Thursday 7 December 2017

White Sand Café

Day at the "beach"
November 15, 2017

When My Best Friend and I arrive at White Sand Café, we are surprised to see it occupies two shop lots, divided by a small corridor. 
Not only that but both sides are as alike as chalk and cheese. On the right, next to a bicycle leaning against the wall, is one entrance. The brick walls are bare, evoking a rustic cottage atmosphere. Inside, the first thing to catch the eye is a massive bookshelf. There are comfortable sofa seats and cosy tables. Lighting is subdued. 
To the left side, whitewashed walls, white tables and white chairs offer a sunny ambience, reminiscent of a day at the beach. 
Another door opens to an al fresco dining area, filled with garden chairs and a small koi pond. This side of White Sand Café houses the kitchen, drinks bar and chiller with cakes, tarts and drinks. Set against the glass walls, shelves are filled with pastries – croissants, buns and Danishes. The croissants are huge; popular ones are the salted egg yolk, chocolate and almond. 
In the chiller, I see bottles filled with a dark “potion” and labelled Cold Drip Coffee. This is made by slowly dripping cold water through roasted ground coffee for hours at the rate of one drip per 3 seconds. This process is said to give the coffee “an excellent taste and clean finish with lower acidity”.
I’m eager to try this but unfortunately, I can't drink coffee at dinner time at the risk of insomnia all night long. 
Grilled Mushroom Tartine With Egg & Avocado

Though White Sand Cafe opens for breakfast from 8.30am, it offers an All-Day Breakfast menu that includes French Toast with Mixed Berries, Egg Benedict and Spinach & Mushroom Sandwich. Or you can take your pick of the freshly-baked pastries on the shelves.
We order Grilled Mushroom Tartine With Egg & Avocado (RM22.90). Sitting on a thick slice of sourdough smeared with pesto are button mushroom, avocado, cherry tomato and a poached egg. A drizzle of balsamic gives it a zesty edge and there are crisp salad greens on the side. 
Fried Lemongrass Chicken Wings (left) and Hot, Hot Chicken Boxing

Fried Lemongrass Chicken Wings (RM15.90/3pcs) makes an excellent snack. The fried wings look forbiddingly “burnt” initially but the test is in the tasting, so I take a hesitant bite. Surprise, surprise… the dark colour is due to the marinade ingredients such as lemongrass, shallot, chilli and belacan. The meat is still sweet and juicy. Actually, the wings are so addictive I can easily polish off a plateful by myself and perhaps still crave for more.  
Hot, Hot Chicken Boxing (RM15.90/5pcs) comprise drummets coated with a clingy sweet sauce and roasted sesame seeds. As its name implies, this is really hot and definitely not recommended for young children. 
Pandan Satay Chicken with nasi himpit and satay sauce

For Pandan Satay Chicken (RM19.90), a whole chicken leg is marinated in the same awesome spices used for the Chicken Wings. Then it’s wrapped in screwpine leaves which add another layer of aroma during the deepfrying. As with the wings, it looks burnt but it’s not. The chicken is served with nasi himpit which pairs amazingly well with the scrumptious satay-style nutty sauce. There’s also a saucer of onion- tomato-pineapple salsa on the side. 
Stone Pot Shrimp with yee mee in tom yum broth 

We are recommended Stone Pot Shrimp (RM26.90) with a choice of Hot & Spicy or Tom Yum broth. We pick the latter to go with noodles (yee mee, bihun or glass noodles) and goodies such as white cabbage, soft silken tofu, prawns, beancurd skin, shitake mushroom, enoki mushroom and young corn. Hearty and satisfying. 
Tom Yum linguine with shrimp 

Fusilli with Ginger & Spices Baked Fish
Asian-style pasta (linguine, fettucine or fusilli) seems to be the forte of the kitchen crew. Ginger & Spices with Baked Fish (RM19.90) is tri-coloured fusilli tossed in ginger, garlic and chilli flakes with mushroom and cherry tomato. The dory fish is lightly battered and deepfried. Other topping options are baked chicken (RM20.90) or vegetarian (RM17.90).   
I’m told Tom Yum With Shrimp (RM22.90) is popular with locals. I find the level of sweetness rather overwhelming but it’s probably this sweet edge that finds favour with local palates. The marriage of East and West here is a coming together of exotic flavours; the flavoursome spices and piquant tom yum sauce clinging on to the pasta give the sweetness of cherry tomato a big boost. Crunchy prawns (helpfully shelled except for the tail bit) are fresh and sweet; there are mushroom and peppers. 
Salmon Steak with French Beans and Pesto Sauce

If you like salmon, you’ll enjoy the Salmon Steak (RM26.90). Served on a bed of French beans and pesto sauce, the fish is a bit overdone for my taste though. If you prefer salmon on the side of raw, do inform the waiter when placing the order. The sauce is deliciously creamy and makes a good companion for the fish.
Two days later, we’re back at White Sand Café at teatime, lured by the display of cakes I had spotted earlier. MBF and I just can’t decide, so we splurge on the three that look the most tempting: Peanut Torte, Oreo Crepe Cake and Caramel Crepe Cake (all at RM12.90/slice). 
From left: Caramel Crepe,  Peanut Torte and Oreo Crepe cakes

I find the Oreo Crepe Cake dry and disappointing but the Caramel Crepe Cake is delightfully soft. The Peanut Torte totally gets my vote. The generous layer of coarsely ground nuts, sandwiched between the layers of cake and punctuated with a thin spread of chocolate, is totally lethal… if you’re on a diet.

WHITE SAND CAFÉ (no pork served)

13A, Heritage Lane, Empire Damansara, 
Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 
Tel: 603-7611 0975
Mon-Thurs, 8.30am-10pm; Fri-Sun, 8.30am-midnight