Monday, 4 January 2016

Quest?on Mark Cafe @ Pandan Indah

It's the dawn of a new year.....2016...and the start of another 365 pages of a blogger's page book waiting to be written.  So, let me begin with the first page of my 365-page book! ;)

I noticed a newly opened cafe, Quest?on Mark Café @ Pandan Indah during my usual rounds for dinner one evening.  A check on their Facebook Page mentioned that it was opened on 2 November 2015 and that would make it barely 2 weeks old on my first visit (and I've been back a couple more times since then).

It's a pretty small (but cosy enough) café with a small alfresco dining area by the side of the restaurant.  Browsing through the menu, you'd come across dishes and drinks marked with (?) which denotes their specials and recommendations.

The Truffle Fries @ RM11.90 arrived piping hot sprinkled with chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese which I'm not that fond of (I actually wanted to order some other fries but ended up ordering this by mistake).  There was only a very faint hint of the black truffle dressing, so it tasted just like any other fries though the fries were nicely fried and crisp.

On another occasion, I managed to order the fries I wanted, the Mentaiko Fries @ RM10.90.  It was fries topped with a drizzle of mentai and shredded seaweed and served with a spiced aioli....nice!

The Truffle Mushroom Soup @ RM12.90 was a homemade mushroom soup cooked with Italian black truffle, whipping cream and truffle oil.  It was served with a soft and fluffy baked bread.  The mushroom soup was creamy, smooth (not chunky) and full of mushroom flavour.  I liked that the consistency was somewhere between thick and thin.  Would gladly order this again.

The Seafood Aglio Olio @ RM18.90 came with grilled prawns (three fairly large ones), squid (generous amounts) tossed with sliced garlic and chilli flakes.  We requested for an add-on beef bacon @ RM4 which was worth it as the slice of beef bacon was huge.  The squid was fresh and tender but the prawns were overly crunchy.  The menu says 'grilled' but the seafood looked (and tasted) sautéed than grilled actually.

Though the seafood was acceptable, the pasta wasn' was overcooked and no where near al dente + it could do with less olive oil at the bottom of the plate.

The Prawn Pesto Pasta @ RM19.90 featured four huge marinated prawns and they had that same crunchy texture that I'm not so fond of and the prawns seemed to lack that natural sweetness.

The overcooked spaghetti on this plate was even softer than the previous one.  The homemade pesto sauce, on the other hand, was well made and tasted decent with the sun-dried tomatoes.  But, yet again, the pasta dish was oily.  Yeah, I's olive oil but too much is still cloying.

[#Tip: Initially, I thought they didn't get the doneness of the pasta right but later realised that the pasta was deliberately cooked to this texture as the predominantly Chinese crowd in this residential area preferred it that way, I was told.  But, I beg to differ...they should maintain the classic (and actual) way of cooking the pasta to al dente and those who want them cooked beyond al dente should specify their preference (and not the other way round) in my opinion.  So, do take note of this and remember to ask for your pasta done al dente if you like it that way...I know I do!] 

For my order of Mentaiko Pasta @ RM14.90 this time round, I remembered to specifically ask them to cook it to al dente and it was so much better.  I was expecting the pasta to be lightly tossed with some mentai sauce but this was more of a cream (+ maybe cheese?) sauce (with some mentaiko stirred in).  It was overly thick but the addition of spicy cod roe, crispy tempura bits and shredded seaweed was a nice touch and gave it a bit of a crunch.

I don't think I've come across mentaiko pasta on menus, so kudos to them for having this unique dish.  They have to learn that less is more though and what we need is for the sauce to just coat the pasta, not drown it!  In the end, it proved too cloying to finish.  I'd recommend that you stay clear of this one :(

This was the Salmon Rice Burger @ RM20.90, one of their dishes marked with (?), which featured salmon sashimi, tomato and lettuce in between two patties of rice, wrapped in Japanese seaweed, served with their homemade hot sauce and a side of fries.

The sticky, sweet rice tasted like any sushi rice and, together with the homemade sauce that tasted like spiced mayo, the overall taste is like eating salmon sushi...only loads bigger! ;D

The Fish & Chips @ RM21.90 with (frozen) dory fish and a crunchy batter served with crisp fries...a dish that you can order for your kids, I suppose.

I also managed to try one of their recommended breakfast options, the QM Breakfast @ RM23.90 which is their version of Big Breakfast with two eggs of your choice (sunny side-up, poached or scrambled), sausage, bacon (chicken or beef), grilled tomato, sautéed mushrooms, hash brown and baked beans (clearly from a can) served with a side salad and bread.

Well, there's nothing much you can fault with the QM Breakfast (served all-day) as it had everything you'd want in a hearty breakfast platter, though most of them were the usual run-of-the-mill processed items you'd find in some cafes. 

The poached eggs, sitting on top of two slices of multigrain bread, were cooked just right with an oozy centre.  The side salad, with slivers of almond, was dressed with balsamic vinegar.

Or you can also have the QM Breakfast with a choice of beef bacon and sunny side-up eggs at the same price.

I was surprised to find the coffees here priced similarly with those in more affluent areas (like Mont Kiara and Damansara), so I'm going to be equally critical (just because of the prices).

The Iced Café Latte @ RM12 was just passable as the coffee taste seemed more diluted and on the mild side + it wasn't a very big glass for the price.

The Hot Cappuccino @ RM11 fared much better.

Iced Honey Lemon Tea @ RM9 (watered down and bland)
Orange Juice @ RM7 (from a bottle)
Lime Juice @ RM7 (there was a hint of bitterness)

They offer a few desserts on their menu but cakes are also available (at the counter) should you want any.

My Personal Opinion

I find the prices here a bit on the high side....especially for a cafe in a neighbourhood like this although, straight away, the café is seen drawing in the young crowd as this is the first (and only one), unfortunately, of its kind here.  The menu is extensive enough for a café of this size, and in this area, but there's certainly room for improvement as some of their dishes need a bit of tweaking.

Overall, though the food is not as enticing taste-wise, it's still a place I'd come back to for café-style food purely for the convenience of being located a stone's throw away from where I live.

For now, the café is thriving with the perpetual crowd coz it's still new.  The question mark for me (excuse the pun) is whether the café can be sustainable in the long run (with such prices in an area like this).  I hope it can since it's the one and only coffee place we have here right now! ;)

Quest?on Mark Café
No 1-G Jalan Perubatan 2
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4285 4285


  1. Like you, I prefer my spaghetti to be al dente, but I think we are the minority in Malaysia. If they cater to the minority, they'll run out of business soon I think, so I guess it cannot be helped. I think not many (especially not Chinese) will voice out if they want certain things to be done in certain ways. If they eat something and didn't like it, they will just not go back.

    1. Yeah, I guess you're right...Malaysians tend to not voice out about things they don't like (not me though)...hehe! :D As for the al dente pasta...I just read in another blog that even a Sicilian chef had to tweak his pasta recipe to suit local tastes.

  2. I once had truffle fries in sg. and it was glorious! too bad this version isn't too great huh.

    1. Sigh...this version, I couldn't taste any truffle! :(

  3. I like to eat prawns but dislike those that are overly crunchy. I find the pasta reasonable as there seems to be quite a lot of ingredients in the dish. I wonder when a joint like this will open in Sri Petaling. Do keep track of this one to see how long it will stay in Pandan Indah.

    1. The pasta prices would have been considered reasonable in areas like PJ though but not here. I take it that you stay in Sri Petaling then. Eh, that area is quite a happening place with quite a few new eateries. As for cafes, what about Hungry Spoon or maybe 103 Coffee Workshop?

    2. Have not checked out the new places yet because difficult to find parking.

  4. any place that's a fan of using mentaiko in multiple recipes is a place where i can definitely order a few dishes, heheh :) (but yeah, mentaiko might not be ideally paired with a very rich, very large serving of cream sauce) :)

    1. I'm a fan of mentaiko too....just not in this recipe! :(

  5. Generally I dislike creamy pasta and I steer clear of parmesan cheese >.< This type of cafe is the in thing (especially with the coffee) and if they get enough feedback, maybe they can improve. As for diluted tasting Ice Cafe Latte? Eeeekkss!!!

    1. When I saw the words "mentaiko pasta" I wasn't expecting it to be in some form of cream sauce, otherwise I would have stayed clear of it :(

  6. I think the restaurateurs have misused the term of "truffle". Some I can't even taste the truffle in the food but higher price was charged because the "presence" of the truffle in it =.="

    1. The truffle fries here weren't highly priced but why call it truffle fries when we can't taste the truffle! >.<


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