Australians love their brunch food, so much that brunch itself is a likely strong contender in our relentless journey in defining what ‘Australian cuisine’ really is. For this reason it’s hard to find a comparably good cafe feed in Malaysia, it’s simply not an even playing field when in Australia, hordes of millennials are sacrificing their housing deposit for smashed avocado on toast. I did figure however that if anywhere in KL was going to get it right, it would have to be at Breakfast Thieves. Considering their highly successful run in Melbourne with the cafe of the same name, I was curious to see how much of the Australian flavour they were importing to the KL-scene and whether it would translate in terms of Malaysian affordability and availability of produce.
Breakfast Thieves in KL is located at APW Bangsar, an old printing factory, which sees them paying homage to their industrial-chic roots. It’s a cool up and coming area, there are already lots of other cafe choices around and at the time we visited, YouTube was running #MyYouTubeWeek. I love the simple interior with lots of open windows, basic wooden furniture and green plants. It’s a particularly crowded day despite being midweek so we’re seated on the outdoor deck. It can be a little hot here even with the fans on, I’d suggest sitting indoors if you can help it.
Mango, Mint & Passion fizz and Kiwi Kasturi & Mint fizz MYR 13 each, San Pellegrino sparkling MYR 15
Another option would be to cool down with one of their fizzes on offer. The mango fizz I found a tad bit sweet while the kiwi had the perfect amount of tang. Both were equally delicious however, it would just come down to personal preference.
Mr. TERRY BENEDICT, 24-hour braised beef cheeks in green peppercorn, smoked paprika charred cauliflower, crisp palatas, poached eggs and a yuzu hollandaise sauce on toast MYR 29
I had a bite of my cousin’s eggs benedict and I absolutely adored the cauliflower. If you’ve never had roasted or charred cauliflower, I urge you to seriously try it at home as it develops a really nutty flavour that pairs well with red meat or as part of a vegetable medley. It’s certainly an ingredient that should be used more in abundance here in KL where it isn’t all that expensive. One of the poached eggs was also cooked to true perfection, bursting at the slightest pressure of my fork against its bouncy smooth surface. I’m not sure if they use kampung eggs but I found the colour of the yolk to be particularly bright as well. Unfortunately the other egg was a tad overcooked. The beef itself was also very tender and fell apart at the slightest provocation of our cutlery. The bread was probably the most forgettable element of this dish as it became quite soggy sitting down at the bottom with all of the aforementioned elements on top.
Uncle Foo’s Fiery Crab Burger, Polenta crusted Pantai Remis soft shell crab, lemongrass-chilli sauce, Asian slaw, brioche bun and chips MYR 30
The clock had just hit 12 pm when we were ordering which meant we got to try out some of their lunch options as well. I was keen to order this because it’s actually on the Breakfast Thieves menu in Australia too. I’ve never had soft shell crab with polenta but I found it rather interesting as it made it extra crunchy. Props are due as well for using locally sourced seafood! I liked the flavours of the chilli sauce (actually quite a bit spicy) and the slaw did well to make sure the crab wasn’t too dry. However, I was once again having carb issues with this dish. Even though it’s called a brioche, it definitely lacked the fluffy, buttery characteristics of a brioche and tasted more like a dinner roll.
Ebi Doorstep Sandwich, Tempura Pantai Remis Tiger Prawns with chilled kewpie potato mash, seaweed flakes, red cabbage & seaweed puree; side of parmesan & shichimi zucchini chips MYR 31
I did a bit of a Google search and apparently a doorstep sandwich refers to a really big sandwich or one where the bread component is extra thick. The Ebi sandwich here is pretty much a perfect match for either of those descriptions. I loved the large prawns and how crunchy they were. The potato mash was surprisingly not heavy despite being a second carb although my mom being pretty old school, was not impressed with the amount of mayo. The Japanese flavours of the sandwich just all seemed to work really well with each other, (shout out to that umami laden seaweed puree). It also seems that third time’s the charm for Breakfast Thieves though as I found the bread here to be really spot on with being the right balance of fluffiness and perfect in thickness to be holding all of those sauce-y ingredients. The plating of having the sandwich stand on its edge probably helped with soggy-control.
Overall I found Breakfast Thieves to be the closest I’ve ever had to real Aussie brunch fare in Malaysia. I’m really impressed with how they’ve been able to use local ingredients, how large the portions are and how pronounced the flavours are too. Bread is huge for me and possibly my favourite type of carb so not hitting that element was a bit disappointing but that might just be a statement about bakeries and availability of good bread in KL in general. Price-wise I think it might be a little more on the expensive side compared to other brunch places but I think you’re really getting a lot of value here. I do predict that Breakfast Thieves KL will be stealing the hearts (and money) of brunch enthusiasts for a long time to come.