A few posts back I mentioned that I started visiting the cafes in JB, and Openwork is yet another one (like People and Places) I went to that is slightly off the commonly-trekked-by-Singaporeans path. Apparently, the café is accessible via foot (about 10-15 minutes) from Komtar/JB Sentral/City Square, but we decided to take a Grab instead. The location may also be a little tricky for the driver to find so it would help to go on Google maps/Maps and help out. Check out Openwork’s Facebook page for videos guiding you to their space, they are really helpful!
The café was slightly warm whilst we were there, but I wasn’t complaining since we went on a weekday while the café was still quite new and thus we had the whole space to ourselves. What’s more, the minimally styled café – plain white walls, wooden and marble tables, natural sunlight casting shadows… – was simply soothing and pleasant.
Just as minimal as the space is the menu. Though the drinks selection comprising coffee, tea and some interesting choices is quite extensive, the food selection is kept simple. Featuring just 3 rice bowls and some sides, it is possible to get a taste of everything with some company.
To begin, I had the Matcha Latte (RM12) which came with a pretty latte art. The bitter tones of matcha were distinct, while coming through with just a tad of sweetness. It was definitely comparable to the one I had at People and Places.
I was skeptical that the Xiaoming’s Gyoza (RM12 for 5 pieces) would be reminiscent of supermarket-bought-and-fried-at-home gyoza, but they were pretty decent. The meat inside remained juicy, while the skin was soft. There is also a spicy option for their gyoza at RM14.
We tried 2 of the 3 rice bowls on the menu – the Chicken Bowl (RM17) and Suyuk Bowl (RM19). Since the menu didn’t mention the ingredients of the rice bowls, we were pleasantly surprised to find yuzu-flavoured rice when we dug in. The yuzu came across as a slight tinge of zest and gave the rice an interesting fragrance. The fried chicken can come across as dry if eaten alone with rice, so the accompaniment with a sous vide egg did help a lot. Same goes for the siuyuk bowl, which came with a sweet apple sauce to dip the siuyuk in. Do note that the portions of the rice bowls are rather small and you will probably have space for sides, desserts or even more café hopping.
When I was there, the only dessert available was a Black Sesame Cake with vanilla cream and meringue. Unfortunately, it was a tad dry and I had to eat it with the dollop of vanilla cream on the side since it was left on the counter for some time and then heated up before serving it to me. But on the bright side, the black sesame was distinct.
Anyway, I recently got word that waffles with ice cream are available on their menu now! Their flavours include Peanut sauce and Chocolate bar (RM23), Apple and Chrysanthemum and Mint sauce (RM23) and Mixed Berries Compote (RM23). Hopefully they’ll taste as good as they look on social media.
Until my next JB trip!
236, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak 1/1, Wadi Hana, 80300 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opens 9am – 11.30pm daily
Tel: +60 10-226 0311