Time to kick off a new series that's very dear to my heart: Coffee! I basically subsist on coffee, so if you are in need of a good cuppa, stay tuned. There will be a weekly installment of addiction coming your way!

Back in April, I was invited to attend the grand opening of Mono Coffee in Publika. It's owned by the same company that brought you Cosans Coffee that has basically exploded all over KL. The difference is that Mono (named after single-origin coffees, as opposed to the disease I guess) boasts an artisan concept with food to match.


[Mono Coffee Opened their Doors on 17th April, 2015]

Let me say at the outset that it's taken me over 3 months to get this review out because the opening was an absolute disaster. I will admit that the coffee there surpasses decent, and if it weren't for how the opening had gone, I could see myself heading there for coffee.

So, what was so bad about it? First of all, it was an invited review of bloggers and the mainstream media. One would assume that when you open your doors to the public, your restaurant will actually be complete. Alas, upon arriving at the establishment, we were met with workers still putting up decorations. I don't mean balloons; rather they were nailing artwork to the wall. Upon sitting down, there was a nail next to my foot which is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Truly, if you aren't prepared to open, push your date back a bit. From what I understand, this is similar to what occurred when Cosans opened its doors to the media as well. One would think The Brandker Group would have learned from that, but apparently not. 

As to the decor, it's very kitschy and fits the Artisan theme well.




[The Coffee Bar]


It is certainly cosy, and very inviting in a masculine sort of way. With it's grunge interspersed with black feature walls, and deep, dark furniture, it truly feels like it is pulling you into the womb of coffee. 


Mono has a personalised blend that they use for their coffee called, "Monian". It's really quite good in being a mix of Brazilian, Guatemalan and Sumatran beans. Each of these brings something to the full-bodied nature of their roast.


[For the Caffeinated]

There are also a number of offerings in terms of brewing that you can choose from. They have chemex coffee, aeropress, pour over, and of course, your espresso-based beverages. 


[Brewing Apparatus]

Coffee is far from one-dimensional, and each of these brewing methods brings out a different nuance to the coffee being used. It's very exciting stuff!


[Beans]


We were treated to a bit of a pour over brewing session, followed by some latte art. Latte art is absolutely impossible for me to do, and I HAVE tried many times. I've learned that purchasing stencils is my best bet!


[Pour Over Coffee]


[Taste the Rainbow]


[Steamed Milk for Latte Art]




[Latte Art of the Skilled]

What was really quite nice was there we were given the opportunity to try our hand at latte art and both Carolyn and Elana volunteered! 


[Teaching Carol]


[First Attempt]


[Check Out the Concentration!]


[Second Attempt]



[Elana's Turn]


[Inadvertent 3D Art]


[Second Attempt]


[Elana's Finished Artwork]

I am personally a fan of milk-based coffees, and that goes for the majority of the lot here as well. When milk is steamed correctly, it caramelizes the sugars in it allowing a bit of sugar to temper the bitterness of coffee. The combination is heavenly.

And at Mono, I tried 3 different hot drinks and the milk was steamed perfectly each time. 

The Monian blend boasts a flavour profile of dried berries with grapefruit nuances and bittersweet cocoa flavours reminescent of dark chocolate.


[Cafe Latte]


[Flat White]

Both the coffees were really good, and in the inclement heat of KL, some iced coffees were called for as well!


[Iced Latte]


[Caramel Latte]


[Iced Latte & Hazelnut Latte]

I didn't try any of the flavoured coffees, but I was told they were good as well.

For those who aren't fan of caffeine, they have other drinks on their menu. Like this virgin mojito-esque drink for example:


[Iced Mint Drink]

And hot chocolate!


[Hot Chocolate]

The hot chocolate was really good, too. It was deep and rich, with proper chocolate. I would imagine it would go rather splendidly over ice as well.

Boasting an artisan kitchen, there was an assortment of food paraded. What peeves me was that we were informed that we should pop by 90 minutes before the event started in order to attend the food tasting. I got there on time (taking an hour off work to do so), and waited 2 hours for the event to start, and a full 30 minutes before I got a coffee because they were ill-prepared. 

Anyway...the menu is interesting enough, and we were shown some of their brunch options (served 'til 4 p.m. daily).


[Beef and Hashed "Benedicts": Corned beef, Grated potatoes, English muffin, Poached egg, Spiced Hollandaise sauce, Pea sprouts (RM 17)]


[Stack It!: Fluffy pancakes with crispy beef bacon Maple-peanut butter syrup, Roasted tomatoes (RM 14)]


[Bean Salad with Feta Cheese: Chickpeas, Edamame, Corn, Feta Cheese]

I can't tell you how any of these taste in their full-size, because we weren't even given the Beef and Hashed "Benedicts" to try, and the other two came in miniature to be shared among 4 people. I'm not sure how you share bite-sized food but we were expected to figure it out, it would seem. It wasn't even portioned out for us!


[Miniatures of Stack It!, Bean Salad and Ultimate Sandwich]

Like I said, the dish which was displayed was switched up with their "Ultimate Sandwich", which is a very strange departure from common sense. This was done with no explanation and was quite an exercise in discussion and questioning before we were informed that this was the case.


[Anis Doing the Honours]


[Elana Helping to Portion the Food Out]

The best of the lot was definitely the bean salad (which I can't actually find on their menu, so I'm a little stumped). It was bursting with flavour and a definite must-have if you visit Mono. 

The pancakes were horrifyingly dry and practically inedible. This is probably because they were made in miniature and thus unable to maintain the fluffiness pancakes are meant to have. However, I can't actually vouch for how the full-size would fare. As for the Ultimate Sandwich, it was far from ultimate. Dry, stodgy and not lending itself to portioning at all, it was a disappointment. Of the 2 platters our table of 7 were given, only the bean salads were polished off. 

Mono also has dessert and pre-packed sandwiches to choose from. As well as their very own cold brew.


[Desserts and Pre-Packaged Sandwiches]


[Brunch is Served 'til 4 p.m. Daily]


[Chicken Capsicum Sandwich (RM 8.90)]


[Big Breakfast Sandwich (RM 9.90)]


[Egg Mayo Sandwich (RM 7.90)]


[Smoked Duck Sub (RM 14.90)]


[Smoked Salmon Sub (RM 14.90)]


[Classic Cheesecake (RM 12)]


[Classic Chocolate Cake (RM 12)]


[Matcha Roll (RM 10)]


[Green Tea Raspberry Cake (RM 11)]

In an exercise in failed PR we were not informed that the event wasn't over when we left rather disappointed in the experience, and I can't tell you how the cakes they serve fared. 

I would like to try their cold brew, because the beans are really good, but I have absolutely no interest in returning to an establishment that couldn't get their act together in such a spectacular manner.


[Cold Brewed Coffee (RM 12)]

Matthew Chong informed us that Mono is a brand they hope to compete with Starbucks with, and take international, but I think that's quite a stretch if their refusal to hold a proper launch hasn't been rectified.


[Matthew Chong - Founder and Group CEO of Brandker Group Sdn Bhd]


[Music to Grace the Opening]


[Our Gift of Coffee Beans]

We were gifted some of their coffee beans, and in brewing them at home in both cold brew and my French press, it was very good stuff.

It's truly a shame that they couldn't sort their kinks out before inviting people in because it's a place that has so much potential. I hope they've gotten better, but I would never enter the premises again because I have no interest in supporting a company that thinks nothing of having basic respect for the people they expect to promote their brand for them. If held at gunpoint, I'll go to Starbucks, thank you very much.

11 comments:

  1. Glad I didnt attend this, they postponed it to this date u went and senior bloggers weren't happy with how they plan the postponed event. U gave good words about the beans, but impressions lasts.

    Kudos to your honesty about experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had no idea they rescheduled! And they still weren't ready? Amazing! Should have followed your cue and skipped it.

      Delete
  2. Congrats on the new blog series babe! Cant think of anyone better to do this! Will be watching out for café recommendations!

    And yes, Mono Coffee really needs to improve their service. Love your wit and honesty that shows in your entries – as per usual!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I'm so excited about this new series too!!! We can go cafe hopping together!

      Delete
  3. Oh reading your post make me think of the bad experience again! The coffee is great but like you said, I have no heart to revisit it again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha I still remember that we were all so hungry we left!

      Delete
  4. I love the entry, babe. I will not visit Mono again. They do not know how to treat people. The long waiting for a cup of coffee is really ... Urghhhh .. and all other disgusting things there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a good thing we had good company there, at least!

      Delete
  5. Good coffee/ food must go hand in hand with great customer service at a cafe or it's just not worth the visit. Customers want a pleasant and tasty dining experience and have an abundance of cafe to choose from nowadays. They no longer need to go begging for a cuppa and a cake so it will take a lot of TLC by a cafe to stand out from the crowd of choices available.
    I'm shocked that the media launch by this established F&B player was handled so poorly despite it being a designated marketing exercise to promote the cafe and it's wares.
    It seems disrespectful that the media were left to wait hours, and then fed mere tidbits but expected to write a food and cafe review.. only makes me wonder how a customer might be treated too.

    Perhaps I should give this establishment the benefit of the doubt and believe it only reserves the best for paying customers? But then, this only seems to stress how poorly they treated media...a point that still doesn't reflect well on the company's professionalism or overall values, does it?

    Thank you for your honest review. In this day and age, critical bloggers are a dying breed and it takes some courage for a blogger to go against the grain and relate an experience as it was. You could have pretended the event was handled wonderfully and simply posted a generic press kit writeup as a paid cheerleader - but you didn't. Thank you.
    Interesting is the fact that this cafe serves good coffee so it's a crying shame that the service didn't live up to the quality of the beans or baristas. So close...yet so far.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fact that they have so much competition, yet behaved this way struck me as well. I'm glad that I didn't go back too because it seems to be the consensus that their service sucks, not just to the media.

      I understand being artisan, but not running a media event properly is far too artisan for me. It may come off as being Diva-esque, but I think they just lacked basic courtesy for the fact that I wasted my time at their "review".

      Delete
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