Arabica Estate Cafe, Kota Bahru

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hello my loves! With Chinese New Year approaching, I have been really looking forward to going back home to the comfort of all the good food I know is awaiting me. Thank God however that Kota Bahru is a place full of new finds and good food too to satisfy me in the meantime. I have been going around checking out some of the new cafes that have been popping up around Kota Bahru and have been pretty satisfied with a few of them. If you have not read about my previous cafe hopping experience, I'll link it here in this post too. 

So far I have visited Chapter Cafe which is quite a pleasant cafe with their good milkshake and soft shell crab, 

Maraschino Cafe which brings me back down memory lane and has the ever popular Shibuya Honey Toast that you just have to try as well as 

Lugano Cafe which I have frequented several times plus is so far the most affordable cafe in town yet!

This time round however, I stopped by at Arabica Estate located just behind Tesco Kota Bahru opposite the bus station. It was listed as one of the must visit cafe in Kota Bahru so I was looking forward to dining here. For those of you who are not familiar with Kota Bahru, it is actually located along the same row as the MARA college or you can just search in Waze for Arabica Estate :)

I supposed their decor was to imitate an estate feel with their brick walls and although the establishment was not very big, it was cozy enough to cater to roughly 50 people. You can choose to dine al-fresco or indoors with the aircond and with the weather nowadays, I chose to dine indoors plus it was rather dusty outside so I would not really recommend sitting outside. You will be able to see their array of yummy looking cakes in the cake display which really tempted me but again I cannot really eat too much if I am alone.

The menu is really very simple with a few main dish choices as well as a variety of drinks. The photos in the menu do look really tempting and price-wise, yet another cafe to make me happy. It sure is very affordable for their mains with their Sirloin Steak pricing at only RM33; it was definitely much more cheaper than in KL but I am not sure how the locals would judge the price.

One of their specialty would be their dessert I assume with quite a few choices of waffles! They do look laden with toppings and I had quite a hard choice choosing which waffle to try. Unfortunately they were not serving all the choices on that day most probably because I went on a Friday afternoon during the Friday prayers. But the good news is: It's open during Friday prayers! So to those who are looking for a place to dine during that time this is somewhere you can try as most eateries in Kelantan are closed during Friday prayers.

After some deliberation with my partner for that day, we decided to order a Pizza Pepperoni and a Wonderberry Waffle to share. Both of us ordered Caffe Latte (hot/cold) as well.

The food took a while to arrive and while waiting for the food, our drinks arrived. Disappointed with the coffee art that I received, the start of my meal did not really begin well. However, I was satisfied with the brew of coffee they served though lacking good coffee art skills. It was fragrant, had a tinge of sweetness to it and smooth down the throat. I am starting to appreciate coffee these days; signs of getting older I guess.

The Pizza Pepperoni (RM18) we ordered was really quite huge! 8 huge slices with generous amount of cheese and pepperoni, the flavor of the pizza was really quite good. It is a thin crust pizza so please do not even try to use your fork and knife to cut through it because it would be quite useless. Just use your hands, pick it up and dig in. The both of us weren't able to finish up the whole pizza although we did try!

Now comes the highlight I would say because I had rather high hopes for the waffle. We ordered the Wonderberry (RM15) although the James Brownie was really tempting too because I wanted to try a more fruity version instead of the chocolate type which I have been trying the past few cafe hopping. The Wonderberry is a rose-infused waffle with supposedly torched meringue (which obviously wasn't torched here). topped with strawberries and blueberries, toasted nuts, love letter , whipped cream and vanilla ice-cream ending with a drizzle of strawberry coulis or syrup. Presentation wise, I get that hash sign using chocolate but it does not really add much flavor to the waffle. The waitress asked us if we would prefer a crispy waffle or a soft waffle so we ordered the crispy waffle which I guess means leaving it in the waffle machine a while longer giving it a darker color and crispier edge. The waffle was fluffy, not overly dry which was a plus point and the cold vanilla ice-cream was a great opposite for the warm waffle. I could not actually taste any rose from the waffle as the strawberry coulis does overpower the rose scent but the waffle was actually pink on the inside instead of the regular waffles you normally get. I guess the rose-infused batter they used to make the waffle gave it a pink tinge.

Overall, I would say that the mains and coffee served in Arabica Estate shines over their desserts although I would not know how their cakes fare. Total damage here was RM53 for two people which was relatively normal for a cafe but I would have higher hopes for this place. I would recommend you to try their mains and coffee here but for the waffle, I would rather ask you to try the delicious pancakes at Lugano Cafe for half the price.

Arabica Estate Cafe

Kampung Sirih, Kota Bahru

+60 12-7793757 

Open daily
11 am - 11 pm


Julie's Biscuits CNY What's Your Love Letter

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hello my dear merry goers! Can you believe that Chinese New Year is just around the corner? It seems like Christmas was just a week away and now in just another two weeks it will be Chinese New Year! Time sure flies when you do not notice it. I cannot wait to get back home and start cooking up some Chinese New Year dishes, indulging in some goodies as well as visiting my friends!

This Chinese New Year, why don't you buy a tin of Julie's Biscuits Love Letters when you visit your friends? Love Letters are always one of the popular snack goodies served during Chinese New Year and most people do not make this themselves any more. I have made love letters in the past but now with such a tight schedule I doubt I will be able to make some to bring over to share with my friends. With three different flavours of Julie's Love Letter, I can just get some and bring over during visitation time. Plus, for CNY each individual tins have their Chinese New Year designs and also it comes with free angpow packets!

You get three different angpow packets in each 700g tin of Julie's Love Letter and in each angpow packet is a tiny note for you to write your wishes or greetings. Isn't it so much more meaningful to receive and angpow packet with some love wishes in it too? I personally like the pink cherry blossoms design.

I actually am quite an addict for Julie's Love Letter and especially during this Chinese New Year, most supermarkets are selling it at a promotional price so I grabbed a tin to share with my colleagues. Chocolate is always one of the favourite option but there is also the Strawberry and Vanilla flavour too. I've set up my little Chinese New Year corner in my office with mandarin oranges and of course a tin of Julie's Love Letter to surprise my colleagues for Chinese New Year since I will be going home for CNY. I do hope they will enjoy this little treat.

Do you remember me sharing about the Julie's "What's Your Love Letter?" campaign last Raya? Well, they have continued this campaign this Chinese New Year to encourage people to continue penning down their wishes and sharing it with their loved ones. We are so used to sending wishes using electronic devices like through Whatsapp, Facebook, Instant Messaging and etc but don't you miss that nostalgic and personal touch of a handwritten greeting. I love receiving handwritten notes and letters and it has been ages I last received a handwritten greeting card. Sad to say this method of greeting is fading so fast. Feelings expressed through words are so much more meaningful and holds a special spot in our hearts. Julie's "What's Your Love Letter?" campaign was meant to encourage more people to write down their love and care for their family. Knowing us Asians, sometimes it may be hard for us to actually voice out our love and appreciation for the ones around us. We tend to be more shy to express our feelings and what better way to show them that we love them than to pen it down? Even a simple "I miss you" or "I love you" or even "Thank you" will warm up their hearts this Chinese New Year.

Julie's has also collaborated with AEON this year and set up a Love Tree where you can receive a Julie's Limited Edition "Love Card" which is actually a message card and a bookmark! 

Pen down your well wishes on the card and hang it up on the Love Tree and take the bookmark home! A donation box will be placed beside every Love Tree to encourage the public to donate as they leave their messages on the Love Tree. These Love Trees will be placed at selected AEON supermarkets in Klang Valey, Malacca, Seremban, Ipoh, Johor and Penang. 

Not only that, this year Julie's will be giving away 10 tables of reunion dinner as prizes in their "What's Your Love Letter?" campaign! All you have to do it log on to the mini site on their Facebook account (Julie's Biscuits) and upload a photo of your family as well as your sweetest love message you would like to express to them! I have submitted my photo so I am hoping I will stand a chance to win a table for reunion dinner this Chinese New Year! Go on! Hurry and join now! The contest will be ending on the 31st of January!

More details:


Lugano Cafe Kota Bahru

Friday, January 22, 2016

Hello darling merry goers! Time for some cafe hopping session at Kota Bahru again. This time I visited Lugano Cafe which is actually by Hayaki! Ironically, Kak Ella actually asked me to review Hayaki but since there were several Hayaki branches in Kuala Lumpur I didn't really thought of reviewing it. That was until I realized that there was a cafe in Kota Bahru by them too so of course I have to check it out.

Located along Jalan Kebun Sultan which is also known as the 'Chinese Street' where you can get some Chinese cuisines, you can spot it at the T-junction along that road. So far, you cannot really locate it on Waze but you can search for Hayaki Kebun Sultan and it will pop up because right opposite Lugano Cafe is a Hayaki branch.

Really well decorated, I love the huge glass windows that allow so much natural lighting into the room as well as the brick wall decor. It kind of gives a rustic feeling to the overall interior especially with the wooden crates and the retro lamps. Although I do not get how the armor actually fits into the whole interior concept but it does make a point to the room.

You can see several of the food choices served at Lugano on the blackboard menu above the counter. Don't worry, there are some menu that the servers will pass to you as well. For cakes, you actually have to order it from the counter because there are different varieties of cake each day.

Now let us go to the spread of sinful food I had that day. I ordered the Chocolate Banana Pancake with Vanilla Ice-cream, Chicken Pita, Matcha Latte and macarons

While waiting for my hot dishes to arrive, I ordered three of their macarons to try. The flavors recommended to me were the Dark Chocolate, Lychee and oh gosh my memory. I cannot remember what was the green macaron flavor. The macarons were not too sweet so I was able to enjoy them and were quite well made. The amount of fillings were just right and for RM 3.90 it was quite a sweet treat.

Paired with my delectable macaron, I ordered a cup of frothy Matcha Latte which I totally did not regret. The Matcha Latte was fragrant and I love the whiff of green tea in every sip. Plus I loved that they did not add any sugar into my latte which seems to happen elsewhere and instead gave me a packet of brown sugar on the side. Knowing me, I really am not a fan of sweet treats unless they are really good and I love my drinks sugarless so I did not add any sugar into my Matcha Latte. The latte was smooth and really I would recommend you try this.

The pancakes arrived first and in case you are wondering why are there two plates of pancakes instead of just one, that is because I actually visited Lugano Cafe with my dear housemate, Alison and she ordered the original Classic Pancakes (RM6.00) with butter and maple syrup. I ordered their Chocolate Banana Pancake (RM8.00) and seriously come on where on earth can you find this price in KL. It would probably cost twice as much in KL.

These has got to be one of the best pancakes I have eaten hands down! Honestly, I did not have much expectations for the food but since it was on my list of cafe hopping in Kota Bahru so I decided to pay Luano Cafe a visit. Surprisingly, the pancakes were really good. They were fluffy, slightly sweeten and when topped with bananas, chocolates and ice-cream; this was just a great pair. If you know me well, I do not like my bananas mixed with chocolates because I feel it has this weird chemical aftertaste and if you are wondering why I ordered this then well I wanted to share with you the best thing on the menu so this was it. I tried my best taking photos and you know how long I can take to snap my photos especially since all I have been highly dependent on my Samsung Note 4 for my food adventures here in Kelantan. This phone is still one of my prized possession which can save me when I do not have my trusty Sony A5000. After all my photo taking, the pancakes still remain fluffy and warm and that was after a good 10 to 15 minutes! This was a good thumbs up for me because warm pancakes with cold ice cream... ah! Delicious!

Now I cannot just review the sweet treats so I ordered this Chicken Pita (RM7.00) which ok I will be honest was a decision I made without thinking. All that was going through my head was to share with all of you most of the menu but it is so difficult cafe hopping on my own! So many food to try and just one tummy. I ordered this and by the time I was halfway through my pancakes I was super stuffed! I normally do not eat a lot which is why buffets do not really work well for me  so I admit I didn't actually taste this on the spot. I packed it back home and had it for brunch the next morning and it was really quite tasty. The chicken bits were well seasoned with black pepper and I really enjoyed it.

Can you believe that I spent less than RM 40 for this whole cafe hopping? I would easily have spent twice that amount in cafes in KL. I was truly satisfied with the dining experience at Lugano and hope they will expand their menu and serve more good food.

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