Kopitiam franchises have been popping up like mushrooms all over the Klang Valley over the past few years, and it's easy to see why. Homegrown coffee and local cuisine, all in a comfortable setting reminiscent of the original kopitiams of the past. Here in Damansara Perdana, Hailam Kopitiam is just one of many branches though this is the only one I've ever visited. As it's surrounded by office buildings, it's become a favourite spot for hungry office workers, and lunch hour usually finds it packed and noisy with customers and chatter.
The menu has quite a variety of dishes, and it's got a wider range than a few other franchise kopitiams I've visited. They serve up bread, rice, noodles, western cuisine, coffees, teas, smoothies ... it's pretty extensive, and I once spent four days here having lunch and trying something different each day without getting bored. The nasi lemak pictured above was my friend's order, and came with some rendang ayam. Didn't get a taste, but looked good.
They serve quite a few croissant option dishes, ranging from egg, tuna, fish and chicken. I like the fish fillet croissant compared to the chicken chop croissant, as the chicken chop is usually kind of tough - more skin than meat. Both croissant options come with a lettuce leaf, some cucumber slices and a tomato slice along with your choice of gravy: rendang, mushroom, original (sort of like a sweet and sour sauce) or black pepper. The black pepper one is the best in my opinion - goes very well with the fish fillet croissant. The pastry itself has a sort of recently microwaved feel to it, but it's not too bad.
My favourite dish here so far though is the fried mixed mee. I've always been a huge fan of Cantonese fried noodles, and this one, though not the best I've ever tasted, really hits the spot. It's got both kuey teow and crispy bihun, along with a generous serving of chicken, prawns and vegetables. It's a bit plain tasting initially, but nothing that a little soy sauce can't cure. Twice I've had this and twice I couldn't finish it, there was just so much of it.
My friend likes the dry curry noodles, so I thought I'd give it a shot but with wantan noodles instead. This has got to be the wettest 'dry' curry wantan noodles I've ever had. There was way more curry than was necessary. No complaints though as it was nice and tasty. What I didn't like was how there were a lot of little pieces of shattered chicken bone with the chicken pieces, which jarred my eating experience. At the time I ordered, the noodles tasted like it might have been soaked in hot water for too long, though it wasn't a nuisance.
I'm not a coffee drinker, so I can't really be a judge of this beverage. However, my friend seems to love it and once ordered two servings during one sitting. He says that it's his favourite coffee in the area, and compared to other franchise kopitiams.
While I really enjoy their local dishes, the Western fare is a bit lacking. They have dishes such as chicken chop and fish and chips, of which I've only tried the former. I didn't really like it as the meat was kind of tough. I think it's better to stick with their rice and noodles instead.
The restaurant front is edged with some large potted plants which is quite nice as it creates a comfortable atmosphere despite the cars parked just feet away. It gets very noisy here sometimes which is expected, and occasionally there will be the odd car honking frantically because of the rampant double parking in the area. All this aside, I really like this cafe and it has become one of my favourite places to eat during lunch hour.