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Monday, 25 August 2014

Cyberjaya’s growing cafe culture

It's A Grind offers pastries and quick bites such as sandwiches and muffins on-the-go.

It's A Grind offers pastries and quick bites such as sandwiches and muffins on-the-go.

Cyberjaya is rarely described as a “happening” place or hangout.

This perception is slowly changing as more multinational corporations (MNCs) move in, especially those in the information technology industry.

The large student community from Lim Kok Wing University of Creative Technology and Multimedia University (MMU) is also helping it shed this image.

It has also become an entertainment hub for people living in the surrounding areas of Putrajaya, Puchong and Dengkil.

A cafe culture has also sprung up in Cyberjaya to cater to this growing crowd.

Some of the notable ones are It’s A Grind, Monjo and Chubbies Cafe.

It’s A Grind

One can tell that the people behind It’s A Grind are passionate about coffee.

Priding themselves on “barista-crafted, espresso-based beverages”, the Californian franchise is the company’s first international outlet outside of the United States.

Starting off as a family-run business in 1994, the brand has grown in presence all over the US.

In Malaysia, the Cyberjaya restaurant recently celebrated its first anniversary, while another opened in SS15 Subang Jaya last December.

“We offer a laid-back atmosphere, with retro and bohemian influences,” said It’s A Grind Malaysia general manager Darren Mah.

“With our roots in California, we pay tribute to the ‘surfer’ culture that started in the 1960s that is still popular today,” he added.

Coffee beans from Central and South America are roasted in America before being flown here.

They also carry single origin beans from Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Its ice-blended drinks are popular, with quirky names like Funky Monkey (ice-blended chocolate, peanut butter and banana), and Nutty Cookie Gnar Gnar (Oreo, chocolate, peanut butter and espresso blend).

Operations manager Zaid Zawawi, a trained barista with over eight years of experience explained that they used Gibraltar naked porta filters to make their coffee.

These come without a spout, which means that the liquid is pressed directly into the cup during tamping, resulting in less resistance and more flavour.

“We really focus on training our staff to be able to make good coffee,” said Zaid.

Tamping requires specific skills as the barista needs to know how much pressure to apply, and the taste may vary according to individuals.

“We cater mainly to the multi-national corporations (MNCs) around the area during lunch, and the student crowd for dinner,” said Mah.

It’s a Grind is located at G03, Prima 11, Blok 3545, Jalan Teknokrat 6, 63000 Cyberjaya.


Decor and concept play a huge part at Monjo, a year-old venue at Shaftsbury Square, Cyberjaya.

Patrons are reminded of an European metro station with tiled decor, a large common table, individual booths and comfy seats.

Even the counter has signages resembling a train platform.

The name Monjo is a combination of ‘metropolitan station’ and ‘cup of Joe’, said founder and managing director Ray Ng who was inspired to set up a subway-themed cafe from his travels around Europe.

“A metro station is where people meet, mingle and chill out, something we want patrons to feel when they come here,” said Ng, adding that he was inspired by how dynamic the environment was in a subway station during his travels.

Adding a touch of uniqueness is the custom-made furniture, such as paint drum lids converted into table tops.

This is Ng’s first outlet in Shaftsbury Square, with another at Shaftsbury Residence, Cyberjaya.

He stressed that location was important when opening a business.

“If you don’t get a prime area, it’s not going to work,” he said, adding there was a lot of potential in Cyberjaya.

One of their hot-selling items is the Hot Chocolate, made from Marou Chocolate sourced from Vietnam. Instead of chocolate powder, the drink is made by melting chocolate bars. It is low-fat and customers can adjust the sweetness according to the percentage of cocoa.

His partner runs an egg farm, so Ng is confident that they are able to whip up fresh, high quality eggs to customers.

There are also bite-sized treats such as the Monjo cookies and espresso biscotti.

Monjo is located at P5-11 Shaftsbury Square, Persiaran Multimedia, Cyber 6, Cyberjaya.

Chubbies Cafe

Running a cafe has always been the dream of school friends, Natalie Woon and Stephie Gay.

The 25-year-olds were involved in different fields before they decided it was time to realise their passion.

The European-inspired cafe has a homely feel, with scenes of Paris and London on the wallpaper, comfy cushions and even a small swing seat in the outdoor area.

One thing that attracts customers is the beautiful coffee art. Woon and Gay are self-taught in the art of coffee making.

“We use Musetti mi Robusta and Arabica beans,” said Gay, adding that popular drinks include the cappucino, latte, mocha, and matcha (green tea) latte.

There is also the Chubbfrappe, an ice-bleded mix of berries and passion fruit.

When it comes to food, the pair believes in serving fresh, home-cooked food.

As for the quirky name, Gay said it was because both her and Woon were foodies and this was reflected in their appearance.

“We’re both a little chubby, so Chubbies felt like a good name,” she said.

Chubbies Cafe is located at P3-21, Shaftsbury Square, Persiaran Multimedia, 63000 Cyberjaya.

Tags / Keywords: Central Region , Family Community , Talk of the Town , Cyberjaya


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