Section 5 in Petaling Jaya has curiously maintained its old-world charm despite the building of highways and newly-renovated mansions in the vicinity.
Trapped as it is in a time-warp of narrow, congested streets, haphazardly-parked cars and roadside peddlers selling everything from Rojak and Cendol, to flowers for the temple, this area has remained a firm favourite among residents and outsiders, who are willing to make the trip here for some tasty, wholesome food.
The area is teeming with Indian restaurants – some as old as the hills, others new additions to the culinary landscape.
One café however is gaining a reputation for being the only one in the area serving Western fare at remarkably reasonable prices – Five Café.
Having opened some two years ago, Five Café looks rather hip for this area although it is a welcome addition.
A sense of space dominates the eye as you walk into Five Café despite the two bold and chunky long tables made from recycled timber that bring to mind raucous family gatherings over good food and laughter.
The café has a decidedly industrial feel about it but also looks like a sophisticated residential kitchen-cum-living area, softened with colourful bean bags by the sliding glass doors and mood lighting.
The idea of the café came about when Ramesh Subryan, the owner, who is also a contractor by profession, needed a place to meet with clients.
Besides using the café as a work space, Ramesh also gives free consultation to customers who want to renovate their homes.
Passionate about construction and everything related to it, it was only natural that he furnish the café using recycled timber and iron bars. He also takes pride in using architectural, engineering and construction tools as interior decor items in the café.
“I actually tell my staff that if there’s anybody who can give a good critique and comments, they will get free food.
“Let’s say an engineer comes in and doesn’t think the props are assembled right, I welcome the criticism because I believe there’s always room for improvement,” he candidly tells FMT.
When it comes to the design of the café, Ramesh is the man. But what’s a café without the food?
This is where consultant Melissa Johnson, comes in. “I gave the menu a little makeover, focusing more on their best sellers and fixed the presentation of the dishes,” Melissa told FMT.
She also tweaked the flavours of some dishes, and oversees the overall operation of the kitchen, staffed by three cooks.
She explained that although the café serves mainly Western food, there was a real need to incorporate Malaysian favourites as well.
Five Café’s signature dishes
It’s no surprise why the Pulled Pork Burger is a favourite. Oven-roasted at low temperatures for hours on end, the fall-off-the-bone meat is juicy, tender and packed with flavour.
Once out of the oven, all the chef has to do is use two forks to gently pull the meat apart – hence the name, Pulled Pork.
Rich and bursting with flavour, Spaghetti Gold is a hearty pasta dish that represents a local take on the traditional Carbonara sauce. Besides generous lashings of cream, the sauce is heavily flavoured with the briny notes of salted egg.
A little touch of Malaysian
Their signature Nasi Lemak is served in a basket with deep-fried spiced chicken, anchovies and a mouth-watering sambal on the side. The sambal’s not too spicy or sweet, making it the perfect complement to the rich, santan rice.
Five Café’s Nasi Goreng Kampung is the perfect amount of spicy and sweetness thanks to the fresh prawns thrown into the mix – a truly heartwarming and complete meal with a side of fried chicken.
Any true lover of local dishes know that when it comes to Curry Mee, it’s all in the broth. And Five Café’s take on this favourite comfort food is spot on – tasty, super spicy and certainly packing a punch.
An event space too
Besides functioning as a showroom for Ramesh’s masterpieces and a workspace to meet with clients, Five Café is also an ideal event space for private functions like birthdays, bridal showers, and video shoots
356C, Jalan 5/57
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 9.00am-10.00pm