best cafes in PJ

Beans Depot, Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya

 Ross Jones and Monica Tindall
Tucked away in a small corner of Petaling Jaya is a place where coffee is a form of expression; it is spoken of reverently and given a royal treatment. This place, Beans Depot, has been open for quite a while and is the product of LS Yip: a coffee specialist and roaster who understands the needs of the beans to create a perfect cup of coffee.
Beans Depot
Beans Depot used to be a small coffee shop where excellent beans were roasted, but with Ms. Yip’s progressive thinking, it has now turned into a collaboration of all courses. Four proprietors, all with their own specialty have opened up shop in this rustic cafe: Cafe in a Box, the creation of Malaysia Brewers Cup Champion, Regine Wai accompanied by Mei Fhong and Jane Lau; Bakeaway, run by Laurence Phua serving cakes, pies, and sandwiches; and Kitchen 105 run by Yong Jian creating excellent cafe meals for brunch, lunch, and dinner. They’re all housed under the roof of Beans Depot, and all encouraged to take lead, grow and develop by Ms. Yip. This collaborative effort gives way to the mantra that we all have our own talents, and to get the best out of a restaurant (or any organization, really), we must find those strengths within our team, nurture and expand on them. This is exactly what Ms. Yip has done with her establishment.
The Beans Depot Team
During our visit we were treated to a number of specialities from all branches of Beans Depot.  Ms. Yip, a qualified barista and roaster holding numerous certifications (including the title of champion coffee cocktail mixologist), started us off with a light Ethiopian Siphon Coffee. Watching her care in precisely measuring the weight, temperature and timing of the brew, made us appreciate even more so the elegant cup.
L.S. Yip Preparing the First Coffee
Siphon Coffee
While enjoying the first coffee, we were served a Yogurt Parfait (from Kitchen 105) with a creamy housemade yogurt, fresh passionfruit pulp, muesli, and a drizzle of honey. These complemented each other very well – something we agreed we could eat for breakfast daily.
Yogurt Parfait
Our next (coffee) course was a Latte made on Ms. Yip’s espresso blend (also very well balanced, not too milky but with a nicely textured top). With this came a turkey ham sandwich from Bakeaway. The sandwich was on a wheat roll that complemented the turkey ham, cheese, and mustard/mayo well. Also during this course, we were served The Big Breakfast, from Kitchen 105. This consisted of two overlight eggs, grilled tomato, two chicken sausages, herbed mushrooms, and hashbrowns (cut with a melonballer – brilliant idea!). At RM18, this is a great deal and very tasty, and too proves that simple pleasures are often the best.
Turkey and Cheese Sandwich
The Big Breakfast
For a lunch style meal, we sampled the Spaghetti Aglio Olio with Salsa and Seabass from Kitchen 105. While some Aglio Olio recipes sway in the direction of too oily or too garlicky, this was not the case with this creation. The salsa was fresh, and the seabass was expertly seared with the crispy skin crowning its moist belly. All was very well balanced and kudos should be given to the young chef for his recipe and skill.
Aglio Olio
Chicken Teriyaki and Rice
Now after midday, we felt it appropriate timing for one of Ms. Yip’s original champion cocktail concoctions, the Black Jack. Chilled double shot espresso coffee, Jack Daniels and blueberry vodka are poured over honey ice cubes. As the ice isn’t 100% solid because of the honey component, they melt into a slushie consistency, making this cocktail a sweet and refreshing beverage. Coffee cocktails, where the beans are just as important as the alcohol they’re mixed with, are a newer arrival in Malaysia and Ms. Yip has been invited by several publications to share her unique recipes.
Black Jack
Dessert brought a duo of special goodies from Bakeaway: the Berry Galore Cake, featuring a Swiss roll base, fluffy cheesecake style middle and a jelly berry topping; and the Matcha Cheesecake with red beans and red bean glaze. Both were well constructed with great consistency and flavor, and just as equally well presented.
Berry Galore Cake
Matcha Cheesecake
Both of these desserts demanded coffee and we were regaled with an exceptional pairing: the coveted Panama Geisha. In my own coffee ineptness, I had no idea what this was, but was quickly informed by my coffee connoisseur companions of the delicate nature, growing conditions, and cost of this type of coffee (one of the most expensive coffees in the world!). Grown in only a small region of Panama, Panama Geisha is revered for its light nature and fruity aromas, flavor and complexity. Upon first glance, it bears the color of an over-brewed black tea, but upon sampling it fills the mouth with delicate notes of fruit and berries. We likened it to a New Zealand Pinot Noir for coffee connoisseurs. This extravagance was prepared by Regine Wai of Cafe in a Box. Recently returned from World Brewers Cup Championship in Sweden, she is an absolute expert in coffee preparation, and was gifted these precious beans by one of the judges as a sign of appreciation of her skill.
Regine Wai – Hand Pouring
Panama Geisha
Our visit to Beans Depot was a pleasure and we love the concept and innovation of this quaint cafe.
Reasons to visit: expertly prepared coffee; small batch roasted beans; forward thinking collaboration of expertise; coffee cocktails; reasonable prices.
Beans Depot
I-G-6 Jalan SS7/26
Parklane Commercial Hub
Kelana Jaya
47301 Petaling Jaya
Open daily 11am – 9pm
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  1. Would love that big breakfast if they had ham and bacon. I guess this is a SERVES NO PORK place?

  2. The big breakfast looks very good! What a nice place, and I'll bet the coffee is really fresh and tasty. 🙂

  3. Those cakes are really mouth watering to look at. My stomach rumbles just looking at them
    so delicately awaiting my attacks – ha ha.
    You seem to have a big crew with this reporting and photographing of these venues.???

    I like my fried eggs to have a pink top – done in the old fashion way by spooning the
    fat up on the yoke part. Now surely you remember your grandmas doing that.
    Those yellow faced eggs are too Yankie like for me.
    Overcast here today.
    The second of that El Cordobes trio – Colin

    • Colin, I'm very fortunate that when I'm in KL I have a bunch of expats who are happy to join me on reviews and take a little of the workload from my shoulders. The travel posts are loads of fun, but very exhausting for me as I'm a one woman do-it-all 😉 Lucky it's a job that's not too hard to coerce people to join me for 😉

  4. Oh I do love blackberries, haven't had any for a long a long time.
    Happy people there.

    • They're a great team. I love the shared responsibility work ethic. Blackberries, any kind of berries really, make me happy 😉

  5. Would certainly love to tuck in, Monica. The desserts look so yummy! xoxo

  6. I'm tempted to try their Matcha Cheese Cake.

  7. Making a cup of perfect coffee sounds rather difficult.
    He he.. I picked some 2 kg of wild blackberries in the countryside today.
    All free. 🙂 Yeah I love foraging.
    Am baking apple and blackberry crumble right now, and it's already 9.37pm! He he…

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