Kl & Surrounds
Beneath the bright, silvery lights of the swanky twin towers or the bare bulbs of a hawker stall, diners in Malaysia’s capital are in store for a waistline-expanding feast of world cuisines. From American to vegetarian, from halal rendang curries to roasted pork, there’s a dish for every appetite. For more great restaurants, visit the Time Out KL website.
Arthur’s Bar and Grill
Shangri-La, 11 Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL (03 2074 3900/www.shangri-la.com).
Shangri-La’s watering hole, Arthur’s Bar & Grill, is a Manhattan-style bar and grill with contemporary furnishings. Apart from a vast variety of beverages be it cocktails or a long list of wines, Arthur’s posh pub grub includes favourites like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and buffalo wings, served by exemplary staff. A live band plays here every evening but on Sundays it’s a great place to unwind.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Mon–Thu, 12noon– 1am; Fri–Sat, 12noon–2am; Sun, 5pm–12midnight. $$$$
Burger Bobby Simpang 3
5 Jalan AU 5C/1, Taman Lembah Keramat, KL (013 640 2237).
Named as one of KL’s top burger stalls, Burger Bobby has been serving up greasy, messy and delicious burgers for the past seven years. Apart from your normal chicken and beef, you can also choose from rabbit, deer, and fish patties. This stall is special because the owner, Bob, adds an extra touch to his burgers by making his own sauces, and frying the onions in butter and Worcestershire sauce. Bobby’s Triple Special Cheese is the burger in question, and features three patties wrapped in egg, topped with cheese and spilling with sauces.
Daily, 4pm–4am. $
The Daily Grind LG8, lower ground, Bangsar Village 1, Jalan Telawi 1, Bangsar, KL (03 2287 6708/www.thedailygrind.com.my).
The Daily Grind was at the forefront of the gourmet burger revolution in Malaysia and half a decade after opening, it’s still going strong, serving up some of the city’s best burgers to a legion of loyal fans. Of course, the key is the meat. Fresh, high-quality premium cuts of meat go into each patty, whether chicken, beef or fish. No preservatives or additives are used in the making of either the burgers or the sauces, all of which are also bottled in house. The location on the lower ground floor of Bangsar Village has always made it a popular choice for social occasions, with windows overlooking the footfall of Bangsarites going about shopping or partying. The menu is broad and deep. The classic burger and cheeseburgers are safe, the foie gras burger a more extravagant choice but as delicious as it sounds. A hidden gem is the bacon avocado burger, which loses little from not having pork bacon and instead gains from a perfect dousing of avo. The non-beef selection is just as wide, with Tarragon Mushroom Chicken, Vietnamese Jai Ho, a red snapper ‘Down By The Sea’, Chermoula Salmon Fillet, lamb and feta ‘My Big Fat Greek Burger’, Portobello Mozza Stack, and tempeh and chickpea ‘Green With Envy’ just a handful of the examples of how this place goes beyond the beef. It really is a menu that pays to explore, with many more mains, snacks, soups and salads, as well as a decent kids’ menu that always hits the mark. Eating burgers in KL doesn’t have to be such a hard grind.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit Cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Daily, 11am–11pm. $$
Fatboy’s the Burger Bar
Lot 30 G2, Publika, 1 Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas, KL (03 6206 1352); L3-8, Level 3, Avenue K, Jalan Ampang, KL (03 2181 2559); B-GF05, ground floor, Sky Park One City, Jalan USJ 25/1A (03 7451 6233/www. fatboys.my).
If you’re of a pernickety nature, building your own burger is the best route to satisfaction. Start with the bun – a fluffy white sesame seed for the traditionalists, wholemeal for healthy eaters or honey oat for the artisans. Then your choice of beef, pork, chicken or lamb patty can be topped with, well, nearly anything. Our favourites are the super spicy chilli queso and a classic fried egg. If you’re feeling fruity, throw on a few slices of grilled banana or pineapple. If you’re not a fan of barbecue sauce, try the roasted garlic aioli, curry remoulade, blue cheese dressing, peanut butter or... Nutella? Maybe too much choice can be a bad thing.
Credit cards accepted. Mon–Thu & Sun, 11am–11pm; Fri–Sat, 11am– 12midnight. $$
Hard Rock Café
Ground floor, Wisma Concorde, Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL (03 2715 5555/ www.hardrock.com).
‘Love All, Serve All’ is the motto of this iconic home of classic rock memorabilia. You won’t go wrong with their best-selling Jumbo combo, an array of popular starters such as Santa Fe Spring Rolls, HickorySmoked Chicken wings, Onion Rings, Potato Skins, and Chicken Tenders to share. The percik burger, where the patty is basted with Malaysian spices, is the only reminder that you’re in KL.
The live band plays every night from 11pm till 2am. Now you know where to go when the cravings for American fare hit you like a bus.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Thu & Sun, 11.30am–1.30am; Fri–Sat, 11.30am–2am. $$$$
NEW Mikey’s Original New York Pizza
17 Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar, KL (03 2202 0080/www.mikeyspizza.com.my).
Take in a sliver of the Big Apple in the heart of Bangsar, where floppy pizza is served by the foot-sized slice. Native New Yorker Michael Helfman managed to lure notorious pie man Andrew Bellucci to our shores, and the ovens of Mikey’s have been full ever since. We suggest you start with the NY classic (tomato-based mozzarella and olive oil) before progressing to the others (five-cheese, meatball, or buffalo chicken). To up the carb intake, cheese-doused waffle fries are at your service.
Kids’ menu (drinks). Mon–Thu & Sun, 12noon–10pm; Fri–Sat, 12noon– 11pm. $$$
NEW Samba Level 3, Avenue K, Jalan Ampang, KL (03 2181 8212/03 2181 8112/sambaasia.com).
This is one of those Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde restaurants that do an about-face come dinner time. We heard so many good things about the churrasco dinner service and endless buffet spreads that we figured the lunchtime pizza buffet would be good too. It turns out that the same level of quality doesn’t follow through to the midday meal, where a drastically reduced spread is augmented by oily, overly cheesy pizza. It might be a good place to bring the kids – there are a couple of unfamiliar dishes that parents can occupy themselves with while the children enjoy safer dishes like lasagna, grilled vegetables, garlic bread and fried rice. In another positive, we found the service to be attentive and friendly.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 10am–10.30pm. $$
T@ste6 Swiss-Garden Hotel & Residences Kuala Lumpur, 117, Jalan Pudu, KL (03 2141 3333/www.swissgarden.com).
This brasserie boasts swanky decor in the way of sprightly wall greenery and marble panels. Main courses look familiar on the menu but are served with a twist: the chargrilled skirt steak with chilli salsa, oven-roasted duck breast and beer-battered fish and chips are must tries. If you’re not keen on sitting around the hectic open kitchen, repair to the private dining room.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 6.30am–10.30pm. $$$$
TGI Fridays Level 6, Pavilion KL (03 2148 3766); First floor, The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City (03 2287 7611); Ground floor, Wangsa Walk Mall, Jalan Wangsa Perdana 1, KL (03 4142 7366/www.fridays.com.my).
The famous American chain has good reason to spring up everywhere around the world – it still offers quality staple American cuisine such as burgers, chicken fajitas, nachos, buffalo wings and fried mac and cheese. Bestsellers include the Texas Barbeque Chicken Quesadillas and Fish n’ Chips.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Sun, 11am–11pm. $$$
Pampas Grill & Bar
24 Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL (03 2148 5548/www.pampas.com.my).
The highlights of the menu here are bovine so be sure to order the perfectly done steaks and lamb shanks. For those who prefer otherwise, the menu also features chicken, seafood, and pastas. The helpful staff is always ready to accommodate requests for smaller portions for the kids. The wine list is extensive with a slight emphasis on Chilean and Argentinean wines. Definitely a good choice for a classy night out.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 4pm–12midnight. $$$
Mexican Fresca G-242A, The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, KL (03 2201 2893/www.fresca.com.my).
Fresca offers Mexican staples such as tortilla chips with guacamole, fish tacos, quesadillas, fajitas and burritos. We recommend the Jalapeno poppers as a snack, crumbed chilli stuffed with Monterey Jack and mince beef served with mango chipotle salsa.
Pork-free. Kids’ menu. Mon–Thu & Sun, 11am–11pm; Fri–Sat, 11am– 12.30am. $$$
La Mexicana The Terrace at Hock Choon, Jalan Nibong (off Jalan Ampang), Ampang, KL (03 4253 5251/www. authmexicancuisine.com).
It’s tough to find really authentic Mexican flavours in KL but you can at La Mexicana. Chef Carmela whips up the usual tacos and guacamole alongside some more unusual treats like grilled cactus and bright beetroot soup. Served in colourful surroundings, the dishes are well complemented by a tequila-filled drinks menu.
Daily, 12noon–11pm. $$$ Las Carretas 22 Persian Ampang, KL (03 4257 1668/www.lascarretas.com).
Meaning ‘The Wagon’, Las Carretas is far from dry in the alcoholic sense. In fact, it has a good wine list and serves some of the best margaritas in KL. The food is very good too with a nice selection of steaks, ribs, seafood and all manner of Mexican treats like fajitas, chimichangas, enchiladas and tacos. It’s a bright, exciting and comfortable venue, and mood music is provided by the waiters who walk about at random, playing the guitar and singing. The outlet is very child friendly as they offer colouring kits and piped-in cartoons to entertain the kids.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Sat, 12noon–2.30pm; 6pm–10.30pm; Sun, 5pm–10.30pm. $$$
South American NEW El Sid's Cocktail Bar 1 Jalan Setiapuspa, Bukit Damansara, Damansara Heights, KL (03 2095 7437/www.facebook.com/ElSidsBar).
It’s a fantastic place for a Pisco sour or margarita but don’t underestimate the food menu here. Hearty tamales, zesty ceviche and moreish alfajores for dessert top our list of dishes to try. As with owner Geoff Siddle’s other enterprises, you can expect friendly service and a fun, relaxed ambience that welcomes the whole family.
Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. $$
NEW Fuego Troika Sky Dining, Level 23A, The Troika, Jalan Binjai, KL (03 2162 0886/www.troikaskydining.com).
Innovative cocktails with a twist, tantalising and unique tapas dishes and a hell of a lot of guacamole – that’s what you can expect at Troika Sky Dining’s newest venture. Gaze out over the Petronas towers from this slick and lively South American bar as you enjoy smoked quail eggs, soft-shell crab nachos, braised beef back rib, and sweet, crunchy churros.
Credit cards accepted. Daily, 6pm– 12midnight. $$$$$
La Boca Third floor, Pavilion KL, 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL (03 2148 9977/ www.laboca.com.my).
Mexican food is not yet well represented in KL but adding to the cuisine’s catalogue of restaurants in KL is La Boca. Labelled a Latino bar and restaurant, its bright colours are accompanied by a slew of fun South American dishes. Not only is Mexico celebrated, you’ll find food from Argentina, Peru, Cuba and Brazil too. Highlights include the empanadas, Argentinian folded pizza, tortillas and addictive Alfajores cookies. Creamy Kahlua-infused cocktails are nobrainers on a loungey weekday night.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 9am–1am. $$$
Cafés Acme Bar and Coffee
Ground floor, The Troika, Jalan Binjai, KL (03 2162 2288/www. acmebarcoffee.com).
In an era in which ‘good enough’ seems to be the mantra, rare is the gem where boundaries are strenuously pushed and every possible detail, however minute, is tended to with meticulous care. Breathtakingly stunning interiors (picture a converted loft in a fin de siècle building in the heart of New York) are complemented by a mood that is irreverent but stylish, playful but chic, and with a modern retro sensibility that is irresistibly infectious. By extension, the menu is similarly thorough, and familiar food is given a well-thought twist to produce creative new offerings. This is perhaps best encapsulated by the dunking salad, which consists of unadorned honey romaine and a jar of dressing. Deceptively simple, the salad is both visually and texturally appealing, just as the crab and grilled watermelon salad, another ostensibly basic dish, is here made complex with the addition of mirin soy mayo and toasted almonds. This witticism is carried through to mains and the timeless aglio olio is playfully tweaked when sambal hebi is tossed through it. Recognising that some things are best left unchanged, Acme’s menu also encompasses classic items that are untampered with but interpreted with integrity. To wit, the slow-cooked duck rendang with barley-infused rice yields mesmerisingly tender flavours while the Moroccan lamb stew is suitably feisty.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Thu, 11 am–12 midnight; Fri, 11am–1am; Sat, 9.30am–1am; Sun, 9.30 am–12 midnight. $$$
Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar (03 2284 2880); The Gardens Mid Valley (03 2287 2281); BSC (03 2287 1388); Great Eastern Mall (03 4260 2288/ www.alexis.com.my).
Spacious and charmingly decorated, Alexis is the place for jazz music lovers in KL (second to the better known No Black Tie). The bistro consistently features live international and local jazz acts every Friday and Saturday night. The food is average at best, but the desserts – especially the cakes – are fabulous, making it a perfect spot for celebrations. Music and entertainment should be your main incentive to visit.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Mon–Thu, 12 noon–12 midnight; Fri–Sat, 12noon– late; Sun, 10 am–12 midnight. $$$
2013 Runner-Up Best Place for Coffee
20 Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, KL (03 2282 0411); Menara Tan & Tan, Jalan Tun Razak, KL (03 2161 0752/ www.antipodeancoffee.com).
Making frequent appearances in the Time Out KL Food Awards, Antipodean Café has become a stalwart brunch favourite since opening in 2011, which was also incidentally when we last reviewed it. We skipped the weekend brunch crowds and the resulting half-hour queues and headed for a late-afternoon weekday meal at the Bangsar branch instead. Possessing a buzzing atmosphere that still allows for conversation, the café itself is scrupulously clean and modern with a tiled mosaic floor that brings warmth and hints of the past. The menu is written on the wall, a chic concept that doesn’t work well in practice. The all-day breakfast menu seems almost universally loved so we try the pumpkin, sage and feta pasta and a cappuccino. Our previous review bemoaned the bitterness of the café’s frequently burnt coffee but there’s no trace of that now. The cappuccino is warm and immediately drinkable – no milk was scalded in the making of this coffee – and the taste is smooth with an acidic tang. There are small, not unpleasant, bursts of bitterness but the cocoa seems to be the culprit. A bowl of large pasta shells quickly arrives, al dente and well balanced by a judicious sheen of olive oil, big juicy chunks of pumpkin, warm baby spinach leaves, pan-crisped sage leaves and a delectably salty and generous mound of feta. This is an incredibly aromatic dish with flavours that marry well: in fact our only criticism is that fennel turns out to be the most perceptible of these. It’s tasty no doubt but not mentioned in the menu description. Intrigued by the charge of burnt coffee, we order an espresso and, to round things off, a slice of lemon meringue pie. The espresso turns out to taste much as expected, smooth and creamy with a more intense helping of that acidic tang. Savouring it, we try to ignore the amber beads on the meringue, warning lights that the pie has been overcooked. A small but sufficient portion, the pie has the beginnings of the right flavours but the texture is right off. Disturbingly firm meringue sits atop lemon custard that looks like leftover jelly drying out in the fridge. Where’s the wobble? Where’s the custardy creaminess? The biscuit base also betrays signs of malingering in the oven but it has a pleasing crumble and is buttery in flavour. Antipodean has more competitors than when it started. It’s easier these days to find good coffee, that much prized contemporary ‘Melbourne cafe’ feel, and well-made international dishes but we’d still return to Antipodean, just not for dessert.
Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Thu & Sun, 8am–10 pm; Fri– Sat, 8 am–11 pm (Bangsar); Daily, 7.30a m–9 pm (Tan & Tan). $$
Artisan Roast Coffee
2013 Runner-Up Best Place for Coffee
4 Lorong Kajai 14, TTDI (03 7733 6397/www.artisanroast.com.my).
Artisan Roast places importance on handcrafted coffee good enough to drink on its own, as proven by the full-bodied espresso with just the right amount of acidity and sweetness – there’s no such thing as syrups here. They personally roast their beans at RAW coffee (which the founders of Artisan Roast also have a stake in). However, don’t expect the same blend all the time as it constantly changes, with the Sumatra Mandheling blend the most frequently used.
Halal. Mon–Fri, 8am–12 midnight; Sat–Sun, 9am–12 midnight. $$
NEW Aspresso Coffee & All Day Breakfast
16-1, Lot B-8-1, Plaza Usahawan Genting Klang, Jalan Danau Niaga 3, Taman Danau Kota, KL (03 6270 0016/www.facebook.com/ aspressomalaysia).
Hand-dripped, espresso, and even wicked cocktail coffees – Aspresso is all about the coffee. Don’t miss the all-day breakfasts either. For a slender RM11.90, you can choose from a list of breakfast bits and pieces like hash browns, omelettes, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, and baked beans to create your very own perfect way to the start the day.
Mon–Fri, 12 noon–12 midnight (Closed Tuesdays); Sat–Sun, 10am– 12midnight. $
36B Level G2, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, KL (03 6201 8577/www.thebee.com.my).
This popular café began life in Jaya One and now has a second branch in Publika shopping mall. Both cafés host open mic nights and serve up a hearty menu of breakfast meals, burgers and pasta, but the Publika branch is much larger and also plays host to regular stand up comedy and live music acts. This is a popular spot with the young and arty crowd, and it's easy to see why: It’s hard to resist the buzz here. Aside from that, come for fuss-free food and good quality coffee.
Mon–Thu, 10 am–12 midnight; Fri, 10 am–1.30 am; Sat, 9 am–1.30 am. $$
6 Jalan Solaris 4, Solaris Mont Kiara, KL (03 6211 8829).
Amidst the bustling, double parking chaos of Solaris Mont Kiara, Brewmen café is an isle of calm that serves notably inventive concoctions, including Espresso Bomb, Queen Bee, and Reverse Coffee – an ice ball of espresso accompanied by a glass of frothy milk. Complement your caffeine fix with a slice of cake (try the summer orange poppy seed cake), homemade waffles, or one of the sandwiches (we recommend the Philly steak focaccia, with its thin juicy slices of beef and caramelised onions).
Tue–Thu, 11.30 am–10.30 pm; Fri, 11.30 am–12 midnight; Sat, 10am– 12midnight; Sun, 10 am–10.30 pm.
Lot 1A, 83-95, Level UG1 Publika, Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas, KL (03 6209 1740/www.thebiggroup.co).
Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered are we about the sandwiches, wraps, and toasties at B’wiched. Try the finger-lickingly sweet and crispy peanut butter and banana toastie or the piquant mixes of flavours in the crabmeat brioche and banh mi baguette. Cakes, pastries, and buns too make this café, situated within Ben’s Independent Grocer, the perfect place to pause for a mid-afternoon snack while you do your grocery shopping.
Daily, 9 am–10 pm. $$
NEW Caffe Bene
K-G-04, Solaris Mont Kiara, KL (www.caffebene.com.my).
This South Korean café chain has been colling down residents of Mont Kiara and Bandar Sunway with smooth gelato – to be found atop Liege waffles, in affogatos, and in patbingsu, the traditional Korean shaved ice dessert. Competent coffee and sweet honey breads add to this crowd-pleasing menu.
Daily, 9.30 am–11 pm. $$
Third floor, Suria KLCC, KL (03 2161 8268); Second floor, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL (03 2141 7858/www.cafevienna.com.my).
There’s an Austrian secret nestled in KLCC. If you haven’t experienced Austrian cuisine then head down to Café Vienna for a taste of weiner schnitzel (veal cutlet) and a slice of sachetorte (rich chocolate cake).
Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Daily, 8.30 am–10 pm (KLCC); Daily, 10am– 10pm (Lot 10). $$$
2013 Runner-Up Best Place for Coffee
8 Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, KL (03 2201 3338/www.coffea.my).
Coffea Coffee closely resembles Melbourne’s Seven Seeds, a warehouselike setup serving serious cups of coffee. The franchise was founded in Korea by barista Timothy, who has represented his country twice in the World Barista Championship, the Oscars of the coffee world. Incidentally the company also roasts its own blends (a selection of beans from Ethiopia, Guatemala, Brazil, Columbia and Costa Rica), with its two signatures being the Maestro and Madonna. The former is punchy and great for a caffeine shot while the latter is smooth and well rounded. Coffea Coffee will have to find its footing next to Antipodean and Artisan Roast, but killer blends and an unadulterated passion for good coffee are great yardsticks to measure against the heavyweights. Also, the place doesn’t pride itself on trendy paraphernalia or indie music reruns, reinforcing itself as exactly the kind of unpretentious hangout Bangsar needs.
Sun–Thu, 9 am–12 midnight; Fri–Sat, 9 am–2 am. $$
2013 Winner Best Place for Coffee
Block D4, Level G3, Unit 3A, Solaris Dutamas, 1 Jalan Dutamas, KL (03 6211 5523/www.facebook.com/CoffeeSociete).
This café produces strong lattes using its house blend. Sample the chilled versions too as the iced hazelnut chocolate coffee is fragrant and flavourful. The coffee beans are roasted by Coffex Coffee, a specialty coffee roaster in Malaysia. Coffee Société also whips up commendable desserts to go with your coffee – the macarons and red velvet cakes are worth sampling.
Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Fri, 8.30 am–11 pm; Sat–Sun, 10.30 am–11 pm. $$
Coffee Stain by Joseph
2013 Runner-Up Best Place for Coffee
D4-G3-01, Solaris Dutamas, KL (03 6211 2022/www.facebook.com/ CoffeeStainByjoseph).
The old Joseph@Kitchen underwent a rebranding exercise at Solaris to make the most of its very talented baristas. Whilst still offering simple, well-done food (think salads, ciabatta sandwiches, and tender steaks), the focus is now very much upon the artful brews, served amidst clean black and white minimalism that nevertheless manages to be comfy. We like the medium body espresso; its intense, long finish is a result of a delicate blend of beans from Papua New Guinea (for the smooth acidity), Guatemala (for that touch of sweetness) and Colombia (a balancing act to round off the flavours). Especially roasted in Singapore, with a KL-based Japanese master overseeing the tasting and blending, the beans are brewed using a top-class Nuova Simonelli machine. Like your coffee pure? Then try the single-origin coffee prepared by siphon, dripped, or brewed using the really cool, hourglass-shaped Chemex manual coffeemaker. There are around ten different beans available at any time, but we suggest you watch out for the highly prized Panama Geisha, an auction-favourite known for its light body, honey and citrus flavours, and a surprising jasmine-like aroma. It’s not always available, but when it is, be ready to part with RM60 for a taste (price may vary according to market).
Pork-free. Mon, 9.30 am–9 pm; Tue–Thu, 9.30 am–11 pm; Fri–Sun, 9.30 am–12 midnight. $$
NEW COSANS Coffee
K-G-03,Jalan Solaris Mont Kiara, KL (03 6206 3485/www.cosans.com).
Serving fresh sandwiches on flavoursome homemade bread and good coffee, this rising star of the café world now has an outlet in Solaris Mont Kiara. Courtesy of the Big Ideas Group (not that other BIG), this stylish café has a clean, wooden, split-level design that reminds us of a New York loft.
Sun–Thu, 9am–12 noon; Fri–Sat, 9am–1am.
The Daily Habit
Chi Fitness Centre, Lot 1-02 BRDB Tower, 285 Jalan Maarof, Bangsar (03 2202 3219/www.thedailyhabit.com.my).
Situated in Chi Fitness Centre, The Daily Habit was always going to be a health food haven. The focus here is on introducing people to unprocessed, fresh ingredients and moving away from animal sources of protein. You can find plenty of meaty dishes on the menu but dive into their superb vegetarian friendly salads. Owners Elisa and Jacquie set up the place to bring about clean, minimally processed food. Jacquie says, ‘If you see anything processed in the menu, it could be a cheese.’ The women also don’t believe in compromising on taste. For your dose of rabbit food, go elsewhere as
The Daily Habit’s menu is a robust, hearty selection of mains and snacks, all which are well thought out. Daily of specials rotate every month and you’re bound to come across items like lamb shank with apricots, almonds and chickpeas with rye grains and red rice. Permanent à la carte items also fill the menu, and a must-try is the pomegranate-adorned quinoa salad. If you’re in the area for breakfast, the quinoa power pack (quinoa layered with fruit, granola and ricotta) sounds like the kind of breakfast we like. The items in the chiller also tempt. A dish of baked peppers stuffed with spinach and tomato topped with anchovies and breadcrumbs is occasionally in stock and is warmed up to serve. Meanwhile the Portobellos stuffed with spinach and tofu with pesto is the kind of dish we could easily lunch on every day. Everything is well planned, the seasoning isn’t excessive and most importantly, flavours don’t fall short. Elisa makes sauces, preserves and jams on site including the vanilla bean and pear jam, jalapeno sauce and basil and pine nut pesto. All are packed in cute jars and can also be purchased. The wholemeal scones (in flavours like fig and pistachio) are already cult favourites, and customers as far as Shah Alam drive out to sample these.
Pork-free. Mon–Fri, 8 am–8 pm; Sat, 9 am–8 pm. $$
The Departure Lounge
2013 Runner-Up Best Place for Coffee
10 Jalan Solaris 4, Solaris Mont Kiara (03 6203 0362/www.facebook.com/ CafeDepartureLounge).
As one of the first cafés in KL to bring in specialty coffee, Departure Lounge has stood the test of time (and competition) with consistently smooth lattes. This is largely thanks to the baristas who consistently froth the milk to full-bodied precision and to a comforting temperature without the bubbles. Also try their range of cold coffees that extend well beyond your regular iced coffee and head into (virgin) cocktail territory. In case you’re wondering, they get their beans from Australia’s Five Senses Coffee.
Credit cards accepted. Mon–Sun, 8 am–10 pm. Closed on Tuesdays. $$
2013 Runner-Up Best Place for Coffee
Level 3, Pavilion KL (03 2141 0028); Bangsar Village 1 (03 2287 7078/ www.espressamenteilly.com.my).
Espressamente Illy takes pride in its well trained baristas (there’s a training school in Malaysia!) and specialty coffees. Be warned that drink portions are smaller, but the uniqueness lies in its taste; at first sip, you’ll notice the smooth, creamy texture unmatched by most coffee chains. Also commendable are the simple Italian sandwiches and salads.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 9 am–12 midnight. $$
Lot 3F–1B, third floor, Bangsar Village II, 2 Jalan Telawi 1, Bangsar (03 2287 5001/www.fitfor2.com.my).
For family-friendliness, Fit For 2 Café is in a league of its own. Cooking up
simple yet yummy food, the kids’ menu in the café is not short on variety and includes dishes ranging from baby pancakes and toasties to homemade chicken or fish nuggets and vegetarian fried rice. Kiddos can also indulge in the healthy ice lollies made from real fruit juice. Dessert lovers should look out for the popular banoffee pie and lemon cheesecake. Kids get babycinos and baby muffins on the house. Besides having a play area specially designed for tots, the cafés recognises the needs of new mums with a private baby feeding area as well as baby changing facilties that provide free Huggies nappies.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ Menu. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Daily, 9am–5pm. $$
Ground floor, Mid Valley Megamall, KL (03 2287 7066); Concourse level, Suria KLCC, KL (03 2161 3157); Level UG1, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, KL (03 6211 9983); Level six, Pavilion KL (03 2141 0030/ www.juiceworks.com.my).
Satisfy your sweet tooth with these healthy yet delicious fruit juices and smoothies from Juiceworks. To quench your thirst on a hot day, grab a cup of refreshing Pink Lemonade, made with juicy watermelons and zesty lemons, or try the Mango Sensation, a flavourful blend of local fruits such as mango and banana mixed with tropical juice and low fat mango yoghurt that is rich enough to double as a light meal. With over 40 flavour combinations to choose from in the menu, one (or more) of the mouthwatering blends will surely please your taste buds.
Halal. Daily, 10 am–10 pm. $
Second floor, BSC, 205 Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, KL (03 2011 4866); 47 Jalan Terasek, Bangsar, KL (03 2287 9866/www.justheavenly.biz).
Just Heavenly has long been a byword for baked goods in the Klang Valley, and recently it’s extended its reach to include a café in BSC, with mixed results. The space is a clean white one, with pale wooden tables and pride of place occupied by the deservedly prominent cake counter. The BSC café has a fairly predictable selection of Western café favourites, which offer nothing special to the palate but you could do worse than trying the flavourful BLT burger and spicy crab aglio olio. Your main reason for visiting should be the desserts: cheesecakes, fruitcakes, tiramisu; they’ve got it and it’s good. The famous Death by Chocolate cake should not be missed.
Daily, 10 am–10 pm (BSC); Mon–Fri, 9am–6pm; Sat 9am–5pm (Bangsar). $$$
2013 Runner-Up Best Place for Coffee
C-0-7, Plaza Damas 3, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, KL (03 6206 3062/www. facebook.com/topbrewcoffeebar).
Previously Top Brew by famed local barista JH Yee, it is now revamped as Kaffeine, operated by two of Yee's friends as the barista jets off to Johor and Singapore for greener coffee pastures. Kaffeine is in the exact same location as the old Top Brew in Plaza Damas. A few months in the business, the crowds seem satisfied by Kaffeine's formula of great service, good coffee and quirky instagram-worthy murals.
Thu–Tue, 10 am–6.30 pm. $$
1 Jalan 25/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas (03 2606 2327/www.facebook.com/ kafekantin).
The restaurant’s artistic efforts with the decor don’t carry over to the food – which is a good thing. In a city overrun with restaurants placing style above substance, Kantin’s food and prices are refreshingly no-nonsense. There are no fancy ingredients here; the dishes are hearty and generous, reminiscent of a canteen. The daily set lunch, which includes a main course and a drink, costs just RM9.90 to RM11.90.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 8.30 am–2 am $$$
Various locations (www.komugi.com. my).
With eight locations across KL and Selangor, Komugi bakeries and cafés turn out fresh, handmade Japanese breads, pastries and desserts. Aromatic and crusty baguettes, creamy brioche and rich cakes are all on the menu. At the cafés there is also a select menu of hot mains including dishes like the chicken katsu curry, omelette with mushroom or the seafood pizza.
Daily, 10 am–10 pm. $
Levain Boulangerie Patisserie 7 Jalan Delima, KL (03 2142 6611/ www.levain.com.my).
Housed in a renovated cosy bungalow off Jalan Imbi with high ceilings and neo-classical decor, this lovely restaurant serves mouth-watering freshly baked pastries, bread, cakes, cookies, pralines and macarons. Pasta and sandwiches are also available as reasonable lunch fare.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Mon–Sun, 7.30 am–9 pm. $
NEW The Library Coffee Bar
Lot G-8B, Ground Floor, Avenue K, 156 Jalan Ampang, KL (03 2181 6077); G-2A, Ground Floor, Nexus Bangsar South, 7 Jalan Kerinchi, KL (03 2856 9329 /03 2856 9330/012 353 4351/www.facebook.com/ thelibrarycoffeebarMY).
The city’s newest haunt for iced coffee, The Library Coffee Bar, is a comforting blend of sleek sofas and plentiful WiFi, all decked out like a library out of an IKEA catalogue. Before you write it off, the coffee shakes here are decent (try the espresso mocha) as are the Kahluaor Baileys-infused blends. Kudos to the team for only using organic fair-trade beans. Starbucks, you’d best prepare for battle.
Pork-free. Daily, 10 am–10 pm. $$
Levels 3 & 4, Pavilion KL (03 2145 3036); Ground floor, Bangsar Village II, Bangsar (03 2856 9912); Lot 17, ground floor, Great Eastern Mall, KL (03 4265 0520/www.theloaf.com.my).
Go near the Loaf and you’ll be lured in by that heady aroma of fresh baking. If you can make it past the bakery and the pastries, the main dishes are well worth a try too; the Caesar salad and the roast chicken with mushroom ragout are tried and tested.
Mon–Fri, 11 am–9 pm; Sat–Sun, 10 am–9 pm. $$$
LOKL Coffee Co.
30 Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, KL (03 2072 1188/www.loklcoffee.com).
The Daily Grind
Mikey's Original NY Pizza
Acme Bar & Coffee
The Departure Lounge
The Library Coffee Bar