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.
Cafés in Damansara Utama
Battery Acid Club
Here’s another ‘hidden’ café to look out for the next time you’re in the Damansara Utama area. Battery Acid Club’s minimalist façade makes it hard to distinguish between the laundry service and car workshop on the same row; add to that the absence of a signboard and you can completely miss it. However, co-founder and barista Aaron Tan assures us that there will be a marker placed in front to better distinguish the premises – look out for a metal structure in future. On to the drinks, Battery Acid keeps it simple with espresso-based coffee prepared by Aaron, previously of Butter + Beans and Artisan Roast. While cold brews are still in the works, a more interesting choice for the undecided would be the bottled honey-infused latte (RM12), or any of Battery Acid’s own line of ‘creative’ juices (RM10). Reflecting the founders’ love for design and architecture, each flavour is named after a design hero: Vignelli (orange, pink guava and strawberry), Corbusier (apple and grapefruit) and Rams (orange, mango and pineapple). There are also snippets of each designer’s work on the label, so you may want to hold on to the bottle after you’re done. As for food, only snacks and desserts are available: a selection of pastries, cakes from Petiteserie Desserts (try the cendol cake or gula Melaka banana cake, both priced at RM13 each), and tarts from Ling’s Kitchen. Retail store Objekt-Object is situated at the back, selling a well-curated selection of clothing and accessories, reading materia
Random Food Store
Located right next to Village Park (winner of Best Malay/Malaysian of the Time Out KL Food & Drink Awards 2016) is Uptown’s latest eatery, Random Food Store. This three-concept food store is where you can get baos courtesy of Buncit Bao-Bar, coffee by One Half and ice cream by the people behind the now-closed Every Sundae. Spotting the store might take a bit of an effort as there’s no obvious sign. Instead, look for an exposed concrete wall with a small silver nameplate that reads Buncit Bao-bar and One Half Coffee; the neon red light spilling out of the entrance might help. Inside you’ll find minimal decor with white and black accents – there’s an art piece and a singular decorative neon light in the shape of a hand on the walls, and a long black table dominating the dining area. The space is shared between the dining table, Buncit Bao-Bar’s small kitchen and One Half’s coffee bar. Food-wise, Buncit Bao-Bar offers a compact menu of baos and a selection of siu sek (small bites). The siu sek menu offers up a selection of bite-sized dishes like furikake corn, pan-fried kambing gyoza as well as sweet potato mash with roast duck. But when you go to a bao bar, you go for the baos. Try the star fruit smoked paprika chicken bao – a steamed bun stuffed with smoked paprika chicken, salsa verde and star fruit – or the Chinese roast duck bao served with hoisin sauce, ginger, spring onion and relish. For beef lovers, the wagyu bao – M6 wagyu beef, caramelised onions and a touch of was
Located on the same row as the police station at Damansara Uptown, this tiny café is the first Asian outpost of Melbourne-based artisan coffee roaster Cottle Coffee. Stock up on coffee paraphernalia and coffee beans here. With beans flown in from their roastery in Australia every two weeks, Cottle currently offers a rotating selection of single origin beans (ranging from Ethiopian Yirgacheffe to Mexican San Cristobal and organic Peruvian micro lot beans) in addition to their three house blends. Food-wise, they also have some sandwiches (go for the pulled braised beef sandwich), pies, wraps, salads and cakes, but their focus is still on the coffee. Try the Magic (double ristretto 6oz flat white), a uniquely Melbourne creation.
As one of the first cafés in KL to bring in speciality coffee, Departure Lounge has stood the test of time (and competition) with their consistently smooth lattes. This is largely thanks to the baristas who consistently froth the milk to full-bodied precision and to a comforting temperature without the bubbles. Also try their range of cold coffees that extend well beyond your regular iced coffee and head into (virgin) cocktail territory. In case you’re wondering, they get their beans from Australia’s 5 Senses coffee. Awards Food Awards 2013 Departure Lounge was shortlisted Best for Coffee in the Time Out KL Food Awards 2013. Our food awards are 100% voted for by the people of KL. This way, we guarantee that popularity and consistent performance are rewarded.
Frisson Coffee Bar
If you prefer your pasta selection varied and extensive, Frisson Coffee Bar in Damansara Uptown should be your next brunch spot. Pick from a list of 14 types of pasta: the picante soft shell crab pasta in creamy tomato sauce, garlic basil salmon pasta and beef striploin parmigiana are good choices. For an alternative to doughy pizza bases, order Frisson's 'skinny' pizzas (they use baked tortilla instead) with toppings such as salmon and parmesan and mozzarella cheese. When you're ready for dessert, dig into the 'Are You Nuts?' affogato, served with a single shot of espresso (or chocolate, if you aren’t caffeine-inclined) and a scoop of ice cream along with toppings like crushed peanuts, pistachios and shaved chocolate.
After a wave of specialty coffee bars in KL, it's tea's turn in the limelight. For a good dose of Zen, head to Japanese tea house Tea Press at Damansara Uptown for soothing cups of genmaicha served by trained tea sommeliers Ami Sugiyama and Shaveisha Bathumalai. The menu includes interesting renditions of tea such as tea espresso, green tea leaves blended with Japanese orange marigold, and even roasted green tea blended with cinnamon and Japanese chilli. Fun fact: Tea Press uses premium Japanese tea leaves from Shizuoka. As for the food menu, every item on the menu is thoughtfully created to bring out the flavours of tea, with dishes such as the ochaduke (a traditional dish where dashi or green tea is poured over mackerel and rice, much like cereal and milk), chimaki (sticky rice dumplings wrapped with lotus leaves) and onigir. USJ folks, you guys can check out the second Tea Press outlet when it opens at new mall da:men in January.
Places for dessert in Damansara Utama
Beans N Beans
For premium Korean desserts, the Damansara Uptown café offers bingsu, waffles and sandwiches, but focus on the bingsu and choose from flavours such as green tea, cheese and caramel. If you're in for the dessert kill, ask for the chocolate-laden bingsu topped with chocolate brownies, chocolate Oreos, crushed chocolate biscuits, chocolate sauce and a chocolate wafer.
Hail's Soft Serve
The once-minimalist menu (two soft serve flavours and a variety of toppings) at Hail's Soft Serve is now replaced with a dessert spread featuring waffles, chocolate lava tarts, pavlova and hotcakes, but the star of the show is still the pink peppercorn soft serve. Dress up your ice cream with toppings like green tea marshmallow, meringue stars, vanilla crumble, salted caramel popcorn, French butter cookies, gula Melaka, lemon curd and more, or have it plain to better taste the full flavour of the soft serve. Fans of the Osaka black sesame flavour will be disappointed to know it's a seasonal swirl, but the festive Valrhona chocolate hazelnut soft serve that comes with a Christmas cookie should be a good replacement.
Miru Dessert Café
Joining the ranks of dessert joints in Damansara Uptown is Miru Dessert Café, a cosy spot that specialises in Shibuya honey toast. The thick, fluffy slice of toast is segmented and buttered before being served with different toppings (think ice cream, fruits, coconut flakes, walnuts and so on). At last count, there were eight flavour combinations available – original honey toast, matcha, cheddar cheese, chocolate banana, s’mores, peanut butter, chocolate strawberry, and even a ferrero toast (with hazelnut sauce topped with the asteroid-like chocolate). If you’re not up for toast, they also have inventive froyo shakes – large mason jars of visually-pleasing shakes topped with fruits and sometimes, edible flowers. Try the Lychee Freeze (lychee froyo with strawberries and rambutan).
Shugatori Dessert Café
If you’ve exhausted all the dessert options in Damansara Uptown, there’s the new Shugatori Dessert Café. The menu is simple – stacks of pancakes, waffles and buttery honey toasts, but with a range of flavours and embellishments. Try the signature charcoal and classic toast combo topped with torched meringue blanket, and paired with meringue sticks, dragon fruit balls, a scoop of cookies and cream ice cream and dark chocolate sauce. Green tea fiends should delight at the matcha waffle with mixed berry compote topped with a scoop of matcha ice cream. For drinks, ask for the fizzy peach lemonade or a cup of coffee.
The Damansara Utama area is ripe with cafés like The Good Batch, Wondermilk and Fat Spoon. When you’re done with brunch, head down to Softsrve for dessert. The minimalist Japanese-inspired decor is a far cry from the usual twee ice cream parlours. And Softsrve's 'less is more' philosophy also reflects in the only two flavours they have for now: cereal milk and deep chocolate. With interesting toppings like popcorn, honeycomb, cotton candy, chocolate chips and truffles available, the thought of overloading your cup with spoonfuls of everything is a tempting one, but alas, you can’t. Co-founder Redmond Ho assures us that this is for our own good, as they want to give customers the best combination by pairing ingredients that complement each other. These toppings are also carefully sourced from what they consider the best of its kind. For example, the popcorn comes from Garrett, the honeycomb from New Zealand, and the truffles are homemade. If you're up to date on ice cream flavours around the world, you'll know that cereal milk soft serve is nothing new; the team was inspired by New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar. In KL however, Softsrve is the first to have such a flavour and it works well with the Breakfast (RM12), cereal milk ice cream topped with caramelised cornflakes and a macaron shell. Also, don’t worry about having your ice cream melt halfway; each cup is served in another cup of dry ice to keep the ice cream from melting (which explains why the cup appears to be smoky in p
Straight from green tea dessert central Kitayama-dori in Kyoto, tea dessert institution Tsujiri has arrived on Malaysian shores. Known for their matcha-based treats, the 155-year old tea brand Tsujiri uses high quality gyokuro leaves (a type of green tea grown in the shade) for its range of teas and desserts. Apart from having hojicha soft serve or a calming cup of uji matcha, take a seat in the tatami room and pick from the extensive matcha-oriented menu which includes tea macarons and green tea shaved ices. High quality matcha powder, sencha and Japanese tea paraphernalia will be available for purchase in the future.
Places to eat in Damansara Utama
While Damansara Uptown isn’t exactly a haven for Indian food, CurryLeaf is a decent option when cravings kick in. The restaurant claims to specialise in both south and north Indian food, but there’s focus on the former in the default vegetable sides. During our visit, we were served four-angled beans, spiced pumpkin, boiled chickpeas and cabbage stir-fried in turmeric, all paired well with the curried rice.
Nara Kitchen & Co
Damansara Uptown has a good mix of places to eat – you have your cafés, your hawker stalls and your dessert joints. Run by the same team as The Good Batch and Hyde, Nara Kitchen & Co is a nice addition to the area for your #eatclean days. Dishes in the menu boasts a lot of fresh ingredients; the team makes their own jams, marmalade and almond butter, and even the breads are baked in-house (except for the croissants, which are outsourced for now until they perfect their own recipe). Once everything is up and running, you’ll be able to buy their bread to take home. There are also plans to supply these breads to The Good Batch. One of the crowd favourites for now is the Big Belly: a mix of quinoa, roasted beets, orange wedges, mint, sliced kyuri, hummus, miso vinaigrette and edible flowers. Another favourite is the Organic Scramble which uses free-range eggs, caviar, tobiko, tempura mushrooms and is served with a croissant. Their homemade soup changes regularly, but to give you an idea of what to expect, past soups include red bell pepper soup with feta cheese, creamy mushroom soup topped with tempura mushroom, and curry pumpkin soup. For cheat days, dessert here comes from local artisanal ice cream makers Forty Licks, home bakers Frost & Flourish and Saya Bake, and occasionally Nara’s own creations. As with The Good Batch, the coffee here is supplied by Papa Palheta and while they don’t serve alcohol, you can look forward to bubbly brunch sessions in the future. Besides ref
Folks familiar with Malaysian restaurant Mum’s Place at Damansara Perdana would be pleased to find out about Little Mums, an offshoot touting the same excellent Malaysian menu with a distinct Nyonya slant. The menu offers most of the classics from Mum’s Place, but with a couple of new additions such as otak-otak cubes and deep-fried crab sticks with cheese. We’re already fans of the sweet and creamy chicken pong teh as well as the pulut tekan (with the distinct tinge of bunga telang blue) served with homemade kaya.
Udon Kobo Min Min
Headed by Chef Nakajima (formerly of Kura and Minori), the small Japanese restaurant in Damansara Uptown specialises in homemade udon. Perfect for a rainy day, the creamy curry udon at Udon Kobo Min Min is served with thin pork slices. The wheat flour noodles (freshly made daily) are not too thick, springy to the bite, and highly satisfying.
Things to do in Damansara Utama
Minut Init Art Social
Minut Init welcomes both aspiring and established artists alike regardless of the artistic discipline practised. So whether you do pop, street, or abstract art, photography, animation, or even film, Minut Init studio would showcase your work. Minut Init promises to be the best platform for the finest of local contemporary artists from various genres to display their art.
Situated at the back of Battery Acid Club, Objekt-Object is a cool place to check out once you’re done with coffee or a cendol cake from the café. Vintage things to look for at this store are the clothes from Project Swissify, eyeglasses from the ‘80s, typewriters and other knick knacks. Owner Aaron Tan will be happy to tell you the story behind some of the objects, like how the labels of the ‘50s apothecary bottles are hand-painted – notice the irregular types.
The Oven Cuttery
Barber-musician multi-hyphenate Kevin Tan – formerly of OTHRS barbers – has his own salon space now: The Oven Cuttery, located inside Battery Acid Club. First and foremost, it’s home to Mentega, Kevin’s own oil-based pomade (#whatbutteryisthis, he’s also an entrepreneur/hair scientist) – but it’s also a barbershop, where the master barber will treat your whiskers to a beard trim (RM15), an old-fashioned straight razor shave with a hot towel service (RM25), and so on. Haircuts, which come also with a hot towel service, start at RM38.
Bars in Damansara Utama
The space at 61 Monarchy is reminiscent of a holiday resort, what with the wooden accents (like rattan stools and furniture) and flora and fauna motifs highlighted throughout the bar. In case you didn’t know, 61 Monarchy is Hyde’s sister bar that specialises in whiskies from all over the world – Irish, Welsh, American, Japanese, Taiwanese and more. It’s a very unassuming bar; there’s no sign outside (it’s located right above Nara Kitchen & Co. by the way), and while you may think whisky bars are typically a little bit showy, 61 Monarchy has stripped those preconceptions away. The outside area (also the smoking section) epitomises the bar’s chilled and laidback ambience with a swing in a corner, long cushioned benches and low tables with stools. Inside, the wall behind the bar glistens with shelves of whiskies and other spirits. Upon placing your order at 61 Monarchy, you’re given warm hand towels to clean up. The waiter will come with three menus: the main spirits menu displaying their extensive whisky collection (in the hundreds!), a tasting flight menu (ranging from RM95 to over RM300), and also a seasonal cocktail menu. The staff here are well-versed with their offerings and will be able to help you with recommendations. Even if you’re not a whisky expert, they’ll carefully guide you through the menu, explaining what flavour would suit you best. Once you decide to call it a night, you’ll be offered a cup of Japanese green tea – they tell us it’s to freshen you up for the
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