Tucking into a curry mee hoon and an iced kopi is great, but sometimes you want to do it in a place that’s more comfortable than a crowded hall with plastic furniture. Kakatoo at Ativo Plaza is a nicer version of the classic kopitam, offering Peranakan comfort food in a spacious environment.
Ambience & Amenities
Despite being named after a colourful bird, Kakatoo doesn’t have much personality in its decor. The seating has a nondescript “chain restaurant” look to them. The walls are sparsely decorated with ornaments of macaws and, of course, cockatoos that look a lot like the ones you can get at the KL Bird Park souvenir shop. Right near the entrance is a solarium type room on a raised level with more natural light. It felt a little cramped in here with random cardboard boxes and supplies piled up next to the tables. Near the cashier, there is a rack of Chef Baba brand nyonya snacks and sauces for sale that you can check out before you go to pay.
If it’s not too hot, a much better option is to sit outside on Kakatoo’s patio. The tables out here will have a call button to easily get service. This shaded area is screened by potted plants but still has a view of Ativo Plaza’s public space. The best seat is the one we took right in the corner that looks out onto the plaza fountain.
There is no washroom inside the restaurant, so guests must use the Ativo Plaza facilities. Luckily, these are clean, classy washrooms and located right next to the restaurant. Exit out the front door and turn right. Go around the corner and you will see a hallway on your right that leads to the washrooms.
Kakatoo’s menu is a big book with a wide variety of options. You will be given a slip where you write down the code and quantity of the food item you want. Classic Nyonya fare like nasi lemak and noodle soups will have several options to choose from. There is also western and vegetarian food, and a page of a la carte chicken, vegetables and tofu for family-style dining. A speciality at Kakatoo is their cendol, but we were too full after our meal to try it.
Click on any menu picture to enlarge
There are also sets and combos that you can take advantage of if you’re in the area at the right time. Workers in the area will have access to Kakatoo’s lunch sets, and during the morning (10:00 am – 11:30 am) or afternoon (3:00 pm – 5:30 pm) tea time, the menu opens up to include kopitam favourites such as kaya toast and snack-sized servings of Peranakan dishes. The tea time combos are even available on the weekends in the morning time slot.
The Iced Lemon Tea comes free with the signature combo. Usually, iced lemon teas are practically sugar water, but the primary flavour of this was the satisfying bitterness of black tea with only a touch of sweetness. The Pineapple Carrot Juice (RM8.90) was just as advertised. Nothing but freshly blended pineapple and carrot with no added sugar.
Kakatoo’s Char Koay Teow (RM12.90) is actually decent by KL standards. It had a balanced ratio of ingredients without too much filler. There were plenty of cockles and the noodles had good flavour and chew to them. The dish was only slightly spicy. I do feel like this could’ve benefited with more char on the noodles and a side of sambal. This wasn’t the best char koay teow, but it was tasty enough that I would not hesitate to order this again.
The Signature Kampung Fried Rice combo (RM28.90) is a big plate with a lot going on. A huge portion of fried rice is ringed by acar, prawn crackers, 3 pieces of pandan chicken and 3 chicken satays. The fried rice was packed with ingredients, and we kept getting large, surprise pieces of chicken or anchovy that we didn’t know was going to be in there. This serving of rice is so generous that you could probably give half of it to your dining companion and still be comfortably full. The acar was not spicy at all, and the satays were just meh. However, Mark claims that the pandan chicken was the best he’s ever had. Other pandan chickens we’ve tried were just dry, bland pieces of white meat. This pandan chicken at Kakatoo was ground or shredded chicken that had been reformed and fried. Maybe it’s not authentic, but it was much more flavourful and moist.
The Gula Melaka Sago Pudding was included with the fried rice combo. This is a simpler version of the sago pudding on the dessert menu. Lots of gula melaka syrup is hiding under the surface of the coconut milk and this is a nice, creamy treat to end your meal.
The yummy food combined with the peaceful sound of bubbling water from the fountain nearby made our visit simply marvellous. We came at off-peak hours (2 pm) and the service was very quick with food coming out within ten to fifteen minutes. This might be different at prime lunchtime as some diners have complained about the slow service. One odd thing is that our dessert arrived before our mains, so it might be a good idea to make a separate order for your post-meal cendol. We unfortunately don’t have much reason to be in the Bandar Sri Damansara area again, but our experience here today means we’ll probably be eating at one of Kakatoo’s other locations in the future.
Price for 2 Pax: RM56.55
Signature Kampung Fried Rice: RM28.90
Char Koay Teow: RM12.90
Pineapple Carrot Juice: RM8.90
5% Service: RM2.68
6% SST: RM3.19
B-G-1, Ground Floor, Ativo Plaza No.1, Jalan PJU 9/1, Damansara Avenue, Bandar Sri Damansara, 52200 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Daily, 9:45am – 8pm
Alcohol Served: No