When the restaurant scene in Kuala Lumpur is a hotbed for establishments of all shapes and sizes, there reaches a point where quantity trumps quality. The usual rounds of cafes and restaurants in the Klang Valley leave much to be desired and almost always falls short of expectations. As enticing as choices are when it comes to the ingrained food culture of KL, sometimes we just want to be flatly directed – hand gestures and all – to the hottest concept food scenes(freedom be damned). Without further ado, here are 8 new concept restaurants worthy of Instagram and our hearty praise.
1. Wizards @ Tribeca
From the same masterminds that brought you Red Beanbag and Yellow Brick Road, Wizards is an extension of their magical reach. The wide open space is both embracing and warm to the core: natural lighting, potted plants surrounding the establishment to lend a leafy green interior feel, and modern stylish finish make it a beautiful spot to take in the sights.
To complement their warm inviting atmosphere, Wizard delivers Australian-inspired brunches, Southeast Asian roasted coffee, dinner menus and cocktails worthy of your spoilt taste buds. Their cocktails are designed to be light and refreshing to counter the heat of KL’s warm climate: Empress Dream( Botanist gin, lemon juice, egg white, Osmanthus syrup). Their brunch options are very well-received. Have a go at the Eggs Royale(poached eggs, lightly smoked salmon, kale, avocado topped with Hollandaise sauce) and you won’t be disappointed. Their dinner menu consists of pizzas, pasta, burgers and other forms of Western fare cooked for the Malaysian taste in mind.
Address: 201, Jalan Imbi, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-2715 5308
2. Beta Restobar @ Fraser Place
Looking to explore and taste the four corners of Malaysia without having to travel there in person? Beta KL promises a unique dining experience that caters to the diverse flavors of Malaysia spanning the 4 regions: North, South, East, and West. Beta KL is artfully divided into a dining area and a bar, giving off the feel of a modern restaurant meets laid-back chilling area.
Beta’s concept menu is built on teaching unknown prospects on Malaysian food that may be lesser known to nonlocals of that particular region – with a modern twist. As a starter: Ox Tongue(spicy ox tongue spiced with belimbing buluh and a gulai lemak purée of creamy turmeric leaves lay on a bedding of toast) and Sago(laksa paired with keropok topped with shrimp). The mains are recognized Malaysian dishes made over to align with the modern contemporary scene: sous-vide chicken paired with lotus crisps and Bentong ginger – a twist on the all-too-familiar Hainanese Chicken Rice; Soft Shell Crab dish comprising of tempura soft shell crab sauced with a reduction of ginger, chili, spices and crab stock.
Address: Fraser Place, Jalan Perak, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-2181 2990
3. Brasserie Fritz @ Bukit Bintang
Christian Bauer and Eddie Chew, long time duo joint venture partners that brought you the likes of Troika Sky Dining and Mr Chew’s Chino Latino bar, are at it again rounding off their triple crowned venture with another masterful concept restaurant: Brasserie Fritz. This establishment strives to bring the Parisian experience to you first hand: expect the aromatic scent of freshly baked croissants, pain au chocolats and kouign-amanns swirling through the complex at daybreak. Gaze around the two-story establishment to find two bars: one of the seafood variety(oysters, king crabs, scallops, sea urchin, caviar), and one of the fun variety(spritzes and Bloody Marys).
Fritz’s all-encompassing menu boasts of dishes native to Australia, Japan, and Europe. The mains offer a comfortable exhibition of light airy meals in conjunction with the filling punch of heavy French classics. For those who are struggling to find a starting point, they’d recommend the Plat Du Jour, a three course set menu that changes monthly: a light appetizer to whet the appetite(Cucumber Salad with Mint and Salmon Roe made with cucumber slices tossed in a yogurt dressing dressed in salmon roe, purple leaves, and mint), followed by a hearty main( Duck Breast with Apple Calvados comprised of beautifully seared duck breast served with apple Calvados sauce with a side of grilled asparagus), rounded off nicely on a sweet note(Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnut Crumble)
Address: Ground Floor, WOLO, Bukit Bintang Street, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-4065 0876
4. Majapahit @ Arcoris Mont Kiara
It’s hard to not be in awe of the setting surrounding Majapahit. Mont Kiara’s new Arcoris complex well decorated with nature’s offerings is only half the establishment’s well-deserved glory. The other half stems from laser precision in delivering authentic Asian food inspired mainly by Indonesia and Thailand but taking small pointers from Vietnam and Malaysia.
More than just eating Thai and Indonesian food, Majapahit seeks to educate customers on the distinctive offerings native to a particular brand of a dish. Maha rice royale harmonizes 3 unique cultures in one by blending Thai fried rice, Thai pineapple rice, Indonesian fried rice and Malaysian kampung fried rice. The Curry Galore platter combines Thai red curry, Malaysian curry, Thai green curry, and Indonesian curry. A perfect combination if you’re looking for an explosive tasty experience.
Address: G8-G10, Arcoris Mont Kiara, Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-6411 7097
5. J’s Gate Dining @ Lot 10 Shopping Centre
What better way to embody the full Japanese dining experience than housing 18 specialty restaurants, with each venue dedicated to a particular aspect of Japanese cuisine. This unique setup allows the vendors to hone in on their craft – be it ramen or yakitori. With each vendor prioritizing quality over quantity, you’ll be able to enjoy their offerings without having to wonder if what you ordered was the correct choice.
With so many options to choose from, you’ll find yourself lost in thought thinking: “Where do I start?”. The problem of oversupply can easily be addressed simply by trying each and every item available. I dare you! Let us be in awe of its infinite variety: tendon, udon, seafood rice bowls, soba, hotpot, eel rice bowls, matcha sweets, chicken ramen and I’ll let you discover the rest. Enjoy the freedom of a return visit. After all, you can’t possibly try everything from a single visit. Or can you.
Address: Lot P16, Level 4, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, No. 50, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-2110 6850
6. Isabel @ Mesui, Bukit Bintang
Following the 21 years after the birth of a living legend – Alexis, a modern Asian Western fusion restaurant nestled within the hustle and bustle of Bangsar – the owners, in their strokes of creativity and genius, have conceived a sibling named Isabel – equal in both flair and can do attitude. The introduction of this contemporary concept restaurant has enlivened the dining landscape around Bukit Bintang, much to the aplomb of its inhabitants.
The menu was forged primarily around the concept of delivering deliciously modern Southeast Asian classics, touched up ever so slightly to satisfy the infamous high standard Malaysian tasting benchmark. In keeping with the tradition of the sharing culture so wedded into our society, you’re given the option of ordering a bowl of rice to complement your dishes. Single-serve options are available for lunch(12 pm – 2 pm) including Vietnamese Chicken Rice(steamed free-range chicken with Galangal-spiced rice. Dinner menu(from 6pm onwards) runs the gamut of authentic of Southeast Asian fare: Kanom Jin Nahm Yaa(Thai rice noodles served with classic southern style fish and wild ginger sauce); Oxtail Assam Pedas(Australian grain-fed oxtail savored in a Minangkabau-style assam pedas gravy)
Address: 21, Jalan Mesui, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-2110 6366
7. Omulab @ Section 17, Petaling Jaya
One of the newest Japanese-inspired concept cooking artform has made its presence known in the Klang Valley: Omurice, individually standing words of “omelet” and “rice” stitched together to form a playful, novelistic word that denotes a finished product more than the sum of its parts. Meant to tease out the artistic side of cooking, the outer edges of the egg is cooked to perfection, followed by an inward folding of the edges, and carefully placed on a bed of rice. Cutting into it mimics what you’d expect from a lava cake: a rich, semi-viscous liquid pouring out. The world comes to a standstill as you watch in vivid wonderment before you devour it.
Omulab’s egg-intensive menu comes in many variants but ultimately centers around, well eggs: Wafu fried rice served with blue cheese sauce; squid ink fried rice paired with white sauce; ebiko fried rice uplifted with mentaiko sauce; minced beef rice topped with an omelette drenched with demi-glace sauce; kimchi fried rice with tomato sauce. A Non-rice option includes deep fried mantou buns packed with an omelet and smoked duck. Finish off the egg-filled experience with an eggy custard pudding.
Address: 7, Jalan 17/45, Seksyen 17, 46400 Petaling Jaya
Contact: 03-7492 7506
8. Vantador @ Desa Sri Hartamas
If you’re looking for steak unparalleled in its full-bodied meatiness, unmatched in its concentration of deep marbling flavours, in its ability to transport you to a time when happiness was defined by the simple pleasures of life, without having to worry about the bigger picture, then look no further than the premium dry-aged steak available at Vantador. The first of its kind, aptly named “dry-aged steak boutique”, this concept establishment paints a bright target on its back for its price heavy yet value-driven curated offerings: Margaret River Wagyu, Tasmanian free-range Angus, Victoria Hereford, and the crown jewel, Rubia Gallega(sourced from Spanish cows, at least 8 years in age, touted by some as the world’s best beef). Vantador doesn’t make any attempt to hide it’s carnivorous theme as its liberal display of meaty contraptions are sprinkled about – with little regard to your vegetarian senses.
Let’s get to the meat of the matter, pun intended. The Rubia Gallega(75RM/100g)- the end game, the prom queen, the babymaker – in its journey to concentrate its flavors for your benefit, is aged 35 days – and justifiably so. The end result speaks for itself: a heavenly, buttery melt-in-your-mouth texture that doubly lends credence to its title as the most premier beef in existence. Vantador’s non-beef course options pales under the limelight of its beef siblings but is no less worth the venture: Rack Of Lamb(lamb encrusted in rosemary, Italian parsley, and thyme served with garlic puree, mint sauce and dried tomato relish); Half Sous Vide Free Range Chicken(chicken brined in chardonnay, submerged in a water tank and cooked for 6 hours), an alternative that’ll net you a tender interior enclosed by a glorious crispy exterior.
Address: 38, Jalan 25/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-6211 5588
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