Damansara Heights (or if you prefer, Bukit Damansara) is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world to visit right now, and was also acknowledged by Lonely Planet. This affluent suburb offers everything you need for a good day out – plenty of things to do alongside restaurants that serve everything from fine dining experimental cuisine to healthy vegan options as well as cool bars to check out.
Best restaurants in Damansara Heights
From the same team behind Huckleberry Food & Fare, Mezze and Skullduggery comes Birch, DC Mall’s latest entry to its line of eateries. Located on the ground floor, the eatery boasts a well-lit space thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows, and elements of wood coupled with suspended lamps and warm colour palettes add to the eatery’s rustic vibe. The bar, which is Birch’s centerpiece, is decorated with mossy and leafy plants and creates a greenhouse conservatory-like space. There are three different menus (breakfast, lunch and dinner) depending on the time of day you visit. If you’re there for breakfast, go for the Birch Benedict which is poached eggs served on toasted sourdough bread and topped with spicy pulled chicken and hollandaise sauce. For lunch, get the Korean fried chicken brioche – spicy fried buttermilk chicken doused in Korean hot sauce and papaya slaw, served between two slices of toasted brioche bun. For dinner service, Birch fires up their Josper oven to prepare sharing dishes such as the spatchcock (spring chicken, baby potatoes and cherry tomatoes) and the Spanish octopus (grilled octopus, mojo verde and rocket). On the drinks menu is a decent selection of espresso-based coffees and teas, but the cocktails (available from 4pm, Monday through to Saturday) are the highlight here; the Sweet Pea of Mine – jackfruit and butterfly pea with genever, sweet corn cordial and pomelo tincture – is a crowd-favourite.
Much has changed since the last time Time Out KL visited and reviewed The Point in 2014. The past couple of years have seen the restaurant undergo an extensive renovation and overhaul of its menu – where the first incarnation of the restaurant focused on modern European dishes that were upgraded with Japanese ingredients and techniques, this revamped restaurant and bar looks to Malaysian and European cuisines to inspire their new signature dishes. Visually, the most striking change can be seen on the second floor, where the casual beer and whiskey bar has been transformed into a wine-lover’s haven, complete with plush leather couches and a selection of over 350 labels of wine that are mostly French (with vintages that go as far back as 1934). Its curated selection even earned it Wine Spectator's sought-after Award of Excellence – one of only five recipients in the Klang Valley. On the restaurant floor below, Chef de Cuisine Kua Jinhao leads the kitchen and its efforts to revamp the menu. His experience in French and Italian cuisine is used to create a range of dishes like the Truffled Angel (RM35), a cold starter that marries the gentle flavours of chilled angel hair pasta, raw amaebi and avruga caviar, and spiked with a dash of yuzu sauce. If you’re feeling French, have a go at the Friend or Foie (RM48), where pan-seared foie gras is served on a buttery brioche with blackberry reduction and pistachio crumbs. The result is a balanced dish of contrasting sweet and savoury fl
Despite Vintry’s quiet location at the residential neighbourhood of Medan Damansara, the restaurant is buzzing with life. It has quite an extensive wine cellar where you choose your bottle to dine with. The wines are affordable, the food is great (they are known for their pork dishes) and the ambience is intimate but casual. Look forward to a pork-heavy menu featuring a variety of tapas, from deep fried pork strips, crispy roast pork to honey fried cheese. However, if you’re serious about trying something good, go for Vintry’s sweet, crispy and yes, very sinful cameralised roast pork. Ambience here is intimate but casual, wines are affordable and food is great. Awards Food Awards 2009 Vintry was shortlisted in the Best Fusion / Contemporary Restaurant category of the Time Out KL Food Awards 2009. Our food awards are 100% voted for by the people of KL. This way, we guarantee that popularity and consistent performance is rewarded.
Helmed by Mumbai-born Yogesh and Malaysian Natasha, Flour sets the bar high for the North Indian food scene in KL. Since it first opened in January this year, the restaurant has gathered quite a following, and for good reason too. The spread here is authentic, and much of the menu is inpired by the recipes of Yogesh’s father who used to own several popular vegetarian restaurants in Mumbai. Flour isn’t just a restaurant that wants to serve good food; it wants to introduce the intricacies of North Indian cuisine to us. The catalogue-like menu goes into detail of the background and how each dish is prepared, and the respect the team shows to the cuisine is reflected in the restaurant’s polished selection of dishes. Take the biryani – light and fluffy long grain rice laced with spices and chock-full of tender meat that’s been marinated in yoghurt; Natasha’s insistence on creating a dish that’s reminiscent of exactly what you’ll get in India has made it a crowd favourite. A large part of North Indian cuisine is the bread. Here, there are several types of bread freshly made in-house that are perfect for dipping into the various curries and go wonderfully well with a pot of masala chai – the lightly spiced tea balances out the richness of the food perfectly. Because of Flour’s popularity, we recommend making reservations a week in advance to avoid disappointment.
Tiki Taka is a sleek and cosy space on Jalan Kasah. Its style is simple; open-bricked walls with an island bar in the middle of the restaurant. You can either gather by the bar and have a pint while watching your favourite game, get comfortable inside, or choose to dine alfresco style. Food-wise, take your pick from the pintxos (small snacks), tapas and mains spread – all great for sharing. There’s also a brunch menu where you’ll get both Asian and Western dishes; from nasi lemak to Nutella and bacon French toast.
La Risata Damansara
Since La Risata aims for something more down-to-earth instead of fine-dining fanfare, food is served in a rough-handed yet appetising manner. Their crispy Pizza Bresaola e Rucola has casual scatterings of air-dried beef, rocket salad and parmesan shavings while the deep-fried Mozzarella in Carrozza (a sandwich with cheese and anchovies) is garnished with sprinkles of parsley on top. Food presentation is that simple but it appeals to diners who wish to get away from the sophisticated Italian fare. La Risata has a separate outlet in Ampang. Awards Food Awards 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 La Risata won Best Italian in the Time Out KL Food Awards 2013 and 2011. It was shortlisted in the same category in 2012 and 2010. In 2009, it was shortlisted in the Best Pizza food category. Our food awards are 100% voted for by the people of KL. This way, we guarantee that popularity and consistent performance are rewarded.
Formerly known as Neroteca, this casual fine dining Italian restaurant serves up authentic Italian fare in a cosy environment. Chef Stefano's dishes are inspired by his hometown of Southern Italy and influenced by his mother's home cooking. You can expect antipasti and cold cuts, house-made pasta, wood-fired pizza and more, alongside a selection of wine to go with your meal.
Yellow Brick Road
While some of us miss the old establishments on Jalan Batai, the rest of us can look forward to new places opening up around the area, and the new café on the block is none other than Yellow Brick Road next to Torii. Just like its sister café The Red Beanbag, you can add this to your list of places for brunch. Besides the obvious yellow pathway, don’t expect too much 'Wizard of Oz' gimmicks – no waitresses in gingham dresses and red shoes here. In fact, co-founder Lin Lee explains that the name is more about their journey from their first café to the road ahead. The café differs from its Australian-influenced sibling by incorporating local flavours in its food. Take 'I Wanna Be Kaya' for example: French toast with poached pear slices, coconut mascarpone cheese and caramel kaya sauce. Some of the other localised dishes include sugar-cured prawn omelette and anchovy sambal served with toasted rye bread, and pasta aglio olio with chicken char siu made in-house. Coffee-wise, Yellow Brick Road knows its game, what with co-founder Jason Loo being a Malaysia Barista Champion. Their beans are sourced from Artisan Roast, and is a blend of Colombian and Costa Rican beans especially made for the café. If you’d like to see the baristas in action and have a chat with them about their craft, take a seat at the brew bar, which is decked out with bottled coffee beans and pretty blue China cups (a subtle ode to its namesake perhaps?). Besides being the head barista, Jason (who had trained
Best bars in Damansara Heights
This dim, cosy bar feels private and affluent, like a member’s club. But there’s still a sense of mischief here: a wall decorated with copper skulls, and a toy train going round delivering shots. To enter, head to the alley behind Huckleberry. Helmed by master mixer Viji Thomas, this bar is all about technique and precision (they even make their own ice). Classics aren’t mucked about with gimmicky twists, but instead perfected with the use of premium and craft spirits, many of which are specially imported by the bar itself. So if you want an education on classic cocktails, this is the bar to be. The house cocktails, on the other hand, are inventive and complex, often featuring unusual ingredients such as truffle-infused vodka, seaweed agave and cardamom milk jam to delicious effect. Order the Pear Pressure – a smooth, Christmassy cocktail made with spiced pear liqueur and buttered calvados.
Pusat Bandar Damansara’s new DC Mall is adding to their growing portfolio of eateries with Locker Room, a Japanese-inspired sports bar. Located on the rooftop, this eatery has two dining spaces – a covered outside area that houses the bar and several high tables and chairs; while the space inside has long tables and cushioned seats, along with a private room that can be rented for small gatherings. Its rooftop location ensures an airiness that you don’t usually get in typical bars. Despite being a sports bar, Locker Room boasts a contemporary design with clean spaces thanks to bright colour palettes, rows of shelves decked with bottles of alcohol and two flat screen TVs. Food here consists of typical bar grub, but with a Japanese twist and sports-related names – think Harimau Muda Fried Rice (fried rice with fried chicken, prawn crackers, tempura-battered anchovies and a sunny-side up egg), Hawks Mentai Pasta (linguine pasta in creamy cod roe sauce topped with tempura-fried prawns) and more. A must-try is the Kobe Bryant Wagyu Burger – a grilled wagyu beef patty between a brioche bun served with caramelised onions, cheese and garnished with a slice of pickle – which goes very well with an ice-cold glass of beer. Speaking of beer, there’s an extensive selection at Locker Room with tap and bottled beers such as Asahi, Carlsberg and Corona, but we recommend you splurge a little bit and go for the imported brews (they stock both commercial and craft beers; like Kizakura Kyoto
The past year has seen a flurry of cocktail bars opening around KL, each of them trying to outdo the last in terms of bar design uniqueness or their drinks menu. The latest cocktail bar to open in the city, Jack Rose, is a worthy competitor. Run by Callan Green and James Estes – who both have a combined 30 years of experience in the bar and service industry – Jack Rose is Bukit Damansara’s newest secret. While it isn’t exactly a speakeasy, it may as well be considering how hidden the place is. Located on the basement floor of Wisma E&C, Jack Rose is a safe space from the rushing MRT commuters and hordes of HELP students above. The interior is kept simple. There’s no need for any over-the-top designs or gimmicks here, just a wooden bar counter, wooden tables and checkerboard floors. Also, there might not be a DJ at the bar but the music you’ll hear is good enough. Jack Rose keeps it old school by playing records on a record player. They come from Callan’s personal collection and range from old school hip hop to disco tunes. Customers are welcome to bring their own records to play here too. Jack Rose (the cocktail) has had a long history. It was invented in the early 20th century and started becoming popular in the 1920s and 1930s – so much so that it was mentioned in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 classic, ‘The Sun Also Rises’. The literary allusion in naming the bar wasn’t an accident; in fact, a skim through their menu and you’d notice that the names of the cocktails here make v
You might notice the growing number of specialist bars around KL, from whiskey to wine. However, one that you won’t see many of is a rum bar. Recently opened in Bukit Damansara, JungleBird claims to be a ‘Rumah Rum’. Its design is unique in that it didn’t adopt the clichéd tiki bar blueprint often associated with rum. Instead, JungleBird, like its namesake cocktail, stays true to its Malaysian roots. The interior is decorated with bamboo stilts and rattan furniture, while the wallpaper carries a leafy motif, giving the place a familiar tropical and resort vibe. What you come here for is obvious – the Jungle Bird cocktail. Here’s a free history lesson (you’re welcome): In the 1970s, the Jungle Bird was invented at the Aviary Bar in the old Hilton KL (when it was located at Jalan Sultan Ismail). The version here offers a refreshing respite from our city’s heat. It also looks like an actual jungle bird, with pineapple leaves sticking out of the glass. If you’re not a fan of fancy cocktails, we recommend the Rum Old Fashioned – the cocktail makes use of house-made chocolate cardamom bitters, which imparts the cocktail with a slight spiciness. JungleBird doesn’t have a kitchen so it doesn’t serve food. But you’re more than welcome to bring your own if you want to have a meal with your cocktail.
Sid's Pub Damansara Heights
Sid’s pub is the brainchild of Geoffrey Siddle and has established itself as the cosy neighborhood drinking hole in a number of places. Besides being dog and children friendly, warm and welcoming service is expected when you take a trip down to a Sid’s Pub. Regular patrons have grown accustomed to its hearty meals, good company and spirited chatter. They cook a mean pork burger with bacon and cheese topping that comes with their signature thick chips cooked to a lovely golden hue. Awards Food Awards 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Sid's Pub was shortlisted Best Pub Grub in the Time Out KL Food Awards 2009, 2011 and 2013. It won in the same category in 2012and was specially commended in 2010. Our food awards are 100% voted for by the people of KL. This way, we guarantee that popularity and consistent performance are rewarded.
Best things to do in Damansara Heights
National Science Centre
Housed in an architecturally stunning domed building, the National Science Centre (Pusat Sains Negara) aims to promote scientific and technological learning in an informal environment. Kids will have fun learning how things work with the huge variety of interactive exhibitions, including an aquarium.
Wanaka the Bungalow
Located in Damansara Heights, the Wanaka Bungalow is available for events ranging from small gatherings to wedding receptions. This venue gives out a vibe that is comfy and homely with its flexible dimensions and indoor/outdoor spaces. Across the road is an open car park.
The Labyrinth Hall & Garden
The Labyrinth is housed in what used to be a living room; it's now private event space that can be booked out for gatherings of any sort. The open airy space is bright and welcoming, and occasionally hosts sound healing sessions, music and yoga classes, workshops and more.
Merchant & Sisters
Those wandering into Merchant & Sisters might find it a bit hard to define what the store is all about: aside from its selection of casual outfits, denim wear, accessories and bags, the store also houses a small café, a branch of The Tattoo Parlor, and The Burrow barbershop – all within a cosy upstairs shoplot on the corner of Jalan Batai. Co-owner Sunitha Petrus describes M&S (an unintended acronym… we think) as a modern take on the old general store, where people can feel relaxed, meet other people and be a part of a community. This is a boutique store where people and personalities matter as much as the goods and services sold. While the store features a mélange of goods, they all share a casually cool vibe, which isn’t dissimilar from Sunitha’s own style; the clothes and accessories are personally sourced by Sunitha and her sisters from their travels, and aren’t too elaborate or fussy. Among the brands spotted here are Radio Fiji designer swimwear, basket bags from Australian brand 2 duck, and accessories from France-based Taratata Bijoux. Guys will be pleased to see a corner dedicated to Nama Denim, a Japanese brand that sources its raw selvedge denim from the Okayama Prefecture, which is considered the mecca for denim heads. There’s also a decent selection of men’s hair products from brands like Gonzo, Reuzel and Bona Fide that are selected by Al Siew, the resident barber in The Burrow. The cosy café is well-thought out, complementing the store’s easy-going atmosphere
Ben's Independent Grocer at Batai Village
Ben’s Independent Grocer (BIG) opens a second outlet at the newly-revived Jalan Batai. It may not be as spacious as Publika's, but BIG in Batai does feature the grocer's star highlights: BAY seafood, Barn Butchery, a cheese counter, and B.read, which also offers sweet treats by Ben's Bake Shop, coffee by Plan b Roasters and pun-tastic sandwiches by B'wiched. Look out for Ben's General Food Store opening next door.
We’re calling it: Previously a hidden gem in the crown of Damansara Heights, Plaza Batai is now a yuccie enclave. The two rows of two-storey shophouses built in the ’70s have had, in recent times, a revival of sorts involving closures and new openings, new tenants and relocations. Its charm now comes with commercial corridors; its streets lined with inventive modern eateries and shops. The development has brought more foot traffic to the neighbourhood, and for better or for worse, Jalan Batai has fallen to the forces of gentrification – but there are still traces of residential calm, and you can still get your kopi peng from a classy kopitiam.
Best health and beauty shops in Damansara Heights
Blow dry bars, that’s where it’s at, ladies. Having said that, however, I rarely – if ever – go to blow dry bars; the entirety of my hair care routine is me washing my hair with sulphate-free shampoo about three times a week, and bending over at the waist to blow dry my hair upside down for extra body and volume. Also, I have bleached hair. I’m beyond help. Cue Simpli Dry, the salon for girls on the go. It’s a blow dry beauty bar that provides professional wash-and-blow, scalp and shoulder massages, treatments and manicures and pedicures (by appointment only) – just note that there’re no cut and colour services available. While it’s not the first to debut as a blow dry bar in KL – that honour belongs to Dry Parlour, though it shut its doors last year – it’s still something of a novelty. For one thing, Simpli Dry is open from 7.30am on weekdays for your morning meetings, or for the days you have to leave immediately after office hours to rush off to a dinner date where you’re required to look respectable, at the very least. It’s an airy, white-walled space on Jalan Batai – bare bulbs hang from high ceilings against wide mirrors, the seats are cushy leather, and there are hot pink blow dryers resting on each station’s marble countertop. There’s a play corner for children, and the back area of the salon is reserved for manicures and pedicures. The playlist is poppish but not distracting; even the constant hum of traffic drifting in from the main highways outside is comforting
The Stretch Clinic
Located above Sam's at Plaza Batai, The Stretch Clinic is Malaysia's first Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) centre which also provides massage and physical therapy. The clinic is led by a team of licensed physio and sports therapists who cater to all types of people: from athletes to those with busy lifestyles, or those suffering from poor posture and mobility.
FIRE Station Fit
FIRE Station helps you get fit with the use of the FIRE Trainer, a patented piece of fitness equipment that helps you use your own body weight as a form of strength training. The team offers premium service with a highly specialised and motivating fitness experience.
Be Urban Wellness
I wasn’t in the best mood when I arrived at Be Urban Wellness; the very limited parking in the WORK@Clearwater building had me on the verge of arguing with the security guard. But all was forgotten the moment the lift opened on Be Urban Wellness, as I stepped into a white, airy, light-filled space that is calm and quiet. A blue-tiled infinity pool skirts the building and I got a good view of KL city centre’s skyscrapers in the distance. Be Urban Wellness prides itself on being a holistic health and wellness centre, and it operates much like a members’ club (though they do also take walk-in customers). It offers pretty much everything from fitness and meditation classes to slimming, spa treatments, oxygen chambers, facials and new age offerings such as nutrition therapy and bio-scans (an assessment of the energy flows and inner workings of the bodily systems). There is of course a well-equipped gym and yoga room, and both the male and female locker rooms come with their own infra-red sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. Most of Be Urban Wellness’s treatments carry a scientific approach, from the state of the art facilities to the staff’s ability to describe how each treatment works and the intended results, so you can be sure that a session here won’t be just about making you feel good and nothing else. This theme carries through to the interior design that is predominantly white with understated decorative flourishing, save the occasional pop of silver or blue. It does come across
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