and was topped with a sunny side up. Tasted pretty good too.

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Unfortunately the soy garlic chicken with rice which I had expected to be similar to the Korean version, was anything but (the illustrations in the menu were deceiving). The sauce was extremely salty to the point of almost being inedible, if not for the rice.  I ended up swapping this with the Moo.

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‘Portuguese’ chicken which Moo originally ordered before realising it was spicy. Like the soy garlic chicken, it was extremely salty and sour. Chef has to go easy on the flavours.

Price wise, 10Gram’s items are quite affordable for the setting – although service is slow. I would stick to their Western dishes over the Asian ones.

10 GRAM (Puchong) 

Block F, IOI boulevard, Jalan Kenari 5, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100, Selangor

Business hours: 10am-10pm
Phone: 0380718214

Bookmark Coffee PJ : Cute & Creative Hand-Painted Latte Art

Hey guys!

I recently went to a cafe called Bookmark Coffee at PJ Midtown, which serves the most adorable hand-painted lattes ever. Seriously, the latte art is legit so pretty you’ll feel sorry to destroy your milky, foamy art piece to finish your drink.

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PJ Midtown itself was pretty dead, but the cafe was filled with customers during lunch hour.

Sorry I don’t have a nicer picture of the interior – my phone’s been acting up lately so some of the files I send to the computer end up corrupted. :/

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The menu is a fusion of local and Western cuisine. There are dishes like pastas, fried chicken and fries, salads and ciabatta sandwiches, but also rice and noodle offerings. Prices are above average, around RM20+ for mains.

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A selection of cakes.

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If you’re ordering a coffee with milk, you can request for a hand-painted latte art on your drink! You can even watch the barista in action at the counter as he meticulously creates colourful, cute pieces on top of the foam.

I asked if we could request anything and the staff said “We’ll try our best!” which was very accommodating of him. I ended up asking for a cat for my butterscotch latte. What arrived at the table was an adorable kitty that seemed to ‘bounce’ as the liquid sloshed around in the cup. The coffee was tasty as well with rich and delicious notes of butterscotch, with just the right balance of sweetness and milkiness.

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Ed. ordered Salted Caramel latte – and a lion dancer to fit the Lunar New Year mood!

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For mains, I went with the house specialty: Pandan Rice with Smoked Duck (RM20). It was very tasty, and I can definitely see myself coming back for a return visit. The smoked duck came in hefty portions and it had great flavour with none of the gaminess. The pandan rice was fragrant and fluffy, and the vegetables helped cut through the heaviness of the meat. Topping it off was a perfectly fried sunny side up.

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Ed.’s Salted Egg Yolk Pasta. We were both impressed with the giant shrimps. Again, hefty portions and the pasta was done al dente, although Ed. said it was a little dry.

A short video I tried editing on the Meitu app on my phone since like I mentioned earlier some of my photos and videos can’t be transferred to desktop without being corrupted. :/ Time for a new phone?

I had a positive experience at Bookmark Coffee – they don’t charge you service tax because you have to get your own cutlery and pay at the counter, but the staff was still attentive and friendly, serving us water and our food with a smile. The ambience is intimate and cosy, albeit a little dim due to the tinted glass. There is a bookshelf where you can grab a book to read while you sip on your coffee. Prices are standard for a cafe in PJ/KL so perhaps not something you can go to on a daily basis, but nice to indulge in every other week.

PS: They also have a branch in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

BOOKMARK COFFEE PJ 

G-22, PJ Midtown, Jalan Kemajuan, Seksyen 13, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Open daily: 10AM – 11PM

 

 

The Daily Fix, Melaka – Jonker Street’s Most Popular Cafe

As Melaka’s Chinatown, Jonker Street is one of the city’s most popular enclaves, filled with old temples, interesting museums, attractions and cool cafes. Highly recommended is The Daily Fix, a chic establishment hidden at the back of a souvenir shop called Next KK Sdn Bhd.

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Walk straight to the back of the shop and emerge to an Instagrammer’s dream. The design is reminiscent of British colonial Chinese shophouses, with an inner courtyard that extends up to the second floor, allowing for plenty of natural sunlight to filter in. Earthy hues, an abundance of plants as well as cosy couches and wooden furniture make for a relaxing and casual dining ambience. There’s also a rattan swing seat.

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The main dining area boasts warm, ambient lighting from modified lamps that feature old fans as decorative fixtures. The roof is timber, the brick walls deliberately left partially exposed for that vintage, retro vibe. Old school paraphernalia, such as clocks, weighing scales and lamps, adorn the shelves where baristas bustle about preparing coffee.

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More seating at the back, with a backdrop of trays sporting floral designs.

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The menu is a mix, with brunch dishes and light bites such as sandwiches and salad, heavier mains such as pasta, and desserts like pancakes and waffles. For drinks, there are flavoured coffees, smoothies, fruit juices and more. N and I get a Creamy Carbonara to share, as well as their Signature Salted Gula Melaka coffee.

The pasta, which has spaghetti with mushroom, chicken ham and crunchy smoked duck topped with a poached egg and shaved parmesan, is delicious. The noodles are cooked al dente, giving them a nice bite, and the sauce is creamy without being overwhelming. The beverage is excellent as well; the sweet, caramel-like intensity of the gula melaka (palm sugar) balancing out the more bitter notes of the coffee.

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We also get a Blueberry Cheesecake to round off the meal. It comes topped with a candied Mandarin orange, which is a nice touch. Despite being a cheesecake, the cake is surprisingly light, and is only mildly sweet.

The cafe is apparently famous for their Pandan Pancakes, but we did not try them during our visit.

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There’s always a long line at The Daily Fix, so we recommend coming as soon as they open (9AM – for breakfast/brunch), or mid-afternoon when the lunch crowd has thinned. Else, be prepared for a wait.  Prices average from RM18 – 25 for mains.

THE DAILY FIX 

55 Jalan Hang Jebat, Melaka
Opening Hours: 9am – 11.30pm (Mon-Fri), 8.30am – 11.30pm (Sat-Sun)

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Breakfast @ Alcove Cafe, Port Campbell, Victoria

If you’re spending the night in Port Campbell on your Great Ocean Road journey, The Alcove Cafe is a nice place to grab a quick bite before you leave town. They open from 6AM daily, and the menu has gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options.

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Like many of the buildings in this quaint seaside town, it looks and feels rustic and homely. The prices are, however, quite steep as they cater mostly to the tourist crowd.

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The interior is casual, filled with knick knacks, quirky decor and lots of fun wall art.

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One of my favourites!

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The ice cream bar wasn’t open yet as it was still early, but we could see the creamy concoctions all lined up, just begging to be tasted.

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Opted for a yoghurt bowl with berries, muesli and bananas. It was humongous, and could have easily fed two to three people.

The cafe offered a selection of pastries and bread as well at the counter, plus coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

THE ALCOVE CAFE 

34 Lord St, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia

Opens daily 6AM – 3PM

Review: RAGE Bangsar – Where Coffee, Tech and Communities Meet

Good news for coffee lovers!

There’s a new cafe in town, and it’s more than just your typical Instagrammable spot. Setting itself apart from the typical copy-and-paste coffee chains, RAGE Bangsar aims to reinvent the scene with a refreshing new cafe concept that combines technology, coffee and the local community.

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At the official launching at their outlet in Menara UOA Bangsar, which I was privileged to attend! 🙂

The community aspect of the cafe is reflected in the cafe’s interior, with communal long tables (there’s one that’s actually converted from a ping pong table) as well as a ‘RAGE room’ where you can let out some steam after a stressful day at work (complete with actual punching bag and boxing gloves!). Wood and ambient lighting create a cosy atmosphere, while the raw concrete and exposed ceiling lends it an industrial chic vibe.

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“Most relationships start over a drink and very often that happens to be a caffeinated beverage. It can be as easy as ‘Hey, let’s go and grab a cup of coffee’,” says co-founder, Jevin Singh. “We want everyone to walk into any RAGE outlet and feel the close-knit communal spirit that we aspire to create across all outlets. Even the interior is built with a focus on Relationships-First.”

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Meanwhile, the tech aspect comes into play via their mobile application called DrinkRage, which allows members or ‘RAGERs’ to pre-order their drinks and even get them delivered. Delivery areas are currently targeted at high density office areas such as KL Sentral and the Bangsar LRT station, so you can get your caffeine fix in just a few taps, without having to leave the office. Talk about convenience!

With our hectic lifestyles in the city, time is of the essence, and RAGE aspires to help make the experience of offering coffee a smooth and efficient one. Upon placing an order, RAGERs can expect their coffee to be ready for pickup when they arrive or delivered within 20 minutes by an assigned runner. Great for groggy mornings when you need a caffeine booster to get the day started!

Beyond just selling coffee, the app also aims to deliver inspiration on demand. Within the app, there is also a specific community tab which allows fellow RAGERs to sign up for events and build relationships with people who enjoy the same cup of coffee.

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Quirky names and descriptions. Also RM8 for a cup of coffee in KL is a very reasonable price !

Their specialties include items with localised ingredients, such as Milo-spresso Dino, Matcha My Asam and Matcha Gula Melaka. For vegans/vegetarians and the health conscious / lactose intolerant , choose from several milk options such as oat, coconut, soy or regular dairy.

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Tried their “Dirty Chai”, which was pretty strong. The frothiness of the milk helped to cut through the spice and slightly tart bitterness. 

RAGE Bangsar also offers food on their menu, including full breakfasts and substantial meals like sambal aglio olio, rice bowls and mala chilli pan mee.

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The brand is also heavily invested in curating workshops in hopes to support aspiring individuals and tie the working community closer together. From movie nights to personal branding and motivational talks, RAGE has curated a fascinating lineup of interactive activities in store for all its members.Just stay updated on the app and join in on the convo!

RAGE is a strong proponent of working with other local businesses. Collaborating with eco friendly beauty brand ‘The Mineraw’, RAGE’s coffee waste is the star and vital component in their body, face and lip scrub produced by these ethical connoisseurs. You can get these items in store too.

RAGE BANGSAR 

Menara Uoa Bangsar, Unit LGF-3A, No 5, Jalan Bangsar Utama 1, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

Business hours: 7.45AM – 8PM (Mons- Fris), 8AM – 2.45PM (Sat). Closed Sundays.

drinkrage.com

*Images not watermarked courtesy of RAGE/SuppagoodPR 

 

Review: Honolulu Cafe, Sunway Pyramid – Hong Kong ‘Char Chan Teng’ Fare

Honolulu Cafe is a popular char chan teng (coffeeshop) chain in Hong Kong, so when it opened its first outlet in Malaysia at Sunway Pyramid, patrons went in droves to feast on their famous egg tarts, polo bun and other HK favourites. As usual, late on the bandwagon – only got to check it out recently when I went to the mall with Moo for some weekend shopping.

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There was a line when we came; got a table quickly coz there were only two of us.

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Bright and cheerful interior featured lots of orange.

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Deceived by the photo that showed har gao lol. They don’t serve dimsum. Not here, at least.

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Since people are always on about Hong Kong-style roast meats, I went for the signature roast duck with dry wonton noodle (RM17+). It came with a side of soup which tasted like salty water. The duck was pretty good, with a nice balance of lean and fat, and the noodles were decent as well – thin, bouncy and soaked in the sweet and savoury dark sauce. Nothing I couldn’t get for 6 bucks from my local kopitiam though. I guess you pay for the ‘ambiance’.

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Chicken wings. The sauce was similar to the wonton noodle sauce – sweet and savoury.

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Moo’s Macau pork chop burger. It looked nothing like the actual version that I’ve had in Macau – the original was a simple but juicy slab of meat sandwiched between two buns: no sauces, no veggies, no extra condiments. You could tell this was too thick, dry as hell and unappetising. Moo didn’t finish it, so it was definitely horrid, since she’s always going on about not wasting food.

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Moo liked the egg tart. It was very flaky and the egg part was soft and custardy, but I didn’t like the pastry because it had a powdery sort of texture to it.

All in all, not too impressed with the quality of the food, so I’m perplexed as to why the place is so popular lor. I guess I’ll stick to my cheap but tasty roast duck from the local street food stall.

  • Food: 2/5 meh
  • Price: 2/5 – overpriced tbh
  • Ambience: 3/5 average for the price paid
  • Service: 3/5

HONOLULU CAFE 

Unit LG2.55, Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall No. 3, Jalan PJS 11/15 Bandar Sunway,
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

daily: 10AM – 10PM

BONUS

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I AM ADDICTED TO THE CREAM CHEESE JASMINE GREEN TEA FROM REGIUSTEA

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They put a layer of thick, creamy cheese on top of mild and refreshing jasmine green tea. The contrast in taste is wonderful, I get my cheese fix but it doesn’t feel too heavy coz the jasmine green tea is light and mild. THEY NEED TO OPEN MORE OUTLETS

 

Review: Ground Eatery, Bandar Puteri Puchong (Revisited)

Hey guys!

I just realised that it has been awhile since I’ve hung out at a proper cafe on a Saturday night. Usually I just head to the local A&W for a quick rootbeer fix. But since this was one of those rare weekends where I didn’t have to work on my part time gig, S & I decided to have a cuppa at Ground Eatery in Bandar Puteri Puchong.

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When we arrived, the area downstairs was abuzz with a large crowd celebrating someone’s birthday. Brings back memories! The first time I came here was to celebrate my birthday, and that was two years ago (they were newly opened back then). Time sure flies.

Got a cosy spot upstairs. Love the cosy, hipster-ish vibe here, especially the fairy lights.

We weren’t there for a heavy meal – just drinks and snacks. I ordered a hot rose milk, which was beautifully presented with a soft foamy top and a sprinkling of rose petals on the side for fragrance.

I thought this was executed perfectly. The foam was frothy and light, and the milk had a mild rose fragrance and sweetness to it.

PS: I go for food reviews often (for work) , and I’ve always been fascinated by how some food bloggers carry their own mini lights around (for photography). S & I recreated this with a smartphone light, and I have to say, it did make a difference! 

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S also had rose milk, but iced. We got a cheesecake to share, which was not too sweet or cloying, had great texture and just a hint of alcohol.

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Our order of Chicken Bites took quite awhile to get to the table but I’m putting it down to the busy service they were having downstairs. Coated in crunchy cornflakes, the boneless pieces were tender, juicy and oh-so-addictive. The portion was very generous for its price.

GROUND EATERY 

Tower 4& 5, PFCC, Jalan Puteri 1/2, Bandar Puteri Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Tel: 017-649 6092

Open 12pm – 12am