As we entered this cosy cafe on a bright sunny day, somehow we had a hunch that we were in for a treat. The owners of the establishment, Zaki and his wife, Kuan Ling greeted us as if we were entering into their home.
What first caught our attention was the artwork displayed throughout the cafe and the intricate illustration of the menu which was produced by Zaki. The couple who used to be from the banking sector entered into the F&B business with vigour and passion with hopes to produce the best combination of flavours from their childhood memories and Thai influences. The new menu is a reflection of Kuan Ling’s personality and the love that has been put into the food is ever so evident.
We started with theThai Larb Khai (RM10.00),which is a thai salad with minced chicken. One of Kuan Ling’s food philosophies is to treat the produce with respect. The Nam Cheng sauce that accompanied the dish was made out of green chilies and lemongrass freshly crafted straight out of the Prep Room.
We moved on to the Coconut Crunch Shrimp (RM15.00). The prawns were very fresh and had an interesting twist to it, as the batter was made out of desiccated coconut.
Now this main course,Budoshu (RM19.50) was one of the "stand out" dishes for us. The blue Japanese rice was cooked with blue peaberry flowers and a hint of vinegar which was inspired by Kuan Ling’s grandmother’s garden when she used to play “masak-masak” during her childhood days. The fresh tomatoes cooked in the cream brought the dish to another level with the accompaniment of the empeng crackers.
The next dish we tried was Spicy Thai Spaghetti (RM18.50), which was inspired from a dish in Bangkok where the locals there call it drunken spaghetti, as the spiciness of the dish is assumed to make one drunk. This was among one of our favourite dishes!
If you pop by the Prep Room at any time of the day, the All Day Brekkie (RM22.50) is available to order, which we think is absolutely divine. It comes with a generous portion of homemade lobak, which is a recipe passed down from Kuan Ling’s mom. It was the comfort food she grew up when she lived in Penang.
This ties in with the Prep Room’s exquisite omelette that has “cha omm” -- a Thai vegetable -- tossed into the fluffy egg that melts in your mouth. Truly a match made in heaven, not forgetting the homemade whole meal bread and the stuffed capsicum.
We dug right into the Rajdamri Pasta (RM19.50). It is a linguine-based pasta tossed with Australian minced beef and seafood. There are hints of daun lima perut and serai topped with buah pala (nutmeg) which gives this dish an edge.
Moving on to desserts, we started with the Nut-coholic (RM17.00). The peanut butter which is made in the Prep Room forms the base of this dessert. On top of that layer, you'd get a huge hit of raisins that has been soaked in rum for 100 days with the cream cheese.
If you love savoury desserts, then this dish is certainly for you!
We ended our meal with the Yeasted Waffle (RM15.00). One thing special about this delicious crunchy waffle is that the yeast has been fermented for at least five hours. It goes perfectly with the ice cream and homemade peanut butter that comes as a surprise once you dig into the middle of the waffle.
Not only does the Prep Room serve up amazing dishes but what makes this place special is that every sauce and key ingredient here is made from scratch and the produce is sourced from the local markets.
There is absolutely no MSG in the food and the marriage between the Peranakan Penang flavours and Thai influences are ever so evident in the menu. They also serve up amazing coffee with homemade toffee and caramel sauce.
This space is also available to book out for events and birthdays with a customised menu available upon request. Zaki and Kuan Ling will certainly go far with their warm personalities, understanding the key fundamentals of food and constantly wanting to improve and learn new techniques.