Tuesday, February 21, 2012

RAW Cafe: The best coffee in Kuala Lumpur?

Apparently the only thing holding me back from becoming a full-fledged coffee snob was having someone to share the experience with.  Back in our Canada days, my boyfriend Peter didn't touch the brown stuff, but with the demanding Singapore working hours he now has a three Americano a day habit....   Perfect!

Not the worst thing to be addicted to

Having already tried most of the gourmet coffee shops in Singapore, we set our sights on Kuala Lumpur. Our weekend escapes to KL are very relaxed, with the general plan being to lounge by the pool at the ParkRoyal Hotel and eventually go for kebabs when we get hungry (the Middle Eastern food in KL is much better than in Singapore and half the price).  So trying to find the "best coffee in Kuala Lumpur" seemed like a manageable addition to the to-do list over the course of 2 days.

A quick Google search led to a couple contenders. RAW Coffee looked promising: they roast their own beans, supply their coffee to posh coffee shops across the city, and are conveniently located right by the pretty Petronas Twin Towers. They even serve pastries and vegetarian sandwiches.

The RAW baristas hard at work
The RAW Coffee Cafe and Roastery (is that a word?) is located on Jalan Ampang on the ground floor of a really non-descript building called Wisma Equity. It was a Monday afternoon around 2pm and about half the tables were full with people working on their laptops. It was easy to find, but we walked from Bukit Nanas monorail station which may not have been the best idea on a blazingly hot Kuala Lumpur afternoon.

I couldn't bear the thought of a hot drink, so ordered an iced mocha (12 Ringgit).  Peter went for the classic long black (8 Ringgit), which is after all the best way to evaluate the coffee. Their house roasted beans had a very strong body, but drinking it black it was too bitter for my tastes. My iced mocha with shaved chocolate was obviously a lot sweeter, but you could still make out the coffee's distinctive taste. I would imagine the cappuccinos are the perfect balance, so will try that next time as long as I'm not so sweaty when I get there!

Iced mocha
Bump & grind.

RAW Coffee KLCC also has a menu featuring vegetarian and vegan cuisine. I was eyeing the pumpkin hummus, but were were sharing and Peter was apprehensive about the fusion ("Do they mean pumpkin seeds or the orange part?"). In the end, we went with the  5-cheese sandwich on toasted ciabatta with a side salad (15 Ringgit) which was also a good choice.

Though it was our first visit to RAW, something about the cafe, its menu and set-up seemed really familiar...   As we were sipping our drinks we figured it out -- a gourmet vegetarian coffeehouse in a random finance building is sooo Vancouver!

I doubt it's the best coffee in Kuala Lumpur (I'll give it an 8/10), but it's a welcome alternative to the chain coffee shops that dominate the city! 

5-cheese toastie & salad

150 Jalan Ampang, Wisma Equity
Open 7:30am - 8pm Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm Sat/Sun


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