Ziffy pairs a pun-packed menu with dishes of varying levels of promise, all plated quite prettily. It’s another in the long line of Klang Valley’s ongoing cafe offerings and may well merit a visit if you’re in the area. We didn’t have anything spectacular during our visit but we do hope they continue working on the dishes.
Kota Damansara has come a long way from being a forest reserve. Now a melting pot for various gastronomic points of interest, in recent times it’s undergone a (dare I say gentrification) shift towards more than just local eateries. A short drive (misnomer, the traffic here is something else) through the lanes will showcase the sheer variety of food on display. Dim sum delights, Korean barbecue, modern takes on wantan mee, Melbourne brunch inspired cafes and this Foodgazer’s go-to Penang Nasi Kandar are just a few of the choice ingredients floating to the top of this stew of good eats.
Amidst all the noise is Ziffy, situated inside Sunway Nexis. The facade with all its geometric blocks lends a certain order to the chaos of Kota Damansara and walking in, the feeling of comfort further sinks in. Well-lit, the cafe is modern indeed with wood and metal co-existing in a sort of compromise between the two elements. Up the stairs sits a loft area which lends an air of privacy to caffeine consumers and brunch munchers alike. A little alcove sits at the back, where plans for live music nights are soon to take shape.
The brain-child of a Melbourne University alumni, Ziffy aims to bring to Kota Damansara all the cafe chic from the owner’s student days. Armed with 2 ex-Jibby & Co. cooks, the menu is a puntastic and varied range of brunchy food with local twists. If you’re taco-ing about Mexico, there are tacos and quesadillas. Their salad section is Inspiralized by many eclectic influences ranging from sensual Prawn Stars to the noble Roman Julius Caesar.
We start with some drinks. The Longan Mojito (RM13) is a sweet, light refreshing concoction that teases the palate with that green hit of lime with some longan skewers to go with it. Refreshing, although the longan doesn’t really shine through. Better is the Boss Mojito (RM13), a very interesting mixological concoction of coffee with shots of lime and mint. The combination is surprisingly balanced with the subtle nuances of the coffee being brought out by the lime, tempering the darker shades of the roast.
A trio arrives to save the Foodgaes from their incessant hunger pangs. Not quite Alexandre Dumas, Ziffy’s bao triple threat consists of 2 birds and their fishy friend, chivalrously defending your right to be free from hunger. First up to the tasting plate is the Duck, glazed with teriyaki sauce and sandwiched in between that fluffy bao. The texture of the meat here is quacking, moist and soft while retaining a good bite. Bound to please the local crowd with the sweet and salty interplay. Up next is Chicken, proudly Malaysian with its sweet sambal chili dressing. While the chicken here is well-cooked like the duck, the sauce here falls on the wrong side of sweet and, if not for the absorbent bao, would almost be cloying. Picking up the slack is the Fish, with its crispy batter, flaky meat and a flourish of mayo showing that simplicity can win the day. The best of the bunch in our Gazerly opinion.
There’s something about Mari... nara. Ziffy’s rendition of this ever-popular seafood pasta takes the heat up a notch to match our tropical weather. Two Prawn Stars (hehe) join the flavour orgy, lying temptingly over a bed of spaghetti, each strand slick and wet with passion… actually, marinara sauce. Damn, this has some good heat actually. The Foodgazers are in disagreement. One contends that this indeed is a good sauce, the other is again let down by that tinge of sweetness that slightly offsets the delicate balancing act. As we all know, positioning is of paramount importance in the industry in which these two crustaceans perform in. Mussel-bound fans surround the pasta pedestal upon which their objects of desire lay so seductively, beseeching them to pay notice. The Gazers don’t care. We eat all of them. They’re fresh and tasty. Did we mention that the spice here kicks? We did? Good.
The Salted Egg Chick (RM20) is a revamped, spruced-up version of a kopitiam and taichow favourite. Pieces of chicken coated in that addictive salted egg goodness rest above a vegetable medley. Ziffy up the ante by using Basmathi rice in place of the usual short or long grain. They do it right, the rice retaining its bite and providing a medium of transport from plate to palate to stomach. Alas, while the salted egg coating hits the right buttons with its savoury flavour hammer, the chicken inside is slightly dry and not quite up to par. Green is good, however, as the vegetables pick up the slack with crispy, fresh flavours. The peppers crunch well and have a pleasing sweetness.
And so the Foodgazing is done. Ziffy Cafe has potential. The food and drink are all prettily presented in neat, Instagram-worthy packages. When the flavours align, the food is interesting and tasty. Perhaps a bit more work on balancing the flavour profiles is needed. It’s a comfortable spot, as you can see from Yummy Yenchie above, planning his next bout of fat-assery. It’s pretty. There will be live music soon. They offer set lunches too. So! If ever you’re in Sunway Nexis and in search of a quiet spot for some reading, productive thinking or just to laze around away from the humidity, go to Ziffy. See you in a jiffy.