We covered a lot of ground in our two short visits to K.L. this year. but sadly it wasn’t enough time to drink as much good coffee and eat as much great food as we would have liked. After all, there’s only so much a stomach can handle in one day!
Infact the reason we went there twice was so we could get to all the cafes we had missed the first time around, and we still failed miserably! K.L. has embraced the coffee culture big time and for two coffee snobs from Melbourne in need of a great brew, what could be better?
Only a 5 hr bus trip from Penang and we are dropped off just a short walk from KLCC. By this time we’re pretty desperate, not just for a coffee but something to eat. The bus, Aeroline, is very comfortable, infact it’s far more comfortable than taking the plane, it just takes 4 hrs longer. But it’s a good chance to enjoy a book, write a blog post, or delete hundreds of unwanted photos from your iPhone !!
There’s plenty of leg space, especially if you book the two front seats upstairs and you can even have headphones and watch a movie or two.
They do provide a meal along with your ticket price and water, tea or coffee, but if you enjoy eating good food, then I suggest you take your own.
On our first trip the meal was a plastic container filled with two spongy looking bao. One with sweet bean and the other with a filling of curry. They looked to me like something I use to wash my dishes with, though according to the Patient Partner they tasted slightly better than they looked.
The second trip it was some sort of noodle dish, so possibly slightly better, but I decided to pass.
Sweet Red Bean & Curry Bao on route to K.L. from Penang
Arriving in K.L the bus parks at the Corus Hotel a stones throw from Avenue K, a shopping centre on the same side as the Corus, and just opposite the Twin Towers. Here we found our first coffee stop, Urbean, a small cafe with some healthy dishes on their menu and some nice coffee. Nothing sensational, but nevertheless quite okay and very convenient as we used this station a lot during our visit. Espresso Lab is right next door to Urbean so you have the choice.
Good food & coffee at Urbean, Avenue K at KLCC Station
I had listed a few cafes that we should check out and had planned VCR as our brunch venue for our first day. We found our way to Jalan Galloway at Bukit Bintang and the lovely old house that is home to this popular cafe, and Keith Koay the current Malaysia Barista Champion.
Home to VCR Cafe on Jalan Galloway, Kuala Lumpur
We had high hopes for a great coffee and were not disappointed. We agreed that it was the best we had drunk in all our years in Malaysia. We both had a long black. The grinder was perfectly calibrated and the espresso shots were smooth and full of flavour with no hint of bitterness.
Keith Koay took out 16th place at the World Barista Championships in Dublin, Ireland this year, and it was easy to see why!
For a quieter moment at VCR choose a weekday. Getting a seat at the weekend can be difficult
For brunch the Patient Partner chose the Turkish Eggs, a chickpea dish with egg, chicken chipolata, spinach and yoghurt in a thick tomato sauce, with crusty sourdough bread for dipping & scooping, whilst I settled for something slightly more decadent.
If you happen to visit VCR then I would suggest that you do NOT leave without devouring the French Toast. I have eaten many french toast dishes in my life. I’ve made many myself, but this one is a winner. In fact I dreamed about it for a month until we re-visited K.L.
A thick slice of Brioche Bread soaked in egg & toasted to perfection, was the base of this delicious meal. A scoop of Raspberry sorbet balanced precariously on the top. ( I chose the sorbet rather than the espresso Icecream for fear of a fructose reaction.) A raspberry compote drizzled over the toast. Next to the brioche, a layer of biscuity crumbles sitting on a mocha sauce and sprinked with pepitas. Delicious!!
There was plenty to choose from on their menu and I would loved to have tried the more savoury dishes. However being blessed this last year with fructose malabsorbtion I was fairly limited with choice. So, luckily it meant that I had to choose the French Toast again on our second visit to VCR!!
The service was prompt and the staff were friendly. I have since read a couple of negative reviews on facebook about this cafe, mostly with regard to having a long wait for a table & service at the weekends. Obviously none of these people have been to the top cafes in Melbourne where it is not unusual to have a wait of 30-45mins. Naturally they are busier at the weekends when people aren’t working so if you are in a hurry or too impatient to wait for a great coffee and meal then I’d suggest a visit during weekdays.
Some customers also complain that the coffee is too expensive. Coffee beans cost the same worldwide so how can cafes make it any cheaper regardless of which country it is. Sure, in K.L. you can get a local Kopi for less but the beans used are mostly inferior in quality compared to the best Arabica beans that are being used by cafes such as VCR.