Despite its name, there’s more to The Loaf than just bread. Tan Bee Hong checks out its a la carte menu
AS I study the menu, I am distracted by the sudden chirping of birds. Birds? In a shopping mall? Not quite. It’s recorded chirping that comes from speakers hidden in the canopy of fake trees at The Loaf in Bangsar Village 2, Kuala Lumpur.
I actually find it a refreshing change from the incessant chatter you can’t escape from in malls. At 11am, it also wakes me up... me, who walks around like a zombie before my first coffee. Yeah, that and the smell of freshly-baked bread.
You may remember The Loaf as a bakery which first opened in Telaga Harbour, Pulau Langkawi, in 2006. Since then, it has opened in KL’s Pavilion, Empire Shopping Gallery, The Mines, Great Eastern Mall and IOI Mall Puchong.
Many customers come in for freshly baked bread and pastries — to eat in or take away — made with traditional Japanese techniques and the freshest of natural and chemical-free ingredients.
And they are spoilt for choice, with four types of brioche, 21 variations of butter rolls, croissants (plain and with 12 different filling and coatings), six sweet and savoury quiches and tarts, semi-hard breads, hard breads and soft breads such as chicken onion loaf, cranberry chocolate, heavenly chocoa and marble chocolate.
If I have to choose one item, it will be the croissant. Fluffy, buttery and crisp on the outside. Bakery sous chef Johnson Lim, a former car mechanic who gave up engine grease for butter, tells me that every croissant has exactly 27 layers of pastry. Really? “Precisely. Want to count?” he asks, with a huge grin.
The croissants survive well spending a night in the bread bin too. Just give them a light toasting if you prefer croissants warm. Chocolate lovers will adore choco kiki, croissants stuffed with a whole Belgian chocolate bar.
Pastries go best with coffee. At breakfast, I prefer a hot caramel cappuccino (RM12) to awaken the senses. On a sunny afternoon, I thirst for the Loaf Cube -60C (RM11). This signature drink comprises of a glass of espresso ice cubes frozen to -60C in a special freezer. At the table, warm milk and syrup are added to slowly melt the espresso cubes. Be warned, it’s very addictive.
The Loaf has a mean a la carte menu — from salad and soup to sandwiches, pasta and meaty offerings. Soups (RM18) are served in hollowed bread bowls. Just break off the bread to dip in the soup for a hearty meal. The creamy mushroom is, surprisingly, not very creamy. Instead, you get lots of texture from the pureed mushrooms, with a hint of truffle oil. Perhaps that explains the prices charged here. The asparagus and broccoli soup has very strong flavours dominated by asparagus.
Meatloaf steak is popular, with beef (RM29), chicken (RM26) and six sauces to choose from, including brown, black pepper, Japanese curry, ponzu, tomato and tartare. But be warned, the brown sauce is beef gravy. Meatloaf steak is basically a big mince patty, grilled. You can have it with rice, sesame roll or boiled potato as well as vegetables and a sunny-side egg.
The Loaf offers Japanese chicken curry, served with rice, toast or potato. Never having had Japanese curry before, I can’t say if it’s up to standard but it’s rather tasty. I find the boiled potato a bit on the hard side, so have it with bread and rice.
RICE & PASTA
As The Loaf has Japanese origins, rice is a must on the menu. Omurice (RM24) looks like just tomato fried rice with mushroom and omelette but when eaten together, the combination has its moments. The omelette is a fluffy and creamy creation. Slice it open and you’ll find the creamy, soft, semi-cooked centre.
Pasta is always a good... no, make that an excellent choice at The Loaf. Your problem will be having to pick one as all nine choices (excluding the lasagne) vie for equal attention.
If it’s any help, the cheapest item, presto pesto (RM20) is my favourite. Adding tomato to the basil and pine nut sauce gives it an edge. Great for vegetarians too as it only has cherry tomato, zucchini and sliced button mushrooms.
The chilli prawn (RM26), with lots of prawns and a sprinkle of chilli flakes, is for crustacean lovers. The smoked salmon twist (RM28) is ordinary enough but the squid ink pasta (RM28) with squid and tomato has an indelible flavour.
The squid ink is in the sauce rather than in the pasta, so you may end with a smile as stained as Jack Sparrow’s after you wolf it all down. You’ve been warned.
You won’t find pizza but there’s panzone (RM16). Best eaten hot from the oven, this resembles a calzone or folded pizza but is not made with pizza dough. There is a choice of spinach, mushrooms and chicken ham in white sauce or in tomato sauce.
For dessert, we grab a slice of light mango nama roll and a few mini Uhu!hu! cheesecakes. (The name apparently means “female laughter” in Japanese). There are 17 flavours including new ones like pear razzle dazzle, durian obsession, refreshing longan, glitzy strawberries, trickled caramel and splendid kaya.
The Loaf @ Bangsar Village II
Ground floor, Bangsar Village II, 2 Jalan Telawi Satu, Bangsar Baru, KL. Tel 03-2282 1769. More outlets at www.theloaf.com.my
10am to 10pm daily
Breads, pastries and hot meals
Black ink pasta, mushroom soup and croissant
From RM35 to RM50 per person
Bright and breezy
Go give it a try