KUALA LUMPUR: The next time you have “one of those days”, head to La Zengar Café, a great zen-like spot where you can catch your breath, just chill or read a book over a cup of iced coffee.
The zen-like atmosphere here starts at the very entrance of the café where a pebbled corner with outdoor seating, bamboo plants and a Japanese-style stone water basin greets customers.
“When we were designing this place, we were inspired by the Japanese zen garden,” café owner Alex Lee told FMT Lifestyle during a recent visit.
Lee said he worked as a chef in a restaurant but was let go during the pandemic. So, he did the next best thing and baked cakes, selling these online to earn a living. And business was good.
Then came the next logical step: opening a café. Though it sounded daunting to his partners as they had no prior experience of running a restaurant, they were determined to have a place to call their own.
Well then, what menu items are good here?
If you prefer desserts that are not saccharine sweet, then you’ll love the yuzu bar. The citrus fruit used is perfect here, delivering well-balanced sour-and-sweet notes that are rather refreshing and rather addictive.
If you want similar flavours but in a heartier form, the lemon baked cheesecake is a great alternative.
But if you’re a pastry-and-chocolate kind of person, dig into the banana exotic tart. The natural sweetness of the banana and the crunchy tart base are complemented well with the slightly-bitter chocolate mousse
In the mood for a hearty warm meal instead? Don’t fret – the café has some truly delicious meals to choose from.
FMT Lifestyle sampled the fish and chips. No ordinary fish and chips, the café serves theirs with salted egg yolk sauce which immediately elevates the flavour of the fish fillet thanks to its rich, buttery flavour.
The chicken chop is also another memorable dish. Succulent and flavourful, the generous portion of chicken is well-seasoned and served with a thick gravy, green salad and chips. What more could one ask for?
As for drinks, the iced latte would be a good choice as it hits the right balance of espresso and milk. A perfect pick-me-up on a scorching day.
Not a coffee drinker? There’s also a variety of cold-pressed juices on the menu – orange, apple, celery and cucumber.
“We use a cold-press juicer as it presses the fruits or vegetables instead of shredding them, which will generate heat, overheating and oxidising the juice. This method allows us to get more juice and retain the nutrients,” Lee explained.
Opening a restaurant isn’t without its challenges, and Lee said he’s open to feedback from customers, be it positive or negative.
“Since our background is in food and beverages instead of business management, we’re willing to take what our customers point out to heart and improve ourselves, learning along the way.”
Staying true to its initial concept of creating a zen-like environment for customers to unwind, La Zengar plays only soothing music all day long.
“This is also why we named our café as such, which is a shortened version of zen garden,” Lee said, smiling.
La Zengar Café
49, Jln Hujan
Taman Overseas Union
58200 Kuala Lumpur
Business hours: 10am-10pm (Closed on Wednesdays)