Kick-start the day with a late morning meal. With sleep in our eyes, we hunt for brunch in the city
Brunch is doing very well for itself in the Klang Valley, as well it should. In an 1895 article in Hunter’s Weekly, Guy Beringer wrote, “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting”. Not quite breakfast or lunch, but an enjoyable hybrid of the two, this late morning meal is ideal for greeting the day or meeting up for an extended tête-à-tête with your best mates.
The origins of this meal are hazy but it has been traced, in part, back to 1800s England, where it was served in a buffet style at hunt breakfasts. By the 1930s, the new mealtime had reached American shores, where it gained increasing popularity as a Sunday event.
The concept has spread all over the world. These days there is no shortage of places to do brunch on any day of the week. As the current social event, no café in town is complete without a brunch selection. Whether you’re an early bird or a late riser, there is a fry-up out there with your name on it. Selection is varied, recipes inventive. There are pancakes, waffles, muesli, and a variety of cooked or baked goods. Bread is often housemade, the coffee excellent. Egg, the staple brunch ingredient, is done in all ways – scrambled, poached, baked, hard-boiled and mashed – to go with anything the chef fancies.
With such a lot to pick from, the question now is: what kind of bruncher are you?
Artisan Roast already does a great cup of coffee, but food to go with the cuppa used to be limited to sweets and cakes. So the recent addition of breakfast and brunch items is very much welcomed by its loyal clientele, who flock to this cosy spot in Taman Tun Dr Ismail at all times of the day.
Early risers go for Artisan Roast’s different types of fluffy pancakes, such as the giant pancake topped with cheese, turkey ham and sunny side-up, or the honey-drenched pikelets with butter and almond flakes. For those who are inclined to a bit of a lie-in, the brunch menu starts at 11am, and includes a nutrient-packed quinoa salad with honey balsamic vinaigrette to kick-start the day. With well-sized portions, the food here is good value. The breakfast/brunch menu ends at 3pm.
4 Lorong Rahim Kajai 14, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: +603-77336397. Opens: Mon-Fri 8am-12am, weekends 9am-12am. artisanroast.com.my
The Red Beanbag
This Melbourne-inspired café does a brisk business with its all-day breakfast fare. Mixed in with their other offerings, the brunch food has all the classics like an English fry-up and pancake stacks, but it is the signature dishes such as gooey cheese-topped eggs baked with lamb, chicken and beef that stands out.
“Having the freedom to have a bit of fun and not take things too seriously is one of the perks of creating a menu,” says co-founder, Lee Yew Kheong. For bestseller Bella and the Jets, he and his partners had Elton John in mind as they combined Portobello mushrooms with chorizo, balsamic and poached egg for a showy treat. And don’t forget to have coffee with your brunch, prepared by the country’s reigning barista champion.
A4-1-08 Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: +603-62115116. Opens: Daily 10am-12am. facebook.com/theredbeanbag
Buoyed by the success of Quar/tet, the boys behind the popular café have spread their wings to open a second eatery in Bangsar. Cut from a different cloth, La/Pa – a play on the word lapar, which means hungry in Malay – has a chic set-up that echoes the clean lines of Scandinavian design, guaranteed to be an Instagram hit. The in-house music selection is impeccable, and soon, the handsome eatery will host a rotating collection of works from a nearby art gallery.
La/Pa’s food is often twists on classics. The menu is tweaked every few months but some staples are here to stay. Highly recommended brunch items are the Duck Eggs in Purgatory, a hearty meal of baked double eggs in a spinach and garlic cream sauce, and the pancakes with healthy orange and quinoa compote topping. All food is prepared in-house, including the bread and pasta. Due to demand from an all-day-breakfast hungry crowd, brunch is now available from 8am to 4pm.
15 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: +603-22014365. Opens: Daily 8am-11pm. lapa.co
Garage 51 has established a firm foothold in this university neighbourhood with its take on classic breakfast food in a well-lit, high-ceilinged outlet. The Choong brothers behind this, and Café Societe in Solaris Dutamas, were inspired to widen their food experiments with Underground Société. The restaurant, sporting a handsome marquetry wall design, has a sleek, club-like feel, brought on by the moody lighting and house music that starts well in the morning until closing time at 2am.
The brunch menu too is inspired with classy offerings such as eggs Benedict with a side of slipper lobster and grilled Atlantic salmon with German spaetzel, asparagus, quail egg and Hollandaise sauce. If you’re in the mood to share, try the platter of avocadoes with an assortment of toppings.
68 Jalan PJS 11/7, Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya. Tel: +603-56133851. Opens: Daily 11am-2am. undergroundsociete.com
Pickle & Fig
For a filling yet healthy brunch, check out Pickle & Fig, where paninis, sandwiches and smoothies are the mainstays. Forget about your childhood egg-and-sardine sandwiches. This laid-back café stuffs its bread with a variety of wholesome ingredients such as rotkraut with pastrami, hoisin chicken with grilled zucchini and salami with basil pesto. Vegans can opt for the Portobello mushroom and hummus panini.
As for the cold gourmet sandwiches, you’ll find favourites such as Coronation Chicken, made of chicken breast, caramelised onions, raisins and alfalfa sprout on ciabatta, on the blackboard menu. Wash it down with one of the luscious smoothies. The Avocado Dates Smoothie gets our vote.
26 Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 2, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: +603-28589960. Opens: 9am-11pm, closed Monday. facebook.com/pickleandfig