Let’s start the week by talking about the weekends shall we? I’m aware of the irony that today is Monday. How else do you think I’m going to get over it?
My favourite kind of Sundays are the lazy ones spent bumming around under a late morning sun, sipping cups after cups of flat whites, while having a good laugh with some of my mates over a basic brunch made from the freshest produce. Preferably in one of those tiny café somewhere in the alleyways of Melbourne, a city where I can hardly find a cup of bad coffee or a plate of fry-up that would break my bank account. I also love how the café there oozes with personality and charm, something which I find rather hard to come here in KL.
Which is why Haute Food Co. is one of the best finds of the year. This cozy place is nestled in the back alleys of Plaza Damas and is out of sight from the main cross ways of its buzy square. I’ve spotted it earlier in the year while searching for a kitchen utensils store nearby but it wasn’t until Masak-Masak’s review of the place that I had the urge to head over. The café’s interior is very tight and charming with its royal blue colour scheme, but I prefer to sit outside where it’s much brighter and the air is better ventilated. This is perhaps the closest I would ever get to an Aussie café without catching a flight out.
Haute Food Co. is nothing as pretentious as its name suggest. The café/bakery is the brainchild of Li, its resident chef/baker/proprietor, who has been working in the kitchen of a French restaurants for over nine years in Melbourne, and I guess the name is her homage to her roots in the F&B business. She has then decided to pack her stuff and move back to KL to start her own business so she can spend time with her loved ones. What I am most glad is that she has decided to pack a piece of the city’s vibrant café scene back too. Here, Li only serves coffee from Genovese, a Melbournian boutique roaster and is the only spot in town that serves its special house blend, the Super Brazil. She has specifically chosen the blend for its robust flavour and aroma without any nasty after taste. It’s a mild blend that is easy for even the lightest of coffee drinkers. The flat white (RM8.50) here is really good.
Their food menu comprises of basic breakfast and lunch items. As Ciki eloquently puts it, “Are THESE all they serve here?” while pointing to its limited menu. I’m glad we didn’t head over to Rakuzen as she suggested. We soon found out that having a smaller menu makes their preparation process more manageable, resulting in better quality. Take their sandwiches for instance, hunky slices of roast beef packed topped liberally with caramelised onions and mizuna leaves which makes the grilled sandwich a tasty and substantial meal. So is their smoked chicken sandwich with its layers of sundried tomato pesto and cheese is comfort food at its best. They come with some cos leave and tomato salad on the side and served rustically on a chopping board. The sandwiches are made with a choice of white, multigrain or rye bread sourced from a popular local bakery and prices varies between RM11.90 to RM13.50.
Look out for their daily specials of soup, pasta and other wonderful mains like the grilled chicken and coriander pesto with rice pilaf (RM15.90). These changes everyday, so look out for them on the chalkboard outside its white wooden door.
Like their daily specials, the choice of cakes rotate on a day to day basis as well. All baked in-house by Li and her team. Li’s mum, Eunice, tells us that the cakes sitting on the counters are freshly baked in the morning while the chilled cake are made the night before. Once again, their honest and fuss-free approach is apparent. Just good old fashion cake with no decor like something your favourite aunt would whip up from her kitchen: hearty, satisfying and full of love.
My only complaint is that the choices are crazy. OK, it is not a legit complaint, but I get confused when I’m confronted with so many choices like a kid in a candy store. An extra stomach just for cakes would come in handy. Really. I remember asking Li on my very first visit, “I have space for only one cake, what would you recommend?”
She was a great sport and entertained my obviously tricky question. I ended up being served a warm blueberry-poppy seed cakelette served with a scoop of smooth vanilla ice cream. It was light and small enough and I didn’t pop any buttons that day. A good recommendation indeed. The next time I was here, I made sure I saved up some extra space for dessert and had a decadent slice of moist chocolate cake. It was solid yet light and beautiful, like something right out of a Donna Hay spread. It was so good and totally worth the calories. Her mini banana loaf wasn’t bad although slightly on the sweeter side. All these went so well with that cup of Genovene coffee.
This may not be Melbourne, but it is a good alternative place to chill over the weekend. Although their menu isn’t extensive as mentioned, I’ve yet to try everything. I can’t wait until the next weekend when I can head back for another round. I heard their afternoon tea scones are divine. Will have to check if the are anything like Ah Pa’s (which are my favourite). Here’s a tip, head over during weekends for breakfast, it’s less crowded.
The Haute Food Co.
H-0-2, Block H Plaza Damas
60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1
Tel: +603-6201 3168
Business Hours: Opens from 10:30 am – 4:00 pm from Tuesdays til Sundays. Catering services are also available,