Perched like a secret treehouse in APW Bangsar, Craft promises a cosy, charming setting that blends inspirations from Taiwanese teahouses with Japanese sushi parlours, serving a well-executed variety of cha-based beverages and maki rolls to relish on the move.
The concrete steps that lead up to Craft have fast become one of APW Bangsar's most popular backdrops for social media images, but visitors shouldn't miss out on the equally enticing offerings within the store, founded by Hong and Jacky, two young Malaysians with years of experience in F&B production.
Craft might only be 360 square feet, but it packs plenty of well-curated temptations for tea enthusiasts.
Expect tea brewed each morning with three main bases largely influenced by Taiwanese tea culture - Spring Season is the lightest, with a clear, clean purity of flavour; Earl Grey Black Tea is floral and fragrant; while Roasted Oolong is for folks who favour strong tea with potent fermentation notes.
The tea is available in categories of Craft Cha, Milk Tea or Bubbly Cha; Niko Neko Matcha is also offered for green tea devotees. Within each category, you'll find a multitude of customisation possibilities, some relying on freshly cut fruits, some with freshly pumped-in carbonation, others with add-ons like cream cheese foam, Yakult or konjac pearls as a pleasantly wholesome substitute for boba.
Through it all, Craft's commitment to quality ingredients shines, from its use of Australian milk to organic cane sugar for its drinks, which feature no syrupy cordials and a toned-down level of sweetness.
For terrific thirst-quenchers to beat the heat, we recommend the Bubbly Cha series, which vibrantly showcases the Spring Season Tea together with fruits like passion fruit, dragon fruit, berries, lemon or kiwi fruit (RM13 each).
The Passion Season Cha is naturally nectarous with the tang of passion fruit, while the Flaming Dragon Season Cha is beautifully pulpy with smashed dragon fruit, topped with a generous garnishing of dehydrated dragon fruit for a fun flourish.
Each drink is mixed and shaken to order, so customers can be assured of reviving beverages at their prime. For the young at heart, the Earl Yakult Citrus (RM12) is a delightful treat that soothingly combines Earl Grey tea with the beloved probiotic milk drink, brightened with squeeze of lemon, for children of all ages and generations.
If you prefer your dairy drizzled over your drink, check out the Chizucciato Spring Season Cha (RM11) - the tea is crowned with the familiar foamy layer of milk but with genuine cream cheese instead of cheese powder (making it smoother and richer), infused with Himalayan rock salt for a gentle savouriness.
For fans of milk tea, skip the commercial boba brands and sip on Craft's preparations, with spoonfuls of konjac pearls, significantly higher in fibre and lower in calories than typical tapioca pearls - have them in the Roasted Oolong Cha for a lovely chew (RM11).
Beyond Taiwanese tea, Craft also offers Japanese green tea from Niko Neko, the Malaysian artisanal matcha supplier. You can enjoy this in intriguing matcha creations, with the tea chazen-whisked to order, including the Yuzu Rosemary Matcha (RM14; like a matcha mocktail, stirred to elegant perfection, harmoniously laced with rosemary and jazzed up with a dehydrated citrus fruit slice) and the Dirty Genmaicha Latte (RM14; milky with brown sugar on its rim and konjac pearls at its base).
For solid sustenance, Craft's speciality is maki with a twist - these sushi rolls are served in the shape of a burrito-style wrap, convenient to consume on the go. They also take inspiration from poke bowls, seeking to serve balanced nourishment for a complete meal of protein, carbs and fibre.
The maki is offered in several combinations of stuffings - spiced chicken with green curry aioli, for example, illustrates the Asian inflections in these concoctions.
Our favourite is the “Wei” Ni Hao (RM20), which comes closest to a Japanese eatery's sushi roll, albeit with a Thai twist - raw sashimi-grade red tuna, luscious with spicy-tangy tom yum aioli, Japanese cucumber, purple cabbage, romaine lettuce and toasted white sesame, rolled to order with firm Japanese rice in a crisp nori sheet.
If you crave a meatier bite, the Wo “Niu” B is your best bet (RM16), casting the spotlight on spiced minced beef with teriyaki sauce for a sweetish umami.
Vegetarians aren't left out, with the Chu “Yi” (RM14) furnishing a healthy filling of inari tofu pouches and kelp with wasabi aioli for an uplifting zing.
All in all, Craft is a cool addition to the APW Bangsar family, offering a fast fix of East Asian fare. Many thanks to the Craft team for having us.
APW Bangsar, Jalan Riong, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur Open Tues-Sun, 9am-8pm. Tel: 012-263-1812