Much has been written about Charlie’s Cafe in Taman Desa.
The social enterprise with its Pay-It-Forward program, the founders’ policy of eliminating middle men and buying their supplies from local farmers, the massive chicken chop, the mouthwatering Sarawak Laksa and the luscious Musang King cheesecake – there are many good reasons to visit Charlie Cafe!
I personally had Charlie Cafe on my to-visit list for ages but Taman Desa is just “not convenient”.
That basically translates to “I’m lazy to drive further than 10 km out of TTDI”.
Anyhow, what got me to drop in finally was these “UFO tarts“!
Well, that was my exact reaction too.
It seems that UFO tart is a Sandakan delicacy also known as Cow Dung Tart.
The name was inspired by its shape while the recipe was (according to online sources) a result of an overbaked pastry by a local baker over a century ago.
As it turns out, it was a hit.
From the images I saw online, I didn’t think I would like it since it has meringue. I dislike meringue in general but this UFO tart was really something I had to try.
Charlie Cafe’s is currently (as far I know) the ONLY outlet making UFO tarts available commercially.
And so, after years of procrastination, a cow dung tart got me here.
And you know what?
I LOVE IT!
The base is a wonderfully aromatic, buttery dense cake with crispy sides and it is topped with egg custard and meringue.
It sounds like a diet buster and well, I think so too.
But heavens, it was difficult to stop at ONE!
It is possible to pop the entirely thing into your mouth and savour the rich base with the lip-smacking custard and meringue combo.
I find the sweetness bearable and I think it would go great with a cup of hot coffee.
Charlie Cafe is selling it for RM3.00 each and the tarts are available for take-aways as well.
I was tempted to order a few more UFO tarts but I had the famous Musang King Durian Cheesecake (RM16.90) to reckon with on the same plate.
I’ve had my fair share of durian cheesecakes (I highly recommend the one by Swich Cafe Atria Damansara as an alternative) but I must admit Charlie’s musang king cheesecake ranked as one of the best among them all.
I particularly enjoyed the almond crust base; a nice change from the boring digestive base and the almond bits added a pleasant crunch to each bite.
The cheese was pungent with durian flavour, rich yet not cloyingly so. Durian fans might prefer a heavier durian taste, but I personally like this version as it offers a better balance of cheese and durian.
Prior to tucking into cow dung tart and the cheesecake, I was stuffing myself with Charlie’s Sarawak Laksa and Chicken Chop.
Charlie’s Chicken Chop did live up to its hype. We loved the juicy, large whole chicken thigh with its crispy, non-greasy batter.
Even the sides were commendable – freshly fried fluffy potatoes cubes instead of generic fries/mash and a coleslaw that is tangy and fresh, with just a hint of creaminess to bind it together.
Chicken Chop with Mushroom Sauce – RM17.90.
Sarawak Laksa – RM13.90.
Sarawak Laksa fans will find this adequate – robust broth with plenty of the standard laksa ingredients. Just like the chicken chop, this was a filling main that would feed a medium-appetite diner nicely.
Apart from being a neighbourhood cafe, Charlie’s Cafe “Pay It Forward” community program allows anyone to pay RM5 in advance for a “voucher” (receipt) that will then be stuck to their wall.
Anyone who is in need of a meal can come in, take a receipt and use it as voucher to claim for food in Charlie’s Cafe.
I find this a heartwarming gesture that deserved applause and apparently there are many generous folks about; for the wall was full of receipts!
29, Jalan Bukit Desa 5,
Taman Bukit Desa,
58100 Kuala Lumpur.
Hours: Mon – Sat: 7:30 am – 9:30 pm
Contact: +6012 – 816 0003