Café Review: Black and White Café
Café Review: Black and White Café
Words and Photos: By Adam Jeffery
They (and by “they” I mean the Malaysians) have always told me that Malaysia doesn’t really have a rainy season. While that may be factually true, it has been raining quite frequently, or rather, almost everyday! In fact, today was no different…a gray, dreary, and rainy day. What does that mean for me? A long day in a café with some iced coffee, good reads, and being awkward as I pose in front of a semi-crowded café! Today’s café review features Black and White Café.
Black and White Café
Hours of Operation: Mon - Fri (8:00am - 6:00pm); Sat (10:00am - 3:00pm); Sun: Closed.
Mont Kiara & Plaza Mont Kiara
Black and White Café is a relatively new café that is situated in what is perhaps Mont Kiara’s first few shopping complexes. If you aren’t fully aware of the kind of demographic that populates this area then you can read about it in my last post, Café Review: Doma Korean Café. Essentially, Mont Kiara is a place where most expatriates (expats), more specifically, the Japanese and Koreans, tend to gather during their time here in Malaysia. In any case, before there was Solaris, or 1 Mont Kiara, or Publika further down, Plaza Mont Kiara, where the café is found, was the place where the hip, young, and international gathered. It may not look like much now compared to the more modern watering holes found on this mountain but it is still going strong with renewed vigour from new cafes and shops as well as traditional pasar malam (night markets) that continue its operations to this day! Perhaps I’ll show you around my neighbourhood sometime by the end of November (remind me if I forget!).
I digress. As I’ve outlined in my first post, I will review this café based on its coffee (usually tasting a cappuccino as the standard); the food accompaniment made available (note that I try to look stylish in my posts so I can’t taste everything on the menu without leaving leftovers…which I try to avoid…so, my review of its food will only take consideration of only a small selection and making bigger generalisations); customer service (unless it is something noteworthy I may not delve to deep on this criteria, if at all); and décor. Each and every one of the aforementioned criteria is subjective and may be affected by various factors including mood and my personal tastes. I’d love to hear your thoughts on them if you ever get a chance to visit. Let me know what you guys think and bon appétit!
Coffee: Iced Mocha
Coffee should be the centre of any café regardless of the theme or marketing gimmick one proposes to set for their establishments. Therefore, if the coffee is not good then the entire café is doomed to fail. Starbucks didn’t become as successful as it did without prioritizing amazing quality control on their coffee craft. My poison of choice is the cappuccino, which I will only take before lunch as per Italian etiquette, and this coffee beverage is what I use to determine whether a café should even be considered for a return visit or recommendation.
That being said, I came to the café past lunch time so I chose to try their iced mocha for this test. Black and White Café’s iced mocha came in a cute little mason jar with a handle, which is a very hipster method of serving a drink. It’s cute but nothing particularly eye-catching. The iced mocha itself was decent but nothing to shout about. The mocha was balanced between coffee:chocolate:milk ratio in that it didn’t taste like milk chocolate (lack of coffee) or an iced latte (lack of chocolate). It appeared as though the mocha was crafted using powdered chocolate or a chocolate syrup. While the end result was tasty I think using real chocolate could have elevated the drink to a greater level. My verdict: Ce n’est pas mal…it’s not bad.
Food: Chocolate Nut Waffle
In truth I also had their Chocolate cake but I ate it before I could shoot. It was a decadent cake made with layers of sponge cake, chocolate cream, and a thin layer of tart confit before being topped with a white chocolate decoration. My verdict: Umai~! It’s delicious. The interweaving layers of cake, cream, and confit was balanced but allowed for a contrast between soft and creamy as well as sweet, tart, and bitter. Thinking that I ought to try something else to photograph to go along with this review post I chose their waffle that has been drizzled with chocolate syrup and topped with what I believed to be almond flakes. As far as waffles “idea” go it’s quite a staple in WoW (you guessed it…World of Waffles) so not the most creative creation. The waffle itself was a bit dense, heavy, and chewy which could have been made fluffier by incorporating more air into the batter. As I’ve said in my introduction, I could not eat everything on the menu so this review only shows that waffles may not be their specialty. If anything, a second visit should be conducted to test their menu further. However, for now, my verdict for its Chocolate Nut Waffle is: Meh… below average.
That said, their Chocolate cake was delicious, appealing, and fitted well with the name of the store (black and white) such that I’ve decided to give their food a “Ce n’est pas mal,” it’s not bad.
Décor: Black and White
As you make your way further into Plaza Mont Kiara you will stumble upon a black shade with the name of the café in white. The café has an indoor section and an outdoor section but the outdoor area is nothing more than the café making use of its available space outside its café so they have two sets of table and chairs. The indoor café is relatively small with a number of tables that seats 2-4, a bigger table that seats 6-8, and a window side seating for 5. The individual tables are of a light yellow-brown wood surface with interchanging white and black chairs. On each table is a flask where the owner has placed some plants in. I sat at the window side seat to get the most out of the available natural light from this dreary day. What I liked most about the window-side area is that each section is somewhat separated from the other with a piece of glass that juts out from the window allowing its café-hoppers some sense of boundary and space. The window was also cutely decorated with various black and white decals in addition to hints of green that pops out.
The floors are gray polished cement; the ceiling is high, painted black, and reveals the various pipes that transports various liquids throughout the café and other parts of the building; and the walls are gray, except for one wall which was fitted with jutting light brownish stones. The stone wall gives the café a certain air of lightness, colour, and texture (making it ideal for photoshoots for the café) to what is gray and cool.
The music that fills the space is a mix of various languages from English to Chinese to Korean. The choice song is not too pop that it becomes too energetic and overbearing but it isn’t a typical jazz that is ever-present in many cafés. It is light and calming.
My verdict on the décor: Ce n’est pas mal. It’s not too bad (but it’s not good either). Why? I feel like the café could have done more to capture the essence of a “Black and White Café.” Instead of gray walls and a stone wall (which I feel to be out of place and slightly awkward) the café could have gone with a more minimalist or “white addict” approach. Perhaps, instead of having all those piececs of paper and decals as decorations it could have kept such to a bare minimum. Let the grayness of the concrete and walls envelop its customers to another space entirely. Alternatively, the café could have gone with an all-white approach and used black as accents. Many people are interested in a minimal lifestyle or all-white style of photography so why not make it the place for that? I found that it’s use of black and white chairs to be rather amusing and a let-down for a café bearing the name of “black and white.” I felt like the café could do more with its décor. Put up black and white photography, have more black and white food options (squid ink pasta or black sesame sponge cake), use black or white cups instead of its attempts at being hipster with those mason jars.
As a café operating in a region where everyone is a coffee snob/connoisseur/photographer it lacks in many aspects and none more so than it’s décor. While the overall verdict was “Ce n’est pas mal” (it wasn’t bad) it can be improved by leaps and bounds. Well, it’s adequate enough of a space for one to do work in so, if you just need a space to set up camp then try out Black and White Café. I’d love to hear your opinions on the café so do leave your comments down below.
Live Life Deliciously~
My Verdict Summary
- Coffee: Ce n’est pas mal – 3/5
- Food: Meh~ (waffle) > Ce n’est pas mal – 3/5
- Customer Service: Good – 4/5
- Décor: Ce n’est pas mal – 3/5
- Verdict:Ce n’est pas mal / It was not bad