Contest: Win drink tickets for East Imperial Gin Jubilee 2018's Gin Lane at Plaza Batai party
Prize: A pair of drink tickets for the Gin Lane at Plaza Batai party (each ticket is entitled to one drink) Gin lovers rejoice as Asia’s premier gin festival, the East Imperial Gin Jubilee, is back on our shores for the third time. KL will be kicking off the festival before it moves on to other cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. This year's grand finale in KL, the Gin Lane at Plaza Batai party (Aug 25, 6pm onwards) will see food, music and even more gin with participating bars offering a selection of creative G&Ts at RM25 a pop. You'll be happy to know that this year's Gin Jubilee is taking a more eco-friendly route, with cocktails being served with bio-degradable straws and cups. There will also be a retail pop-up store stocking all of East Imperial's partner brands and the brand's own mixers.
Best eco-retreats in Malaysia
For a tranquil getaway without having to travel far, these eco-retreats offer a unique and rustic holiday experience right in Malaysia. You can stay inside a concrete cylinder pipe in a jungle at Time Capsule Retreat, a shipment container set within a vast paddy field at Padi Box or even get up close with orangutans in East Malaysia at Sepilok Forest Edge Resort.
What’s on this week in KL
East Imperial Gin Jubilee
Gin lovers rejoice as Asia’s premier gin festival, the East Imperial Gin Jubilee, is back on our shores for the third time. KL will be kicking off the festival this year before it moves on to other cities across Asia like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. With 20 participating bars and over ten craft gin brands joining the party, this year's edition sees masterclasses and guest bartender shifts as well as a brand new menu of G&T creations that you can enjoy across the city. You can expect to see brands like Hendrick's, Citadelle, Fords Gin, The West Winds Gin, Kyrö Distillery Company and more, alongside newcomers like G'Vine and Four Pillars Gin. The jubilee's opening party at Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur's Bar Trigona will be a fancy affair, and on Aug 22, there will be a Fords Gin guest shift at PS150 with Kino Soh, who's up here from Singapore's Highball, her own bar. The next day Aug 23, one of Malaysia's top bartenders Osmund Bernard will be holding a Monkey 47 masterclass at Kenshin, and will have a guest shift at the bar later that night as well. Meanwhile, at JungleBird on the same day there will also be a masterclass by The West Winds Gin brand ambassador Brendan Grey. On Aug 24, Coley is playing host to a masterclass with Micaela Piccolo and Citadelle Gin, and JungleBird will see Brendan Grey, who is also a celebrated barman, returning for a guest shift. The gin jubilee will end with the finale party, Gin Lane at Plaza Batai on Aug 25. Entry is free,
Storytelling & STEM Workshops
The world of giants, snozzcumbers, golden tickets and Oompa-Loompas awaits kids at The Story Book this August and September. The 'Roald Dahl's Book Series Programme with Opstopus and The Story Book' will see storytelling sessions and STEM workshops organised around two of the author's famous books - 'The BFG' (Aug 18 and 25) and 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' (Sep 8 and 15). Kids will get to bring back a Roald Dahl book and a STEM activity box after completing each title. Catered for kids aged seven to 11 years old.
The second installment of Traders Market will see plenty of local entrepreneurs and home-grown artisans peddling their wares. There will be lots of things to check out, including knick-knacks, art, fashion and, of course, food. Drop by Publika this weekend and support local brands.
New restaurants and bars in KL
What started out as a humble vegetarian eatery in Bangalore almost a century ago in 1924, Mavalli Tiffin Rooms – or MTR – now has multiple outlets across Asia and the Middle East. Its latest outpost in KL promises hearty South Indian vegetarian fare that’s not only affordable, it’s also good for your waistline. Inside, posters on the brand’s long history are plastered on the bright red walls, while simple furniture and a spotless space allow the food to shine. The expansive menu is made up of familiar South Indian dishes like idli, vada, dosa, thali sets and more. A must-have is the masala dosa (RM9) – light and crisp, made with a mixture of grains and pulses laced with ghee, filled with spiced potatoes, and accompanied by green chutney, lentil sambar and even more ghee. The smooth, shiny surface of the crust is telling of a good dosa; here at MTR, it’s good. If that doesn’t fill you up, go for the Mini Meals (RM13). Don’t be fooled by its innocent-sounding name; this hefty meal consists of palya, vegetable sagu, plain rice, curd rice, sambar, rasam, papadum, pickles, payasum and a choice of either plain dosa, poori, chapathi or akki roti. If you’re really hungry, the Special Mini Meals (RM19) comes with even more items such as bisi bele bhath, kosambari salad and a dessert. If you’re working in the vicinity, you’ll be happy to know that MTR offers daily specials alongside the regular selection. We visited on a Thursday, so our options were pulliogre (RM8.50), thatte idly
Bangsar has gone through many phases – unobtrusive residential area, clubbing haven, arts and culture quarter, and now, café district. From the busy streets of Telawi to the more laidback Jalan Bangkung and Jalan Kemuja, we round up the best restaurants, bars, cafés and things to do in Bangsar.
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.
Damansara Utama is home to Damansara Uptown, the land of hard-to-find parking spots and more cafés than you can shake a stick at. We say park in the new Starling Mall and walk about the area before you eventually step in to an eatery. 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.
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.
The best of Kuala Lumpur
100 best local dishes and drinks in KL
We are a food city. One that caters to the food-obsessed; one that alternates between street and traditional dining, at any budget and time of the day. Here are the 100 best dishes and drinks that truly defines us, from the contentious nasi leamk to the humble roti canai. Loosen your belt – you've got much eating to do.
Best nasi lemak in KL
We pick the best places in town for a satisfying plate of the country's pride and joy – the mighty nasi lemak. Hunt down these nasi lemak joints for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper, because our national dish doesn't restrict itself to a certain meal time – which is why we love it so much.