Best cafés for brunch
Brunch has become Kuala Lumpur’s favourite weekend pastime. Cafés across town are filling their menus with breakfast and lunch hybrids, featuring sweet and savoury waffles, big English fry-ups and eggs every which way. So let us guide you to the best cafés in town to kick start your weekend.
The best afternoon teas in KL
Afternoon tea is meant to fill in the long gap between lunch and dinner and it's generally served at 4pm. We do love a good afternoon tea with all the trimmings – scones, tarts, finger sandwiches, macarons, cake – and pots of steaming tea, coffee or even a glass of champagne!
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Tucked away in the heart of Mont Kiara, Kiara Cakes is a quaint café that offers different varieties of artisanal cakes, pastries, light bites, mains and beverages. Adorned with rustic and minimalist elements, the space is painted navy blue and white to distinguish themselves from other pastel and monochromatic cafés you’ve seen. The “Kiara Cakes” neon light sign hung on one of the walls becomes the statement piece as you enter the space. The café can accommodate up to 45 pax. A counter filled with freshly baked pastries greets you at the entrance. You will find pastries such as Croissant Bread Pudding, Orange Financier, Madeleine, Buttercake with Butterfly Pea Flower Buttercrumb, Salted Egg Yolk Croissant and more. When you visit Kiara cakes, the homemade cakes are a must-try. The Duck Egg Burnt Cheesecake has a creamy texture with a hint of caramel sweetness and of course, a generous dollop of whipped cream on the side. One of the favourites is the Lavender Chocolate Cake with Earl Grey Buttercream that appeals to both look and taste. The subtle flavour of lavender in the chocolate cake complements the delicate taste of earl grey in the frosting. There are also cakes like the Tropézienne Vanilla Cake, Strawberry Lychee Rose Cloud Cake, a gluten-free as well as dairy-free Flourless Orange Almond Cake and more. Since the cakes are homemade, something to note is that the cake menu changes according to its availability. The café also has a selection of main dishes for a more
New restaurants and cafés in KL
Cielo Kuala Lumpur
With its multitude of mamaks alongside bars and clubs that blare out Top 40 hits, Changkat Bukit Bintang isn’t where you’d normally go for a quiet romantic night out – which is why Cielo KL is such a welcome addition to the chaotic nightlife hotspot. Taking over what used to be the gym and rooftop pool of Vida in Bukit Ceylon, Cielo KL is owned and operated by Werner’s Group, which also owns other Changkat mainstays The Whisky Bar, The Rum Bar KL, El Cerdo, Opium and Dining in the Dark. True to form, Werner’s never repeats the same trick twice whenever it tries its hand at a new venture. At Cielo, the group has placed its focus on providing a refined dining experience by using imported seafood ingredients, and creating an ambience that makes you want to linger on long into the night. No expense is spared in creating a romantic mood, from the retractable roof that opens up to reveal the night sky to the immaculately set tables and Bluetooth-controlled table lighting that changes as the evening wears on. A glance through the menu reflects the restaurant’s ambition of providing a classic seafood meal that gets the basics right first, and then some. Starters include pan-seared scallops with creamy celeriac mousse, tomato confit and green lentils (RM52); grilled octopus with red capsicum purée (RM78); and akami tuna tartare with mango salsa and wasabi tobiko (RM68). The combinations and flavours are nothing new, but there’s plenty to admire about the technique and quality of ing
The Burnin' Pit
KL is no stranger to Texan barbecue joints with cult favourites Beard Brothers’ BBQ and Mom’s BBQ food truck, but The Burnin’ Pit dwarfs them in terms of scale and ambition. Occupying a prominent corner lot on Desa Sri Hartamas’s main strip, the two-storey restaurant is the lifelong dream of Kok Fung, who fell in love with the art of slow-smoked barbecue after spending a few years exploring the US and learning from local pit masters there. The restaurant is impossible to miss: even before stepping in, an always-working outdoor smoking pit lures you in from the street with its smoky aromas. Inside, large sharing tables, wide open spaces, heavy dark-wood furniture and an open kitchen carry the look of an upscale restaurant, but the restaurant is cosy enough to make you feel comfortable to eat with your bare hands if you feel like it. Upstairs is where you’ll find ‘The Pit Master’s Lounge’, a drinking space that opens from 5pm and is decked out to look like hunter’s lodge filled with all manner of Americana, including books about barbecue, a faux fireplace and a bourbon-stocked bar. On the menu is a variety of starters, sides, roast chicken, lamb and house-made sausages. The main attraction, however, are the beef ribs and brisket, which have been rubbed with salt and pepper before being smoked for eight to 14 hours until they’re completely tender and oozing with melted fat. Fung has also tweaked the Texan barbecue recipe with small, but significant gestures: the rub, for inst
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
Run by the co-owner of Klang’s Seraph Awaken Chun Hoong, Prana Alchemy is a coffee shop offering a compact list of Turkish-style coffees. With Seraph Awaken’s success and growing fanbase, Hoong finds it difficult to add new creations onto the café’s menu as he worries they won’t be able to cope with the demands; hence the birth of Prana Alchemy. Located in a quiet commercial centre in a residential area in Bandar Sunway, the shop is easily distinguishable with its wooden façade and a smattering of potted plants – you won’t miss it considering every other lot along the row sports steel shutters. Inside, there’s not much to look at as Hoong focuses on the coffee rather than making this an Instagram hotspot: the rustic cabin-like theme is accented with wooden furniture and a long table that acts as a makeshift coffee bar, while dim lighting adds to the shop’s laidback atmosphere. Prana Alchemy is Hoong’s passion project, where he experiments with new coffee ideas. Both him (who’s based at Seraph Awaken but drops by occasionally) and barista Andy Chia man the bar here offering two variations of Turkish-style coffee – traditional and ‘modified’. They use beans sourced from Seraph Awaken, so you’re always getting the freshest tasting cup of coffee possible. If you want something with a kick, go for the traditional Turkish-style coffee (RM12). It’s made with a copper ibrik (Turkish coffee pot); but instead of brewing the coffee over hot sand (which is the traditional Turkish way),
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
Guys, let’s all calm down about the ‘grill-concept’ trend. Grilling as a cooking method is at least 300,000 years old, and these days, there’s nothing novel about a restaurant that cooks food directly over a source of heat. Fortunately, Bakar’s affiliation with charcoal fire is far from opportunistic – spend one night here and it’s easy to see that boundaries are meddled with, for KL standards at least. Trust The BIG Group in all manner of aesthetic; every detail is measured to enhance the experience, from the white marble tiling, to the matchbox mural, to the open kitchen – it’s stylish, but not outwardly so. And when I ask for recommendations, the waiters are kind and welcoming, a true refresher in Bangsar. I start with the barbecue classic – grilled watermelon. It comes in a salad with strawberry, pomegranate, chilli, radish, cucumber and coriander. Objectively, the flavours sound threatening, but when eaten together in one forkful, they open up well. The juiciness of the fruit against the sharpness of coriander, the surprise crunch of the cucumber, the mild nuttiness of sesame seeds – it’s like playing many rounds on a coin-operated claw crane, and getting a different soft toy at every attempt. The second starter of parcelled clam bake is more predictable, but still very, very good. The flavours – lemongrass, chilli, pandan – can easily be found in any Asian- Western mash-up, but at Bakar, Chef Keith Choong extrudes the most out of each ingredient. The broth in which t
This Catalan gastrobar in Bangsar is one of the area’s more stylish for a quick dash to Europe. Chef David Caral, formerly of Circus, has concocted a menu rarely seen in the city – Iberico ham croquettes, salmorejo (chilled tomato puree), rice cooked with squid ink and a fun take on patatas bravas are only a few of the tapas-sized plates on offer. When in doubt, definitely try the cold eggplant puree with pine nuts and honey; but when in a crisis, the Iberico pork ribs with roasted peppers are a must.
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