Aku Cafe Gallery & Moontree House @ Panggung

July 22, 2013

One KL backstreet is now the unlikely home of two cafes worth sniffing out for coffee hounds; lets start with Aku, a soothing sanctuary for stressed-out souls.

This hidden hideouts not exactly a hipster hangout: Aku exudes Chinatown charm, reflected by its blast-from-the-past furnishings. This isnt a cafe that could have existed in the 1980s, but its historical inspirations lie in plain sight. Rocking horses rule.

Akus in its soft-opening phase, so the menus limited; were fans of the cafes signature cake, meant to pair perfectly with coffee. A buttery treat with walnuts & chocolate chips. RM5.90 only.

Love how the coffees served here. Looks deceive: its siphon coffee, not our grandfathers kopi. Hand-picked Sumatran Gold Top Mandheling (RM12), robustly nuanced.

Other highlights: Hainan toasts, cucumber sandwiches, chocolate brownies & yogurt cheesecakes, for enjoying with ice-drip coffee, Earl Grey tea & orange-ginger-mint juice.

Aku Cafe doubles as an art gallery; later this week, itll screen a Tsai Ming-liang movie, with the Malaysian-born director potentially present, if current plans work out.
Update: Here are the film screening times. Colorless on Sept. 7, 6pm, Love is Everywhere on Sept. 14, 6pm, Hole on Sept. 21, 6pm, & Face on Sept. 28, 6pm. Admission is free, call the cafe for more details.

Aku Cafe is owned by the folks who also operate Old China Cafe (only a one-minute walk away) as well as Central Markets Precious Old China.

Aku Cafe opens 11am-8pm, except Mondays. Wonderfully serene on a Wednesday evening.

Next door to Aku, check out Moontree House, which serves a respectable range of food & coffee.

Moontree House has sometimes been described as a "feminists book cafe," reflecting the sensibilities of its owner, whos a writer & poet.

Not interested in browsing through mainly Chinese-language publications on gender studies? Homemade "zakka" goods _ puppets, bags & assorted accessories _ created by Malaysian female artists are also available for purchase here.

Intriguing snacks here include otak-otak with handmade mantau steamed buns (RM14).

Tiramisu & lots of fresh cookies will help satisfy the need for sweetness.

Moontree takes its coffee seriously too, offering siphon & ice-drip varieties.

The signature blend (RM14) is a combination of Malaysian Liberica & Indonesian beans from central Javanese highlands produced by small-holder growers.

Sumatran Mandheling ice-drip, ideal for countering scorching-hot climates.

Do take a hike: Open-air parking lots nearby boast building walls with enthralling artwork.

Aku Cafe & Gallery,
8, 1st Floor, Jalan Panggung, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2857-6887

Moontree House,
6, 1st Floor, Jalan Panggung, Kuala Lumpur.
Open 10am-8pm, except Tuesdays.
Tel: 03-2031-0537

Aku Cafe & Gallery,
8, 1st Floor, Jalan Panggong, Kuala Lumpur. Somewhat near Petaling Street.
Tel: 03-2857-6887

Moontree House,
6, 1st Floor, Jalan Panggong, Kuala Lumpur.
Open 10am-8pm, except Tuesdays.
Tel: 03-2031-0537