I got a burst of inspiration, so I thought I write up some of my thoughts about a new coffee shop in Bandung called Cultivar.
Located in a trendy area of town with a smattering of nearby eateries, Cultivar gets a lot right that some other coffee shops don’t. The first thing I noticed when I entered was that it was not overly crowded with seating spaced far enough apart that you could get away from people if you wanted to. The ambience was lively although there weren’t that many customer inside due to an eclectic mix of tunes on the small sound system.
I ordered a double shot cafe latte and it was bang on in my view. They served it in a massive cup which is a general turn off for me, but the flavour was deep and rich and no one where near as milky as I had feared. Two big thumbs up for the coffee.
I also ordered the strawberries and cream waffles. I was slightly disappointed with the dish because there was nothing on the plate that made me go “wow”. It was simply waffles, strawberries and cream — what did I expect?! Well, I would have liked that cream to be an amazing home creation with layers of flavour — perhaps vanilla, cardamom… some other Indonesian spices. But it was store bought cream and pretty standard. That said, I finished off the dish and I didn’t hate it — certainly much better than some dishes I’ve had at other cafes in Bandung.
The wifi in Cultivar is fast. I got 17mbit down and 7mbit up on my test which is perfect for uploading youtube videos or downloading your favourite torrents.
All in all, Cultivar hits the right spot for me. I can see myself coming back to work for an hour or two whilst indulging in one of those massive lattes. A welcome addition to the Bandung cafe scene.
As I’ve stated previously, I love cakes but I rarely eat one at a cafe that I can rave about. Continuing my quest for cafe cake and pastry perfection, I headed to Three Bags Full in Abbotsford, a few kilometres from the centre of Melbourne. On offer was a Raspberry, White Chocolate and Coconut cake. Exactly the sort of cake that promises the world because of the mouth-watering possibilities of the flavours, but then so often disappoints due to flavour imbalance!
This cake was moist. This cake was pleasantly chewy because of the coconut! (as well as a subtle tropical flavour that only coconut can give). This cake was also slightly tart on account of the raspberries which also provided the odd pop of sweetness.
OK, so the part of this flavour combination that almost always fails is the white chocolate component. The main reason being is that people often try and make the white chocolate the dominant flavour like one might do in a normal chocolate cake. But really, white chocolate is usually so sweet and so sickly that it ruins your palate after one mouthful. So it was with great trepidation that I took my first bite of this Three Bags Full cake… The white chocolate was only slightly there! Great! It was actually just enough for me to realise that it was contained within, so it just sort of buzzed along in the background without jumping out and becoming a nuisance. It did its job just nicely.
The star of the show for this cake is the raspberry flavour – playing a decent second fiddle is the coconut texture. An all round satisfying cake that I’d be happy to go for again.
Three Bags Full is on Nicholson St, just up the road from Viet restaurant central, Victoria St Richmond.
OK, so for my first Melbourne Cake/Pastry review, I failed to note down the details of what exactly I was eating such was my desperation to get stuck in. Nevertheless, I do suspect I was eating a rugelach despite its non-traditonal appearance. A rugelach is a Jewish pastry that is usually rolled into a crescent shape and is filled with such items as walnuts, raisins and cinnamon – like a cinnamon scroll in many ways.
My own strict rules for reviewing pastries was to only review those that were made in-house at a particular establishment. Perhaps this was a silly rule as my primary motivation for going to a cafe is for its coffee and accordingly cakes and pastries are usually secondary items on the menu. So what this means is that many top cafes buy in their cakes from boutique wholesalers – this was the case at Market Lane in Prahran. And these boutique bakers still do a sensational job despite them not always being a retailer. I guess my initial fear of bought-in cakes was that they would be of the mass-produced one-dimensional kind. My suspicion is that Market Lane purchase their rugelach from Little Bertha in Richmond.
First of all, the rugelach was delicious. As I’ve said before, I like my cakes to not be overly sweet and my rugelach managed to give a good account of itself on this front. The walnuts gave a solid, crunchy texture, the dried fruit some chewiness and the pastry a nice amount of crumble. It was cinnamonny (?), nutty and ever so slightly cakey. A perfect accompaniment to the TOP coffee at Market Lane. Yes, I do love a good cake/pastry and this one lived up to expectations.
I’ve been told that cakes and pastries from Little Bertha can be found at some of the best cafes in and around Melbourne and I will surely be seeking out more of these delectable morsels over the coming months.