Roast & Grind @ Section 16, Petaling Jaya

May 5, 2014

One of PJ's next hit cafes could be Roast & Grind, run by a brother-&-sister team & their partners on a backstreet where parking's still a breeze, particularly on weekends.

Roast & Grind ranks among the most casual-looking of the Klang Valley's new wave of caffeine bars, though every piece of furnishing here was meticulously hand-picked & sometimes repainted or refashioned. Its retro touches _ a refreshing break from the industrial-style trend _ make this Labour Day 2014 baby look like it has belonged in this neighbourhood for many years.

The cafe's core siblings, Shah & Hidayah, belong to a family that's been in the caffeine business since the 1950s; their grandfather started the Hang Tuah coffee brand in Penang. Roast & Grind serves both old-school Malaysian coffee as well as the speciality blends that contemporary customers demand (Shah roasts the beans on-site).

Roast & Grind's selection showcases satisfactory sandwiches in a nod to Hidayah's culinary training at the Novotel Toulouse. 'Le Boeuf' comprises chunky-tender beef tenderloin slices in BBQ sauce, topped with buffalo mozzarella, rocket leaves & dijon mustard in toasty sourdough bread (RM16.70).

'Le Poulet' (RM14.60), a wholesome-tasting mix of grilled chicken with chilli flakes, hard-boiled egg, mayo & coral salad.

Nutella lovers will go nuts for this deconstructed toastie, with panini bread, banana slices & crushed peanuts partnered with a lavish serving of the beloved hazelnut chocolate spread. RM9.50.

Some of Roast & Grind's cakes are baked by Hidayah, though our best bet was this one by one of her friends: A remarkable salted caramel cake, ravishingly moist & irreproachable in its balance of flavours. Excellent.

Kopi-O, alongside a latte made from Roast & Grind's house blend of Colombian & Sumatran beans. Both definitely drinkable, but not necessarily attention-grabbing (nor do they need to be, really).

Roast & Grind is concealed on a peaceful row off the intersection of Jalan Universiti & Jalan Dato Abu Bakar, less than a five-minute drive from other coffee hangouts like Butter + Beans & Artisan Roast. Impossible to spot from the main roads, it was still mostly empty when we visited, but expect more curious customers to flock here soon.

Roast & Grind opens Tuesdays through Sundays, 10am till fairly late at night (but sandwiches are only offered through 5pm).

Roast & Grind
6, Lorong Universiti B, Section 16, Petaling Jaya

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