W39 Bistro & Bakery
39 Jalan Mas Puteh, 128637
Tuesday – Friday: 11am – 10pm;
Saturday, Sunday, Public Holidays: 9am – 10.30pm
Tucked away at the end of a long row of shophouses is a café bursting with charm, where the warm lighting casts gentle shadows on vintage knick-knacks and vases of flowers that neatly line the shelves, and the weathered wooden furniture makes you want to curl up in a big comfy sweater and sip at a piping hot cup of tea as you wait out the rainstorm outside.
Stepping into w39’s cheerful yellow doors feels remarkably similar to walking into BooksActually, a local independent bookstore whose vast collection of antiques would make any mason-jar-hogging hipster drool. A large collection of fancy, expensive-looking art magazines and catalogues lie patiently on a low table for customers’ perusal, and there’s even a bucket of silly masks and props right beside the door, perfect for a silly selfie.
As gorgeous as the décor is, no amount of coziness will help if the food’s bad, but by the delighted moans of the two young women behind me, in the midst of destroying a slice of apple crumble, I had an inkling that it wasn’t just w39’s atmosphere that was bringing in their customers.
Appetiser: Cream of carrot & potato soup
Don’t let the vividly bright pale orange deceive you, the cream of carrot and potato soup definitely doesn’t taste of their first named root vegetable. Instead, the thick and creamy soup has a distinct potato-ey fragrance and taste that isn’t too sweet. I expected the scattered croutons on top to be stale, toasted, and crunchy, but was pleasantly surprised to bite into one and finding it to be pillow-soft, and soaking up the sweet soup, like a tiny bread bowl.
Main dish: Pan-friend salmon with mashed potatoes & fresh greens
After the soup, we had the main course: pan-fried salmon with a generous wallop of mashed potatoes and a fresh green salad, lightly tossed with a dressing of cherry vinaigrette. The moment you cut into the delicately-seared skin of the salmon, you’ll just know that this is going to be good. The thin, oh-so-crispy skin parts easily under your knife and the pink, firm meat is revealed, tender, fresh, and cooked to perfection. We found out that the honey-brown sauce drizzled on the salmon and mashed potatoes wasn’t teriyaki, but a reduced soya glaze, that isn’t as overpoweringly sweet as teriyaki sauce can be, but balanced right between sweet and salty.
2nd dish: Spicy Prawn Linguine
The second main course that we got to try was the spicy prawn linguine. The prawns were so fresh and bouncy, just look at how they shine in the photo. The linguine was quite oily and the chili made itself known after just a few bites, but sipping a tall glass of Iced Honey Lemon Tea cut through the oiliness and soothed my burning lips. The chunky cubes of ham and thin slices of garlic paired well with the simply seasoned linguine.
Dessert: w39’s signature chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream
And finally, there was dessert, arguably the most important thing in a café. We got to try their best-selling cake, Mister Chocolate, a hefty slice of soft chocolate sponge with chocolate chips, and covered in a shiny layer of melted chocolate. If you like chocolate (show me someone who doesn’t), and you like cake, but you don’t want to feel the guilt that comes with stuffing yourself with a molten lava cake at Starbucks, this is the dessert you’ve been hoping for. The sponge is delightfully light, fluffy, and moist, and savouring a scoop of melting vanilla ice cream together with the warm oozing chocolate cake just makes you feel like all is right with the world.
w39’s Insta-famous cat, Mimi:
Before you leave, don’t forget to catch a glimpse of w39’s other star attraction. Mimi, their resident feline guardian, is a regular sight around the bistro, usually curled up like a furry loaf and steadfastly ignoring people with cameras who are trying to get a good picture to add to the #w39mimi tag on Instagram.
The back of the shirts of the w39 staff reads, “Life is so endlessly delicious”. I have to say, I agree, especially if you get to hang out with cats and eat at the charming bistro that is w39.
All pictures by Ashley Choo.