TOKB Cafe, Centella Kitchen & Ann Nyeong Kerry Florist Cafe

May 30, 2016

It's not easy to write about TOKB - on one hand, we believe its founders have pure intentions, striving to create a place that reflects on the lessons of World War II & honours the memory of those who suffered, fought or lost their lives. But for now, those themes seem lost in a hodgepodge of wartime relics & replicas that teeter perilously close to exploitative gimmickry.

The menu spotlights flavours from Kelantan state (TOKB stands for Taste Of Kota Bharu, Kelantan's capital), with northeastern recipes like laksam (RM13.90) & nasi tumpang with serunding daging, ikan tongkol & ayam goreng (RM15.90) sourced from a woman who's cooked for three decades in Kelantan (the WWII connection lies in how Japan's invasion of Malaya began in Kota Bharu). The food on its own is inoffensive, though the signature drink, a frothy teh tarik with honey, left us disquieted - it may be inadvertent, but the beverage's name, 'Teh Atom,' feels unmindful of the grievousness of August 1945's atomic destruction. Plus, the cafe's huge portrait of soldiers from all sides happily sharing a feast of nasi kerabu in the jungle while attack planes soar overhead strikes too much of a false note, even if its motives may be noble. But we wish TOKB's friendly founders the best, & we hope their initiative will evolve to leave a positive impact by reminding us to value historical truths.

Avenue D'Vogue, 3A, Jalan 13/2, Section 13, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 
Currently open 12pm-9pm, Wed-Mon; will extend hours to include breakfast & supper eventually.

Green is good - Centella Kitchen's most intriguing temptations comprise fusion recipes with leafy hues: A Caesar salad bolstered by the crunch of Malaysian winged beans, or kacang botol (RM9); fettuccine infused with the restaurant's herbaceous namesake - centella, pegaga, or Asiatic pennywort - & tossed with pieces of chicken satay in a mildly garlicky sauce (RM16.90); & fruit mocktails, also tinged with centella extract (RM10.90). Respectable flavours for a satisfactory lunch.

Centella Kitchen @ Damansara Uptown
3 Jalan SS21/56b, Damansara Utama, Selangor. Daily, 11am-10pm.

Have a hot lunch of kimchi rice with fried egg (RM15.90) & topokki with hard-boiled egg (RM11.90), washed down with honey ginger tea & honey red ginseng juice, before picking up a bouquet for your nearest & dearest at this florist shop that doubles as a Korean cafe.

Ann Nyeong Kerry Florist Cafe
Ground Floor, The Vertical Podium, Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur. Open 730am-730pm weekdays.

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