The moderately enormous, pungent (from commuter secretions), and not-quite marketed NuSentral mall draws crowds in the region of a hundred thousand each day. That number is likely inaccurate, and irrelevant to the point at hand – the point being that NuSentral is a transportation crossroads and not just a standalone generic mall. It features a bunch of KTM and LRT and Monorail and bus stations, as well as (tucked away near the entrance and opposite-ish from 4 Fingers) Quartet NuSentral, our kiosk in question for today’s overdue review. Or is that Quar Tet NuSentral? Also, apologies to DFW for the title (bless his soul).
Can a kiosk transcend its form? Can it make itself more than just a kiosk, can it devote itself to an ideal, and become something else entirely? I dunno. Maybe. It’s trying to be a neighbourhood eatery in the middle of a mall. But in the capitalistic hell of a KL mall, what is the neighbourhood in question? And more specifically – given that there are some pretty tiny malls out there in actual tiny neighbourhoods – what neighbourhood does Nu Sentral serve? It’s a center of criss-crossing public transport. There aren’t really any houses in the visible vicinity. This is a neighbourhood of hungry office workers.
In any case, we sampled the food at Quartet Nu Sentral at their bequest, and sat on this review for ages. Here’s what we thought of it.
The above photo is a cold brew raspberry latte. It’s peculiar. The uninitiated palate struggles initially to situate the contrasting flavours on the same plane. It strikes one as the sort of vaguely unnecessary flourish done in the name of experimentation by inebriated, moneyed minds. The sort that laugh at the serfdom and subject them to stranger things while simultaneously mocking them for just not getting this intellectual pairing and how it’s a metaphor for the human condition – the milk stands for sustenance and the first elixir of life, the coffee is a stand-in for awakenings and enlightenment, the raspberry is a reference to the Raspberry Pi and its attempt to popularize cheaper technology to a wider audience previously blocked from access to the web at large due to, you know, money, and the combination stands for the encroaching expansion of gentrification and how we move even further from the fundamental truths that constitute a human being and – well, the point is it’s a peculiar little latte.
Here’s a pulled beef sandwich. Upon dissection (digestion?), we discovered slow-cooked beefu, caramelized onions, and good old cheddar. No frills, no worries. Or some aphorism to that effect. The bread is good. It’s baked in-house at Quar Tet TTDI, we’re told, which is the home base to our Quar Tet NuSentral neighbourhood satellite station. There’s a nice crust on the bread. The crumb has a good lattice to it. Very lattice-y. Airy, in other words, and that’s air with a tinge of yeast. Vaguely. It’s there. Somewhere. I may have imagined it. I don’t have my notes on this place anymore. It’s from some time ago and I procrastinated and then dropped a water bottle on the notebook and now I no longer recall the initial impressions of the sandwich in particular and the place as a whole. I’m sorry. We don’t really “remember” anything, I’m told. Each attempt to recall distorts the memory itself, and at some point you can no longer tell if you’re recalling the recollection or the thing in itself.
Mild mustard, tender strands of beef, and cheese that’s nothing much to shout about but this sammie sammie wham bam really surprised us. Great for the price in my opinion. Granted, I can’t remember the price (thank you, alcohol) but if there’s ONE thing I can remember, it’s value. They don’t call us the Valuegazers for nothing!
This is a grilled chicken sandwich. It doesn’t look like much from outside. Inside:
I. Sundried tomatoes that taste like normal tomatoes
II. Cheddar cheese that doesn’t really taste like it’s there
III. Grilled chicken that doesn’t really taste like it’s there
IV. In-house pesto that’s very, very fragrant with a punchy smell to it
The pesto carries it to the finishing line. It’s enough to elevate the sammich to a much better version of what you’d get at London Sandwich Co, that joint that used to serve great value sandwiches once upon a time. It’s really quite a surprising pesto – one imagines pairing it with better quality ingredients all around would lead to a very good sandwich indeed. It’s a pesto even a shortcake could love. Or like at least. In any case, we enjoyed it a fair bit.
In general, these are good sandwiches though I would have loved a good craft / in-house hot sauce with them. Imagine Blair’s Ultra Death on these suckers. Or some caramel sticky spiciness from BLiS. I’m still waiting for hot sauce to be the next trend that Malaysians ride on. Would be worth the hype train if I can get my hands on those beauties once again.
Before our alcohol-drenched minds forget, there’s also coffee on offer. Regular espresso-based wholesome stuff without the pairing of raspberries and other strange bedfellows. It’s a very dark roast, brewed very hot. It’s palatable. It’s certainly not the monstrosity that LOKL, for instance, deems fit for public consumption. If you need a quick caffeine fix, there are worse ways than getting a long black here, I can tell you that.
All things considered, it’s quite a decent little kiosk, is Quar Tet NuSentral. It’s a humble little stall selling better-than-average food and coffee to go, typically manned by a single person (or maybe there’s two at times, we don’t really know). There’s something romantic about the solo kiosk, of course. We love the coffee-only one at Publika (Room 203). The popups Nowhereman Coffee and Outcast Coffee were legitimately some of our favourite places to get coffee before they shut down. We’re romantics! We’re sorry. Go and try Quar Tet if you’re passing by.
Quar Tet NuSentral
Inside NuSentral mall. Opposite 4 Fingers. At that bridge connecting NuSentral to KL Sentral.