What you need to know about: Going vegan
It was just three years ago when the world was obsessed with bacon: it could be found in jams, ice cream and toothpaste – there were even novelty bacon-themed shirts, underwear and socks. Fast forward to the present day, however, and you’ll find more people talking about going vegetarian and vegan. According to Google Trends, interest in the term ‘vegan’ has never been as consistently high across the world since July last year. All around the world, high profile restaurants and bars have started to adapt to the growing vegetarian and vegan market: in 2015, three Michelin-starred restaurant L’Aperge decided to go vegetarian (it maintained its three stars, although it has since started to offer poultry and fish again), while London saw the opening of its first vegan pub, The Spread Eagle, in January this year. Davina Goh Over in KL – our city that’s known for its abundance of nasi lemak ayam, chicken rice and beef noodles – we’re also starting to see more restaurants catering to vegans and vegetarians in new and creative ways. The success of Sala, Kind Kones, WTF and Barat shows us that vegetarian cooking can be creative, healthy, and most importantly, tasty. To find out more about this rising trend, we spoke to Davina Goh, a vegan and advocate who runs DavinaDaVegan.com, about the difference between vegetarianism and veganism, its health benefits and more. Follow Davina Goh on Instagram @imdavinagoh and @davinadavegan.
Best barbecue restaurants in KL
When it comes to organising a feast with friends and family, few things are better than going out to a barbecue joint and having a good time chowing down on big slabs of juicy grilled meats. Here are the best barbecue places in KL to satisfy your carnivorous cravings.
Best coffee deals in KL
For many us, coffee isn’t just a leisurely luxury enjoyed on the weekends; it’s the fuel that gets us through the day. Like fuel prices, however, freshly brewed coffee and lattes aren’t exactly cheap – some of them can even cost as much as a meal. To solve your caffeine and budget blues, we went around KL to find out where you can find a good cup of coffee from as low as RM2.90.
Best vegetarian dishes in KL
Ask most omnivorous diners about going vegetarian, and you’ll hear the common complaint that there aren’t many options beyond boring overpriced salads that only calorie counters indulge in. Over the past couple of years, however, KL’s vegetarian scene has improved substantially, driven by ethical diners and restauranteurs who have found ways to provide tasty and filling vegetarian meals. Here are a few of those dishes.
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New restaurants and cafés in KL
Just when we were worried that the year’s F&B scene will be little more than a succession of safe-betting brunch cafés and comfort-food restaurants, up comes Beta KL with their bold venture into modern Malaysian cuisine. Formed by the same folks behind Skillet @ 163, Beta KL radically departs from its European-focused elder sibling by focusing on Malaysian ingredients and flavours, while maintaining the modern techniques Skillet is known for. Beta KL is divided into a dining area and bar that combine contrasting elements of a modern restaurant and a laidback hangout. In the dining area, cool blue neon lights, dark-coloured walls and an expansive floor-to-ceiling batik mural are set against the abundance of natural light, live tropical plants and bare concrete floors; while the bar is an equally intriguing mix of a high-end bottle service bar – complete with an elevated dance stage and cognac-stocked 12-ft tall bar – and a chill tiki bar that’s decked out with rattan chairs. Helming the kitchen is Chef Raymond Tham, who is also the executive head chef for Skillet. A former culinary instructor at KDU University College – alongside Dewakan’s Darren Teoh, one of the chefs leading the charge for modern Malaysian cuisine – Raymond has used his research of regional cuisine and ingredients to craft a menu that celebrates humble and familiar dishes in new and surprising ways. The starter dishes provide an insight to Beta’s novel approach to Malaysian cuisine. In Ox Tongue (RM27)
The first thing you notice about Vantador is its sophisticated premises spanning multiple levels; think winding matte black stairs, copper light hangings emitting a warm glow, mahogany and deep olive walls, and industrial and vintage furnishings from the dry-aged steak boutique founders' own personal collection. As you walk into the place and are greeted by affable waitstaff, you won’t be able to miss massive German-made coolers stocked with dry-aged beef near the entrance. Dry-aged steak is a serious matter here, with a carefully curated selection from Argentinian chef Ramiro Moya that includes Spain's Rubia Gallega (Vantador’s pride and joy), Margaret River Wagyu, Tasmanian Angus and Victoria Hereford. Best to beef up on your dry-aged steak knowledge before you make your way to Vantador for a better appreciation of your meal: Dry-aged beef is hung in near-freezing temperatures (for at least 30 days in Vantador’s case) during which fungi will cling to the meat’s surface to form a dry, hard crust. Of course, this is discarded before cooking. This ‘breathing’ process allows the natural juices and flavours to be sealed into the meat and works especially well with fatty cuts. Hence, cooked dry-aged beef doesn’t release blood or juice when cut; instead, you get a syrupy sweetness when biting into the meat, with a tenderness and more concentrated flavour than wet-aged beef. Cuts for the dry-aged range here include tomahawk, rib eye, striploin and T-bone; the wet-aged selection
Christian Bauer and Eddie Chew are old hands at turning dining into a form of escapism. At Troika Sky Dining, you’re lifted from the hustling streets of KL as you dine on pastas, cheeses and caviar on the 24th floor; at Mr Chew’s Chino Latino Bar, you’re whisked to an otherworldly realm at the top floor of WOLO Bukit Bintang, where Latin-American and Oriental cultures merge to create dishes like catfish char siew, nori tacos and salmon ceviche with garlic-infused soy sauce. The duo’s latest venture, Brasserie Fritz, is a similar attempt; this time drawing you away from the daily grind of Jalan Bukit Bintang to a fashionable Parisian street. The experience starts from the moment you step past its doors: freshly baked croissants, kouign-amanns and pain au chocolats greet you from as early as 7am, while a waiter in a creaseless white shirt and clipped tie stands ready to explain the menu and plat du jour. Inside, the two-storey high space is filled with tables and chairs that wouldn’t look out of place in a modern bistro, complete with a long bar that offers a slew of day-drinking spritzes and Bloody Marys. Further in is a seafood bar stocked with produce from around the world – oysters, king crabs, scallops, sea urchin, caviar – that are displayed in all their exotic glory. Upstairs is yet another bar, offering cocktails in a lounge environment during the evening. The ambitious menu spans from Melbourne-influenced breakfasts (avocado toast included) to European-style sharin
Poseidon Caviar & Seafood Bar
Helmed by the restaurant group Ironwoods – which also runs Ingrained at Cellar 18 and The Flowerpecker – Poseidon Caviar & Seafood Bar is where fresh seafood and affordable wines can be found in the affluent township of Desa ParkCity. Located above S’mores in Plaza Arkadia, the cosy interior exudes a cool Nordic vibe, furnished with items from the Red Dot Award-winning Normann Copenhagen. If you feel like you’re dining in a furniture showroom, that’s because you are – chairs, tables and selected tableware can be ordered or bought through the restaurant. The two-month old restaurant (at the time of writing) currently boasts a compact menu of seafood dishes. A must-have here are the freshly shucked oysters which are brought in on a weekly basis, and options include French oysters such as the Fine de Claire, Marennes-Oléron and Tsarskaya, and English ones from Morecambe Bay. For a more complete meal, start off with poached prawns sourced from Sabah, which are served with nothing more than slices of lemon to bring out its sweet freshness. The choices of mains are equally simple, highlighting their individual main ingredient without much fanfare; the tiger prawn aglio olio is a solid choice, or if you prefer fish, get the pan-seared red snapper that comes with seasonal sides. Lobster and Wagyu beef are also on the menu, but it’s best to check with the restaurant on their availability before coming over. Since you don’t mind splurging (you’re at a caviar bar after all), Poseido
As a professional food stylist, photographer and community manager for food discovery app Burpple, Trisha Toh is never short of recommended places to eat in KL. We asked her for her top five, and this is what she told us. Continue to follow Trisha's food discoveries on her Instagram.
The best restaurants and cafés in KL
The best of food and drink in KL
The 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.
The best chai lattes in KL
Gaining precious real estate space on KL café menus is the chai latte, an updated version of the masala chai available on the streets of India and in most Indian restaurants around town. Instead of espresso, the chai latte is made with frothed milk and concentrated spiced tea. The next time you crave chai, here’s where to go.
The best restaurants and cafés in KL
The Time Out Kuala Lumpur Food 40 is our monthly, definitive guide for where to eat in the Klang Valley. Establishments will only appear in this list if they offer cuisine of a very high standard that is truly unique and worthy of your custom. No entry into the Food 40 has provided any Time Out team member with a free meal or other incentive – although plenty have tried! All have been chosen honestly, anonymously and after a great deal of deliberation by our team of expert food critics.
The best restaurants in KL for healthy eating
Get in on the healthy food movement and start eating clean at these top restaurants for healthy eats in KL. We've also included a quick guide to meal portions and healthy-eating alternatives as recommended by some of the individuals behind these eateries. RECOMMENDED: Guide to eating clean