PETALING JAYA, Jan 19 — Good things are worth waiting for.
It is a brand new year and time to keep promises. To catch up with old friends and to find opportunities to do things you have always wanted to do.
Today that means making a trip to Taman Rasa Sayang, a quiet neighbourhood in PJ, to finally visit a new bakery-café.
Or perhaps not-so-new; Noon Viennoiserie opened its doors last August and we just never found our way here… till now.
Located along a row of shophouses, Noon Viennoiserie takes up the ground floor and first floor of an intermediate unit. The second floor is home to the appropriately named Second Floor, a rooftop bar offering craft beer and kombucha on tap, as well as Ground Coffee Roasters.
If that last name sounds familiar, it is the micro coffee roastery arm of Ground Coffee in Damansara Uptown. It is one of our favourite spots for pastries and coffee, but of late we haven’t seen much of owner Derry Teh and senior baristas such as Jordan and Jason there.
We asked the always affable and sweet Cath, who rules over the espresso machine most days now, and she told us they had opened a new shop — the aforementioned Noon Viennoiserie — and we promised to visit.
That was some months ago.
Still, promises that are kept, albeit rather late, aren’t considered broken. (So we tell ourselves.) We just took our time to get here. Good things are worth waiting for.
Noon Viennoiserie’s eye-catching display showcases rows of delectable pastries.
Past its alabaster white façade, we enter a sunlit space dominated by an eye-catching display case. Rows of pastries beckon from within: classics such as plain (but never plain tasting) croissants and pain au chocolat to fruit-based danishes topped with peaches and blueberries.
There are croissants smothered with almond flakes; there are croissants laced with sweet bananas. Canelés with their iconic crusts, dark and almost glossy; their striated sides enveloping a custardy heart within.
Everything is baked fresh daily; we can see the bakers working hard at their craft through a long, horizontal glass window on the side of the kitchen wall.
How to choose? The choices seem endless. How about a sea salt kouign-amann, perhaps the pinnacle of Breton baking, where the briny waters of the coast of Brittany meet the French love of everything sweet.
A salted egg yolk croissant worthy of its name.
Or a slice of gateau? Banana pecan or butterscotch? Good, old-fashioned (but always reliable) chocolate cake?
In the end, we settle on what catches our eyes the most. A friend once told us that we are all a little superficial; the more honest amont us admit it and can then invest their energies on detecting the substance beneath the surface.
Which is to say the charcoal egg tarts are what struck our fancy; the traditional golden centre, peppered with caramelised kisses, ringed by a midnight halo. Arresting, for sure, but there is another surprise awaiting us.
We take a bite and realise the wobbly sweet custard is but a nest for an orb of mochi. Sticky and chewy, this Japanese rice cake helps the treat transcend its picture perfect trappings to become something truly worth delighting in.
Bakers working hard at their craft.
Serendipitously, there could be no better time to enjoy mochi — it is the start of a brand new year, after all.
In Japan, once the new year rolls around, families and some restaurants will partake in the ceremony of mochitsuki or the pounding of rice to make mochi.
We had experienced this ourselves only days earlier, when we were in Tokyo. Oddly enough, it wasn’t at a friend’s home or at a traditional Japanese confectionery. Instead it was a pop-up in front of The Roastery by Nozy Coffee in Shibuya.
(The location of yet another coffee roastery isn’t lost on us; cafés and coffee shops are where folks gather and celebrate the tiny rituals of life, no?)
Cups of black coffee (left). The sunlit interior makes for a convivial gathering space (right).
Everyone took their turn to heave and swing a heavy wooden mallet called kine to pound the steamed rice placed inside the usu, a large mortar made from wood. There was a lively, celebratory atmosphere befitting the occasion.
Once the mochi was of the right consistency, it was removed from the usu and pinched into smaller portions. When these had cooled, the pieces of mochi were shared around for all to have a taste.
That is the taste we recalled as we wiped the final crumbs of the egg tart from our lips. A memory, a good one.
The flaky almond chocolate Swiss for those who can’t make up their minds.
Hot cups of black coffee. A salted egg yolk croissant worthy of its name, the fragrant sauce made with the real stuff and the crisp curry leaves a dignified crown.
A flaky almond chocolate Swiss, because we couldn’t decide between the almond croissant or the pain au chocolat.
Good things are worth waiting for. True, we ought to have come sooner and savoured these sweet, buttery offerings. But better late than never. It is a new year; another chance to keep more promises than we make.
22, Jalan SS4C/5, Taman Rasa Sayang, PJ
Open Tue-Sun 7:30am-10pm; Mon 7:30am-5:30pm
Tel: 03-7496 0483
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