Snitch by The Thieves, The Gardens Mall

March 24, 2019

First they stole our brunch-loving hearts in Bangsar. Now they spill the secrets of our lust for laksa, rice bowls, pho and po' boys at The Gardens: Snitch by The Thieves marks the second caper by the bandits, bakers and baristas behind Breakfast Thieves, promising not only Melbourne-inspired cafe favourites but everything from Asian comfort fare to American soul food.

While it's impossible to replicate Breakfast Thieves' glasshouse-like APW setting in Mid Valley, it's clear that Snitch isn't meant to be a copy of its elder sibling, striving instead to cultivate a character of its own with colourful, cheerful hues splashed across a warm, welcoming space that includes an alfresco area with a third-floor view overlooking the mall's boulevard.

Snitch retains Breakfast Thieves' vibrant flair for contemporary all-day breakfasts with a stylish flourish, spanning corn cakes with hummus and pineapple salsa to potato hash with beetroot citrus-cured salmon, savoury crepes with halloumi cheese to huevos rancheros with beef chorizo (available 9am-5pm).

But it also seeks to capture customers who want to keep things simpler and more straightforward, with the benefit of a relatively lower price tag, illustrated by a back-to-basics Brekkie Board (RM23; fried eggs with chipolata sausages, avocado and cheese herbed toast, balanced out with an uplifting coconut chia pudding laced with mangoes, strawberries and kiwi fruit), meat-free enthusiast's Vego Croque (RM20; a baked sandwich layered with mushrooms and asparagus, completed by a soft omelette, creme dijon cheddar and cherry tomato salsa) and the perennially popular French Toast with a seductive sophistication (RM19; with lemon curd, honey mascarpone, chocolate soil, and rose apples with cinnamon).

The selection is the most extensive from 12pm to 10pm, when the kitchen shines with more creative concoctions - we're actually more curious about the Pho-termelon, an intriguing salad twist on Vietnamese pho, comprising thin rice noodles with rare roasted sliced beef, watermelon, bean sprouts, basil, crispy leeks and crushed peanuts with Mandarin chilli dressing - as well as U.S. diner fare like Philly cheesesteaks and Southern-fried chicken burgers that should be irresistible calorie bombs.

Snitch's repertoire is bolstered by a sturdy selection of Malaysian and East Asian staples with skilled execution - curry laksa with school prawns to mee Jawa with sweet potatoes, congee with chicken kaprao and salted duck egg to wok-fried bee hoon with kam heong clams, perfect for mall crowds hunting for familiar classics that hit closer to home.

Some of these specialities bring things full circle for the Thieves brand's chef-founder Brandon, whose mother and uncle ran dim sum and dai chow stalls in his home district of Selama in Perak. Brandon spent more than a decade cooking in Melbourne before returning to Malaysia, but his mom has consistently been a culinary inspiration (the chicken hor fun on Snitch's menu serves as a tribute to her), propelling his passion to pass on his prowess to a younger generation of KL's kitchen talents.

Indeed, there is honour among these Thieves, with a feeling of family that fuels both Breakfast Thieves and Snitch, resulting in a sincere care for their ingredients (Brandon took extra effort to source for the cockles in Snitch's char kuey teow) and a sense of natural evolution for their ebullient offerings - the Black Pepper Beef Udon (RM20; luscious with an egg yolk mixed within, sharpened with sugar snap peas and ginger) originated as a staff meal crafted by senior chef Anthony at Breakfast Thieves; it proved so deliciously satisfying, there was no doubt it was enough of a people-pleaser to serve at Snitch.

Also certain to win fans are the modern brown-rice bowls, heaped with substance and nourishment, warming the spirit with the power of protein including salted egg chicken (RM20) and soy-glazed salmon (RM23).

All in all, Snitch is a well-rounded destination where every craving can be fulfilled - for that sugar fix, go wholesome with the Muesli + Granola (RM19; dark chocolate and banana bircher muesli with granola, compressed watermelons, dragonfruit and strawberries) or take a walk on the decadent side with the Waffle + Sweetness (RM16; a fluffy Belgian waffle with a pearl-sugar crunch, plus vanilla ice cream and bruleed bananas); we'd also aim next time for the ricotta hotcakes with maple mascarpone, candied walnuts and pumpkin kernels. Cranberry scones and Earl Grey madeleines beckon from the counter.

Beverages run the gamut from reviving refreshments - Tropical Iced Tea (RM14; with passionfruit and mango) and Pineapple Green Tea (RM14; with pineapple marmalade) - to frosty fun - shakes and smoothies such as Little Anne (RM16; awakening our inner child with a blend of vanilla ice cream, caramel, sea salt, and a tiny pretzel) and Granoberry (RM17; vanilla ice cream with strawberries and house-made granola) - to the caffeinated charm of hot cappuccinos (RM10) and caffe lattes (RM11).

There's one final component to the Snitch experience that - ironically - Snitch has warned us not to leak much information about: A covert sports bar, After Dark Social Club, which promises plenty of conspiratorial fun, with beer pong and private karaoke rooms, set in a backdoor location, also within The Gardens.

Arson, embezzlement, forgery, extortion, or perjury? We can't wait to see what The Thieves get up to next; thanks to the Snitch team for having us.

Snitch by The Thieves

T-225A&B, Third Floor, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur.

Daily, 9am-10pm. Tel: 03-2201-9699

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