Pioneers of the matcha craze in Malaysia, Niko Neko Matcha, has launched their first-ever savoury menu item in collaboration with O'Briens Irish Sandwich Cafe, aptly named the Matcha Tripledecker Sandwich.
Currently serving in stores at both of Niko Neko Matcha’s locations in Bangsar and Chinatown for one month only, our RIUH writer had the chance to visit their Bangsar branch to get a taste of the Matcha Tripledecker Sandwich alongside their desserts and drinks! Read on for an unbiased review.
Nestled above a pet shop at Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, is the uber-minimalist Niko Neko Matcha 1.5 - Bangsar cafe. Once you’ve entered through the door, you’ll be greeted by a service crew that will give you a crash course on your dine-in limit (30 - 40 minutes). If you have company tagging along, make sure that everyone arrives on time as your dine-in duration starts once orders are placed, and you’re not allowed to hold the table until their arrival. Big groups who opt to dine in will be broken up into pairs for seating due to their strict social distancing rules.
Other than the pressure to finish your meal before your dine-in limit expires, the cafe does actually resemble a minimalist sanctuary for matcha connoisseurs to sit, sip and savour their daily dose of greens. The sculptures hanging from the ceiling, monolithic limestone tables and seats, and airy gallery for browsing their tea-making instruments invoke a futuristic and minimalist vibe that the contemporary artisan matcha brand upholds.
Momotaro is a mocktail made with YURI / Matcha powder with white peaches as its standout flavour. Presentation-wise, it’s artfully garnished with a skewered lychee, rose petals and a sprig of rosemary. It’s a very sweet and refreshing drink that would taste amazing when enjoyed on a hot day.
Although the best way to enjoy ceremonial grade matcha (one of the highest quality matcha powders served only during traditional tea ceremonies) is to try it clear (water + matcha powder), Niko Neko’s take on the REN Matcha Latte is a firm crowd-pleaser. The REN Matcha Latte is a creamy delight with a high umami taste. It takes a seasoned matcha drinker to appreciate the rich yet balanced flavour of the matcha and could be a bit overpowering in bitterness for first-timers. There is an option to have your drink served with less sugar if you’ve yet to get used to the taste of matcha.
When Niko Neko Matcha does desserts, they’re known to go above and beyond with their flavour profiles. The AJISAI / Intense Matcha Tiramisu takes the cake as our all-time favourite matcha dessert - its rich and creamy matcha mascarpone goes perfect with the crispy black charcoal almond crust! Great as a light after-meal treat that is not too sweet, yet not too bitter.
The Matcha Marble Roulade is a delicate treat with a crunchy YURI / matcha meringue exterior and fluffy matcha and whipped cream filling. If you have a sweet tooth and can’t stand the taste of bitterness from matcha, this would be your next go-to dessert at Niko Neko Matcha that won’t compromise your tastebuds.
As firm believers of cream puffs should be best served cold, the AKANE / Cashew Houjicha Choux does not disappoint. Topped with a gold leaf and in a charcoal choux pastry, you can easily taste the deep, nutty notes from the cream filling with cashew and pralines paste in the centre. It’s like a boujie Ferrero Rocher, but better!
And now, the star of the show! If you opt to enjoy the Matcha Tripledecker Sandwich at their cafe, your sandwich will be served in a to-go box on a plate. We like that they’ve kept it that way (since their sandwiches are not made in the cafe) as it's more hygienic. It’s also more convenient for those who like to enjoy it on the go.
Slicing the sandwich in half reveals the ingredients of this loaded savoury delight: three slices of buttered YURI / matcha bread, red onion slices, YURI / matcha coleslaw, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, O’Briens’ signature crunchy chicken strips, cheddar cheese, and chicken slices.
Your first bite will be pretty intriguing once you’ve eagerly torn the packaging. There isn’t an overpowering matcha flavour when you enjoy the sandwich with each consistent bite. Still, you can tell that the umami notes from the matcha within the bread and coleslaw add an extra kick to each palatable mouthful.
O’Briens’ iconic crunchy chicken strips certainly hit the spot as its crisp snaps complement the smooth texture of the sharp cheddar cheese and chicken slices. Although each munch of the Matcha Tripledecker Sandwich was great, the matcha-infused bread was a tad dry and had to be washed with a drink.
Overall, the sandwich was good and is consistent with O’Briens sandwiches standards, but what fell short was that it was dry. On the bright side, each order of the Matcha Tripledecker Sandwich comes with an RM5 voucher to spend at O’Briens outlets nationwide.
Come for Matcha Tripledecker Sandwich, stay for drinks and dessert. It’s worthwhile to give the sandwich a taste, but since it’s Niko Neko Matcha’s first foray into creating a savoury menu, there’s definitely room for improvement.
Niko Neko Matcha will be serving the limited-edition Matcha Tripledecker Sandwich at their Pasar Seni (Niko Neko 2.0 / Chinatown) and Bangsar (Niko Neko 1.5 / Bangsar) outlets for one month only until the 19th of April, with limited portions available daily.
Niko Neko 1.5 / Bangsar
📍 Address: 82A, Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
🈺 Operating Hours: 11am – 5:30pm, closed on Wednesdays
Niko Neko 2.0 / Chinatown
📍 Address: 181, Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
🈺 Operating Hours: 11am – 5:30pm, closed on Mondays