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Review: Shin Class Cafe, Puchong Utama

It’s been awhile since the fam and I were able to dine out together (due to the 2-per-car restriction), but since this was lifted recently, we went to check out a place near my old high school called Shin Class Cafe. it’s a fitting name, since the cafe is within a kindergarten/daycare centre. The owner, Sarah, decided to convert the space upstairs into a dining/ chill out spot, since there aren’t as many students at the kindie these days.

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We had the whole place to ourselves, and sat in the front room which had low, round tables made from used tyres, cosy pillows and bar stools. The Christmas decorations were simple but cheerful. Service is friendly and attentive here – the staff who attended to us actually works as one of the teachers at the kindie.

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The menu offers fusion fare. Aside from the usual cafe-style drinks like coffee, ice lemon tea, ice-blended beverages and the like, you can also expect rice and pasta dishes. Prices are very reasonable.

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(Above) Ice-blended chocolate topped with whipped cream. The drink was not too sweet, and was creamy without being cloying.

I like the fact that this is a small, family-run business. Sarah’s daughter makes the drinks, while she cooks. She shares that she learned how to cook from her parents, who used to run a food business in Port Dickson.

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Moo’s Lemon Chicken with Rice (RM8.90), which was served with a sunny side up. Portions are generous, and the rice is fragrant as it incorporates butterfly pea flower.

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Pops had the Butter Cheese Chicken With Rice (RM8.90).

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Felt like having noodles, so I ordered the Creamy Pasta (RM9.90). Aside from the egg, it also came with some cocktail sausages, and loads of ham in the pasta. The pasta was cooked al dente, and the cream was not overpowering. It’s nothing super fancy, but tasty nonetheless – just comforting, home cooked food.

For vegetarians, Shin Class Cafe makes meatless dishes as well.

While it’s definitely not a high-end ‘Instagrammable’ cafe, Shin Class Cafe is a charming little nook where you can enjoy a coffee and a hot meal in a cosy, quiet environment. What makes it such a nice place is the hospitality, though – the owner and staff are warm and friendly, and do their best to make you feel welcome. Prices are very reasonable, so come visit and you’ll be supporting a small local business with your patronage! 🙂

They also do delivery and take-aways. For orders, Whatsapp 012 218 7350, or contact Tony (011 36981071)

SHIN CLASS CAFE

1, Jalan PU 10/8, Taman Puchong Utama, 47140 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 7PM (closed every second Wednesday of the month)

facebook.com/SHINCLASSCAFE

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Sipping Corner @ Plant & Pot Studio Puchong

Hidden at the back of a plant shop in Bandar Puteri Puchong, Sipping Corner by Plant & Pot Studio might just be the greenest cafe in the city. Opened last year, the place has already gained a loyal following – and because of its small capacity (the place seats about 15 at most), reservations are encouraged to avoid disappointment.

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If you do manage to get a seat, you’ll be well rewarded with a cool and relaxing spot to chill and sip on a drink, surrounded by foliage. The Cafe offers a selection of coffees (espresso, long black, honey americano, latte, cappucino) and teas (blue mint honey, red roselle honey), as well as signature beverages (Matcha, Salted Gula Melaka Latte, Matcha/Hojicha Latte). Baristas are very friendly and accommodating.

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Grab a sweet slice to go with your drink. Cakes range from RM13 to RM15 per slice.

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I didn’t dine-in coz the Moo finished her shopping and we had to make a move – but I got one of their signature drinks, the Salted Gula Melaka Latte, to go. The palm sugar was creamy and sweet, but it was well balanced thanks to the hint of saltiness.

If you’re looking for a quick green respite, drop by for tea time – but make sure to call in advance.

SIPPING CORNER @ PLANT & POT STUDIO

 78G, Jalan Puteri 5/5, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 9AM – 6PM (daily)

Phone: 018-578 6311

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Brunch & Japanese Fare @ Buranchi, Bandar Puteri Puchong

I’ve driven past Buranchi a couple of times before, but never tried it until recently. Suprisingly, it was the Moo who suggested we grab lunch there (she isn’t keen on dining out because of the high number of coronavirus cases here in Selangor).

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Buranchi is Japanese for brunch, a fitting name for a cafe that specialises in all-day breakfasts and Japanese and Western fusion cuisine. Expect items such as sausage puffs, omu curry rice, yakiniku don, potato salad, ramen and udon. They also offer a selection of coffee and cakes.

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The interior is bright and cheerful, and you’ll find cute touches like these Japanese daruma dolls all around the premises.

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Honey Coffee (RM9) for a caffeine boost.

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Moo’s Chazuke (RM13) had exquisite presentation.

Chazuke comes from the Japanese ocha (tea) and zuke (to submerge), and usually comprises rice topped with various condiments such as pickled vegetables and wasabi, and a dashi/tea/broth that is poured over the rice. The one at Buranchi is served with a side of grilled saba (mackerel). It’s a simple meal that is not too heavy, which is probably why it’s popular with the ladies.

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I prefer robust flavours, so I got the Tonkatsu Ramen (RM17), which is one of the cafe’s specialties.

I was very impressed with the quality of the ramen. The noodles were al dente, and it was served with slices of crunchy bamboo shoots, ajitsuke tamago (half-boiled egg) and nori (seaweed). The star was definitely the pork bone soup, which was rich, savoury and full of porky goodness (I emptied the bowl, lol). While I remain devoted to Menya Shishi Do, I think Buranchi’s version is not bad at all for its price, especially if you’re stuck in Puchong and can’t drive all the way to PJ to have your ramen fix.

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To round off the meal, the Moo and I shared a Sea salt Chocolate Mousse (RM10). It was smooth, creamy and luscious; the chocolate was not too sweet and still had a hint of the astringency you get from dark cocoa, while the slight amount of sea salt helped to balance out everything – sort of like the principle of salted caramel.

Buranchi certainly impressed me with its service, quality and price, which is reasonable for the setting. Will be making a return visit to try out other dishes!

BURANCHI

72A-G, Jalan Puteri 5/5, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 830AM – 4PM (closed Mondays)

non-halal

Brunch @ Unicorn 25, Skypod Square Puchong

Hey guys! I hope you’re all doing well in spite of everything. I’ve been feeling uninspired lately. Nothing I write seems to feel right, and I can’t think of ideas. Maybe it’s burn out. I hope it’ll pass.

Anyhoo, I still want to post something – so here’s a short and sweet one about brunch at Unicorn 25, a cafe at Skypod Square in Puchong, just across the road from IOI Mall.

Seeing as how dead the place is, I’m surprised the cafe has lasted this long. The cafe is apparently famous for its waffles and toast, but they also have Western dishes like pasta and sandwiches which are affordably priced and cater to the surrounding office crowd.

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It’s a nice spot if you need a quiet place to work.

It so happened that there was a water disruption during our visit, so they weren’t able to serve any drinks other than the bottled ones. Which was a shame, because their menu has some pretty interesting beverages, like creme brulee latte and chocolate banana frappe, to name a few.

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The waffles and desserts are on the pricey side, but the pastas are affordable.

Since the Moo and I weren’t in the mood for sweets, we ordered some pasta: seafood aglio olio for her, mushroom and ham carbonara for me. The portions were hefty, and the pasta was cooked al dente.

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I enjoyed my mushroom and ham ‘carbonara’: it was creamy but not cloying, had generous amounts of mushroom and ham, and some cheese powder on top. Of course, no Italian chef in their right mind would call this actual carbonara, but most of the versions here are bastardised anyway. 😛

Pros: Affordable pastas, quiet environment, easy parking

Cons: Expensive waffles / toast

UNICORN 25

SS-01-19 Skypod Square Persiaran Puchong Jaya Selatan, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 9AM – 6PM

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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Meal For One: Humongous Fried Cheese Burger @ Caffeinees Puchong

“Never trust a place that serves a lot of dishes.” 

I can’t remember where I heard this pearl of wisdom before, but I agree that it has merit. Some restaurants specialise in one or two dishes, so you can trust that they’ve honed it to perfection. With a resto that serves multiple items, however, it’s harder to gauge if the food is ‘good’ per se. For instance, a chef might be good at making Western food, but they might not necessarily know how to make good Chinese food – unless you have a big kitchen with different chefs with different specialties.

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Caffeinees is one of those places with an extensive menu. Known for its fusion cuisine served in a high-end setting, the brand has two very popular outlets in Kampung Pandan Cheras and Sunway, and they’ve recently opened up a third on in Puchong Utama’s Industrial Park area. Aside from European-inspired dishes like pizzas and pastas, you will also find tower burgers, rice, noodles, sushi, coffee, wines… you name it, they probably have it!

I came here for lunch break during one of my WFH days. Parking is a bitch so either come here early, or you’ll have to park across the road.

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The interior features dim lighting, dark furniture, a chandelier and a bar – which would have looked classy if not for the packed seating arrangements. I can imagine the resto being quite noisy and crowded during peak hours. That being said, they cater for private events like product launches, birthday parties, weddings and more.

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I like the bar area. Classy!

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Prices are above average, so be prepared to fork out a little extra. They offer a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including milkshakes, fresh fruit juices, coffee and wines. I got a glass of chocolate milk shake (RM16), which was decent – smooth, creamy and not too sweet. I wish the serving was a bit bigger though.

Okay, so the reason why I came to Caffeinees was because I saw this post on FB right before lunchtime, lol. (Who says advertising isn’t effective?)  So despite the variety of items they had on offer, I went straight for the I Feel Skinny Today – stretchy fried mozzarella cheese  topped with deep fried chicken thigh, covered with Carribean sauce, nacho cheese sauce and a huge amount of caramelised onions. You can opt for a 60g block of fried cheese (RM28), or a 120g (RM30).

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In terms of size, the burger certainly did not disappoint. It was nicely wrapped for convenience, but eating it was still a messy affair as the filling/sauces kept spilling everywhere.

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As for taste, it was decent. Buns were soft, chicken was moist and cooked thoroughly –  but I felt the sauces were too overpowering, which masked the flavour of the mozzarella cheese.  Wouldn’t say it’s bad, but wouldn’t say it’s the best either. Definitely not something you eat every day – maybe a once-in-a-blue-moon treat if you feel like gorging on something really unhealthy and calorie-laden lol.

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This is not a review per se since they have so many items, it’d be impossible to try everything (hence, this meal-for-one post). So I’ve decided to rate it based on the following:

Price point: Above average (RM20++ for most dishes, but they also have items like lobsters and king crabs which are obviously much pricier)

Ambience: Comfy, but if you like peace and quiet, this is not a place to hangout especially during peak hours, due to the acoustics.  If you come in the mid-afternoon on weekdays, I think it would be much quieter. They have power points so you can plug in your devices/ laptops.

Service: Average.

Food: Can’t say much coz I only tried that one burger and a milkshake. Both were decent. They have a huge variety of items – breakfast/brunch sets, pastas, pizzas, Asian cuisine, lobsters, king crabs, even hi-tea sets.

Convenience: Location is not central; you will need to drive to get here or take a GRAB. Parking is very inconvenient – you either have to be extremely lucky to find a spot within the area, or park across the road.

CAFFEINEES (non-halal) 

Industrial Park, 23, Jalan PPU 2A, I-32, Taman Puchong Utama, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 1AM (daily)

caffeineespalace.com

 

This Dessert Cafe in Puchong Serves Up Pillow-Soft Souffle Pancakes

First popularised in Japan, souffle pancakes are a gift to mankind.  (Okay, I’m exaggerating. But not by much).

Bouncy, airy and soft as clouds (insert more adjectives here), these delectable creations are made with less flour and uses egg whites that have been whipped to a meringue, which is then gently folded into the batter. This gives the pancakes their signature fluffiness, and makes them airier and lighter than regular pancakes. Thanks to their popularity, you can find many cafes serving them here in the Klang Valley. One of these spots is Souffle Dessert Cafe in Bandar Puchong Jaya. There’s always a long queue on weekends, so come early or if possible, go on a weekday.

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The space is small and it can get very noisy when there’s a crowd. Unless you’re here on a weekday, probably not the best place to chill and relax. Like many cafes these days, this one has a slightly industrial vibe, with a partially exposed ceiling and sleek wooden furniture, accentuated by a shelf full of plants and knick-knacks.

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The pancakes are all the same flavour, but they are served with different accompaniments. The Original (above) is simply two pancakes stacked on top of each other, topped with fresh cream and a dusting of powdered sugar, paired with butter and maple syrup. You can opt for other ‘flavours’ such as Chocolate, Strawberry, Seasonal Fruits, Mango, or Matcha Red Bean. 

After getting the pancakes to jiggle a bit for Instagram, cutting into these beautiful babies felt blasphemous. Unlike regular pancakes which are much denser, the texture is more porous and airy. The pancakes here are not too sweet, so it goes well with the rest of the sweeter accompaniments like the syrup and sauces. As each dish is made to order (the pancakes deflate if you leave them around for a long time, so you can’t prep them in advance), expect a wait of at least 20 minutes.

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Moo’s Matcha Red Bean, which came drizzled over with matcha sauce and azuki beans. The matcha lends the dessert a slight bitterness, which balancsd out the sweetness of the azuki beans and the pancake itself really well.

There are plenty of other places serving Souffle, but if you’re around Puchong, Souffle Dessert Cafe does not disappoint! They also serve waffles, coffee and tea.

SOUFFLE DESSERT CAFE

CS-1F-7, 1st Floor, Kompleks Kenari, Jalan Kenari 19a, Bandar Puchong Jaya, Puchong, Selangor 
Opening hours: 3PM – 12AM

Brunch and Waffles @ The Owls Cafe, One Space, One City USJ

The Owls Cafe has made a name for itself in the Klang Valley, thanks to its signature waffles and brunch offerings. From a humble little cafe in Bukit Jalil, the brand has since expanded to include The New Chapter by The Owls Cafe at the Calvary Convention Centre, Midorie x The Owls Cafe at MYTown Shopping Centre in Cheras, as well as two outlets at The BUNCH PJ and One Space, One City USJ respectively. S and I paid a visit to the latter for Saturday brunch. We were lucky as we got in just before a queue started forming.

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The aesthetics are pretty consistent across their outlets, in that they’re always brightly lit and boast a minimalist look, with clean white/beige furniture and a touch of green. This outlet is smaller than the one at Cavalry, but it also has a high ceiling so it’s less noisy. 

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S had the Nutty Latte, while I went for the Vanilla Latte. Ice cold and perfect for a hot day, milky and not too sweet!

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Every time S and I have gone to The Owls Cafe elsewhere, he orders the same thing – and this time is no exception lol. But as the saying goes, why fix something that isn’t broken? The Morning Daisy is a solid choice for those who want a hearty pick-me-up, and includes a buttered croissant, salad with sesame dressing, scrambled eggs and criss-cut fries. Everything comes together in perfect harmony: the crispy, crunchy potato goodness of the fries, the fluffy eggs with just a dash of salt and pepper for seasoning, the flaky pastry and the refreshing greens.

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Decided to try something different this time and went for the Ultraman Pasta. For those not familiar with Cantonese, Ultraman is known as ‘ham dan chiu yan’ or ‘salted egg superman’ – a moniker that comes from his peculiar egg-like appearance. Anyway, the Ultraman Pasta consists of al-dente pasta coated in a savoury salted egg yolk sauce, served with juicy and sizable chicken karaage, topped off with fried egg. Sinful, but oh-so-worth it.

We could not make anymore room for desserts, but their waffles are really good too. There are two named after the owners of the cafe, Rebecca and David.

Service is nice and friendly. Mains and desserts average around RM18 – RM28.

THE OWLS CAFE @ ONE SPACE ONE CITY USJ 

G.01, G.02 & G.03, Ground Floor One Space @, Jalan USJ 25/1C, One City, 47650 Subang Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 8PM (daily)