Planting the seeds of gardening in a Shoplot cafe

Planter Chin combines the best in plants and coffee into a sustainable concept café and the long queues are testimony to its winning appeal.

Jan Zainal, co-owner of Planter Chin, also founder of Taman Hati

A glass of kombucha to chill with the green surroundings

Text & Photography by Jan Yong
Anondescript entrance greeted us as we prepared to enter a garden café highly recommended by a friend. “There isn’t even a signboard outside!” remarked my friend. One could easily miss this garden café which is located upstairs a shoplot on a street full of popular eateries in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. “Just keep a lookout for ‘6a’, I said.
Once inside however, it’s a different world – surrounded by plants of all sorts, big and small – a feeling of tranquility descended upon us as we breathed in nature. The quiet chatter around us drifted away as we focused on the menu – for the drinks menu, just scan with your camera. Order at the counter and you are set for an afternoon of oxygen-infused chill time. Perfect for those with a green thumb or learning to get one.
Granted, it’s not Alice in Wonderland – but it’s an intriguing garden with an assortment of plants, tools and decorative objects to take home. Planter Chin cafe resides within the four walls of a shoplot yet has a vibe that transports you to a ‘jungle’ far away.
Co-owner Jimmy Chin is the resident coffee expert

The inspiration came from wanting to be in a lush jungle setting and a desire to pass on their passion for gardening to other people, co-owner Jan Zainal, tells us. “We were located on Jalan Maarof in a livelier part of Bangsar for two years, then decided to move to this part of Bangsar to be in a bigger space.”
Plants thrive here because of the sufficient sunlight coming in from the partially open rooftop which was the only design adaptation that they made. That, and the large windows helped too.
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Longer queues

The concept has caught on as the queues are getting longer on Sunday afternoons as people filed in for their coffee fix in the ‘garden’. “I am the coffee guy, we have another partner who prepares the food, and Jan Zainal takes care of the plants,” explains co-owner Jimmy Chin.

Partially open rooftop and large windows allow a lot of sunlight in.

Cozy lounge in a garden

For bigger plants like the Alocasia Macrorrhiza Variegata, Jan Zainal would source them from her nursery in SungaiBuloh. For smaller plants like cactus or variegated sea hibiscus or even Alocasia Plumbea Serendipity, you can buy them at the café.
Due to the unique concept, it has attracted a number of companies to hold events there. The only challenge is the seating capacity. “We only have 20 seats so the events are pretty small in scale so far,” says Jan Zainal.
We are sure this winning combination of plants, good coffee and food will prove a hit soon, MCO or not. We city folks are jungle-starved.

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