Thursday, January 14, 2021


An eye-catching showcase filled with rows of colourful thread spools serves as an interesting focal point inspiration at the threshold of the new Cong Caphe (pronounced curb cafe) at 1 Utama.

Opened in late December 2020, local Cong Caphe franchise holder Peter Tan reveals the second outlet ID is based on a textile factory from Vietnam’s bao cap or subsidy period. Hence the decorative elements feature multiple tiers of vintage sewing machines and glass-topped tables strewn with oversized thread spools.

Certain trademark touches such as military green uniforms of the frontline team, retro collectibles and household memorabilia, mismatched rustic and upcycled furniture, sepia snapshots and enamelware complete the charming vintage setting.

The current beverage & food menu is more expansive too. Right from the get-go, young green rice flakes imported from Vietnam make Cong’s Signature Ice Blended Coconut Green Rice Smoothie (RM17.90 tall) a hit with us. 

Flat and almost translucent, we were told those pearly-green rice ‘flakes’ had to be steamed before it’s blended with coconut milk to create the signature smoothie. Subtly sweet and creamy, the distinct drink has tiny chewy bits that are almost reminiscent of glutinous rice.

Two other non-coffee drinks worth slurping up include Fresh Lime Smoothie (RM13.90) and Passionfruit Smoothie (RM15.90). The former is zesty-fresh with the clean sourness and sharper lime zest discernible on the palate while the latter flaunts a fruitier finish.

For coffee lovers, we highly recommend Bac-Xiu, coffee with coconut milk (RM12.90 hot) and Hanoian Coffee (RM10.90 hot). Otherwise, there are neat juices such as tart and green Ambarella Juice (RM13.90) or refreshing Watermelon (RM10.90).

Simple, quick meals are available should you feel peckish. The Beef Ham Rice Noodle (RM16.90) and Chicken Ham Rice Noodle (RM14.90) are fuss-free, ‘meal in a bowl’ options. Think of it as Vietnam's answer to a pared-down poke bowl. 

A jumble of julienne carrot, cucumber, lettuce and pickles, sprigs of fresh coriander, crushed peanut alongside rice noodles and slices of beef ‘ham’ or peppery chicken ham accompanied by Vietnamese fish sauce dressing make this offering a major crowd-pleaser once everything is tossed up and thoroughly mixed. The flavours are vivid and pleasing with enough textural interest to stimulate the appetite. Personally I don't fancy the beefy version but to each his/her own.

An unexpectedly good choice turns out to be Instant Noodle with Tofu and Egg (RM9.90). The smoked beancurd cubes add extra appeal to the chewy Vietnamese Hao Hao instant noodles, with the eggy richness lending hearty substance to leave you replete.

To whet the appetite, consider the house Spring Rolls (RM8.90, 2 pcs). The pair can be a meal for light eaters or a precursor to subsequent choices if you’re dining in a group.

Sandwich enthusiasts may prefer to sample Chicken Ham Banh Mi (RM13.90)  ̶  crusty Vietnamese baguette stuffed with peppery chicken ham slices, chicken pate, fresh coriander, julienne carrot and radish pickles. Alternative versions available include Beef Ham Banh Mi (RM15.90) and Tofu Banh Mi (RM11.90).

Assuage your sweet spot with Cong’s mainstay of Croissant with Condensed Milk (RM6.90) or an assortment of pastries. Notable finds we readily vouch for: flaky Almond Bar (RM8.90) and Orange Poppy Seed Cake (RM8.90). 

Close contenders range from Earl Grey Cake (RM8.90) to Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Muffin, all old-school buttery cakes that aren’t overly rich or cloyingly sweet.

Cong Caphe is offering 50% off drinks from 11am to 2pm with any speciality food purchased for dining in (except on Sat, Sun & PH) from now until 31st March 2021. Enjoy RM5 off Takeaway and Delivery Orders amounting to RM20 - refer to the official website for more

Cong Caphe is located at G130A, Ground Floor, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 03-7732 9280. Opening hours (non-MCO) 10am-10pm; Fri & Sat 10am-1030pm. 

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