By Elizabeth Koh Featherbe
Coffee, shisha and pancakes are three words that you would not usually associate together in a cafe, don’t you think so?
Everytime my friends and I decide to meet up, some of us would rather sit in a quiet cosy café where we can sip on hot coffees while catching up with one another, whereas others would rather that we spend our time at a noisy place like the ‘mamak’ or Asia Café where shisha is available.
After countless times where we had to flip a coin to make a decision, we finally found the perfect solution that combined these two elements together: Tryst Café.
Since it’s opening in November 2013, Tryst has gained fast popularity among the residents of Subang.
Having turned in his resignation letter as banker for HSBC Bank in Kota Damansara, Haikal Hashron Hashim, 30, began his journey as a brand new café owner.
Together with his brother-in-law Badrul, and Badrul’s wife, Shai, as well as his friend, Chef Hafiz, they run the double-storey Tryst Café.
The Johor-born café owner admits that coming up with the idea for opening Tryst café was quite a spontaneous one.
“It’s a place where people meet. An appointment made usually by lovers at a secret time of place,” Haikal said regarding the choice of name for his café.
According to Haikal, he is the type of person who dislikes jobs that require him to sit at a desk all day long, just like what he was required to do when he was a banker.
Money comes secondary to Haikal, as he had said that if people are able to make a living out of doing something that they love, then that would be great.
Before Tryst’s opening, Haikal already enjoyed café-hopping during his free time, as Subang Jaya is filled with a wide array of choices to choose from.
Haikal admits that he himself is an avid-coffee drinker, but he tries to have self-control so that he does not get overly addicted to it.
He says that whenever he goes café-hopping he usually orders a simple latte, because it is not a complicated type of coffee, hence he uses it to compare cafes to each other.
“You can distinguish how good a café is just by a simple latte,” Haikal explains one of his reasons for ordering lattes in the various cafes that he has visited.
However, because he noticed that most of the cafes serve the typical choices of coffee, cakes or waffles, he decided to challenge the status quo by choosing another dish as Tryst Café’s specialty: pancakes.
Haikal said that the idea of making pancakes their main focus was experimental, and it wasn’t because they were good at making pancakes already.
Most of the food on Tryst Café’s chalkboard menu are based on dishes that the chef created by experimenting with leftovers after a long day’s work.
If they come to an agreement that the dish tastes delicious, they add it to their flexible menu.
Haikal lives right above his café, on the third floor of his shop lot, so that it is convenient for him, and he will also be able to manage his café more efficiently.
The ground floor of the café is divided into an indoor section for non-smokers as well as an outdoor section, whereas the section upstairs is completely open-air.
According to Haikal, most of the furniture used in Tryst Café are second-hand and belonged to him or his family members of friends previously, in order to give a more authentic homey feeling.
The artistic designs painted on the wall were painted by artists based on the ideas given by Haikal himself.
The selection of songs playing in the background at the café are usually from Haikal’s Spotify account.
I found it very intriguing that a café would serve shisha along with coffee and pancakes, because it is rare to see these three elements blend so well together.
Haikal thought that incorporating shisha into their café would be something unique and different, hence they were determined that they provide good quality shisha since it’s priced slightly higher in comparison to those served at Asia Café.
Regarding any plans for expanding the business, Haikal says that they are going to open up another branch of Tryst Café in Seksyen 13, Shah Alam.
Jin, 23, a customer who was at the café with a friend celebrating a birthday, said that the elements that she likes best about Tryst Café are their desserts and drinks.
Another customer, Anne, 25, who was reading a magazine while seated with a friend in the outdoor section of the café, said that she frequents the café about three times a week ever since she first discovered it, because it has a very nice ambience.
“Their pancakes are nice, and it’s really near to my college. It’s reasonably priced and the portion is filling,” said a customer, Tabitha, 19, regarding her opinion about the café.
FoodAdvisor, a local food review website (www.foodadvisor.my), listed Tryst Café at the top of their “Best Pancake in Subang Jaya” list. (C., 2014)
I personally enjoy the ambience that the café provides, and the pancakes, ranging from the decadently sweet to savory, as well as the main choices of coffee available here.
Located strategically within close proximity to housing areas and various educational institutes at 74 Jalan SS15/4C, Subang Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, I would highly recommend this café to anyone who is looking for the perfect place to chill out at any hour, as it open its doors from 10.00am to 1.00am almost daily, with the exceptions of Tuesday when it opens at 6.00pm and Fridays as well as Saturday nights when it closes at 2.00am for night owls around Subang.