This unassuming cafe puts an international spin on western brunch.
With its diminutive size and inconspicuous shopfront, it’s very easy to overlook a place like Tray Cafe. Even though the competing restaurants have big cheery patios and similar brunch food, Tray Cafe is worth a look for its diverse menu that borrows from Vietnamese, Dutch, Moroccan and other cuisines.
Ambience & Amenities
Tray is a tight space with only about a dozen tables in total. Inside, only four or five tables have been set up in a single room. It’s not very cosy or private in here, but it will have to do if the patio is filled up, which it likely will be during the weekends. The patio is a bit nicer but it doesn’t have much of a view. You might be able to people watch some passersby in the lane, however, the screening plants make it hard for anyone to see out or in.
Tray does not have an in-house toilet or a handwashing station. Guests will have to use the facilities in the Hartamas Shopping Centre, which is a fair walk away. Exit Tray Cafe and turn right. Turn left at the MyNews to get back to the mall. Turn left at the TGI Fridays. The washrooms are all the way at the end next to the Rakuzen.
Tray’s menu is largely brunchy type food. Expect lots of avocado and eggs, but many dishes will have an ethnic twist. All of the dishes at Tray Cafe are pork-free.
Click on menu pictures to enlarge
At the back of the menu are the bakery’s selection of whole cakes that you can pre-order, with some of these cakes able to be bought by the slice at the counter. Also at the counter are a wide variety of yummy looking baked goods that are worth saving room for.
Water is free and is in a big self-serve jug at the cutlery stations. There is one inside the cafe on the right wall, as well as outside next to the entrance.
There were no surprises with the Kale Apple Cucumber Honey & Chia Juice (RM11). The honey was the only subdued ingredient, but otherwise, you could clearly taste the other elements. There was no additional sugar in this and the texture was frothy as real juice should be. It was thick and tough to drink though and could’ve benefitted with a straw.
The Dutch Pancake (RM19) is positively spilling out of the cast iron pan. The taste and texture is significantly eggier than traditional pancakes, reminiscent of an omelette. Although, there was a hint of sweetness to the Dutch pancake that I didn’t care for. It was just weird to eat eggs and salmon with a sweet undertone from the pancake. I’m sure the mixed berry version of the pancake is better than this savoury one. As unique as this looks, this was a bland dish and needed a bold ingredient of some kind. Egg, avocado, salmon and Dutch pancake are just four subdued flavours that get lost in each other.
The Roast Beef Sandwich (RM25) has a generous helping of thick slices of rib eye. The bread is a crusty multigrain, but it has been slathered with so much butter that it is now chewy in the middle. Our fingertips were absolutely covered in grease when picking up this sandwich. Both pieces of bread had ample helpings of pesto so there’s lots of distinct pesto flavour without it being overwhelming.
The meat just barely cooked, rosy pink and so tender. There was none of that awkwardness where the meat is so tough that we had to use our hands to rip chunks off after unsuccessfully trying to bite through it. I thought the beef could’ve used more flavour, but Mark insisted that it was perfect the way it was to harmonise with the pesto and caramelised onions. He wouldn’t stop raving about this sandwich – the meat tenderness, the balance of flavours, and the satisfyingly greasy bread.
The reason why we (okay, I) spent twenty minutes deciding where to eat at Plaza Damas before settling on Tray is that it has the most interesting looking food without being ridiculously overpriced. Their menu with European, Pan-Asian and Middle Eastern infusions stands out from the tired scrambled egg wraps and “big American breakfasts” of the other nearby eateries. Mark already wants to come back here based on the strength of the rib eye sandwich alone, but the appetizing looking pastries at Tray open up the possibility of having an afternoon snack here. Plaza Damas isn’t our favourite place to eat, but I think we’ve found our default restaurant in the area.
Price for 2 Pax: RM57.80
Dutch Pancake: RM19.00
Roast Beef Sandwich: RM25.00
Kale Apple Cucumber Honey & Chia Juice: RM11.00
5% Service: RM2.75
Address: Lot H-0-2 (Block H), Plaza Damas, 60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Daily, 9am – 6pm
Alcohol Served: No