Recently I really wish to get rid of my usual routine of doing the same thing every week days and weekend, that somehow gave me an idea to look for some special cafe that is either has a very special theme or concept, or specialize in certain coffee/tea or food.
Not sure why I never thought of that before, maybe I used to have the conventional thinking that the so-call chillax coffee shop or cafe other than Starbucks & Coffee Bean Tea Leaf are only available in other countries. But a search of Google to find top cafe around KL and PJ area really gave me an absolute new area of knowledge.
VCR is one of the cafe in my list, and upon visiting all cafe in my list, I can tell you that VCR is my favorite and I wish to visit them all weekend for chillax & work purpose. I'm even so diehard that I try my best to go there at Sunday night for 2 hours after all the busy stuff during day time just to ensure I'm relax enough before next working day.
VCR is just like any ordinary cafe except that it's a little.... dark. No worries, no dark secret or horror tale here. According to Timeout's KL review on VCR, VCR was an old building directly rebuilt into the current cafe. That's explain why many of the decoration, flooring & ceiling looks kinda old but not in the sense that they are totally broken. the entire building is nicely maintained into a look-old-but-feeling-new-and-modern type of cafe.
According to VCR's About Us info, VCR has been there since 1940! I'm really shocked that I have never heard of such nice place before. Back to those time, the warden (prison warden I assume? Since they mention Pudu Jail & it's so....dark) used to stay here.
Ever since then, no one knows how much transformation this building had taken. But one thing for sure, it is now has it's old heritage feeling remain but renovated to provide solid building foundation that give their visitor feel like entering into an old cafe, but you don't need to worry about the wooden floor might crack as you step, old wall might have some green weed sticking on it, ceiling might crack and water dripping from above..... because this place is totally well maintained and give you a great pleasure for relaxing and make-yourself-at-home feeling.
Ordering in VCR is quite straight forward. Stepping into VCR and you will see the counter on your left. It's either you put your order first and look for seat, or look for seats first then back to the counter for order.
In usual days without too much of customers around, I would make my order and grab a place after wards. Sometimes they will give you a number to be placed on your table. But if they don't have too much of customers, they would just deliver the order for you without the need of the number.
VCR is also one great option for people to study/work, use your laptop, read a book, or chat with friends and family. In another words, this is a place where you can hide for more than half a day. The best part is, they have good and stable wifi unless it's peak hour.
The outside of VCR looks like a tiny garden. It's really simple and neat, looks like a place for people to sit and enjoy the sunlight, except that it has small table to place coffee cup. This is the smoking area but I don't see much people smoke here so far.
And I'm not sure how fast your food & coffee would arrive if you choose to sit here. Most customers would prefer to sit inside. And it's also a bad idea because this area is not under the ceiling, so the atmosphere is totally up to the weather.
The ground floor of VCR looks darker compare to the first floor due to the wall and the color of the tables & chairs. This is much more obvious especially at night because their lighting is the older type that does not produce a strong light.
Apparently, this floor initially doesn't seems suitable for a cafe as there are only three section of seats here. There is one long table beside the door, another section that consists of long chairs with tables facing the counter, and lastly some small tables and chairs after the stairs.
After the last section, that's where the bathroom located. I don't feel like grabbing picture of the bathroom... you gotta visit it yourself to know how old it is but don't worry as the bathroom is quite clean and well maintained.
The stair looks really old but need not to worry, it's totally stable and solid. Just that it's a little narrow and it's only fit one person.
The second floor has more seats compare to the first floor, mostly thanks to the large table on the center of table which can fit up to 8 person. The table in the center are usually shared, which means other customers would sit with you when they couldn't find other seats.
There is not much decoration in this floor except for wall painting and vases with flowers. This also give the old heritage feeling as nothing looks too fancy and the ceiling, wall, and the doors would always make you wonder how do they looks like in the past 30, 40 years. Especially the wooden floor, it really give the classic feeling unlike modern type of floors.
The tables and chairs are mostly made from wood. As long as your sitting position is right, it won't be uncomfortable. And not all the table and chairs have the exact same type of design but in overall, they doesn't give you too much of differences unless like some of the tables that are much lower, which is meant for putting your food & drinks on it, and you are able to chit-chat with friends and family.
This would be the best view of in VCR because you can enjoy your coffee with a great view. Although the VCR's surrounding is nothing special but old building, cars, and road, but here you can enjoy tree's with bright green view especially during day time. It's really comfortable and sufficient to enjoy a great cup of coffee ,read a book, or chit-chating with outside view. I recommend you to visit this section during day time because a night, the view is not as good as day time.
You can also grab some water here whenever you want. One thing you need to bear in mind, you need to get up really early if you want to get a seat. VCR usually out of seats at after 11am. If you arrive later than 11am, you can only pray that there are seats available or wait for people to leave.
Apparently, they are selling arts as a side income. Although it's kind of unexpected, but this is somehow served as another type of decoration for visitors, especially for those who interested in arts.
Another important point is the relaxing environment with nice music. Just music with good feeling, not too noisy, no rocking or techno song, and no slow and sleepy song. Good to relax your body and mind, have some good chat with friends and family, and replenish your soul.
VCR's Cakes & Coffees
You can refer to VCR's website for full list of available cake & coffee. By the way, I really love the way they present their website. The overall feel and design is just like the cafe. Not too much of info but simple & neat.
Walking into VCR, you don't see too much of stuff other than the barrista counter and the seats. They only serve cake, coffee, and some juice. They also serve breakfast, but not sure if they are serving it all day or only limited time. My visits was at night and I was there only for slice of cake and some coffee for chillax. Good thing you don't need to stand too long to decide what you want to order.
Other than the usual type of coffee you can get at other places, you can try out their filter coffee which is prepared in a different way. I gotta admit that I did not prepare enough to know what special about the filter coffee & which type I should try, so I guess I get one at another time.
Upon entering into the cafe, I've been greeted with a warm "Hello, welcome to VCR". I look through the menu that contain of list of coffee and the cakes on the left, but I decided to ask the good looking guy at the counter for a recommendation and he immediately recommend me their best selection, The King.
The King (RM12) is not as ordinary as it look. It has nice texture with great mixture of the taste between peanut butter and banana as both taste just fit with each other. Soft texture but not too soft or too hard.
Top layer and the side of the cake is covered with creamy peanut butter but guess what? I eaten the entire cake with all the creamy peanut butter but I don't feel heaty at all. Even after the coffee. So I have to say they really put in some great efforts in balancing the taste and care for customer feeling after consuming the food.
The middle layer has some banana slices in it. Not too much but just nice to have some taste of real banana as you take the banana cake.
And it doesn't taste like those super stick peanut butter that you have a hard time to swallow and it always stick to your gum. The King really has a good aroma for every bite. And I never thought that the combination of peanut butter and banana would be soooo good. It's a must try if you have not taste it before.
As a diehard fans of Cappuccino (RM11), I take it as my first coffee in VCR. Looks nice, isn't it? That's demonstrate the skill & quality of their Barista. Of course we definitely not missing the perfect taste of the Cappuccino that taste so smooth and balance. You won't get a feel that the milk is too much, the milk foam is affecting the overall taste and so on. This is just.... perfect. And the portion is just enough especially after taking The King.
Black velvet cake (RM12) is my second favorite among their cake. If you like Oreo in the cake or any type of chocolate cake, this is a must try. Thin layer of cheese at the middle of cocoa cake is so soft and tasty. It's taste great from the moment you bite on it until the end of it. Best one to fill up your choco session in a day.
Unlike many raspberry cake you tasted out there, the top layer of raspberry jam is not too sweet and not sour at all. It just hit a great level of sweetness to add some bliss on the soft & creamy cheese cake to have a great chewing taste.
Next up, I have blueberry cheese cake (RM12) & mocha on my second visit. I experience some mocha out there that are too heavy in chocolate or milk, but mocha in VCR didn't failed me once more. Perhaps this is one of the best mocha I had so far (also due to the reason that I did not tasted too much of good quality coffee).
For every sip of the mocha (RM13), I could feel the great combination of chocolate, espresso, and milk. Despite having the taste of chocolate, the mocha is soooo smooth that I wish I can have a bottomless one. Just like the Cappuccino, not too much in portion. Just nice even after you had a heavy meal.
I hardly order Flat White (RM11) out there because it's quite often that I got disappointed when the espresso taste is quite overflow and I feel more like it's a cup of espresso, but just feel like there are milk in it.
VCR's Flat White don't disappoint me thou. I love it when I can taste the great coffee with slight milky feeling. It's always my top choice when I want to get something more than an espresso but not too much like Cappuccino. And you can always get a great aroma from a cup of Flat White.
Filter coffee always sounds great to me because filter coffee is the result that represent the original taste of the coffee bean. I don't usually take filter coffee so I can't really make too much comment on this.
This is Chemex (RM18), just getting the good smell of it before drinking make me wide awake because of the excellent coffee smell that you can't get from espresso based coffees. I swear the aroma is a great reason to get a cup of filter coffee. Just that the taste is not something all coffee drinks could accept.
Chemex is quite balance and the taste is mild bitter follow by sweetness. The taste is really great and for my first cup of filter coffee, it give me the urge begin explore into the world of filter coffee.
Blueberry cheesecake can't be compare with The King. But comparing Blueberry cheesecake out there, this cheese cake is really soft & have a great smoothing taste of the cheese.
The crust is just normal, same as the blueberry on the top. The combination of the blueberry and cheesecake is just nice but I can feel the aroma of the cheesecake more than other part.
This VCR Big Breakfast (RM32) is one of the greatest big breakfast I had so far. It makes me drool every time I look at this picture.
First of all, the bacon is the big thing here (as usual). It's not the typical crispy skin or fully cooked type. It's like medium well but seems pretty well cooked for the entire piece. Great and raw meaty taste is what I can describe here.
If it's not because of the bacon, the two mini portobello mushroom on the top left above the tomato will be the big issue here. It's super soft, fresh and juicy! Too bad they only give two of them....
The next enjoyable chew would be the sausage. Nothing too fancy from the outside but it just taste, no matter which combination of food you eat with the sausage.
The egg is just nice, not salty, just the original egg taste, taste good.
And the tomato, it might look ordinary, but it's actually taste a little roasted which is quite surprising. Not the ordinary tomato you had out there.
The rest is pretty plain, but it's really a great breakfast to start the day, especially starving from the moment I woke up and go all the way to VCR for this.
This is one special Potato Waffle (RM24) that I'm still not sure how I should eat it after trying it several times.
The waffle is really soft and chewy, and full of potato flavor for each bite. The mushroom is tasty and contain of buttery flavor, and really soft too. I don't really prefer the veggie, but it's doesn't affect the overall taste.
The only problem I have is the egg. Every time they only provide fork and table knife, I don't think I can master the skill of eating egg with fork and table knife without punching a hole at the egg yolk. So the egg yolk would usually spread all over the waffle and the plate.
French toast (RM19) is not a good choice for breakfast in the early morning because it always comes with one huge scoop of ice cream. The ideal time of ordering this would be after 1pm, especially if the weather is hot.
Unlike most of the French Toast out there, VCR's French Toast don't focus only on the toast, the ice cream and the crust beside the toast also give a huge bliss of flavor to the toast.
The crust is quite amazing in terms of flavor. Just eating the crust with chocolate syrup is quite enjoyable, and you can always add it on top of the toast topped with ice cream.
Their House Salad (RM18) is not something that you can find from outside too. The main thing that affect the overall taste is the sesame seed spread in the entire salad. For the egg yolk, at least I can try to wrap it up with veggie and try not a poke a hole in it. The tomato is a little out of shape but taste really sweet and it's good. The best thing is, I can eat this salad and not feeling hungry within one hour, which is quite rare as I'm a huge eater that hungry really quick if without rice and meat.
Special: My Chillax Moment
As the main reason for me to start looking for nice cafe that able to make me feel comfortable enough to truly relax my body & mind and focus on my planning and work (blogging, designing, etc), on my first visit at VCR I encounter lots of people who are there to use their laptop, probably for their work or study, instead of people who go there with a group of friends for chit-chat and chillax.
I sit on the first floor near to the door at my first visit. After ordering my cake & coffee, I immediately sit down and able to feel that I'm entering into a relaxing "mode" as I can feel that the table and chair is not that big, but enough for me to set my tablet aside to do my stuff while waiting for my order to arrive.
The slice of The King reach really soon without much wait, follow by the Cappuccino. After some taste of the cake & coffee, I took my own sweet time writing stuff in my tablet while keep looking around. I found that the place is a little dark, the gap between each table is quite narrow but not too close to each other. So I see no problem of having distraction from other tables unless they talk too loud.
I think one of the best thing that allow me to relax is the music. I'm not sure what type of music it belongs to. It's not classical music, contain a little bit of remix but not techno or rock type. Just the type of music without any vocal that make you enjoy while not distracting you from your work.
Apart of working, I also enjoy little bit of taste of The King & Cappuccino like every 5 minutes. I also not to forget looking around to rethink of what history they had in this building in the past. That's make me think a lot..... Well, that's how relaxing VCR able to provide me.
On my second visit, I sit on the second floor. I got to the corner where the speaker broadcasting the relaxing music is just right behind me. This time the music is a little noisy compare to the first visit. Although it's not too noisy, but just different with the one last time. I wonder if the music at first floor & second floor is meant to give their customer a total different feel, since the way they arrange the table & chair and the layout is quite different between these two floors.
As the next day would be working Monday, I focus as much as I could to do my planning & stuff, not forgetting to look out of the window to view the night scenery out there.
Despite the music is being a little different this time, I'm still able to enter into a great chillax mode to spend my last chillax moment on Sunday night. Thinking back, it really worth it. I don't have much encounter on something like this but I bet that's what mean to have a great Sundat night & a good weekend.
If you are driving, the best recommended route would be from Jalan Hang Tuah where you would pass by Hang Tuah Monorail on your right to reach the cross junction. Going straight is to reach Jalan Imbi where you can see Timesquare and so on. You need to take the left turn to Jalan Pudu instead of going straight to Jalan Imbi.
As you proceed a little further after turning to the left, there is another route to the left which is Jalan Galloway. VCR is just on the right or few hundred meter ahead after you pass by two building on the right. You can take a U turn at further road to park your car at a narrow street beside VCR building. If you miss the left turn after turning to left at Jalan Hang Tuah, you will see Hospital Tung Shin further down on your right. You have taken the wrong route and you are going to Petaling Street. You will need to take U turn after going pass Pudu bus station to turn back.
If you are taking public transport, the nearest station is Hang Tuah monorail. After exit from Hang Tuan station, get off at the platform of opposite transit to Starline. In another words, the old Pudu Jail should be the opposite road after you exit the station. Then, go straight and take the first left which is a high hill. Walk up, go straight a little further and you will see a police station on your right. Walk straight until the end and turn right, VCR will be at the corner shop on the right.
Payment type: Cash only
Wifi: Yes but password-protected
Power Cable Availability: Approximately 5 at ground floor and 3 at first floor
Range of food is not that wide and quite ordinary, but the taste is really good comparing with the same type of cake or coffee from other places.
Not that great in portion if you looking for a full meal. But since dessert are usually not meant to be a main meal, it's good to have it as dessert after some main meal.
A warm welcome of saying "Hello, welcome to VCR" and smile during taking order & serving, as well as "enjoy your cake/coffee" is one essential thing that a nice & friendly cafe should have. And VCR did it.
Cost: Highly Worthy
It's not cheap and in fact quite costly. But considering the price range in other cafe, it's actually about the same. But the good part is, the overall quality and dining experience is really worth it.
Look old from the outside but modern structure from the inside. A little dark but that's what make the place special. Perfect for chillax and study/work purpose. Great to get yourself away from the big city and free from disturb.