Amid the automobile workshops, wet markets, construction sites, old buildings and congested traffic along Old Klang Road in Kuala Lumpur stands a bright and shiny new French-European boulangerie-patisserie-cafe. The three-storey Le Pont Boulangerie et Cafe stands like a beacon.
Don’t worry, I had to Google "boulangerie" too. It is French for “a bakery that specialises in baking and selling bread”.
In other words, Le Pont is a place where one can buy bread, eat pastries and have coffee.
As for its French-European tag? I can’t attest to that since the only European country I have been to is Germany, and I ate mostly sausages there.
It seems a little pretentious to claim to have a slice of Europe in the middle of an area that is the unglamorous side of Kuala Lumpur. On the bright side, Le Pont injects a breath of fresh air to thoroughly ol’ skool Old Klang Road.
Heads up: allow plenty of time to find a parking spot but if you don’t mind a little walk, there are commercial parking lots nearby.
Sandwiched between older establishments, Le Pont’s glass panels and fresh paint screams, “Look at me, I am new here.”
The smell of freshly baked bread hits me hard as I enter. Rows of baked goods line the wall and shelves, the decor is clean, modern and industrial in parts, and the ample natural light makes the place look bright and inviting.
The ground floor offers a one-stop cafe where you can buy bread, pastries and coffee to go.
If you have time to try the food the cafe has to offer, climb to the first floor where there is a coffee bar and baristas hard at work perfecting each cuppa for their customers.
David Leong heads the coffee bar and offers a great selection of coffees; his affogato is a crowd favourite, but the aromatic Rose latte gets my stamp of approval. The milk for beverages are steamed between 60°C and 65°C for better aroma, sweetness and texture, but patrons can request to have their beverages prepared at a higher temperature.
The first floor is also where the “pont” is located. The bridge connects one end of the floor to the patio for al fresco dining.
Le Pont is French for “the bridge”, and its marketing manager Willy Tey explains that the place represents the owners’ desire to create a comfortable meeting point for work and play, families and individuals, and food and drink.
Enough small talk. We try the food. Le Pont Mushroom Soup (RM11.90) is smooth and creamy but lacks punch. There are no chunky bits of mushrooms to nibble, but that is easily fixed by breaking the mushroom toast – a basic toast jazzed up with slices of mushroom – that comes with it into the soup.
If mushroom soup is too yesterday for you, there’s pumpkin soup and a variety of salads for appetisers, with prices ranging from RM10.90 (purple beetroot and asparagus salad) to RM19.90 (Pissaladiere).
Suitable as a snack or light meal is the Sandwich Combo (RM25.90), four finger sandwiches of beef, smoked salmon, tuna and egg, and vegetarian. It comes with fries and garden salad. Lined up on a wooden board, it looks pretty and appetising.
This is not your usual fingerwich but a clever bridge of boulangerie (bread) and patisserie (puff pastry).
Chef Daniel Wong explains that the bottom layer of puff pastry keeps the sandwich from going limp and adds a crispy, flaky texture as a counterpoint to the soft sandwich bread layers. It certainly is more interesting.
While waiting for the pasta and main dish to arrive, we sample the cakes and pastries of pastry chef Muhammad Padzli.
With over 40 different breads and pastries available, there is great variety here. The taste is as good as what you find at the more trendy bakeries in the Klang Valley.
What stands out is the soft and fluffy vanilla cream doughnut. The filling is soft and thick, and oozes out at every bite – worth the messy fingers.
Also plenty on the menu are pasta dishes. You have a choice of nine pasta dishes, including three vegetarian options. The Sea Prawn Linguine (RM31.90) is cooked in prawn stock, cherry tomatoes, parsley and basil. A sweet and succulent prawn tops the pasta, and fried capers add crunch.
“We use brined capers, not salted ones. The capers give the pasta an acidic feel,” Wong stresses.
It is finally time to enjoy Wong’s special lamb shank served with potatoes, roasted peppers and asparagus. At RM37.90, the size of the shank is worth the price tag.
The meat falls off the bone, and is tender and succulent. But more importantly, it is tasty. The lamb is surprisingly sweet and isn’t chewy. Wong says the lamb was braised for eight to 12 hours in apricot sauce and chunks.
“The apricot adds natural sweetness and cuts the strong taste of the lamb. I got this recipe through trial and error and it is good to know that most customers enjoy this dish,” Wong adds.
We end the meal with waffles with ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and mixed berries marmalade (RM11.90). The waffle is a tad crispy for my liking, but with the chocotastic sauce and milky ice cream, that can be overlooked.
Le Pont also prides itself for its fluffy profiteroles but I guess I have to try them another time.
Of course there will be a next time – at least until I visit France and experience the real deal.
LE PONT BOULANGERIE ET CAFE
6, Jalan 1/137C
Bedford Business Park
58000 Kuala Lumpur
Open 8am to midnight, Sunday to Thursday; 8am to 2am, Friday and Saturday
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