When Karl casually told me that he reckoned it was a good idea to open Antipodean in the flash, upmarket suburb of Bangsar (KL, Malaysia), I didnt know whether to laugh or cry. Malaysia, unlike Indonesia, has a very developed level of food appreciation- from eating the variety of delicacies on offer- to critiquing them via live blogs and other web media. In all honesty Merdeka Coffee has its hands fairly full with Indonesia, the cafe in Sydney, the roastery in Auckland and some plans for something in Penang and Bangalore. Because of these various excuses, I was not 100% sure what to do with Karl's invite.
4 months later we are open and trading. The comments about the coffee, especially from the very fussy and pretty knowledgeable expatriate community, are uniformally excellent. Cracking the local oppinion of coffee- for better or for worse- is a little more difficult. Mostly good comments peppered with "its bitter", "its sour", "its bright", "its dull"..."its too Indonesian" often prickle me. After all I am the roaster and our pretty large customer base outside of Bangsar would not use any of these terms to describe the espresso blend.
The adventure in getting Antipodean open included using a contractor with a sense of humor which would have won him an Oscar (in any language), part of the roof falling in and squashing the bench, sink and undercounter chiller. A debate with some local authorities about whether the word "antipodean" in anyway was associate with "PORNOGRAPHY" (it was a difficult one to get my head around)....
Anyway we are open and once again I am enjoying working 7am till midnight...ahhhh the joys of cafe retail work....keeps us young no???
Anyway a few reviews after the first 10 days make the work worthwhile>
Enough to keep me focused on working harder to meet the expectations of this notoriously tough market!