KL's best cafés for Instagram
If you're all about taking pretty photos for your Instagram feed, get your phones ready and head to KL's most photogenic, highly stylised cafés. From raw, rustic designs in heritage shophouses to clean, minimalist interiors, these places are perfect for all your #cafehop posts.
The best hidden bars in KL
Some of KL’s best drinking spots are located behind closed and unmarked doors. With hidden whereabouts and obscure entrances, these places take their cues from the speakeasy bars of olden days, minus the grumpy barkeep. Happy (bar) hunting!
The best cheap eats in KL
Eating well doesn’t mean you have to pay more. We’ve got you covered for the best cheap meals under RM15 our city has to offer.
The best coffee shops in KL
KL's coffee culture is an expanding landscape of imported beans, state-of-the-art machines, hip baristas, and silky smooth pours. Here are the best coffee shops in KL that call the shots. RECOMMENDED: Local coffee roasters you should know
Where to eat pork-free dim sum in KL
While a dim sum meal is traditionally a porky affair (siu mai, char siu bao and chee cheong fun are all typically non-halal), that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the popular small bites without the pork. Head to these restaurants the next time you're looking for a halal or pork-free dim sum brunch. RECOMMENDED: Guide to dim sum
What’s on this week in KL
Pusaka Evenings at Publika: Wayang Purwo
Pusaka presents the Javanese version of shadow puppetry, the wayang Purwo featuring performers from Badan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Setia Budi of Batu Pahat. The group will be performing the story ‘Angkawijaya Gering’ in Javanese with English and Malay synopsis. Join the talk before the show to learn more about the wayang Purwo.
Bistro Suka Duka
Multidisciplinary art festival Bistro Suka Duka packs the triple punch of music, theatre and the written word. Look forward to art installations, poetry slams by Melizarani T Selva and Jack Malik, a site-specific theatre performance by actors from klpac and theatrethreesixty, plus music acts by Hello Luqman and alextbh.
No Lights No Lycra
If you're up for an hour or so of friendly, non-judgmental dancing in the dark, join the Malaysian No Lights No Lycra community. Bring a bottle of water, comfortable dancing shoes and a willing partner (plus RM10 for the entry fee). Be sure to be there at 8pm sharp, and know that while you might step on a few more toes than usual, it’s all in the name of self-expression and dance. Psst, there won't be any lights but you can still show up in Lycra.
Calling all sneakerheads, this is one convention you wouldn’t want to miss. Look forward to browsing through goods from sneaker enthusiasts themselves who will be showcasing and selling some of their collections including rare gems. Besides that, brands Nerd Unit, Pestle & Mortar, Rastaclat, New Balance and more will also be participating.
New restaurants and bars in KL
Peter Hoe Café
Peter Hoe was a stalwart in Chinatown where its much-lauded shop and café have been for the more than ten years – until its former home, the Lee Rubber Building, was closed off and put up for sale. This new café at The Row feels brighter and airier, thanks to the abundance of windows. You’ll find the usual Peter Hoe styling here: napkins made from batik prints, decorative tile motifs and more. In fact, this new location is fitting for Peter Hoe, as the restored old shophouse (the high ceiling, the exposed beams and bricks are highlighted as design details) is a nod to the brand’s old meets new philosophy. For now, the hot food menu (12noon to 4pm) is limited to pastas, soups and salads as the team works on additional items. The chicken and mango salad is very enjoyable, and rightfully one of the best sellers. Of course, Peter Hoe’s signature creamy quiches are available, along with a selection of cakes. Coffee is of the filtered variety. And while the café is only open in the daytime, dinner is also served on Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm to 10pm. When you’re done with your meal, hop over to the Peter Hoe shop next door. Expect a colour and sensory overload, as usual, with its kaleidoscopic collection of Malaysiana bags, accessories and home decor items. Both the café and shop are located on the first floor; to head up, look for the staircase next to skate shop Wheel Love.
Farm to Plate
For satisfying grilled ribs (not just any meat, but ibérico de Bellota ribs from the famed acorn-eating Spanish hogs) and farm-fresh produce, Farm to Plate is Damansara Kim’s latest spot to gnaw on a bone or two. The clue is in the name – owner Chris Chew runs contract farming businesses in Spain and Cameron Highlands, which directly influences the freshness and quality of the produce in the kitchen. The menu focuses on ibérico ribs (either slow-baked for tender meat or grilled on high heat for smoky flavours), but there are also pizzas, salads, pastas as well as lunch dishes such as pork stew rice, handmade noodles and all-day breakfast on weekends.
With three outlets in Hokkaido and one in Penang, Hokkaido-style ramen (special toppings include butter and corn) joint Menya Miyabi has opened its first outlet in Klang Valley. Located in Sunway Pyramid Hotel West, Menya Miyabi’s menu includes the usual suspects such as tonkotsu ramen and gyoza, as well as wildcard options chukadon and yakisoba. For RM4, you can supersize your ramen to share. Standout dish: the yaki miso ramen (made with roasted miso) with a hearty broth.
A pet project of Joey Mah, the co-founder and coffee roaster of the famed Artisan Roastery, Someplace Beautiful is what you’d expect of a modern tea bar. A sleek white space offset by pale wood furnishings, there’s a minimalist calm to the space. A wooden frame of a house dominates the seating area, where there’s only a scattering of tables. There’s a lot of quiet space here; it’s almost Japanese in vibe. At the risk of sounding pretentious, it’s a space for quiet contemplation. Well-known tea specialists HOJO supply the tea. There are currently 14 varieties to choose from, ranging from black tea to white tea, flower tea, oolong, green tea and pu-er. The latter is the most interesting of the lot, as Someplace Beautiful also offers raw pu-er – this unfermented variety has a slightly sweeter aftertaste compared to its darker and bolder fermented counterpart. Knowing Joey Mah, tea is given the artisanal treatment here. For instance, the Rose Damascena from the Xinjiang desert is brewed with white tea to give it extra depth and body. Milk tea is made by steeping whole tea leaves in cold milk overnight; as a result, you get a cold and creamy milk tea that’s richer and more refined in taste. There are also two types of soft serve ice cream (coffee and chocolate), and hats off to Joey for making a coffee soft serve that retains the nuanced flavours of the beans used. Besides the unmistakable coffee kick, there are also floral notes, much like a good medium-roasted bean. In the ne
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Populated by expatriates and upper middle class families, Hartamas is fancy – even its name says so (‘harta’, treasure; ‘mas’, gold). This isn’t saying that the area is inaccessible for us 'mere mortals' – in fact, it’s quite the opposite now. With many cafés and eateries opening up around the 'hood, plenty of non-Hartamas residents flock here, and not just for the lineup of Japanese restaurants. By the way, we're also including the best places to eat and visit in neighbouring areas Mont Kiara and Solaris Dutamas. Fun fact: The area was the premise of a local TV show titled (surprise, surprise) ‘Hartamas’ starring Ida Nerina and Rashidi Ishak.
The wide land that is Damansara has the privilege of being both KL and Selangor. It can be confusing – Bukit Damansara for example, is not exactly near the main Damansaras while Ara Damansara is somewhat Subang (and sometimes even Shah Alam). To make things easier for you, we've picked some of the best restaurants, cafés, bars and things to do in each Damansara area.
Let’s not mask the fact that Sunway is an area dominated by students, which isn’t saying that it’s a bad thing. If you need help getting around the area, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is making things better. It’s fast – not a concept Malaysians are accustomed to hearing and practising. Let’s not also forget about Sunway Pyramid and Sunway Lagoon, where there are plenty of things to do. If you don’t have plans in Sunway, you do now.
Your cheat sheet to all the best restaurants, shops and things to do in the main areas of the city centre including Bukit Bintang, Petaling Street and Pudu.
Sri Petaling is a mixed bag of old eating establishments, massage parlours and cafés. You can get around most of the Jalan Radins by foot, although ideally a bicycle would be nice. The 'hood is quiet but by no means dead. Here are our picks of restaurants, cafés, shops and things to do in the area. PS: If your favourite spot isn't featured here, let us know in the comments.
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Best cafés in KL
You’ve got to admit that a trip to a good café sets you in a cheery mood – the sun-soaked space, glorious sunny side ups and that tingling dose of caffeine. The Time Out KL team maps out the best cafés for every occasion, from Instagram eye candies to the brunch of champions.