Sunday, 12 November 2017

Barn 81 Cafe Taman Melodies JB. Tasty Savouries, Great Desserts, Good Coffee

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Daniel invited me to visit his Barn 81 Cafe in Taman Melodies in Johor Bahru. I enjoyed the food, desserts and coffee here.

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Barn 81 Cafe is in a re-purposed single storey bungalow along Jalan Cengai in Taman Melodies in Johor Bahru (just off the Tebrau Highway on the same side as Kue Teow Meng and Tapai Tang restaurant).

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Daniel told me that they named their cafe Barn 81 because the owners intended to have a farmhouse theme when they opened the cafe about a year ago.

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But, what I saw was an eclectic mishmash of random memorabilia picked up from their travels 😂 Paper lanterns, hurricane lamps, plastic sunflowers, balloons, windmill, re-purposed wooden cable drums, raw wooden pallets etc etc. The original well worn 1960s vintage emerald hued mosaic still cover the floor - I like this 😄 (I mean just the mosaic flooring 😂 )

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Barn 81 was full house this Saturday noon.

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A new chef, Tim, just joined Barn 81 (last month in Oct 2017 actually). Tim started his culinary career as a kitchen help in a nasi lemak stall in Kulai when he was still in school. He worked in a Station One outlet before enrolling in a culinary school and served his 1-year internship in Ristorante Amarone (now closed) in Singapore. We can taste Tim's solid foundation, passion and skills in his dishes.

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Tim started us off with New Zealand Mussels with La La Clams Spicy Soup (price RM15.90+).

The mussels and la la clams were clean and naturally sweet-savoury. The soup was salty with quite pronounced spiciness from big ginger slices. Onions gave the soup an underlying mild sweetness.

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Cheezy Fried Chicken Chop (price RM25.90+).

The thick slab of chicken with skin and mozzarella cheese were coated in thick grainy batter and then deep fried to a golden brown crisp outside. The fried chicken chop was topped with thick dribbles of cheese and egg sauce before serving.

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The main flavours were layers of savouriness from the gooey melted mozzarella cheese, cheese sauce and golden brown batter. There was also a bit of sweetness from the thick juicy slab of chicken. If you like cheesy dishes, you will like Barn 81 Cheezy Fried Chicken Chop.

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Grilled Pork Belly (price RM29.90+).

The thick strip of pork belly is marinated in a hickory sauce blend, grilled and then oven baked. Served with a crunchy vegetable salad and fried potato wedges.

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The pork belly with skin, fat and meat were tender and juicy. The distinctive taste of hickory was blended with savoury sauces and subtle natural sweetness of pork. This hearty dish is one of Barn 81's best sellers.

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Tiger Prawn Aglio Olio (price RM22.90+).

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The spaghetti done true al dente was tossed with a blend of olive oil, garlic, herbs and chili flakes. The tender-chewy pasta was well greased with savoury, spicy, herby flavours. The crunchy juicy tiger prawns add a bit of natural sweetness to the dish.

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Salted Egg Yolk Soft Shell Crab Spaghetti (RM26.90+).

Pasta done true al dente wrapped with a salted egg yolk sauce blended with garlic, chili flakes, and herbs held together by olive oil.

The deep fried battered soft shell crab was meaty with quite interesting crispness outside, juicy softness inside, and it complemented the savoury spicy salted egg yolk sauce well.

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Pandan Waffle (price RM15.90+).

We wrapped up with our lunch with a selection of interesting sweet desserts.

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I like it that Barn 81's pandan waffle is made with real pandan leaf juice (not synthetic essence nonsense). The distinctive sweet flavour and fragrance of pandan are pronounced in this sweet waffle. The dessert comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Mango Lava Hot Cake (price RM16.90+).

Lava cake made with real mango and topped with Oreo crumble. Served with a scoop of ice cream, blue berries and marshmallows.


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Chocolate lava cake topped with Oreo crumble. Flamed with Italian Sambuca liqueur before serving.

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Layers of sweetness with subtle underlying chocolate bitterness. The Sambuca further left traces of sweet liqueur in the hot cake.


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😄😄😄 Irresistibly cute signature Bear Lava Hot Cake.

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Oh.... the cute Bear Lava Hot Cake tasted so... good. Made with real Hokkaido melon and chocolate, I can taste the refreshing sweetness of fresh melon layered with sweet chocolate. It's the best, most enjoyable lava cake that I have tasted so far 😋



Barn 81 barista Andrew hails from Malacca.

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Andrew pulls nice Arabica coffee.

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👉 We enjoyed our lunch at Barn 81 Cafe. The dishes are tasty and reasonably priced given the portion size. I would be back, especially for their true el dente pasta. Overall, Barn 81's savoury dishes are rather robust in flavours for my taste but both Daniel and Tim mentioned that some customers feedback that they like their flavours even more intense.

I also love their creative lava cakes. Barn 81 is a good place to drop by and hang out with good coffee and some innovative, super cute tasty lava cakes. Nevermind the somewhat incoherent decor 😂

Disclaimer: Please note that this was an invited tasting.

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Restaurant name: Barn 81 Cafe
Address:  61, Jalan Cengai, Taman Melodies, Johor Bahru, Johor
GPS1°29'41.2"N 103°45'48.4"E | 1.494776, 103.763452
Tel: 012 728 8158 | 07 362 6445
Hours: 1:00pm to 10:00pm

Non Halal

Date visited: 11 Nov 2017

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