- Fung Ying Tan Tai
Common Man Coffee Roasters, TTDI
Being a huge fan of the coffee served at Common Man Coffee Roasters in Singapore, this visit to their KL establishment was met with a ton of excitement and anticipation.
Disclaimer: I have a love/hate relationship with its branch in Singapore: I loved their ambiance, their impeccable coffee-making skills and the fact that they had a health/yoga studio right upstairs; on the other hand I wasn't a terrible fan of their price point and the fact that their food had a tendency to leave me hungry for more.
With the determination to keep a clear and unbiased mind, I arrived to their restaurant already pleased with the fact that one, parking was aplenty since they were located in a plaza instead of a standalone shop, and two, the cafe was gorgeous.
If you're a fan of that hipster vibe and looking for a place where you can take gorgeous photos (Instagram-lovers, I'm talking to you), this is the place to be.
This huge space makes its Singapore branch look tiny in comparison; their interior designer did an incredible job with its floor-to-ceiling windows, large spaces, and variety of tables for different groups of patrons.
But a restaurant is more than its looks, so let's talk about the food.
The first thing we had was the Common Man Full Breakfast (RM39, and just for your comparison the same dish is S$26 in Singapore) which featured two free-range organic eggs, beef bacon, chicken sausage, tomato confit, vegetable rosti and sauteed mushrooms. This, incidentally, is my favourite thing to eat at their Singapore branch and I was most looking forward to trying it here in KL.
So the most obvious difference to me was the fact that the KL restaurant is pork-free to cater to a wider range of customers, this meant that there were no pork-bacon or pork sausages, which was what I enjoyed the most when I had this in Singapore.
Nevertheless, the chicken sausage was not too salty and I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed it. The mushrooms and beef were lacking a bit in flavour when taken individually, but when added together, they were delicious. Ultimately it tasted a league healthier than what I was used to.
My friend, who is a huge fan of healthy eating, enjoyed this particular dish immensely. I felt that a little bit more 'fat' would go a long way, but I was not complaining either, it was a yummy selection.
Next up was the Quinoa Salad (RM25) which was more a quinoa dish than a salad, it also consisted of spinach, coriander, goat's cheese and yoghurt. It was a bit dry, but pleasant all around.
It also held the same sentiment as the Big Breakfast because it was a light, healthy dish. A favourite amongst the friends whom enjoyed consuming salad as a meal, but unfortunately not up my alley.
We also had the Turkish Common Man Breakfast (RM39), which was my favourite out of the four things we tried there.
The main attraction was the phyllo-wrapped soft-boiled eggs in the centre. Phyllo, a very thin pastry that they shredded to wrap around perfectly cooked eggs, is kind of sweet, which adds a distinctive flavour when combined with the yummy eggs.
It was also plated with pita bread and hummus, both of which I enjoyed. The deep-fried feta, while decadent, was a little too salty for my taste, but I really enjoyed everything else.
Finally, we had the Fluffy Brioche French Toast (RM27), huge pieces of extremely light and fluffy french toast deep fried and served with vanilla ice-cream, maple syrup, and a gorgeous berries compote.
The house-made compote was great in cutting through the rich and heaviness of the french toast.
Unfortunately, being the light-weight that I am, I could barely finish one piece of the toast because it was overwhelmingly heavy, so I imagine that this is a dish that has to be shared because I doubt a single person could consume the entire thing themselves.
Now, onto my favourite part of the meal: the coffee.
I ordered a flat white at the start. I understand that Common Man rotates their beans relatively often, so while I have had Common Man Singapore's coffee at least 5 times, they have never tasted the same.
That is one of the things I love about that place: I know that I would get a different experience every time. This time, my flat white was extremely light, a perfect start for new coffee drinkers I would say, but I have recently found that my tastes leaned towards more robust flavours.
Out of curiosity, we also had the Cold Brew. Honestly, not a huge fan of cold coffees in general, and for some reason, most cold brews tasted the same to me. Extremely bitter and acidic, the brew was dark and bold, and with a flavour akin to orange dark chocolate. Really strong and ready to knock your socks off, if you like this sort of thing.
Good fortune also enabled us to taste three of their filtered coffees. I had never been able to taste coffee like this side by side before, so it was an incredible treat and a great experience.
We had the YirgZero first: from Ethiopia, this specific coffee is available all year round and processed via a special mill, with almost 0% defects.
It was explained to us that the collected beans are hand-sifted through 3-4 times to remove any that had any form of imperfections to create this cup. It was slightly acidic, but mostly sweet, and was described to us as "wild and clean". which was quite apt.
Next we tried the Popayan from Columbia. Fully washed to increase its acidity, this is a seasonal bean that only is harvested once a month. Tropical and sweet, the Popayan packed a punch. Probably the strongest and sharpest tasting of the lot, I would recommend these for you dark-coffee, dark-chocolate lovers.
Last, but definitely not least, we tried the 'Uncommon Beans' from Nkonge Hill, Burundi. These beans came with a sad, but inspiring story.
Due to civil war and an infestation of the crops, Burundi, whose economy relied greatly on coffee exportation, fell into an economic depression.
Common Man started a cooperation effort with one of the farms in Nkonge, and was successful in procuring edible beans.
I am unsure if it was the story, or it just being great coffee, but I was absolutely hooked. It produced a soft and pleasant consistency with a flavour that approaches unexpectedly. I liken this coffee to "a soft hug", and it is probably the best coffee I've ever had.
Sadly, Common Man is running out of these particular beans and will not be able to stock up for a while, so if you're going there anytime soon, try them before they're gone!
Ultimately, I enjoyed my time a great deal at Common Man, and we were even treated to a mini-session in their academy room where they hold regular cupping classes.
The baristas and servers were kind, lovely and extremely friendly plus the general vibe of the location screamed "productive". I still believe they have some room to grow and figure things out but sooner or later, I expect to find them packed to the brim with regulars.
Most definitely looking forward to having some of their coffee again soon.
Common Man Coffee Roasters
1, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur,
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Open daily from 7:30AM - 6PM
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