The mushroom growing of cafes in KK City has never stopped since the beginning of the trend worldwide (well, KK started around 2013?). There are so many cafes out there (out of no where lol) – let’s talk about Australian Place, Lido Plaza (I noticed a few has closed), Gaya Street, and more.
And today, we are going to talk about the café that popped unexpectedly.
Tucked away in the city’s quiet enclave, Ampersand Specialty Coffee & Co-workplace is located at Bandaran Berjaya, Kota Kinabalu. Humbly operated by Ampersand Partners since July 2017, the café does not display their big brand name outside of the café.
However, recently I have revisited the café to bring my parents for a treat and find out that they have a tiny signboard at the side of the entrance (edited January 2018). Therefore, it can be challenging when searching for the exact location of the café. However, this earthy painted café kept its originality and character of the building designs inside out.
Tips for first-timers
For those who have difficulties in finding the café, especially when you are trying to explain to Uber or Grab Drivers – I always go with “see that baby blue coloured building lot? That’s the one” when driving to; or, “same row as Restaurant Maimunah, but the café it in the middle of the block” or “just wait at Maimunah and I will walk” when call for Uber or Grab.
Appreciating what’s left behind
Bandaran Berjaya was one of the famous satellite towns in the 70s or 80s. It was the Ampersand partners’ aim to bring a glimpse of the old KK that not many remember, or didn’t even know about the Downtown.
Some tips for café hoppers like yourself who are into the heritage and “bringing back the old days”, spot the signboard of the first owner outside the building (Ampersand is the third in operation), windows that were built by the Japanese, an old beam structure that turned into the counter area where you make your orders, as well as the old cupboard that were passed down from the previous owners.
Adding a twist of modern into the oldie
The interior of the café was renovated with a touch of modern and local favourites. This café fits up to 60 diners at a time and is decorated with unique furniture that brings different vibes at each section – normal table, high table, and cinema chairs that suits your mood on the day. Trust me, it is hard to resist from taking pictures or selfie from all angles. For instagrammers, this can be your perfect “public studio” for a cuppa. Even their toilet looks cool! – Please don’t carry your drinks there… kidding.
Coffee or Tea?
Not your average cup of tea or coffee, skilled baristas find themselves pushing the limits of cuppa perfection to win their loyal customer’s heart. The beans that they use are generally Arabica beans as well as a house blend (secret!) of their own which has won our coffee soul.
Signatures – only in Ampersand
Try the Black Latte, Ampersand Tea Latte, and Coconut Espresso. These drinks can’t be found at any café in the whole of KK City. These are specially crafted and created in Ampersand. IF you are sick of ordering your morning latte and receiving a normal looking cup of coffee, then you might be interested in checking out the Black Latte – point of difference is that it actually tastes delicious and sweet.
New obsession on the Coconut Espresso is real – matching one of Sabah’s best produces, literally one coconut and an espresso on the side to taste according to your palate; something new!
Not your average Tea Latte, you are fortunate to slurp the in-house orangey looking Ampersand Tea Latte interestingly prepared by an espresso machine. Warm and comforting, the fragrance of the tea definitely wins your heart. Just a note for some, my mom and sister do think that the Ampersand Tea Latte is a little strong for them. So, let me know what do you think.
The sweet stuff
For those out there with an undeniable sweet tooth, treating yourself a cuppa Belgian Chocolate 55% and TRIPLE Chocolate with Chocolate Ice Cream are both absolutely delicious and sinful.
Spare some space for their popular homemade Ondeh Ondeh Cake – bursting with a perfect combination of pandan, coconut and gula Melaka. Not so much of a coconut fan? Tiramisu Cake with Roasted Caramel Nuts – sweet, tasty, crunchy and alcohol-free, especially those unexpected crumbly surprises when biting into it! These exciting pick-me-up both are light and fluffy. These keep the doctor awayand both were made by my friend a home baker!
I must say, Ampersand is so innovative in their menu and creating an environment like no other. It is a space that aims to inspire young people in creative and arts as well as an open mind for entrepreneurship. The café is open for a rent as common space for workshop and collaborations. Don’t forget to check their daily menus at the counter where offers like 70% NAMA Dark Chocolate and Salted Egg Croissant are available (or sometimes not). Try you luck!
You should know:
Address: Lot 23, Jalan Berjaya 3, Bandaran Berjaya, 88000 Kota Kinabalu
Opening Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight (Monday to Saturday), last order at 11:00 p.m; and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Sunday)