January 8th, 2021
Charlie's at Taman Desa: Restaurant Review
Charlie’s is a cheerfully likeable neighbourhood eatery with a social conscience, opened by Malaysian couple Sonny & Debra with a view to benefiting indigenous workers from Sabah & Sarawak as well as people who might not be able to afford a meal.
Pay it Forward
There are two components of Charlie’s mission. Behind the scenes in the kitchen, the Borneo-born Sonny & Debra employ mainly folks from East Malaysia & try to use a fair bit of indigenous produce for their menu. Secondly, for customers who want to help out, a pay-it-forward sponsored-meals system is available: Give the cashier RM5, take a receipt & post it on the board; other people who come in can claim a free meal using your receipt if they’re short of cash or struggling to make ends meet.
Encouragingly, it turns out that Charlie’s food is easy to endorse; the curry laksa (RM8.90) comprises mee or bee hoon with chicken, shrimp & fish balls in kitchen-made curry that’s thick, spicy & robust – the sort of broth you slurp to the final spoonful – & super-punchy sambal. Most of the frills-free menu is Asian, with basic nasi lemak (RM5.90), dry chicken noodles (RM7.90) & tom yum noodles (RM8.90), though there are also crispy chicken or streaky beef ciabatta sandwiches (RM9.90-RM11.90).
Home-made cakes are worth indulging in: Now in season, Debra’s Musang King Durian Cheesecake (RM15.90), creamy but not cloying, with a pleasantly mellow but distinct flavour. Alternatively, try the cheaper Durian Sponge Cake (RM9.90) or a scone with cream & strawberry jam (RM4.90), croissant with coffee caramel dip (RM6.90) or even Pisang Goreng Cheese (RM6.90). A bit of trivia: There isn’t actually a Charlie here – it’s simply a catchy name that sounded right to Sonny & Debra.
Location and Contact Details
Charlie’s Cafe @ Taman Desa
Address: 29 Jalan Bukit Desa 5, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-7988-0247 / 012 816 00 03