COFFEE IN THE GARDEN?

Coffee, coffee everywhere. Many people enjoy a coffee or two…or more (yes, me😉) a day. You noticed I said “a coffee”. Does not work for tea. It does not sound quite nice if you say, “Many people enjoy a tea…”; but if you say “a cuppa”, people know you are talking about tea and not coffee.

When I talk passionately about coffee, it is not because I must have it or my day will be ruined. It’s just that it works well with me.

There are so many coffee establishments both big and small, everywhere. And, more keep opening. I welcome all, especially the startups; as many are creative with their “coffrings” (coffee offerings).

Themed outings seem to be the fad these days, at least that’s what I thought.

Then, I remembered rather vaguely, the preparations that were put into my wedding with Jeannie, 26 years ago. It started off with “we’ll do this” and “we’ll do that”… lot of excitement with lots of planning as ours was of two cultures coming together. Seemed so complex. Then, somewhere along the way, some smart alec suggested a wedding planner. All those around us seemed excited that we did have a wedding planner…initially…all with the exception of me, perhaps.

Here, was this stranger, fussing and telling (commanding?) us what we had to do and not to do. I could not recognise the original idea we had for our wedding. And, he kept tossing this word, “package” around with a loud cash register ringing almost every second he opened his mouth or flapped his hands in all directions. I thought I was getting married. Instead, I felt like I was a “prop” in a themed event; and I was paying for it! We decided he had to go as he was stressing me out.

Coming back to coffee. I wanted a change of scenery and to possibly try out new coffees. I ogled up for cafes and found what looked interesting – Gardenage by Craftman in Kota Kemuning. It is a cafe decorated by plants around it and within the cafe.

Entrance to Gardenage, with fellow swimmer parent, Richard Kok.

Getting to Gardenage (more catchy than its full name) can be a bit tricky, even for Google Maps. Once you get in the area (there is a “Gardenage” signage at the road entrance, pointing towards the direction of Gardenage. Then, it is easy as there are two or three rows of shop-lots, on their own. It is housed in a couple of shop-lots. Now, I know why they call it the “secret cafe”.

A head’s up: Best to make reservations. On the day we went, we did not make reservations and had to wait half an hour to get a table. Looking at the menu, this was more a restaurant than a cafe. Fancy food on the menu, commanding premium prices.

I had mash potatoes and coffee, Richard and Jeannie both had a pasta dish each. We had a chicken centre dish, too.

Coffee on the menu – not much of a choice. On the subject of the menu, you have to scan a QR code to view the menu on your phone. To me, that is a bit of a loss on the personal touch. Richard Kok, a fellow swimmer parent; laughed when I complained that the process of having the menu on your phone instead of a physical one, had it’s meaning lost, when a waitress had to come take down our orders. I think it would have been easier if there were checkboxes against the items on the menu. In that way, it would have saved us time of waiting for a waitress to show up and take the order.

💡An idea sparked in Jeannie’s mind – “We can transform our house like this. And I went, “No, we can’t”.
Ended with cake and coffee.

The food was generally good.

There was a continuous flow of customers streaming in, which proved the food was good. It did give us the feeling that they kind of hinted we overstayed our welcome, that we could not really take our time, “chilling out”. We were there for about an hour and a half only.

Gardenage is also a nursery where you can purchase plants, pots and garden items. It is worth checking out if you are in the area and want something different in your garden.

A few days later, we were on a hunt for a new joint for our fix. To say we needed a fix perhaps is stretching it a bit too far. I am on coffee throughout the day. Leaving my workstation which is “live-streaming coffee” throughout the day, to go to another place for coffee is more for a change of scenery and try something new with coffee in it.

Tiennielicious (a tongue twister name) in USJ 4/1, in which I stumbled upon by accident is a fairly new start-up. It was one evening, after 5pm, that we, Jeannie and I; wanted to “ronda” (“ronda” a Malay word, sounds better than the English equivalent “galavant”) for coffee. I thought we’d go to Foliage Coffee, a first for us.

My royal crown, hovering over my head, not budening me with its weight. 😁 It moves in tandem with my movements.😉

Jeannie was very at home, here.

The light decor with plants around, gives it a bright ambience, comfortable, sort of sitting in your porch at home, sipping your coffee, while reading a magazine (“What’s that?”, the millennials may ask. It is a book, with lots of pictures, many colourful and stories or articles to entertain our minds and senses).
I had the pineapple ice-coffee, while Jeannie had lychee ice-coffee. Their Lotus Biscoff brownie was simply out-of-this-world!

We arrived at Tiennielicious Cafe at just after 6pm, that Friday evening. We were kind of excited to have found a cafe that was so close to home, our own neighbourhood cafe. They had their range of coffees and cake. We decided we’d try their specials – I had their pineapple ice-coffee and Jeannie had their lychee ice-coffee. This was a sort of a fizzy coffee with fruit blended in it. Not sure if I have described it right but it was nice. The pineapple version does change in taste a bit when the drink gets warmer.

Their Lotus Biscoff brownies are worth talking about. It was totally yummy. From what we were told, it was homemade. In fact, all their cakes are. The waitress did not rush but spent time explaining when the cafe started, all the items on the menu and what their business philosophy was about. Though it was nearing closing time for the cafe, their customers were still at ease and relaxed. This cafe is on top of 7-11 in USJ 4/1. Worth going to for coffee and cake, especially if you are in the neighbourhood.

Foliage Coffee – the saga of having coffee amongst the lush, green surroundings of plants. It all started when an article of Theresa de Silva popped up on one of my social media sites. She was talking about coffee and plants and this “Foliage Coffee” she was a part of. She posted several pictures of this what seemed like a unique decor-ed cafe (at least to me). Jeannie loves plants. So, it was settled. This was where we would go next.

I phoned Theresa, telling her that we’d be at her cafe at 7.00pm for dinner. She told me the cafe operates till 7.00pm daily. It was then that I realised that many of these one or two store, personalised cafes have their business operating till 7.00pm to cater for those who just ended their day’s work and want a coffee to unwind and escape the daily going home traffic jams. This was when I searched for other cafes and found Tiennielicious (it is a mouthful to pronounce) and Gardenage.

It’s a nice setting inside the cafe, especially being air-conditioned. I like the wooden flooring touch to the decor. Nice ambience.
I had a burger and ice coffee. Jeannie had a fish (I think) dish and hot coffee.

Our first visit to Foliage Coffee was for lunch on Labour Day, a public holiday. Located in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur; it was pretty easy to get to with the use of Google Maps. Jeannie and I were impressed by it being a standalone building or sort of garden, lush with natural greens everywhere.

I told one of their employees that I would like to meet with Theresa. Their employee said that she was not coming in that day. I texted her that Jeannie and I were at her cafe and we liked it. The next thing we knew was that Theresa and her husband, Edwin; showed up to meet with us. It was a nice gesture of them.

I had a burger and ice coffee. Jeannie had a fish (I think) dish and hot coffee. When I looked around, I wondered how the meals were going to be prepared as there did not have a kitchen there. A while later, the waiter brought our meals from outside the building. I thought that they got our meals from a nextdoor restaurant. But hang on… they are on their own.

Edwin and his family, started a business called “Rent a Pot” around 40 years ago. It is a business where they provide leafy, green decor to offices and look after the maintenance of these plants. Their customers can opt to change different plants, if and when they want a “new look” in their offices. Edwin said their business is doing very well as their customers like this type of “exchange” arrangement.

Theresa said they thought of this idea of a cafe in the garden as they had the perfect setting and locale.

Jeannie went on a self-tour of the place. She found the outdoor toilet rather fascinating. It was greens, greens everywhere, plants and more plants, even in the toilet. When we were leaving, I took a quick self-tour myself. Then, I found that their kitchen was outside in the garden, tucked away amongst the plants. Nifty idea.

Our second visit to Foliage Coffee was the very next day. We had Richard Kok, our swimmer parent good friend; join us for lunch. Like (here I am using this word in its proper context) Jeannie, he has an interest in plants. As for me, y-e-e-ea-a-ah, sort of; to a certain extent.

Jeannie, Richard and myself, amongst the hanging ketupat (1) and the greens, dotted with yellow flowers. We went on the second day of Hari Raya.

“Cheers” with coffee.

We had to settle for lunch that did not need a cook’s on-the-order preparation as the cook was on Raya (2) break. Mine was a sort of sausage roll (I had two – one a jumbo(?) and 1 normal), Jeannie and Richard ordered a sandwich, each. We had some sort of tortilla (I think) chips.

Richard had “normal” coffee, i.e. latte; not a double-shot expresso like me. Haha. He has not acquired the “kaw-kaw” taste for coffee.

Richard like the idea of having coffee under this nice tree.

The double shot expresso was good. I enjoyed slowly sipping it. Though it got cold after a while, I still enjoyed it till the last drop.

This is the way to hold an expresso, with poise and finesse.. This is a double shot expresso, so the cup is slightly larger than a cup for a single shot. (I’m just guessing).

We knew we were going to be at Foliage Coffee for lunch. So did the mosquitoes. I was bitten several times by them. The portable battery operated insect repellents were not working. The main one, hanging in a tree nearby, was not working, too. Minor issue. Their other patrons did not seem to mind.

We enjoyed the atmosphere and ambience of Foliage Coffee, both indoors and in the garden. We like the very relaxed mood it provided. Mind you, it is very conducive to have small business meetings there.

There are many writers who blog about all the cafes around. Many of these articles are “static” sort of propped for photos and the right words and things to say. They have their target audience.

I attempt to write on my feel and those around me, their experience at the time we were there – an objective view. Going to the same place again, as we did at Foliage Coffee; gives us a new angle to look at things. At Foliage Coffee for instance, our second visit was having lunch and coffee in their garden – a different experience.

All three establishments: Gardenage by Craftman, Tiennielicious (yes! Got the spelling by memory, correct) and Foliage Coffee; have their own reach of customers (I prefer this word to “patron” – sounds more engaging). If you want to try different things with “coffee” as a pull factor; all three are definitely worth checking out.

Back to the story of our wedding preparations… In the end, we had a wonderful wedding, simple…the way we had originally planned. The Rolls Royce Silver Shadow that was to be used as our wedding car broke down a couple of days before the wedding. We ended up with a friend’s BMW 7 Series which was just as good.

NOTES:

Click “following leatherpotato” for more stories and happenings.

Gardenage by Craftman,
8, Jalan Anggerik Aranda A 31/A,
Kota Kemuning, 40650 Shah Alam, Selangor

Tiennielicious Cafe,
20A, Jalan USJ 4/1, USJ 4,
47600 Subang Jaya, Selangor

Foliage Coffee,
9-1, Jalan Desa Utama, Taman Desa,
58100 Kuala Lumpur

  1. Kupat ketupat, or tipat is a Javanese rice cake packed inside a diamond-shaped container of woven palm leaf pouch. Originating in Indonesia, it is also found in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and southern Thailand. Wikipedia
  2. Raya or Hari Raya Aidilfitri is celebrated by Muslims in Malaysia and all over the world to conclude the Ramadan Holy month. http://www.wonderfulmalaysia.com

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