Kristin Cosgrove and Monica Tindall
On a gloomy and rainy recent afternoon, Monica and I found ourselves in what has to be the sunniest corner of Melawati, Playground Coffeery. Like a bright orb in a starless sky, Playground Coffeery is bringing the Aussie coffee culture to the ‘hood, thanks to two ambitious young proprietors who envisioned a local gathering place for its caffeine-deprived residents.
Coffee lovers (particularly weary teachers from two nearby schools) and families will surely be thrilled with this development, offering a comfortable place to chill and enjoy a coffee and a bite from their small menu of teatime snacks.
Playground Coffeery announces itself with a cheerful, bright yellow storefront in a quiet street of shoplots tucked away in a quiet area of Melawati. Parking is easy. We arrive just in time to medicate our “afternoon slump” with a cuppa, and enter the café to find not only are they serving coffee, but also a healthy dose of playful cheer. Our mood immediately lifted by the park-like atmosphere of the interior, we take time to wander and enjoy the details of the décor.
Pale yellow walls are home to large strips of lighting wires which are fashioned into tree shapes, and recycled wooden palettes act as a base for couches, benches, tables and in the back open-air section, even walls. I love up-cycled furniture, and here the palettes really work as rustic, playful accents, especially when painted in bright colors.
Couches line the front area of the café, a great place to just hang out with friends or spend hours on the computer. I imagine parents relaxing while watching their kids play, maybe on one of the plastic ride-on cars I spy in the corner.
But while this place is definitely kid friendly it manages to avoid being overly childish, just child-like, in a way adults like me love. Monica envisions group meetings with peers at the sturdy tables in the center section of the café, perhaps at the palette table painted like a big Union Jack or in rainbow colors. I particularly appreciate the table bases, which are made from plastic crates filled with empty Coca Cola bottles. Clever.
The very back area is open air, and features two swings made with palette seats. Maybe not fully functional as swings, but whimsical and cute, none-the-less!
The menu is rather small, but adequate for a tea-time snack or light breakfast. We try a bevy of beverages, including an Almond Latte (RM12), a Machiatto (RM10), a Matcha Latte (RM12) and a Choco-Latte (RM12). Unique ceramic cups and pretty coffee art added some fun to the presentation, and Monica and I laughed at the macchiato glass, the inside of which reminded us of cow udders. The coffee here is standard, but pleasing, and it was clear the barista was taking care to make sure the shots were of adequate consistency and the milk temperature right, though we usually like our milk a little hotter. It’s possible this was a simple mistake of keeping the thermometer too close to the frothing wand while steaming the milk.
The food menu at Playground is kept small and simple, a nice change from the option-overload of many establishments. Sometimes simple is better. Cakes, waffles and the Play-Full Toast, Playground’s signature, are the offerings here.
Toasties are named after the places from which they are inspired – Tokyo Playground features cream cheese, smoked salmon and cucumbers, while the Berlin Playground is topped with asparagus, mushrooms and boiled egg. Both savory and sweet options are available, even in combination. I particularly enjoyed the Tuilleries Playground with chicken ham, cheese and pineapple and was surprised by the Richmond Playground, on which the strawberry jam and melted cheese played nicely together.
Play-Full Toast can be ordered individually at RM10 each or in multiples of three for RM9 each. How playful are you feeling today?
Reason to visit: Relaxing and playful atmosphere makes for a fun and cheery place to gather with friends and family, whether for a simple breakfast, teatime snack or group meeting.
No.19 Jalan E-1, Taman Melawati, 53100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Open: Monday, Wed, Thursday and Friday: 11am-11pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10:30am-11pm