Delicious sweet temptations at this charming cafe

The pink pistache is a green beauty that tastes as good as it looks. — Photos: CAFE LIMONE

In a quiet, cosy corner of Plaza Zurich in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur lies Café Limone. As its name implies, the highlight of the restaurant is a pretty outstretched lemon tree taking centre stage in the outside eating area, its tapered branches and firm yellow fruits spreading buttery rays of sunshine to visitors to the eatery.

Throughout the restaurant, lemons form a pretty strong recurring motif that add instant charm and cheer in every nook and corner of the space.

The restaurant is the brainchild of entrepreneur Sherina Binwani and head chef Tee Jiunn Hung, who met at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I was never in the F&B industry, but the pandemic got me into baking and I turned to chef Tee because I wanted to improve my skills, as he is a professionally-trained chef who was running a café at the time,” explains Sherina.

Tee (left) and Sherina have joined forces to open their first cafe together and have plans to open more cake shops throughout the Klang Valley.Tee (left) and Sherina have joined forces to open their first cafe together and have plans to open more cake shops throughout the Klang Valley.

Tee meanwhile says the rigours of running a café on his own were beginning to overwhelm him.

“I found difficulties running the cafe by myself. I was feeling so tired because I was always running all over the place all the time, so Sherina and I decided to come together to open this restaurant,” he says.

Initially the two wanted to open a space focused entirely on cakes – which Tee specialises in – but their dreams got bigger, because they couldn’t find a small space that fit their budget. So when they found their current location, they decided to modify the concept to include appetisers and main meals as well.

On a day-to-day basis, Tee now has the freedom and opportunity to run the kitchen entirely how he wants it while Sherina handles the finance and marketing. The two are very hands-on and you will likely find them knee-deep in work at the restaurant every day.

From what’s on offer at the eatery, start with the array of mouth-watering desserts on display. These represent Tee’s forte and showcase his ability to weave seemingly disparate pairings into interesting – and more importantly, delicious – sweet concoctions.

“I really love different kind of pairings of flavour and texture. I like putting different ingredients together to make more interesting combinations. Also, dessert is meant to be sweet but if it is too sweet or too heavy, you won’t feel like eating any more so you can’t enjoy it that much.

“So that is why I use a lot of sour ingredients like lemon and balance it with richer elements like cheese. I also like playing around with different ingredients like yuzu and berries and incorporating textural contrasts, so you might have something soft, spongy and crunchy in a single dessert,” says Tee.

Lemons play a strong role in the aesthetic appeal of the eatery. — CAFE LIMONELemons play a strong role in the aesthetic appeal of the eatery. — CAFE LIMONE

Start with a range of petit gateau, or individual-sized cakes and treats, to whet the appetite.

To begin, try the house favourite Limone (RM21) a delightful looking little bundle shaped like a lemon that can be prodded open to reveal lemon curd and cream cheese mousse. This is a citrus-laced treat that is light but also undulates with creamy indulgence in every mouthful. It’s the perfect cake for people looking for something with a slightly acerbic bite to it.

The Tokyo Garden (RM21) features a similar flavour palette with some variances in texture and taste that give it a whole different dimension. The tart features lemon curd with a yuzu cream in what proves to a be a tangy, celebratory affair with plenty of fun, fruity elements and a nuanced floral element to sluice through the richness.

The Tokyo garden features yuzu and lemon in what proves to a fun, citrus-centric affair.The Tokyo garden features yuzu and lemon in what proves to a fun, citrus-centric affair.

The Limone Speculoos Cheesecake (RM24) is a new offering on the menu that combines Lotus Biscoff cookies with caramel and a lovely velvety cream cheese filling in what proves to be an insanely addictive combination. This is a cheesecake that is truly unforgettable, its after-effects lingering in the memory long after every last crumb of the cake has been polished off.

The Pink Pistache (RM24) meanwhile amalgamates pistachio mousse, strawberry and fresh cream in a wondrous combination of sensations and textures that deliver both understated elegance as well as fruit-laced bursts of freshness.

Slowly but surely, Tee has been adding items to the savoury menu, which is still slim and streamlined but growing as he continues to experiment. The Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict (RM38) for instance is a substantial brunch offering that features all the usual suspects – a brioche bun, mushrooms, roasted tomato, smoked salmon, poached egg and hollandaise sauce. This is a stellar rendition of a classic brunch favourite that ticks all the right boxes.

Another successful savoury menu option is the Spicy Seafood Squid Ink Pasta (RM42). Here, squid ink pasta is juxtaposed against a bounty of fresh seafood like mussels and prawns. All these ingredients are countenanced by a creamy yellow curry, which bears a striking resemblance to the Malay-style masak lemak. It sounds odd in theory but works remarkably well in practice as the pasta and seafood are drenched in a rich, fiery sauce that will likely be instantly gratifying to Malaysians of every stripe.

Lotus Biscoff plays a starring role in the stirring, insanely addictive Limone speculoos cheesecake.Lotus Biscoff plays a starring role in the stirring, insanely addictive Limone speculoos cheesecake.

Moving forward, Sherina and Tee are hoping to expand their little café to strategic locations around the Klang Valley.

“We are planning on opening a few more concepts but not in the next six months, because we want to stabilise Cafe Limone first. Also what is very important is real estate because we have to find the right place at the right price.

“Also since cakes are our forte, we want to find places where we can focus on that, so our dream is to have little cake shops that are accessible to more people in different areas,” says Sherina.

Café Limone

Plaza Zurich

Block A, Lot G01-03

Jalan Gelenggang

Bukit Damansara

50490 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 012-373 3743

Open Tuesday to Sunday: 9am to 6pm

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Limone , desserts , Sherina Binwani


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