Charlie's @ Taman Bukit Desa

July 20, 2015

Charlie's is a cheerfully likeable neighbourhood eatery with a social conscience, opened by Malaysian couple Sonny & Debra with a view to benefiting indigenous workers from Sabah & Sarawak as well as people who might not be able to afford a meal.

There are two components of Charlie's mission. Behind the scenes in the kitchen, the Borneo-born Sonny & Debra employ mainly folks from East Malaysia & try to use a fair bit of indigenous produce for their menu. Secondly, for customers who want to help out, a pay-it-forward sponsored-meals system is available: Give the cashier RM5, take a receipt & post it on the board; other people who come in can claim a free meal using your receipt if they're short of cash or struggling to make ends meet.

Encouragingly, it turns out that Charlie's food is easy to endorse; the curry laksa (RM8.90) comprises mee or bee hoon with chicken, shrimp & fish balls in kitchen-made curry that's thick, spicy & robust - the sort of broth you slurp to the final spoonful - & super-punchy sambal. Most of the frills-free menu is Asian, with basic nasi lemak (RM5.90), dry chicken noodles (RM7.90) & tom yum noodles (RM8.90), though there are also crispy chicken or streaky beef ciabatta sandwiches (RM9.90-RM11.90).

Home-made cakes are  worth indulging in: Now in season, Debra's Musang King Durian Cheesecake (RM15.90), creamy but not cloying, with a pleasantly mellow but distinct flavour. Alternatively, try the cheaper Durian Sponge Cake (RM9.90) or a scone with cream & strawberry jam (RM4.90), croissant with coffee caramel dip (RM6.90) or even Pisang Goreng Cheese (RM6.90). A bit of trivia: There isn't actually a Charlie here - it's simply a catchy name that sounded right to Sonny & Debra.

Charlie's Cafe @ Taman Desa
29 Jalan Bukit Desa 5, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur. Mon-Sat, 730am-930pm. Tel: 03-7988-0247 or 012-8160-003

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