Ian and I love our weekend breakfasts – especially when you can buy ‘real’ bacon, which sadly, I don’t believe you can here. Sure, you can buy stuff that looks like bacon but frankly it does not cut the mustard. So, usually, we enjoy poached eggs on toast, with coffee and fresh juice on the balcony. If only we could have popped out for The Times it would almost be perfect.
But often we decide to treat ourselves and go out for breakfast. Over the last few months, desperate to refind the flaky pastry breakfasts we used to enjoy at Gerard’s in Dubai, or the baguette and jam petits-déjeuners of France we’ve tried a few so-called bakeries and so far been mightily disappointed. What is it with The Loaf that their egg on toast has to be served square and on pappy sweet crustless white? Why does their cappuccino have to be worse than vending machine muck? And why oh why do they really charge us about a tenner for two pastries and a rubbish coffee?
Then, occasionally we remember… there is no point trying to recreate the tastes of Europe when there are perfectly fine local options not only available but fanbloodytastically yummy and dirt cheap.
This Saturday was one of those days. We’d heard how good Devi’s Corner in Bangsar was supposed to be and headed over there for their roti canai. One of my Facebook friends had declared it the Malaysian heroin only that week and I think she may have a point. You probably only need to try it once to be hooked. Okay, so it is fried in oil and is made with sugar, flour, egg and condensed milk and its texture is reminiscent of puff pastry that’s refused to puff up in the oven and has collapsed into the top of your steak pie. But trust me, torn up with your fingers and dipped into your dahl and it is delectable. Better still, over here it costs MYR 1.50 tops, which is less than 20p. Throw in a cup of ginger tea or a fresh juice and the bill for both of us, with Ian extravagantly asking for an egg to be added to his roti, cost us about MYR 7.50 in total. Would you choose to go to The Loaf or Devi’s?
After a breakfast so delicious we were still eulogising and full up six hours later, we decided to visit a posh coffee shop for a cappuccino to finish off. We picked up a baguette on the way from a café-cum-breadshop we’d had recommended by a French friend (so it had to be good, right?). We decided to try Coffea Coffee and were much impressed by the retro furniture and the charming chap behind the counter. We could even choose our type of bean. However, our coffees, beautifully decorated with pretty hearts were declared ‘too milky’ by Ian and we paid four times what we’d paid for breakfast with drinks at Devi’s.
Now there are folk out there who dare not venture into the shabby-looking eateries where the tables are formica-topped, the plates made of plastic and the fly-away serviettes flimsier than a single-ply tissue, but not us. Over the 18 months we have been here we have discovered that hawker food is usually the tastiest and always the cheapest. We have also discovered that the posher the decor, the worse the food.
Buoyed by our Saturday breakfast and aware that it was cheaper to eat out than to cook and there’d be no washing up, we headed out for dinner on Sunday too. We decided to try Fierce Curry House, on Jalan Kemujah. There were expats seated outside while inside, near the welcome fans and a/c, were tables filled with Indians. The round tables were made of wood, the shiny concrete floor was on trend, colourful Indian artwork on blockboard and mirrors adorned the walls and jazz played on the sound system. We thought we’d hit gold, especially as Fierce has won best Indian in KL two years in a row in the Time Out KL Food Awards. Lured by the promise of a vegetarian thali for MYR 10 we sat down. Only, then we succumbed to the chicken biryani-cum-banana leaf option and ended up paying more than twice that. Frankly, despite the award status, it wasn’t anything to blog about. Maybe we picked the wrong thing? With two mango lassis our bill was over £10 for the two of us.
We caught a taxi home and our driver, Indian, quizzed us on how our food had been at Fierce.
We told him. And the price.
He shook his head. “Little pricey,” he said, frowning.
I guess we had just gone that little bit too posh.
I would not be surprised if, next week, you find us back at Devi’s.
By the way, that baguette was excellent!