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Why Tamarind Square in Cyberjaya Is Perfect For Photographers and Lovers of Architecture

Brutalist architecture is characterised by functional, ‘soulless’-looking buildings, which often incorporate raw concrete and massive, monolithic designs with rigid, block-like shapes. The style was especially popular in the Soviet Union and its former allied countries from the 1960s to 1980s. Over the years, brutalism fell out of favour due to its association with totalitarianism and its cold, unwelcoming appearance — but the style has been seeing a comeback in the last decade, albeit with softer features and fixtures.

Tamarind Square in Cyberjaya seems to be one of these places drawing inspiration from a hipper, more modern version of brutalism, and industrial architecture. Developed by Tujuan Gemilang, the commercial development was intended to promote a ‘tropical retail and office experience’, and is arranged in an 8-figure courtyard with a ring road circulating the premises.

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On their own, the buildings might have looked austere and clinical, but the impact is offset by beautifully landscaped plants. Here you will find curtains of green draped over the side of metal walkways and staircases, and a cooling stream runs through the centre of the courtyard, which is lined with shrubs.The greenery is in stark contrast to the square’s raw concrete floors, stone pillars and exposed brick. Personally, it gives me a feeling of an abandoned place reclaimed by nature — and it’s easy to feel you’ve been transported someplace else, especially when there aren’t many people around.

Walking tour here:

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Tamarind Square is spread across several blocks, with most of the shops concentrated on the lower floors of Block A. Aside from chic cafes and eateries, visitors will also find retail outlets selling clothing, eyewear and shops providing beauty and wellness services. The block is centred around a courtyard filled with plants and two-storey “stand-alone” shops. These are not connected to other shops within Block A, but can still be traversed via the ground floor and elevated walkways on the first floor. Pictured above is a shop called The Botanist (they serve artisan brewed coffee and handmade baos), which I’ve wanted to try for the longest time but unfortunately couldn’t on this particular visit. Other noteworthy cafes in the area include Herbs and Butter (Asian and Western fusion), Pastribella Bakeshop (cakes), Alcea Cafe (coffee spot) and Book Barter Cafe (they have book shelves where you can read while you sip on drinks).

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The layout of the place is such that you can round a corner and discover a ‘hidden’ nook, or staircases leading to your next adventure.

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The square is a popular place for photoshoots. During my visit, I counted no less than five couples, some with bridesmaids and best men in tow.
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Not all of the offices and retail spaces are occupied, which lends to the ‘abandoned’ vibe. But it’s good news for architectural photographers – you can basically take your time photographing and exploring without having to worry about crowds getting in your shot!

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Boardgame cafe
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I come to Tamarind Square mainly for BookXCess, which at 3,000 square metres, is the largest bookstore in Malaysia. Prior to the pandemic, it was also open 24 hours, so you could come for a spot of book-shopping if ever insomnia hits (is it just me?) Keeping to the theme, the store’s design is similarly industrial (it was apparently part of the car park — so you can see pillars with signs on them and yellow lines on the floor).

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Anddddddd self-control was defeated that day.

GETTING TO TAMARIND SQUARE CYBERJAYA

It’s best to drive or take a Grab, as public buses are few and far between, and do not stop directly at the Square. The nearest bus hub is the Cyberjaya Transport Terminal, 2 kilometres away. Driving, Tamarind Square is accessible via the MEX Highway from Kuala Lumpur, or if you’re coming from Puchong, the SKVE.

Tamarind Square, Cyberjaya

Tamarind Bldg Rd, Cyberjaya, 63000 Cyberjaya, Selangor

https://www.tamarindsq.com/

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Book Xcess Tamarind Square, Cyberjaya – Largest Bookstore In Malaysia / Open 24 Hours!

A book store that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week sounds like every bibliophile’s dream come true – and you can actually find it at Book Xcess @ Tamarind Square in Cyberjaya. Opened last year, it’s also the largest book store in Malaysia, spanning over 3,000 square metres of space. 

*As a self-professed bibliophile, it’s a little embarrassing that I haven’t been to the place until recently, despite it being quite close to where I live. Lol.

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The Book Xcess at Cyberjaya is the company’s seventh outlet, and like all their other stores, sells new books at discounted prices of up to 80 percent! (apparently how they achieve this is by getting surplus titles that can’t be sold. They’re all in brand new condition!)

Most of the books are 1/3 of the price you get at regular bookstores, so you can get really good deals. They carry up to 200,000 books. If this isn’t bookworm heaven, I don’t know what is.

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HUGE floor space, divided neatly according to categories. You have stuff like general fiction, classics, teen fiction, non-fiction: biographies/historical, children’s books, architecture and design, comics, graphic novels, romance, young adult, fantasy/sci-fi, and many more. Note that because these are surplus books, you might not always get the newest or the most popular titles (eg if you’re looking for Harry Potter / Hunger Games / etc. you might be hard pressed to find them here).

 

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Because the space was converted from a carpark, the design actually incorporates elements of that into the store, such as the overhead signs which have been left in their original spots, the pillars painted over with numbers, and the concrete flooring with ‘exit’ and ‘parking’ signs.

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There’s also a nice spot for you to hangout with your laptop, complete with power points. No charges! Very popular with students for their assignments. There’s also a cafe serving drinks, cakes and sandwiches.

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A section selling beautiful notebooks and journals. They also carry craft books and pop art wall hangings.

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Spent a good two hours browsing. Bought some books for a friend and one for myself – Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. I’ve been wanting to read this ever since I heard about it from an architecture library curator, who said they used it for book discussions. Haven’t started yet but it’s basically told through the eyes of Marco Polo in which he seems to describe different cities in his narrative, but they’re all actually about the same city – Venice.

Book XCess @ Tamarind Square is open 24/7, for if ever you feel like hanging out at a bookstore at 2AM.

BOOK XCESS (CYBERJAYA)

L3M-04, Tamarind Square, Persiaran Multimedia, Cyber 10, 63000 Cyberjaya, Selangor

Some other pictures I took of Tamarind Square. Love the architecture here, which is a mix of industrial (raw, unfinished concrete, greys and black steel) + lots of greenery. Pity there aren’t many shops here.

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Juicy Korean-Style Fried Chicken @ Dokebi Chicken, Tamarind Square Cyberjaya

Those who know me know that I’m absolutely. obsessed. with fried chicken. And whether it’s Korean or American-style, I’m always on the lookout for good places!

My three-point system for determining good fried chicken:

  • a) Is it crispy (even after it’s been sitting for a bit)? 
  • b) Does it have tender, juicy meat?  
  • c) Is it flavourful? 

Dokebi Chicken at Tamarind Square, Cyberjaya ticks all the boxes. Newly opened last month, the resto which serves Korean-style fried chicken went viral on the Internet, thanks to a video of their Boneless Chicken with Cheese (their signature dish ie fried chicken wrapped in melty, gooey cheese). That aside, they have eight other sauces to choose from, and an Instagrammable cotton candy drink.

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It’s always heartening when you go to a Korean restaurant and you see actual Koreans dining there.

The interior is cosy and hip, with K-pop playing on the TV overhead, a long communal table for large groups and swing seats.

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Since I was dining alone, I couldn’t order the cheese option (it’s RM50+ and best for sharing between 2-3 people) – but I did get the Garlic Soy (RM19.80) which came in a set of 4 drummettes and wings, and topped it off with a bowl of steamed rice.

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Food came pretty quickly, fried fresh to order.

What can I say? Its just really good fried chicken. The exterior was extremely crispy and crunchy, and stayed that way down to the last piece. The sauce was garlicky, savoury and slightly sweet – to borrow from another fried chicken chain’s tagline, “finger licking good”. One thing I abhor about some fried chicken chains is when you know the meat has been frozen for a long time (the meat has a weird bloody, iron-like aftertaste) but the meat here tasted fresh and juicy. Was honestly impressed by how tender it was on the inside, so you get this really nice contrast of crispy chicken skin + tender insides.

Verdict: One of the better K-fried chickens out there, and I’d love to try other items once I’ve rounded up a few friends (I have those?)

DOKEBI CHICKEN 

D3-03-08 Tamarind Square, Persiaran Multimedia, Cyber 11, 63000 Cyberjaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 11PM (Daily)

 

 

Steam N Grill Burger, Shaftsbury Square Cyberjaya

Hey guys! Sorry for the lack of updates. I recently took up a freelancing gig and it has been taking up a lot of my time, what with having to finish up the magazine as well.  But a girl’s gotta take a break too sometimes! 🙂

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I was in Cyberjaya the other day for an interview and decided to stop by Shaftsbury Square for lunch. Used to hang out here a lot when I was still working in Putrajaya, but obviously haven’t been back here since I quit my last job. Most of the shops are still the same, but I saw that they opened a Steam N Grill Burger here..

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They had one in Setiawalk Puchong, but it closed down due to bad location. Personally, I really like the concept of healthier steamed/grilled burgers. They even have this really unique item called the Otak-Otak burger! 

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Otak-otak is a spicy fish cake made from ground fish meat mixed with tapioca and spices. It has a savoury taste and is usually wrapped in banana leaf before grilling over a charcoal fire; so the idea to put them into a burger is certainly interesting! Tastewise, I felt like the one I tried before back at the Puchong outlet was better, but this was still decent. Portion was large and there were two big pieces of otak2 sandwiched between the bun, topped with mayo and a bed of lettuce. The otak2 was soft though so eating the burger was quite messy.

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Set of RM10+ came with fries and a drink. Cheap, considering the environment is air-conditioned and such.

STEAM N GRILL BURGER

No P2-13A, Shaftsbury Square, Persiaran Multimedia, Cyber 6, 63000 Cyberjaya

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am – 10pm

Doi Chaang Coffee, Shaftsbury Square Cyberjaya

WHEN a coffee brand has been rated in the top 1% of coffees worldwide, you best believe it’s going to be good.

Doi Chaang Coffee has recently opened an outlet in Shaftsbury Square, Cyberjaya– to the celebration of coffee lovers living nearby (yay!)

Named after a village in Thailand where the brew originated from, Doi Chaang is a single-estate, 100% Arabica blend. They have over 300 outlets in Thailand, but Malaysians can enjoy the coffee at their outlets at Jaya One, PJ; Taipan in USJ and IOI Boulevard Puchong.

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I dropped by for a cuppa after my lunch. The place was rather quiet on a weekday afternoon. The decor is minimal but cozy, with white walls, wooden furniture and flooring and a high countertop. On one side magazines and a CD selection allows customers to pick their tunes for a chill afternoon.

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Friendly service, but rather slow. I ordered a hot Caramel Macchiato, which took close to 15 minutes to prepare (even though there were only six customers in the shop).

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I can’t claim to be a coffee connoisseur, but this was pretty good! Not too bitter and not too sweet, fluffy and frothy foam on the top drizzled over with sweet caramel sauce.

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Prices are reasonable, and some are cheaper than Starbucks and other similar over-rated establishments. It would be a nice, chill place to hangout and get some work done, or just surf the net on your laptop.

Doi Chaang Coffee,
P3-13, Shaftsbury Square
Cyberjaya
Tel: 03-8322 3789
Operating hours: 11am – 8.30pm

 

A Korean Feast @ Ko Hyang Korean Delights, Cyberjaya

Update: This branch is permanently closed.

SINCE the Korean wave hit Malaysian shores, there has been a slew of eateries and cafes catering to the K-Pop and K-Drama craze. While I am not a big fan of Korean food, I do go for Ramyeon pretty often at Ko Hyang Korean Delights in Cyberjaya. C, E and I decided to come here for a small ‘get-together’ two weeks ago, because I also needed their help to film something for work.

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We ordered a buttload of food. They served us bowls of seaweed soup, which was more salt water than seaweed.

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C’s beef jigae came with fluffy eggs, onions, soft beef bits and other vegetables. The soup tasted similar to the Ramyeon I always have, but it was good to go with rice especially when served hot.

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Springy ramyeon topped with tender, chewy beef slices and eggs.

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E ordered Rabokki – a combination of Ramyeon and Tokbokki (spicy rice cakes) cooked with sliced vegetables like onions and carrots. All of the above mentioned items also come served with banchan (sides) of fried anchovies, stir fried soft potatoes and kimchi.

The Rabokki was too spicy for my liking, although the rice cakes were done well and chewy. Aside from being hot, the sauce was quite tasteless. I’ve definitely tried better items on their menu.

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This was one of the worse dishes of the night – Jajangmyeon. Topped with peas and cucumber strips, the sauce was distinctly sour and the texture resembled congealed blood. I only had one bite and skipped the rest – what a waste.

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Scallion pancakes. They were decent enough albeit a little oily.

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Grilled lamb in a sweet sauce, which came served with cold cucumber cuts. The meat was marinated well and flavourful, more on the sweet side than savoury.

KO HYANG COUNTRY DELIGHTS

G116, Lower Ground Floor, Shaftsbury Square, Cyberjaya

Lot P 1-20, Shaftsbury Square Persiaran Multimedia, 63000 Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia

dal.komm Coffee, D Pulze Cyberjaya

Update: This restaurant is permanently closed.

I recently dropped by for coffee at a cosy cafe in Cyberjaya’s only shopping mall, D’Pulze. dal.komm is a Korean franchise, which is why apart from coffee, they also serve Bingsu (shaved ice desserts) here.

Their concept revolves around ‘soundblending’ – basically immersing visitors in a musical experience through live bands and electronic music played in the premises.

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Cosy interior with black and wooden furniture accentuated by glass and quirky hipster-ish writing.

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I ordered a hot mug of Caramel Macchiato. The baristas will hand you a coaster call which will light up when your food/drinks are ready.

The drink was beautifully presented, with the milky foam on top drizzled over with gooey sweet caramel to offset the macchiato’s bitter taste. The result was a perfectly balanced drink with both flavours.

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I like how relaxed it is as they play a nice selection of vintage music, and the place was not too crowded. You can literally just chill there for hours reading a good book.

You can also visit their other outlet in Damansara Utama 🙂

Dal.Komm Coffee
Lot UG-18, DPULZE Shopping Centre, Cyberjaya
Opening hours : Monday – Sunday (10am – 10pm)

Manhattan Fish Market, D Pulze Cyberjaya

Update: This branch is permanently closed.

Fish N Chips (and garlic mayo fries!) were my soul (food) mates when I was studying in the UK. It’s hard to find one that can match the big, juicy fillets from Devonshire Chippy – the tiny snack shop along Devonshire Street back in Sheffield.

Back in Malaysia, the alternatives are often restaurants that serve expensive versions, like Manhattan Fish Market (MFM) or Fish & Co. While the quality isn’t bad in some places, it’s hard to find a consistent taste because they have so many franchise outlets.

I’ve always thought F&C was better than MFM, but I recently decided to give it another try when I dropped by Cyberjaya’s shopping mall, D’Pulze, for lunch.

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It has been ages since I visited any MFM Outlet. They used to have these drab, dull-looking menus, but they’ve revamped it to a bright ocean blue with nice photos. They have new items to boot!

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Love the interior, which is classy yet cosy. Black and grey walls and cabinets with light beige wooden furniture = perfect combo. I’d decorate my living room like this. They also have glass windows with a view of the city outside. Lots of natural sunlight (which is why my photos look good) and even an outdoor patio for those who want to smoke/soak up some sun.

The waiters were mostly foreign students and very nice and friendly. Good service.

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Iced coffee. Just poured the milk in 🙂

The drink was okay, but tasted like generic coffee. Not too bitter or sweet.

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My regular fish N Chips (RM18.90), which came on a bed of fries and served with a slice of lemon for drizzling, mayo and salad. The light version (RM12.90)  only comes with one piece of battered fish fillet.

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I was pleasantly surprised to find the quality here to be not bad at all. It’s one of the better fish n chips I have had. The fish was well done, juicy and crispy on the outside without being too oily. The fries were slightly too thick cut for my liking but well seasoned and they taste like actual potatoes (so many restaurants have weird fries that taste super processed…)

Definitely one of the better MFM’s that I’ve tried. 🙂

Manhattan Fish Market 

Level 2, D’Pulze Shopping Center,

Lingkaran Cyberjaya Barat, Cyberjaya

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I’ve been on a dry book hoarding spell for months, so it was time… indulged myself to a new notebook and two fiction books.