Many cafés have taken over former businesses, but we take a look at these few places where they’ve revamped (or gentrified) interesting, previous premises of commerce into du jour eateries for all to regale upon over a cup of coffee or a homely dish.
OLD CHINA CAFÉ
This café is one of the most known places for tourists or locals alike who want a taste of nostalgia, be it in the cuisine or the ambience of the place. Formerly the guildhall of the Selangor & Federal Territory Laundry Association, the owners of the Old China Café have made it a point to retain as much of the original furnishings in order to pay respect to the early Chinese migrants who came to the capital during the boom of the tin mining industry. Aside from its immense history, the café serves Nyonya cuisine that inclines towards the spicier end of the taste spectrum. Their beef rendang has been lauded by plenty of publications and bloggers, as well as the curry dishes; fish head or devil’s chicken curry. It would not be a Nyonya restaurant if it did not serve classics like pie tee, kapitan chicken, and telur cincalok.
11, Jalan Balai Polis, Kuala Lumpur.
Open: 11.30am – 10pm
T: 03 2072 5915
Feed your bodily motors
Now, who hasn’t heard or been to Garage 51? Even JUICE covered it before at one point. A venture by Coffee Société, the café has stood strong for a few years while other similar businesses have expired. The name of the café is quite self-explanatory, it was indeed a car repair garage in an area of Sunway that is the one-stop destination for one’s vehicle TLC needs. Another fun fact about the café is that they still pay rent to Kaki Motor. But moving along, there’s seemingly no moment when each table in the premise isn’t occupied. The café has a modified container as a kitchen and a few converted oil barrels as sofas or as cake displays. The coffee menu is great there, but the food menu is decadent to say the least. For instance, the Awesome Garage Breakfast that is a towering dish made of bagel-baked macaroni, smoked chicken, hash brown, and a free-range poached egg drenched in hollandaise. If you manage to stuff it all down, you’d be waddling out of the café.
51, Jalan PJS 11/9, Bandar Sunway, Kuala Lumpur.
Open: 11am- 11pm
T: 03 5612 5618
Situated in Chinatown, Einstein Café is yet another hidden café that’s located above an optical shop and can be identified by a red door leading to the café upstairs. The café was the warehouse for the optical shop below and in its current state, the café not only offers the standard menu of food and coffee, but it also doubles as a math tuition centre. The café has an attractive interior, with its cracked walls and wooden bar top. The owner, who is a math tutor himself, shares not only a passion for arithmetic like Einstein, he practises the same vegetarian diet as the famed physicist as well. Therefore, the menu at the café follows suit. One of their well-known dishes is the Four Season Pizza, which is topped with the usual array of veg as well as some mock meat.
58, Jalan Sultan, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Open: 10.30am – 9.30pm
T: 012 683 0710