‘Hello young man, long time no see. How’s life?’ asked one of the two sisters who run this place as she handed me the menu. This sums up Bakeri Joy; here, customers are friends.
Behind its old-fashioned store front in Taman Megah, Bakeri Joy is a casual mom-and-pop bakery, which doubles up as a café serving home-cooked comfort food. It’s been here since 1997, and the sisters pretty much run the show (they were the owners of the now defunct Angel Cake House; a nostalgic name, and perhaps even an institution, for many ’70s and ’80s children who grew up in PJ and KL) while the brother bakes and cooks in the kitchen at the back.
We were told that the nasi lemak bungkus is good but we were so hungry that we went straight for the big portion mains. The curry laksa is similar to the ones in Penang; the noodles, topped with strips of fried egg and chicken and a few tau pok, are served in a simple santan broth flavoured with a splash of chilli oil. It is when you stir in the dry chilli paste that the soup opens up; it becomes savoury and punchy with the distinct charred aroma of sambal udang kering. It’s light and appetising, and unlike most of the curry laksa in KL which are served in a curry so thick it’s almost gravy. My Hainanese chicken chop was generously portioned with an entire drumstick and thigh (deboned, of course) wrapped in a golden layer of crunchy skin and drenched in warm mushroom sauce. The surprise is, there’s a fried egg to go with it all, along with crinkle cut fries.
I like that the food doesn’t even try to be clever; it is what it is. And you can say the same about the bakery. The cakes, and especially the cupcakes, are seriously old school, all lathered in butter cream so thick and rich that you can smell it. On the day of our visit, they had seven different types of butter cake; ‘we use real butter only,’ assured one of the sisters as I paid for my loaf of banana walnut butter cake. The cake, though a little drier than I would have liked, is nonetheless rich and dense and seriously addictive. You’ll find homemade kaya and pineapple tarts here as well, which taste like they were made by a doting elderly aunty. Nothing fancy but you know it’s the real stuff.
Bakeri Joy is the kind of place you can easily connect with, rely upon to get your fix of honest-to-goodness food that will cheer you up on a bad day. Too bad they don’t make places like this anymore.