Takeoffs and landings.

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio: Because the universe always wins.


For any small time traveller, we have dreams of going farther away, pass the geographical borders. Someday, I would like to go back to Australia and travel across the continent attending concerts that might be happening then. Then, I would like to do the rite-of-passage backpack trip around Europe. Lastly, if I ever get myself to the British Isles, I will make it a point to go up north to Iceland, and watch the sun set at 11PM.

Alas, I do not have a money tree growing in my backyard, and with the economy downslide, even a trip down to Singapore seems further than a five-hour drive. But, it does not hurt to dream every once in a while. To be in a place that believes someday your dream of travelling far and wide will come true someday. A place like hands giving you the nudge forward, feeding on your aspiration to make you want to just drop everything in life and just up and leave.

Finally. A travel-themed cafe. Departure Lounge has been around for about three years, and just recently – as recent as one month plus – it has opened up a new outlet in Solaris Mont Kiara. The idea came about when one of the founders, Loo, was still studying in the UK and he frequent a bookstore called Stanford in Manchester, which is said to be any travelling Englishmen’s Mecca. When Loo returned to Malaysia, his idea followed him and it has landed in hopes to provide all things travel related to the KL crowd.

The highlight of the cafe would probably be their little travel library. It is a humble little corner with rows of bookshelves filled with anything and everything you need to know about countries all over the world, as well as fictional travel-related books, just in case you need a kick of inspiration on where to travel.

It portrays a kind of cosyness you would find over a fireplace with the embers still alight, and you would tuck your sock-covered feet under yourself, sipping a hot cup of cocoa while dreaming of being in someplace else in the world with the same setting, but with actual snow falling outside.

Another point of interest would be the photo mural right by the entrance. I thought it was a nice idea to have visitors’ travel pictures up on the wall. I think it is these pictures that would strike that spark in me to make the move in travelling further. Looking at these perfectly angled and colourfully adapted 3×5’s, it just makes me want to go there myself, feel the atmosphere I could only sense by looking through a photograph, and take the shot myself, write about it and keep it stored in my head. Forever.

I cannot say they serve the most awesomest food in town, but I would have to give Loo credit for wanting to be better. Since he enjoys cooking, he does not mind spending long hours in the kitchen, trying to find a better way to spice up your food while you are hanging around spawning your next travelling trip.

One unique thing that came out of their kitchen is the Meatballs with Mango Gravy. It is like their own version of Ikea’s Swedish meatballs, only instead of having cranberry as the sweetener, they have mango instead. I thought it is a pretty good attempt, but you will not see me gulping down extra helpings though. See, I am not a fan of mangoes, and I have just picked up the habit in the form of juices and lassi probably less than five years ago. It does taste good, like a new kind of explosion for my palette. Definitely something different to savour in.

Other dishes to try out at Departure Lounge includes the Lounge Salad – Departure’s own house salad with ranch dressing, crispy bacon and shredded cheese.

The Roast Beef “Philly” Toastini – roast beef slices with sauteed onions and cheese, toasted for a crisp exterior, and a soft, cheesy centre.

The Chicken Puebla – a tortilla-wrapped grilled chicken breast with roasted peppers, sauteed onions, cheese and tomato salsa.

For a cafe that has only been around for one month, I could see a lot of potential in the foreseeable future for Departure Lounge, especially since they got the travel theme as an upper hand.

When I look at the clean walls, I saw amateur chalkboard drawings of airplanes with dotted trails behind them, doing figure eight’s to the other side of the room. I saw black-and-white murals of the France canal or the New York City decorating your background as you surf the Internet on your laptop. I also remember the map of America on Lucas Scott’s wall with the states made out of carplates of the respective states. I also saw musicians doing covers of travel related songs, and customers coming together and sharing their most unusual travel experiences and photos.

There is still room for growth for Departure Lounge, especially the new outlet in Mont Kiara. Visit it today you might not be impressed much. But, believe you me, give them the benefit of the doubt. Wait and see. I believe someday, with a little help from the avid travelling customers and Loo’s preseverance in perfecting the menu, Departure Lounge is going to go places.

Departure Lounge
Solaris Mont Kiara
10, Jalan Solaris 4
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Opens Monday to Saturday @ 8AM-10PM; Sunday and Holiday @ 10AM-5PM
T: +6 03 6203 0362
E: cafe.departure.lounge@gmail.com


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2 Responses to “Takeoffs and landings.”

  1. Ah_Mike Says:

    Looks awesome! Me wanna go there…..

  2. Celeste Says:

    sure. we can stop by the place the next time you swing by kl. :] no alcohol there, though. heh.

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