In this interview, Danial Naim (pictured left), co-owner of Coffeeboy Club, tells of how the cafe came about and shares some high energy moments from behind the scenes.
What do you do?
I work with my co-owner, Bryan Alexander Lim (better known as Bryzoid), getting our hands dirty in the management and running of the cafe – operations, planning, marketing, etc. We live and breathe Coffeeboy. We believe it’s essential to the brand.
How did you get into the industry?
It started with part-time stints in two different cafes back in Melbourne while I was doing my undergrad. That then led to my leap of faith in 2012. After two years in finance, I took up a barista position with the starting team of Podgy & The Banker in Sri Hartamas back then.
Share with us a story from behind the scenes.
A memory that’s seared – it was our very first time serving food. We had a collab with Pun’s (that gave birth to our Hot Dayum and Fishy Bitnez) coinciding with our Vintage Market series. The scene behind the bar was just mad hectic, but we had Logic’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind album was on a loop, and the energy behind the bar was electrifying, to say the least, nothing fazed us, and everything was just poetry in motion. We felt untouchable – bonds were built.
What’s a food memory from your childhood or travels that stands out?
My time in Melbourne (plus my annual trips) have always been the primary source of inspiration and staying updated. The most recent would be a handmade Pappardelle pasta dish at Osteria Ilaria in Melbourne. I was properly educated with this dish – the pasta was the highlight, the sauce was just an accompaniment.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part about the job is being responsible for the growth – of the brand, the people, the community, the business.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
Daily, I like to keep it simple – Breakfast Sandwich + Iced Black. We make a mean scramble on that breakfast sandwich. If I’m feeling fancy, Brisket Alley + Iced Oat Hojicha Latte. We make the brisket in-house now, and boy, it’s a hearty meal.
What’s one of the scariest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
The scariest days would be when our coffee beans are on the verge of running dry at the cafe. The wait for a top-up from our off-site facility is literally hair raising and nail-biting.
The perfect day off would be…
A slow morning, a slower afternoon and the slowest evening to end the day.
What does Danial Naim do for fun?
I cycle quite a bit, run and work out pretty often for fun. If I’m feeling adventurous, coffee, pastry and/or cookie hunting is always fun. On lazier days, there’s always the PS4.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Coffeeboy Club?
Coffeeboy’s got an alternate weekend menu, our Mexicola menu – we do Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, and our Guac with Totopos is defo a must-try! To add, corn tortillas for our tacos are homemade with masa flour.
How has the pandemic changed you, your perspective, or the way you operate?
Being a participant of the communities we exist in plays an important role in establishing a brand presence. It goes beyond just serving food and drinks. Focusing on fostering those relationships has allowed us to have a foothold in getting through this pandemic thus far. Also, a lean operation and being creative with our menu curations (and not letting our store size limit us) has been vital in surviving this pandemic.
What’s your view on the food and beverage scene in KL?
Quality has definitely picked up over the last couple of years. The only slow down now is in the variety of products. There are too many variations of essentially the same product, and affordability too is a cause for concern – cafes are slowly developing into a privilege, as opposed to a right. Good coffee should be a right, not a privilege. Affordability is more apparent with this pandemic.
How has the pandemic changed you as a person?
It has made me more conscious of our part to play, even as a business owner, realising the livelihoods that are directly dependant on us to keep going. It is humbling at the same time, empowering.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
We’ll be gearing up for when dine-in is allowed again – we’ve got a couple of dishes lined up, collaborations, merchandise and events all in the pipeline. Stay tuned – stay classy.