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Thursday, 18 April 2019

Little Wonders by That Latte Place @ Subang Jaya

This cafe is quite the nomad, I tell you.  Let me give you the rundown.  It all started from a quaint little outdoor garden cafe in 2012 called That Latte Place @ Persiaran Ritchie, Ampang.

My first introduction to them was through their second outlet, Map's @ Bandar Sunway in 2014.  We loved the food and became instant fans...and that, of course, led to a couple more visits.  

And that led to the opening of their third cafe, Tulip by That Latte Place @ Sunway Pyramid in 2015 with a very porky menu.  We followed them there even though the place was a bit far out for us.

In the meantime, That Latte Place uprooted from Persiaran Ritchie and moved to Ikon Connaught, Cheras, in 2014.  Being a fan of Map's, we couldn't be happier than to have one conveniently located nearer to where we stay.  That led to more visits though we weren't thrilled initially that they took pork off the menu (in our earlier visits) but was happy when they decided to reinstate it back to their menu (in our later visits).

And then That Latte Place in Ikon Connaught closed in June 2017 and they relocated back to the Ampang area in Lorong Nibong (behind Hock Choon) about 6 months later.

Three months later, Tulip by That Latte Place also closed permanently in 2017.

Some time in 2017, Map's was renamed (or rebranded) to The Coffee & Bar (not sure if it was still under the same management) but they finally called it a day too in 2018.

I thought of visiting That Latte Place @ Nibong Tebal since the place was near me but wasn't in a rush to do so when I found out that they decided to make this one pork-free as well.  When we finally got round to visiting, we realised that they had already called it quits at the end of December 2018 (after just a year of operation at this site).

And that was what brought us to Little Wonders by That Latte Place @ Subang Jaya, the fourth cafe of their creation and sixth in terms of location, one Sunday morning.  First impression when I got there was that the street (where the cafe is located) seems rather deserted.  You have to look out for a blueish building as there is no signboard of the cafe's name (they're now partnering with a ballet & fitness school by the name Dancer's Dream Academy, so that should be the name you should look out for).

Walking in, the place will have a sense of deja vu to those of us who have frequented one of their cafes before as the furniture and decor will look familiar (with recycled fixtures and fittings from their past cafes). Just take a look at their rather familiar coffee machine which have travelled with them from place to place. And, as usual, there is always a corner for the little ones.

Looking at the menu, they seem to have retained some menu items from their days in Nibong Tebal.  Going through the menu in detail, I couldn't help but notice that they seem to have gone the healthy concept route this time with words like multigrain brown rice, chicken breast, sweet potatoes instead of potatoes, mash instead of fries, yogurt, etc. jumping at me.

So, let's start with the Big Breakfast Plate @ RM18 with sunny side up eggs, chicken tenders, sweet potato wedges, pumpkin chunks, toast and side salad.  The chicken tenders weren't really chicken tenders, they looked more like slices of chicken breast and were dry.

But the most glaring thing was that every single item tasted bland.  I mean I know that the sweet potato and pumpkin were obviously baked to keep with the healthy eating concept...but surely you can at least season them with salt and black pepper, right? :P

I had the Hearty Pan-Seared Sea Bass @ RM24 with green pea puree, marinara sauce, sweet potato mash and garlic toast.  I'm not sure why the sea bass was served skin side down which didn't do it any favours in terms of visual presentation.

I decided to flip the fish over just to see if it had a crispy skin.  The skin was slightly crispy but just around the edges.  Luckily, the fish was quite fresh and although I did see some dried herbs sprinkled on the fish, it was screaming for some salt! >.<

The sweet potato mash was alright but, again, it needed salt.  The pea puree was a little grainy and had a green taste to it.  Perhaps it needed some butter and cream...and it was also pretty much underseasoned.

The tastiest thing on the plate was perhaps the toast (!)...at least they were well buttered and toasted to a crisp.  Luckily, there were salt and pepper shakers available (which my husband brought to our table) and we were literally sprinkling them all over our food.

The final dish we ordered was the Spicy Aglio Olio with Chicken Tenders @ RM17 (a pulled beef variation is also available) with poached egg, chicken tenders, mushrooms and chilli flakes.

As you can see, the poached egg was overcooked and the chicken tenders were like the first dish, tasteless and dry.  If this is supposed to be a spicy aglio-olio, where the heck are the chilli flakes? >_<

The only thing that has stayed constant are their coffees like this Iced Milk Coffee @ RM11 from the days in their earlier cafes as their trusted coffee machine has travelled with them to every place they've been.  Free and self-serve water is available too.

My Personal Opinion

I appreciate that they want to go the healthy route but there's no shortcut to making healthy food tasty, you need to build layers of flavour, either through seasoning, marination, sauces or cooking method...and it didn't happen here.  We got plates of insipid food instead.

If you don't mind bland food (with hardly any oil or basic seasoning like salt and black pepper) that's healthy, perhaps this could be an option you.  For me, the things that first endeared me to them were their juicy porkballs in brown gravy...and bacon, but (sadly) this is far from what they offer now.  I wouldn't mind coming for a cup of coffee if I live nearby but I don't.

After 4 cafes and 6 destinations from That Latte Place (once in Cheras and twice in Ampang) to Map's to Tulip by That Latte Place and now Little Wonders by That Latte Place, I'm thinking we've come to our journey's end (at least on my part).  I'm wondering if there's going to be another destination...I think there will be....and maybe they should call it The Nomad Cafe by That Latte Place...hihihi!  They need to rediscover their form...and I wish them well. ^_~

Little Wonders by That Latte Place
No 51 Jalan SS18/6
Subang Jaya
47500 Petaling Jaya
Selangor
Tel: 016-850 3546

12 comments:

  1. I am truly amazed by your elephant's memory to remember all the details of dates and locations! Or did your secretary jot down the history in a diary? Just kidding!

    I would not enjoy such meals when they serve them too bland and minus salt. They could be probably amateur chefs who are not long with culinary skills.

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    1. You don't need an elephant's memory...just check their FB postings and you'll be able to piece together the dates & locations...haha! ;) And they can't be amateur cooks since they have (at one time) a few cafes under their belt. ^_*

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  2. your history of that latte place is very comprehensive! :) but gosh, we might have missed each other by several days, since i was here earlier this month. and our experiences were completely different! i only ordered two dishes - the herb chicken and the poached eggs with yogurt - and enjoyed both of them! i wonder if the kitchen might have been staffed by a less experienced person when you were there, or whether something else happened - cos the food i had was really well-prepared and flavoursome. hopefully they stabilise this soon :)

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    1. Oh, I'm glad you had a different (and positive) experience. We did order different things though, so perhaps there were some hits and misses in the menu? The herb chicken dish is slow-cooked, that means it was probably cooked by one person all at once, so I can understand that the taste will stay the same.

      As to whether my food was cooked by a less experienced person...well, it was cooked by the husband of the husband-and-wife team (I did see one other guy in the kitchen that day though).

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  3. It's a pity that the food was uninspiring. I'm all for healthy food but taste must not be compromised. Bland food is not for me, that's for sure hee..hee... They didn't stay in one place for long and kept moving. It gives me the impression that they didn't have a good following (or due to other factors) and also maybe due to change of management/ownership hence change in food choices/quality.

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    1. Initially, that's what I thought too...a change in ownership/management but then I spotted the owner, one half of the husband-and-wife team! :P Moving from place to place certainly don't bode well for them as it leaves the exact kind of impression that you got. ^_~

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  4. You have sure been a loyal customer of theirs.. I understand how it feels when you get served bad food though. Must have been so disappointing.

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    1. I really don't know understand why they changed from what made them good previously to where they're at now.

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  5. I never been any of them, but I've read really good reviews when they was at Ampang. I think the kitchen run out of salt that day, so you are the unlucky customer who had to had their bland food before they replenish their salt supply, LOL

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    1. They also ran out of black pepper? LOL! I think their Ampang Hilir and Map's stints were their best years.

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  6. I've actually been to their ampang hilir branch back in the years! http://kyspeaks.com/2013/05/27/ky-eats-that-latte-place-ampang-hilir/

    Used to love their benedict, wonder if they still have it.

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    1. Yes, their egg ben is still on the menu...but served with chicken breast now. :P Ya, I read great reviews when they first started in Ampang Hilir which led me to them. Coffees are still good though. Back then, there was less competition of course.

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