Guan’s: Modern kopitiam & cafe hybrid selling nasi lemak, chicken chop & pasta

I adore local coffee shops. The aroma of coffee wafting through the air while the sound of distinct conversations filling the room is rather comforting. But one thing I dislike is the hot, stuffy ambience of a kopitiam. So, when I discovered a modern kopitiam called Guan’s at SS4, PJ, I knew I had to pay a visit.

Guan's - Store front

The corner lot shop had a very aesthetically pleasing sign out front and a big window where you can look into the eatery. There was also a seating area outside if you like to be one with nature while you eat (not me though).

Guan's - Drink station

As I entered the air conditioned space, my eyes immediately shifted to the drink station with brightly lit signage. A few workers were preparing the drinks and bread. Beside the drink station was a glass display of pastries and a shelf full of Guan’s merchandise.

What I tried at Guan’s

I had numerous options to choose from while browsing the menu. It featured enticing dishes such as Guan’s Chicken Chop (RM23.90), Guan’s Big Breakfast (RM28.90), and Sambal Fettuccine with Fried Chicken (RM26.90)— the selection seemed endless. I settled on the Nasi Lemak Sambal Prawn (RM19.90) and an Iced Milk Tea (RM5.80).

Guan's - Nasi Lemak Sambal Prawn

My small but crowded plate of nasi lemak featured coconut rice served with dark red sambal tumis, 4 prawns coated in a lighter shade of sambal, long beans, half of a full-boiled egg, fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, and sliced cucumbers.

Guan's - Nasi lemak

The rice had an unusually pale colour for nasi lemak. Initially, this prompted scepticism, but upon tasting it, the noticeable coconut-infused flavour became apparent. It wasn’t excessively strong or too faint; it turned out to be just right.

Guan's - Sambal Tumis

The sambal tumis had a thick consistency, which I particularly liked. It maintained a relatively smooth texture without any large chunks, suggesting that all the ingredients were meticulously blended before cooking.

In terms of flavour, it presented a delightful combination of sweetness with a subtle touch of spiciness. This took me by surprise as I had anticipated a spicier experience based on its dark red hue. It only goes to show that one should never judge a sambal by its colour.

Guan's - Sambal Prawn

Now, turning the spotlight to the star of the dish—the sambal prawn. My plate held only four prawns, a quantity that I’m not complaining about as they were of a decent size and appeared quite promising. 

Before sampling the prawns, I decided to taste the sambal first. Suddenly, I was hit by an unexpected burst of spiciness. While not overwhelmingly spicy, I was taken aback because I had anticipated a sweeter sambal, given the taste of the sambal tumis.

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The prawns were succulent and tender, adeptly soaking in the rich flavours of the sambal. It was evident that the prawns were both fresh and skillfully prepared, as they lacked any sliminess and had been deveined.

Guan's - Long beans

Now, I’m sure you’re all well aware that consuming vegetables isn’t my forte, but I decided to give the long beans a go anyway. Unfortunately, I was met with disappointment. The long beans were chewy and not as crunchy as I had expected them to be. It was very mushy and put me off, so I decided not to touch them any further.

Combining all the elements, I was truly impressed. The sweet sambal tumis harmonised with the spicy sambal prawn and coconut rice. I couldn’t help but savour each bite, reluctant for the wonderful medley of flavours to come to an end.

Guan's - Teh ice & Cham ice

As I indulged in my nasi lemak, I alternated with sips of my teh ais, presented in a chilled metal cup to maintain its coldness. This kopitiam achieves the perfect balance with its ice, unlike many others I’ve visited where it’s often either excessive or insufficient. The drink also boasted the ideal blend of milk, tea, and sugar.

Guan's - Kaya Butter toast

My dining companion opted for the Kaya Butter Toast (RM4.80) and Cham Ice (RM5.80). The toast was presented without crusts, offering a pure white bread experience, a detail he appreciated. He mentioned how, in some kopitiams, the crusts can be too tough to chew.

Guan's - Kaya butter toast

Before indulging, he inspected the contents of the Kaya Butter Toast. Expressing delight, he noted the generous portions of kaya and butter, both of which were softened. After taking a bite, he commented on the well-toasted bread, which provided a satisfying crunch.  The combination of kaya and butter created a harmonious blend of sweetness and subtle saltiness.

Nonetheless, every masterpiece has its Achilles’ Heel, and in this case, it was the Cham Ice. Despite its presentation being identical to my teh ais, it fell short in delivering a pronounced coffee flavour, predominantly tasting of tea, sugar, and ice. Simply put, the balance was off. 

Final thoughts

Guan's - Final thoughts

In conclusion, Guan’s provides a refreshing shift in the kopitiam ambiance for me. I relished both the food and the attentive service. Despite its modern interior, it successfully exuded the cherished classic kopitiam atmosphere that I adore— minus the clamour of aunties and uncles.

Will I make a return trip to Guan’s in the future? Without a doubt, yes. And with a few friends in tow. Considering the aesthetics of this place, I’m confident they’ll appreciate it as much as I do.

If you ever visit Guan’s, do let me know your verdict in the comments.

Expected damage: RM20 – RM30 per pax

Say Yes Cafe: Budget-friendly kopitiam serving nasi lemak, pulut & chee cheong fun

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Guan's

29, Jalan SS 4c/5, Taman Rasa Sayang, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia 47301

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Guan's

29, Jalan SS 4c/5, Taman Rasa Sayang, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia 47301

Telephone: +6012 367 6613
Operating Hours: 8am - 5pm (Daily)
Telephone: +6012 367 6613

Operating Hours: 8am - 5pm (Daily)
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