Now KL folks, tourists and Filipino migrant workers can indulge in some authentic Filipino cuisine with the opening of CalleVerde Cafe on Jalan Tun H.S. Lee in Kuala Lumpur. The location of the cafe is just a short walk from the Pasar Seni LRT station, making it very easy to get there.
CalleVerde literally means "green street" in Spanish, and the cafe setting certainly looks the part. The front section of the cafe looks like a lovely garden filled with potted plants. Garden tables and chairs are placed on both sides of a tiled 'street' leading to the entrance of the cafe. Photographs of Manila and other world cities are framed up on the walls both inside the cafe and at the alfresco dining area.
The cafe inside is spacious, warm and inviting. There are a couple of coffee tables and sofas placed in different corners of the cafe for customers to sip their coffee while playing with their laptops. Tables and chairs with mixed designs and various sizes fill out the rest of the cafe, giving it a quirky and cozy feel.
We took a seat and promptly ordered one of the all-day breakfast favourites - the Best Bangsilog (RM20). It's a classic Filipino staple that consists of deep fried milkfish, fragrant garlic rice and a perfectly cooked sunny-side up egg. It comes with vinegar dressing for the fish and some greens on the side.
The Bangsilog lives up to its reputation. We loved the crunchiness of the milkfish; it was marinated well and tasted quite delicious. The garlic rice was lightly coated with oil and reminded us of the texture of chicken rice. It's a good humble dish to have for a balanced meal, to give you sufficient energy for the rest of the day.
Then we tried the Lumpiang Shanghai (RM8), which are spring rolls with a Filipino twist. First thing you should know about Filipino food, is that coconut is used a lot as an essential ingredient in Pinoy cooking. It's amazing to learn about the myriad ways that a coconut tree can be used for Filipino food - from the fruit to the leaves, right down to the pith of the coconut tree.
For example, the Lumpiang is made with a thin and crispy egg wrapper containing a naturally sweet and savoury filling of ubod (the pith of the coconut tree), shrimps and onions. It goes wonderfully with the mildly spicy sweet sauce for the dip. We totally enjoyed the Lumpiang Shanghai. It was addictively tasty and left us craving for more.
Next, we ordered the Chili Con Carne (RM14). This dish has Spanish origins and its hot savouriness is suitable for Malaysian taste buds. The traditional Chili Con Carne is basically a thick spicy stew containing minced beef, beans, chili peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and other seasonings. The Chili Con Carne version we had at CalleVerde Cafe was served with rice, with some mayonnaise dressing on top. It's hearty, spicy comfort food that warmed up our stomachs pretty quick.
For desserts, we ordered a slice of Ube Macapuno (RM10) and a slice of Buko Pie (RM7). The friendly and helpful staff of CalleVerde Cafe really impressed us with their efficiency. We were lamenting because they ran out of Buko Pie for that day (it's a bestseller there), so they had someone send over the Buko Pie from another confectionary in KL just for us.
The Ube Macapuno is also known as yam cake; yam is another popular ingredient used in Pinoy desserts. Ube (purple yam) gives the cake its naturally sweet flavour, and we liked its soft and spongy texture.
The Buko Pie was also delightful. A popular treat from the province of Laguna, this pie made with young coconut flesh is not to be missed. It's served warm and is delicately sweet, tasting a bit like kaya. If you can order only one thing at Calleverde Cafe, we'd highly recommend you to try their fabulous Buko Pie.
Lastly, we ordered a cup of Cafe Latte (RM11) and a cup of Cappuccino (RM11) to complement our desserts.
So, if you're in an adventurous mood for something different or just want to indulge in some sweet pastries, head over to CalleVerde Cafe. Service is warm, and you'll find a good mix of Filipino and western cuisine here. Plus, it's conveniently located near bustling Chinatown.
- CalleVerde Cafe
- 177, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, 50000 Kuala Lumpur.
- Opening Hours: Mondays to Sundays; 8am-10pm.
- Tel: 018-2068262 & 03-20221718