Now open: Polecats Coffee
Taman Melawati's cosy brunch spot serves up pastries, pies and pancakes with homemade gravlax and lamb bacon
Pince & Pints
Good news for lobster lovers: Singapore’s Pince & Pints is now in KL
The best restaurants and cafés in KL
Our critics' choice of the best places to dine, updated every month
The dish: Chermoula Chicken
Forget about black pepper, teriyaki and honey. Chermoula is the marinade that you should be using right now
Best things to eat at Imbi Market
Even in the concrete jungle that is the Kuala Lumpur city centre, one can find oases away from the horrors of shopping malls and multi-level parking. For those who look hard enough, there is a food paradise that is nearly hidden under a canopy of large trees in the interiors of Imbi. From the outside it looks like any other wet market, but the Pasar Baru Bukit Bintang (the official moniker; regulars refer to it simply as Imbi Market) has more to offer than the usual fare of freshly butchered meat, iced seafood, pyramids of fruits, bouquets of leafy vegetables and dried goods. Nestled side by side to the main market is a mini-maze of hawker stalls that open almost at the break of dawn and are usually sold out before lunch. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss.
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Food events and promotions in KL
Malaysia Wine Fiesta 2015
The Straits Wine Company is organising this bubbly fiesta for wine lovers of all stripes and budgets. Besides tastings and a slot for wine-shopping, the event also aims to provide an educational experience for both wine newbies and connoisseurs as they want to make wine accessible and fun. There will be over 150 wines by 20 different winemakers from Austria, Germany, Chile, Spain, France, Portugal and more. The Winemakers’ Table Dinner will also be held, pairing BEAST’s in-house specialities with thoughtfully crafted wines.
Aziamendi 88 pop-up restaurant
Three-Michelin-starred restaurants are not easy to get into, but this time, you get to eat at one without even getting out of the country. Celebrated Spanish chef Eneko Atxa from Azurmendi Restaurant in Bilbao, Spain, is bringing his Michelin-rated cuisine to KL at a pop-up restaurant set in Mandarin Oriental KL’s Mandarin Grill fine dining restaurant. Being Spain’s youngest chef to be awarded the prestigious three Michelin stars, we are expecting a lot, primarily the inventive execution and flavours he’s known for, and of course the impeccable plating. Running for 88 days, and hence the name Aziamendi 88, this pop-up will showcase Northern Spain cuisine that’s fused with Thai ingredients – a signature of his offshoot restaurant Aziamendi at the Iniala Beach House near Phuket. Chef Atxa will only be in KL for the first week of the pop-up restaurant, but rest assured everything will be done to his exact standards under the care of his chef de cuisine Alex Burger and general manager Behzad Davarkia. There will be lunch and dinner menus available daily except Sunday: a five-course lunch (RM198), an eight-course lunch (RM438), an eight-course dinner (RM438), and a 12-course dinner (RM598). Vegetarian set menus and wine pairing are also available. And throughout the duration, the restaurant will feature specially curated artworks by Wei-Ling Gallery; they are for sale and proceeds will go to a local charity.
Sunday Brunch at Mosaic
Have a swanky Sunday with brunch at Mandarin Oriental’s Mosaic featuring both local and international flavours. Choose to have a continental breakfast with mini bagels, sautéed mushrooms and baked beans, or go straight for the meat at the roast station with prime ribs and lamb chops. Don’t forget about the seafood counter where they have freshly shucked Fin de Claire oysters, beetroot cured salmon, flower crab, baby scallops and an array of sushi, sashimi and tempura. For other flavours that are more familiar, have the tandoori chicken, lamb kofta, stir-fry noodles, satay and more. Desserts come in choices of chocolate macarons, poached chocolate pudding with vanilla, velvet white chocolate and mango cheesecake, hot cross buns and more.
Torii Weekend Brunch
Have a Japanese brunch at Torii’s Jalan Batai outlet where you can choose between two sets: 'Chisai' or 'Oki'. The 'Chisai' features sautéed seafood and mixed mesclun salad, trifecta mushi and salted duck egg rice. For the 'Oki', you'll get sautéed spinach and mushroom in garlic butter with pine nuts, salmon crudo and baked creamy macaroni. Both sets come with bean curd clam broth and a minimum of three skewers selected by the chef. Add on RM10 for either coffee or ice cream, or have them both for RM15.
Sunday Roast at Marble 8
Make it a family-friendly affair on Sunday afternoons at the swanky Marble 8 with chef-to-table roasts and a buffet, free flow alcohol for the adults, and as many dollops of housemade gelato the kids can have. There will also be a bouncy castle on-site. The buffet starts at RM128++ but for RM168++, you get all the free flow beer, wine and Prosecco you can drink. Kids ten and below eat for free.
78 dishes for RM78 nett at Si Chuan Duo Hua
Si Chuan Duo Hua’s executive chef Gary Lim and his team have whipped up a menu featuring 78 various Sichuan and Cantonese dishes for only RM78 nett, comprising chicken, seafood, beef, bean curd, rice, noodles, and choices of dim sum. Highlights include chilled chicken in spicy bean paste, deep-fried Thai chicken, steamed seasonal fish, and Sichuan dandan noodles to name a few. For dessert, choose from signature homemade fine bean curd with wolfberry, chilled fruit rojak and traditional Chinese cake.
New restaurants and cafés in KL
The Melawati café scene might be a little on the quiet side but here’s one worth the trip. No, there are no cats here to play with but there is baby Arya (the owners’ seven-month-old daughter) who can be just as adorable. Polecats Coffee is owned by husband-and-wife team Sam and Zee. Zee comes from a corporate background but has decided to cook full time for the love of food while Sam was previously with RAW at Wisma Equity (now RGB & The Bean Hive on Jalan Damai). If you’re familiar with the game ‘Full Throttle’, the name Polecats might ring a bell in the form of a biker gang featured in the game. Situated next to a banana leaf restaurant and an old neighbourhood grocery, the couple chose the area mostly for convenience because it's close to home. Getting a seat at Polecats may be a bit of a squeeze on weekends as they only have about four to six tables. According to Zee, the bulk of their customers come in for a takeaway coffee in the morning. The menu is small and consists of pancakes with choices like their house-cured gravlax, lamb bacon, blueberry, and the classic butter and maple syrup. A signature here is the homemade lamb bacon, but don’t just waltz in and expect it to be available as preparation takes several days, so message them beforehand if you're eager for some lamb bacon to top your pancakes. Other than that, the oatmeal latte is another interesting creation. Described as the 'lazy man’s breakfast', it's rolled oats, granola and cranberries with a shot of co
Mario & Luigi
The BIG Group's newest venture is an Italian restaurant (in case the name isn't clue enough) located next to Bakar. Look forward to their seafood medleys as they attempt to craft an authentic Italian dining experience. The restaurant also features a cocktail bar upstairs – that would be Luigi.
Pince & Pints
Good news for lobster lovers: Singapore’s Pince & Pints will be opening its first KL outlet on October 9. For those of you familiar with the New England-style restaurant across the Causeway, this means that you can enjoy Pince & Pint’s best-selling lobster rolls in Malaysian Ringgit.Touted as an affordable place for lobster, the KL outlet will have a menu of just five dishes, which will also include the exclusive-to-KL lobster noodles alongside grilled or steamed lobster, chilli lobster with mantou, and the aforementioned lobster roll. Each dish uses one whole lobster and is priced at RM158++. Now, the hardsell: Pince & Pints lobsters are wild caught from Boston, Maine and Canada, before being flown in and stored in state-of-the-art deep sea tanks in which ‘even the lobsters may be tricked into thinking that they might be back in the waters of Boston, Maine or Canada’. In other words, these are happy lobsters who feel at home. As for the bar, you can expect an array of sweet, sour, bitter and dry cocktails, boutique wines from all over the world, and mocktails with names like Freddie Mercury (cloudy apple and fresh orange juice and ginger gastrique) and Mr & Mrs Smith (fresh kiwi and lime, pandan syrup, apple and guava Juice). Pince & Pints will open on October 9 at 5.30pm.
With stroller parking, an ample number of highchairs and a cute kids' playground adjoining, Benbino is a welcome addition to KL's selection of family-friendly cafes. Look for the giant yellow giraffe and head up the spiral staircase to this compact and comfy spot. If you can get the kids past the magical display of sweets, there's a whole menu of meals, created and portioned for small tummies. The menu is just what you'd expect from the BIG Group and it includes crowd pleasers like mac 'n' cheese, pizzas, sandwiches and pastas. We were happy to see that many dishes sneak in a few healthy vegetables, such as the cauliflower tater tots and the cauliflower base margherita pizza. But let's get back to that cake counter. Ultimately, sweet tooths will be happy at Benbino: there's a glittering selection of cakes and other treats to try. We had a creamy, thick lamington milkshake and can't wait to return for brownies or s'mores cookies, or let's face it, maybe both.
The best restaurants and cafés in KL
Come lunchtime, it can be tough finding a seat at this popular Indian vegetarian joint. In the heart of bustling Masjid Jamek, there’s always a lively atmosphere here. There’s a substantial selection of a la carte dishes from Northern and Southern India, but to really appreciate Bakti Woodlands, you have to come for the lunchtime thali sets. The Madras thali will leave you fit to burst, while still attempting to savour all the flavours.
You can always count on Chef Low to dish up palate-pleasing Cantonese dishes. If you’re tired of the usual chilli crab, go for their soupy Fu Zhou style crab for a more delicate flavour.
Its well executed dishes deliver the robust flavours of a good Indian meal. Try their unique tandoori broccoli.
KL’s most exhilarating restaurant to emerge in what seems like years is Dewakan, buried deep in the campus of Shah Alam’s Kolej Damansara Utama (KDU). Head chef Darren Teoh puts local flavours on the fine dining map by using homegrown ingredients such as keluak fruit, budu and kaduk leaves. You can have lunch for either a three- (RM80) or four-course (RM133) meal, or opt for a five- (RM164) or ten-course (RM207) dinner. Take note that à la carte dishes are not available.
The best of KL
The elusive hybrid of breakfast and lunch has never tasted this good. So kickstart your lazy weekend with these best brunch dishes Best brunch spots The Good Batch This new one is owned by former manager of The Bee, Andrew Tan. The setup is less cluttered and more spacious than most new cafés, and focuses more on food than coffee. All-day Western brekkie dishes are served, like upgraded mushrooms on toast, corned beef with fried potatoes, blueberry pancakes, and ‘roti canai’ burrito. What we like best is the all-day bar, where wines, beers and cocktails are available, including the popular passionfruit mojito. Ming Room Opened in 2003, The Ming Room serves authentic Cantonese cuisine with a touch of creative liberty. Recently refurbished, be impressed with the historical and elegant renovations, complete with antique terracotta horses as well as six private dining rooms to cater to 300 pax. Highlights include the baked foie gras with stuffed sea clams and the steamed fresh water prawn with radish cakes. In addition to the obvious Hong Kong dim sum, standard Chinese fare with a twist is served, such as the double-boiled superior shark’s fin soup with wanton in pumpkin and river carp medallion in stock. A popular dessert among their patrons is the chilled durian pudding. As featured in Time Out KL's 101 things to do in KL Awards Food 40 Food 40 is our monthly, definitive guide for where to eat in the Klang Valley. No entry into the Food 40 has provided any Time Out team memb
You’ll find cafés in KL walking a thin line between restaurants, patisseries and bistros. In our book, a café is like an informal version of a restaurant – its laidback ambience and bespoke service encourage you to linger. Here are the top cafés in the city. Looking for a new hangout spot? Our critics pick the best cafés in the city for eating and lingering Jibby & Co Jibby & Co is undoubtedly one of KL’s handsomest cafés; bulb wiring dramatically plunge from the high ceilings while pretty pastels pop up in cupboards and cloth sofas. The mishmash of knick knacks is so easily made disastrous in other cafés, but Jibby exudes composure with a synchronised warm glow. Though overpriced, the food is mostly well-executed with the indulgent soft-shell crab burger taking top spot. It’s the kind of dish that bears the ultimate lazy weekend stamp: messy, greasy and staggeringly unsexy. BreadFruits Café This café in Hartamas offers well-executed brunch fare, some of which feature their signature ingredient – wild honey. Owner KK and his uncle harvest wild hives from Pahang rainforests before manufacturing and packaging honey into bottles. Raw, unprocessed, locally sourced honey is something of a revelation, and the wild nature of the bees makes for a complex, treacle-like sweetness with hints of lychee and sugarcane. Pour the golden liquid onto the excellent roasted banana French toast, watch it cascade sexily down the banana, take a photo of this madness, and get eating. Sitka Restauran
KL's burgeoning café scene has brought in some remarkable food. Our critics pick the ten best café dishes that will feed you from daybreak to dinnertime Guide to coffee in KL Best coffee 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. KL's third wave coffee: The trends and the cafés We examine the third wave coffee trend in KL and highlight the cafés that are at the forefront of this artisanal coffee movement. The geek's guide to different coffee brewing methods Coffee brewing is a serious science. Here's all you need to know about six of the world's hand-pour coffee equipments, as explained by an expert. Kopitiam: KL's original coffee shop Kopitiams have long been a mainstay of our café culture, but they won’t be around forever. A documentarian takes us on a tour of these ageing coffee shops. KL's best places for hot chocolate Three Little Birds The folks behind Artisan Roast have come a long way since their humble RAW days. This breezy new café in Sentul’s airy D7 building is testament to their maturing style and quality. Monjo Coffee This coffee house serves single origin Arabica coffee in a roomy, modern interior. A location in Cyberjaya caters to the lack of cafés in the area, as well as to the rising office blocks. Signature dishes include the croque madame, the breakfast burger and choux pastry cream puffs alongside the rich
The heat is on – here are the top cake shops that rise to the occasion.
Eating in KL isn't expensive if you know where to look. Some of the city's best food lies in its labyrinth of back alleys, where family-run businesses have forged a culinary legacy out of Hokkien mee, Hainanese tea and even chapatti. But a revolution is stewing. Food trucks are bringing artisanal offerings to the masses at affordable prices while hawkers are constantly putting a fresh spin on street food. RM5 and below Cendol The abundance of gula Melaka takes centre stage in this pleasingly kao cendol, which boasts a sugary quality that stops just short of being overly cloying. The creaminess of the fresh coconut milk also shines atop the finely shaved ice and amidst the green pandan cendol jelly – a combination that makes this local dessert such a favourite. Yong tau foo and curry chee chong fun Thick, slippery and absorbent, cheong fun (flat rice noodles) is so versatile it can be eaten in a soupy broth or slathered in rich sauces. You could eat it in soy sauce, but that’s a little boring. Ditto sweet sauce – it works, but it’s hardly exciting. Even savouring it in curry seems kind of ordinary... until you try it at Yap Hup Kee. The wide, silky noodles are drenched in a rich, creamy curry humming with just the right amount of heat. Have some yong tau foo on the side (each piece stuffed with fish paste) or, if you think you can handle it, fried pig’s intestines coated in sweet marinade. Pisang goreng and kuih bakul Uncle Chiam’s delectable pisang raja is pisang goreng
Our critics pick the best coffee shops in KL that call the shots 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. Pulp The paper-cutting room for the nearly 50-year-old Art Printing Works factory and warehouse on Jalan Riong may have gotten the makeover it deserves. Pulp, helmed by Singaporean coffee boutique Papa Palheta who also runs Chye Seng Huat Hardware and Loysel’s Toy cafés, has been integrated with the time-honoured factory. Although the stellar coffee and desserts here encourage lingering, the owners insist that Pulp be described as a coffee retailer and supplier, rather than as a café. Get serious in a cupping room where you learn from baristas who work their gear with topflight technique. Or marvel at the mementos of the warehouse over a Blue Batak brew. Standing Theory If there was a standing theory to the perfect cup of coffee, the boys of this PJ hideout don’t have it. Instead, their experimental bubble-and-whiz ways with coffee defy the norms and stretch boundaries. Take their excellent cold brew – the dark, broody mix is left to steep for a whopping 48 hours and is served on the rocks. The first sip is harsh and bitter, but the flavours round up and mellow as the ice melts, opening up gateways to notes you’d never associate with coffee – bourbon and whisky. Coffee Stain by Joseph We like Coffee Stain’s medium body espresso