Café Review: Bean Brothers
Carved from an industrial area with plenty of mechanics and a sense of disconnect from city-living is Bean Brothers. While it is a Korean-originated café it has made its home here in this café-saturated market, also known as Malaysia. One might assume that their rise to popularity & fandom is directly correlated to the very fact that it is a Korean brand. “Why,” you ask? Clearly you’re not from Malaysia if you’re not aware of how much K-pop has gripped this country’s youth. However, you’d be surprised by how much the café does not utilise its Korean origins. It is a café in all its “rawness” with minimal K-Pop pretentiousness that many try to emulate in their own identity.
Behind the large glass doors fit for four Adams on top of each other you’re transported to a space full of cracks, cement, spots, and rough edges - in a good way. What Bean Bros does well as a space is not taking advantage of its Korean roots and making it “Korean” (a sure-fire way of gaining attention). At the same time, not blindly following trends (you know, the typical raw, cement, wood...the works) but that’s not to say that those elements are not present. It is, without a doubt, raw but it has been refined so that it isn’t just “raw” but a café with raw refinement; like putting "street" on the runway. All it boils down to is perhaps an understanding of the elements of the space, where they’re situated (industrial), and respecting such elements.
While a café with a huge space is not new (Real Food Mont Kiara) what differs between this café and Real Food is perhaps the lack of coziness. With such a huge space, two floors of seating (and a hole in the ceiling connecting the two space), ample of amount of natural lighting flooding in from their big glass doors, there is a somewhat visual imbalance, or rather, overwhelming intimidation when a café hopper first steps foot.
Wires hanging from the ceiling, various metal bars protruding from the hole in the ceiling, uneven corners, and dark spots on the cement/cinder block walls may seem chaotic at first. However, there is beauty in such chaos when they are zoomed in to give focus on the beautiful little things that make up Bean Brothers.
The café is able to achieve “coziness” by allocating certain areas with that gut-warming feeling you get when it’s raining out and all you want to do is grab a book with a cuppa (or get down & dirty with a lover). They create such areas in places where the abundant natural light is at its weakest and placed light bulbs that give off a warm light.
Though it is fair to note that I did not literally blackout from drinking their cold brew of the same name I have to say that looking into such a black liquid did give me the impression that I just might. That’s the thrill of the chase for a café hopper isn’t it? In any case, anyone who drinks cold brew without syrup would know that cold brew by nature is very, very bitter (compared to your usually crafted caffeinated beverage). It takes a certain kind of cafe lover to be able to take coffee without the myriad of syrups that kids call “coffee.” I’d recommend their cold brew (without sugar)- yes, it’s bitter but you can taste the nutty-almost-chocolate-like flavours in that 400ml cold brew.
A Raw Deal
For many café, their coffee ought to be their top priority but for customers that linger around for hours on end a café must consider their food options (if they so choose). However, it takes a bit more than just putting a menu and making the dish instagram-worthy.
I am not suggesting that the food is extremely bad (their desserts were brilliant) but the “umami,” the deliciousness, presented on the dish were fairly uneven. With certain parts of the dish flavourful and others bland. The price paid for said dishes were perhaps paid for the aesthetics rather than the flavours. Therefore, the food, albeit visually refined were “raw;” not by the state of its “doneness” (my salmon was cooked thoroughly) but in reference to the dish’s “completion.”
MY VERDICT SUMMARY
Coffee: Tasty. – 4/5
Food: Meh (Pretty but too overpriced for the quality) – 3/5
Customer Service: Brilliant Service (The coffee crafter & myself clicked right away) – 5/5
Décor: C’est intéressant – 4/5
Verdict: 80/100. Go for the coffee and Instagram shots.