Coffee In Kuala Lumpur (Part 2 – Huckleberry Food & Fare)

Our need to visit K.L twice this year was not only to explore some new areas, and stay in an awesome Malay AirBnB, but to return to a couple of cafes that we had thoroughly enjoyed a month or so before.

VCR was one, the other, Huckleberry Food & Fare at Bukit Damansara.
Yin, a good friend here in Penang and the owner of Yin’s Sourdough Bakery, had recommended Huckleberry, and being a lover of good bread and Danish pastries I couldn’t get there quickly enough!

We took a train to Bangsar, and a taxi from there to Damansara Plaza. Taxis in KL are cheap compared with Penang so we didn’t mind using them.
I liked Huckleberry immediately. The white country style cafe looked fresh and inviting. Flower boxes lined the outside eating area and grey blinds with the cafe logo provided shade for customers.  A cool breeze drifted from the many ceiling fans placed overhead.Entrance to Huckleberry Food & Fare, black & white tiles at Huckleberry Kuala Lumpur

Smart entrance to Huckleberry Cafe

At the front of the cafe sections of black & white floor tiles give the place a somewhat European feel and a blackboard displays the lunch specials of the day. Looking through a  window on the right side of the cafe I could see the large ovens that bake their selection of impressive looking bread. A sentence on a sign above these reminds us of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. It was from this book that the cafe takes its name as the motto of the business is,  “there ain’t nothing in the world so good when it’s cooked right”
My first impression was of a cafe asking me to ” come inside” and considering the first thing we saw as we opened the door was a fridge full of decadent looking cakes, there was little chance that we wouldn’t!!

bread, french pastries, Huckleberry, Finn, Mark Twain, Cafes in Kuala LumpurMouth watering pastries and fresh bread at the Huckleberry counter

The Patient Partner was already eyeing the double chocolate brownie, whilst I was drooling at the baguettes and Danish pastries further along the counter.

We were shown to a seat within seconds so that put paid to the drooling and we began the more serious business of deciding what we would have for breakfast.
On our first visit we were very careful not to eat too much for fear of not having room for the cakes, always the first consideration when we are treating ourselves!!
So, we chose the poached eggs. These were cooked to perfection. Why is it that when I cook them they only look this good once in a while, despite all the swirling?!!

Poached Eggs at Huckleberry K.L, swirling poached eggs, organic eggs at Huckleberry food & FareFresh, Free Range Poached Eggs  with tasty Sourdough Bread

The sourdough bread was so tasty, we could have eaten the whole loaf.
And yes, we still had plenty of space for the Kouign Amman, a gorgeous crunchy, sticky buttery almond pastry that stuck to our fingers, but melted in the mouth.
And speaking of melt in the mouth, the Sable Chocolate cake was to die for. Made with real chocolate and butter this is a chocolate lovers dream.

Kouign Amman Pastry, sticky, melt in the mouth, French Pastry, Huckleberry K.L.Beautiful, sticky, crunchy, gooey, sweet Kouign Amman. A favourite pastry at Huckleberry and no wonder!

Naturally we had coffee to finish off this brunch treat. It was good. Not a coffee that knocks your socks off with the flavour, but neverthess, still up there with some of the better ones. Huckleberry uses a Sumatran Gayo from DeGayo Roasters.

Sable Chocolate Cake, melt in the mouth, buttery, rich choclate cake cum biscuit at Huckeleberry Kuala LumpurThis Divine rich chocolate Sable Cake is a chocolate lovers dream

On our second visit to Huckleberry we knew just how much we could eat, and knowing that we would choose the same cake & pastry as before because they were so damn good we decided on a slightly different savory dish.
Strangely, even though we wanted the poached eggs again, the P.P. was told on ordering that they weren’t poaching eggs. Now, being a man he didn’t question this. Why no poached eggs, I asked him? After all they cooked them last time. I was left wondering on that one!!

He’d ordered us the scrambled instead and I have to say they were the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever eaten, and I don’t think I’m too bad at whisking up a few eggs,  adding a few herbs, spices or tomato etc, but these eggs were light and creamy and very obviously free range and organic. Apologies for no photo but I was too busy making sure the P.P didnt eat my share!!

Shakshuka, eggs, chilli, capsicum, garlic, Sourdough bread for dipping, Huckleberry Cafe Kuala LumpurMiddle Eastern Shakshuka, one of our favourite brunch meals

To follow we had the ShakShuka, a middle Eastern dish of cooked tomatoes, onion, chilli and capsicum. Eggs are broken onto the top and it is then baked in the oven until the eggs are set. The idea is to mix it all up, break off chunks of crusty bread, dip them into the pan, and scoop up mouthfuls of the tasty broth.

I often cook this at home, it’s a quick meal, nutritious with all the Vit c from the capsicum, moorish with fresh sourdough bread, and with the addition of some paprika and saffron to liven it up you can’t go wrong.

I find it hard to go past a great bakery, and the Huckleberry bread was far too good looking to ignore. We bought a loaf of their wholemeal Miche  sourdough to eat at our AirBnB. This beautiful bread is the pride & joy of their range.

Miche Bread at Huckleberry Fine Food & fare Kuala Lumpur, long fermentation, large loaf of Miche breadDense and crusty with a deep, earthy flavour, Huckleberry’s Miche bread is a favourite at the Bakery.

 A Miche is dense & crusty, with an incredibly rich flavour. The flour used is often toasted before baking and the loaves have a long fermentation time. Traditionally they are made into very large loaves, often about 1.5-2kg. This goes back to the time when there might have only been one oven in the village and its people had to bake a loaf that would last for the entire week. At Huckleberry the Miche is made in a 500g size but larger ones are available on request.
I wanted to buy the baguettes as they looked soooo appetizing, but had to be reminded by the P.P that one loaf of bread was probably enough to be carrying around K.L. all day in the heat.  Disappointed, I agreed.

                                            Until Next time!!

Quote from Huckleberry Finn at Huckleberry Food & Fare, Mark Twain, Huckleberry Cafe Kuala Lumpur,This quote from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn hangs  in the Bakery above the Bread ovens.

The Search for a Great Loaf

 I often yearned for a good old sandwich during our early years in Penang. You know, the ones with two thick slices of bread that have substance. Bread that feels like you are actually eating something worthwhile, that will hold together most of its filling and above all has a flavour that is unmistakably bread.

Sourdough Sandwich

I gave up the search. Nothing came close. What was called bread was a thin, white soggy sponge loaded with sugar and goodness knows what else, wrapped in a plastic bag and piled onto supermarket or seven/eleven shelves. So months would go by without and I would curb my sandwich desire until we were back in Melbourne. But it wasn’t a big deal as there were so many other things to eat to take my mind somewhere else. Also, regardless of the soggy bread, one of my favourite sights and sounds then and still now, is the old bread cart going around the streets of Georgetown.

Penang Bread Cart

Since 2008 when Penang gained it’s Unesco Heritage status the city has  been changing rapidly. Whilst some might lament Penang’s need for  development, and certainly in many aspects I am one of those, I am not apposed to Penangs’ food becoming a little more sophisticated.
Artisan bakeries have sprung up around the state and great breads, often sourdough, are suddenly available.

Several years ago we found some good bread at Gusto Cafe. This is a popular eating place at Hillside in Tanjung Bunga. Jason, the owner and his wife were once missionaries and teachers and their caring attitude towards people is quite evident. They set up a system whereby, if you feel inclined, you can pay a little extra for your meal and those few ringitt  will go towards buying a free meal for a homeless person. They also have a collection box for a local stray dog shelter, helping to buy food and medicine for those animals rescued from the street.

Suspended coffee or meals at Gusto Cafe

Not only do Jason and his staff make you feel incredibly welcome they also cook up some tasty food. The menu is extensive providing mostly western options to accommodate the many expats living in the area.

Gusto Cafe Penang

There is no shortage of sandwiches now. Gusto make some delicious combinations and there are also Paninis, burgers and salads. I would also recommend the lassis, especially the chocolate, coffee and raspberry ones.  You certainly won’t be short of choices here and if you struggle with cigarette smoke as we do, just go down a couple of steps to the back of the cafe and you will find a small smoke free garden area.

A family member of Jason was supplying Gusto with fresh bread and we often went home with several loaves at a time just to make sure we wouldn’t run out.
These days the same bread is available at The Baking Garage just a few streets from Gusto Cafe.
There is a good range of bread, much of it sourdough and the Croissants are to die for, but I would suggest phoning them with your order because, not surprisingly, they sell out very fast.

The baking Garage Croissants

Their phone number is +60124075088. Hours are 7am-11am & 5pm-9pm every day except Friday when they are closed. There does seem to be more bread available during the afternoon/evening hours.

Not long after discovering that Penang suddenly had some real bread we happened to find Yin and her Sourdough Bakery only a stones throw from where we stay. This is what tends to happen when living in two countries. We are  kept on our toes because so much changes in the months we are away and there’s always more to discover when we return.

Yin's Sourdough Bread, Yin's Sourdough Bakery, Yin's Starter Culture, Levain at Yin's Sourdough BakeryYin’s Special Sourdough Bread

Finding YIns Sourdough Bakery was like finding the holy grail. Here was a baker who believed as I do in creating a loaf from a pure culture rather than including any bakers yeast or additives.
This is not always easy. It takes time, skill and a whole heap of patience to produce enough to sell.
There are so many variables in sourdough baking and I admire Yin for believing in what she is doing and sticking with it.

Sourdough StarterA Sourdough Culture

As well as a huge variety of loaves the bakery also makes delicious scones, buns, cakes, muffins and granola bars (the Patient Partner is addicted to these) Yin’s homemade kefir is a great addition to smoothies or as topping for your porridge or muesli. A selection of homemade jams made by Farina & Mathijs, the head chef at Suffolk House are simply superb on Yin’s sourdough.  Their Pineapple, Cinnamon and Spice conserve on toast is simply luscious. I  have never had a jam before that has a whole cinnamon stick sitting in the jar. The latest addition to their range is a mouthwatering combination of Orange, Mango & Pickled Lime. This is a sugar free marmalade that, happily for me, boasts a fructose content of just 5%.

Pineapple& cinnamon Jam

The cafe in the bakery serves up some delicious sandwiches and focaccias, all sourdough of course, very yummy french toast with a topping of banana, nuts, and, if you like, a drizzle of honey or jam. There are breakfast dishes with eggs and sausage if you prefer something a little heavier, and if it happens to be in season, and you love Cempedak as much as the P.P. and I, then this awesome fruit paired with cheese in a sandwich is a must have. Coffee, chocolate and a selection of teas are available, and great lassis made with lots of fresh fruit and kefir.

Cempedak Sourdough SandwichYin’s Cempedak & Cheese Sourdough Sandwich

But what really stands out at Yins Bakery is the incredible customer service.
Here every customer is special. No sooner have you walked through the door than a glass of cool filtered water lands in your hand and this will be re-filled throughout your stay.
Yin is ably helped by her father in law and a staff who, judging by the great smiles they give to customers, obviously enjoy their work.

Despite the many hours of work running a bakery, a cafe and three small children Yin’s bubbly personality creates an environment that has her customers returning many times. She appears to have time for everyone and nothing is too much trouble. We feel that the Bakery is a lovely oasis in an otherwise hot and crazy environment.

Yin the Sourdough Baker

And, if that’s not enough Yin and her husband Seng opened another venue this year in the historical Yeap Chor Ee building in China St, Georgetown. An awesome Italian wood fired oven has taken pride of place in this  latest cafe and they are now serving the best sourdough pizzas in Asia.

Sourdough Zucchini & Eggplant PizzaYins’ Zucchini & Eggplant Sourdough Pizza

Whilst Yin spends most of her time at the bakery, husband Seng and staff take care of the Pizza restaurant, and whilst we have never been big pizza eaters, infact in Australia we never eat them, we are really enjoying these. So far our favourite is topped with zucchini & eggplant, and we really love the crunchy crust around the rim.

Yins' Crusty Sourdough PizzaThe Delicious Crunchy Crust

We have yet to try the sweet pizza which is topped with pears and OMG there’s a Durian pizza waiting for us!!