LA/PA @ Telawi, Bangsar

January 1, 2015

Bangsar's New Year baby springs into action this week, showing great potential to grow into something special. LA/PA - a catchy play on 'lapar,' the Malay word for 'hungry' - is a spin-off from the vibrant people who brought us Taman Tun's Quar/Tet; we think LA/PA will easily equal the success of its big brother.

Photographers will find a lot to like about LA/PA - the folks of FRAL Design Studio have crafted a cheerful-looking & comfortable venue that Telawi's crowds will flock to, with fun flourishes that include a secret passage to the restrooms. Plus, with the Quar/Tet team's tuneful background, good music is guaranteed, with Future Islands playing on opening morning.

LA/PA's trump card is ultimately its tantalising menu, more ambitious than Quar/Tet's, more Telawi than TTDI, with imaginative recipes that will intrigue even the Klang Valley's most jaded cafe visitors. There's no French toast in KL quite like this one, featuring LA/PA's own-made dark rye loaf seasoned with Herbes de Provence, garnished with kale-&-basil pesto & feta for a more savoury-than-sweet preparation with thoughtfully balanced nuances (RM19.90 nett).

LA/PA is big on brunch: Duck eggs are baked to an ultra-rich creaminess, laced with Aussie spinach & paprika, flavoured with garlic sauce (a nice change from the tomato-tangy baked eggs at most cafes). RM21.

LA/PA's oven-baked rosti is well-executed; it tastes freshly prepared, with a good crisp & not too much grease, accompanied by a perfectly runny sunny-side-up & herb-tinged sour cream. But the so-so smoked salmon could probably be substituted with some other meat or fish to make this more memorable. RM25.

This one's a should-order: Buttermilk pancakes (as fabulously fluffy as promised on the menu), beautifully textured with a grainy-fruity, mellow compote of quinoa & spiced orange, plus vanilla bean whipped cream for a lovely counterpoint. RM19.90. Note however that the kitchen might stop serving breakfast items later in the afternoon.

A wholesome spirit of experimentation streaks through LA/PA's selection, seeking the equilibrium between full-blown flavours & full-fledged nutritional value. A respectable result: This burger with a creamy quinoa-&-bean patty, lavishly crowned with avocados & crunchy-cool cucumber raita in sesame seed brioche, partnered with plenty of potato & sweet potato fries. RM25.

We'd probably skip the lamb sliders though (RM35); nothing really wrong with them, but we have a hunch that several other items that will be added to the menu soon - such as a roasted quail pasta & a goat's cheese tart - stand a stronger chance of leaving a lasting impression.

Pumpkin pie is such a rarity in KL that it's worth ordering one whenever you spot it; LA/PA's interpretation is very lightly spiced, with a more subtle, somewhat repressed pumpkin flavour, worth sampling nonetheless for its soft creaminess. RM7; note that if you're reading this on Jan. 1, LA/PA's offering a 20% discount off food & drinks today.

LA/PA takes its drinks as seriously as its food; cold-pressed juices, bottled daily, are available (the 'Fat Buster,' with orange, grapefruit, wild honey, lemon & lime clocks in at RM17), as are surprisingly satisfying flat whites (RM10.50), plus milkshakes topped with the likes of roasted peanuts & coffee beans (RM16; unavailable when we visited).

LA PA: Your Neighbourhood Supply @ Bangsar
15, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 8am-11pm. Tel: 03-2201-4395

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