Damansara Utama area guide

Discover the best restaurants, cafés, shops and things to do in Damansara Utama

Bonfire Restaurant & Bar
Photo: Bryan Ong

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

Wondermilk Café
Restaurants

Wondermilk Café

Step into a different world when you walk through the door at Wondermilk. With the lo-fi music playing in the background and an overall laidback vibe, the café is a charming escape from the hustle and bustle of the crowded city. Serving up a delightful selection of cupcakes, sandwiches and other light refreshments, the café has seen many working adults and college students biting into its too-pretty-to-eat cupcakes. Popular for bulk orders during special occasions you better order your cupcakes way ahead of time to avoid disappointment. Wondermilk Café has separate outlets at Publika and Citta Mall. Awards Food Awards 2009   Wondermilk was shortlisted in the Best Cafe / Bakery 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.

Places for dessert in Damansara Utama

Beans N Beans
Restaurants

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
Restaurants

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
Restaurants

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
Restaurants

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.

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Softsrve
Restaurants

Softsrve

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

Tsujiri
Restaurants

Tsujiri

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

Bonfire Restaurant & Bar
Restaurants

Bonfire Restaurant & Bar

Located in Damansara Uptown’s new The Starling mall is the new restaurant and bar Bonfire serving up modern Australian cuisine. The space boasts a rustic lodge theme accentuated by medieval-style chandeliers, a brown, black and white colour palette, and an eye-catching colourful mural painted by a host of local artists that commands your view as you walk into the dining area. There’s also an alfresco area where you’d dine on a patio overlooking a garden, high chairs for the little ones, and long tables and chairs suitable for group dining. The kitchen cooks with a custom-made wood and charcoal fire oven which gives the dishes a distinct charred aroma and taste. To get your appetite going, try the pana de casa, which is bread toasted in the fire oven and served with a side of dried fruit butter. For poultry lovers, the baby spring chicken – infused with Cajun and local spices – is a good pick. And if you prefer fish, Bonfire cooks up a mean red snapper, grilled over a wood fire and served with a side of sweet basil and coconut beurre blanc. Other dishes in the meat-heavy menu include wagyu, ribs and lamb, as well as a small selection of seafood like soft-shell crab and fish. You can also add side dishes to complement your meal. One standout side dish is the refreshing baked watermelon and pomelo salad dressed with house-made vinaigrette – think sour, sweet and charred flavours jam-packed into one bowl. At Bonfire’s front house is the familiar Lou Shang Bar (previously locat

Village Park
Restaurants

Village Park

March 2009 In the three years I’ve been frequenting Village Park I’ve not once tasted its widely touted nasi dagang, a delicious (or so I’ve heard) rendition of the Terengganu-stye coconut-scented red and white rice accompanied by fried chicken and sambal. It’s not for lack of trying. With this dish, timing is everything; once it’s ferried out from the kitchen late in the morning you’ve only a wee two or three-hour window to partake before its sold out. If the restaurant’s nasi lemak is any indication, the dagang must surely be a stunner. An order of the former, enjoyed one recent morning, featured rice so expertly prepared that each coconut-y grain stood perfectly distinct from the other, in a snow-white mound that gave way with the barest nudge of a spoon. Accompanied by ikan bilis, peanuts, cucumber slivers, and blood-red sambal characterised by a tease of sweetness and a slow, creeping burn, the dish would have made a fine breakfast in itself. But I pushed the edge of the envelope, adding a ladle of sambal udang from Village Park’s tantalising display of curries, gulai, and vegetable dishes, and was glad for it. The shellfish’s firm texture announced its freshness and the sambal sauce, while eliciting a tingle in the lips, was mild enough to allow the shrimp’s briny flavour to come through. No need to rush over first thing in the morning if you want to snag that nasi lemak, but making an effort to arrive at Village Park early in the am offers the opportunity to sample

CurryLeaf Restaurant
Restaurants

CurryLeaf Restaurant

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.

Capital Nasi Dagang Kelantan
Restaurants

Capital Nasi Dagang Kelantan

I’m a huge fan of nasi dagang. Sadly, you can’t really find the popular East Coast staple in KL as much as you can find nasi kerabu; nasi dagang is a rarity even at Ramadhan bazaars here. When I found out last year that a famous Kelantan nasi dagang joint had moved to KL, I was curious. I’ve never actually been to Kelantan or Terengganu, so I’m not quite sure what constitutes an ‘authentic’ plate of nasi dagang. All I know is that I like mine fluffy, slightly sticky and a little bit sweet – a feat that’s seemingly difficult to achieve in KL (I’ve had my fair share of crunchy, bland nasi dagang at expensive places before). I decided it was time to put Capital to the test. I visited Capital on a Friday at lunch time, and the outlet was comfortably busy; not overly packed, but not so quiet as to imply that business wasn’t doing well. Capital’s menu, which takes the form of an old exercise book, is small so you won’t feel spoilt for choice here, which was fine by me as I had only one thing in mind: nasi dagang. You can have your nasi dagang traditional with gulai ikan tongkol (tuna curry) or have it with chicken curry, beef rendang, prawn curry or squid. I saved myself the trouble by ordering The Ultimate Nasi Dagang Capital, which is sort of like a sample platter of all the lauk to accompany your nasi dagang. RM18.90 seemed like a fair price to have everything on a plate, but it does put your lauk-to-rice ratio out of balance (I had to order more rice to compensate). Capital a

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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Nara Kitchen & Co
Restaurants

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

Brother John Burger stall
Restaurants

Brother John Burger stall

Home of the famous Master Burger (two Ramly beef/chicken patties with egg and cheese), the stall has been manned by Abang John (whose real name is Kahar) for more than a decade. It's parked near Texas Chicken. Ramly burgers are known for customisations; if you can’t decide, ask for the ‘kahwin’ version, where Abang John puts together one chicken patty and a beef patty in one burger – it’s genius.

Little Mums
Restaurants

Little Mums

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
Restaurants

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.

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Things to do in Damansara Utama

Minut Init Art Social
Art

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.

Objekt-Object
Shopping

Objekt-Object

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
Health and beauty

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. 

The Starling Mall
Shopping

The Starling Mall

Damansara Uptown now has a brand new ‘eco lifestyle’ mall within its vicinity, with retail shops and restaurants aplenty. The Starling mall is named after the bird and is built in the middle of a park.

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Bars in Damansara Utama

61 Monarchy
Bars and pubs

61 Monarchy

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

BonVivant
Restaurants

BonVivant

Located in Damansara Uptown’s new The Starling mall is the new restaurant and bar Bonfire serving up modern Australian cuisine. The space boasts a rustic lodge theme accentuated by medieval-style chandeliers, a brown, black and white colour palette, and an eye-catching colourful mural painted by a host of local artists that commands your view as you walk into the dining area. There’s also an alfresco area where you’d dine on a patio overlooking a garden, high chairs for the little ones, and long tables and chairs suitable for group dining. The kitchen cooks with a custom-made wood and charcoal fire oven which gives the dishes a distinct charred aroma and taste. To get your appetite going, try the pana de casa, which is bread toasted in the fire oven and served with a side of dried fruit butter. For poultry lovers, the baby spring chicken – infused with Cajun and local spices – is a good pick. And if you prefer fish, Bonfire cooks up a mean red snapper, grilled over a wood fire and served with a side of sweet basil and coconut beurre blanc. Other dishes in the meat-heavy menu include wagyu, ribs and lamb, as well as a small selection of seafood like soft-shell crab and fish. You can also add side dishes to complement your meal. One standout side dish is the refreshing baked watermelon and pomelo salad dressed with house-made vinaigrette – think sour, sweet and charred flavours jam-packed into one bowl. At Bonfire’s front house is the familiar Lou Shang Bar (previously locat

The Great Beer Bar
Bars and pubs

The Great Beer Bar

The Great Beer Bar is very easy to like, not least because it has on rotation up to eight craft beers on tap at any point in time. More importantly, a majority of the specialty beers on the menu are in the RM20 range. The space is simple, modern and very casual, with long communal tables set up in a minimalist space dominated by exposed bricks and bare cement walls. The fridge carries more variety from craft breweries such as The Wild Beer Co, Beavertown, Stone Brewing Co, Crew Republic, Buxton Brewery and Anderson Valley, to name a few. This bar is the next step in the evolution of Ales & Lagers in Solaris Dutamas; so yes, they are both by the same owner. Food is limited to a small selection of interesting bar snacks, and the kitchen is shared by Coolinary Ronins (Fridays and Saturdays) and Curbside Cantina (Sundays to Thursdays).

Hyde
Bars and pubs

Hyde

Finally, another speakeasy in KL – well, in PJ to be precise. Andrew and Caroline of The Good Batch are the duo behind this new joint. It’s hiding on the second floor behind a black sliding door, which makes it feel like an early ’20s speakeasy – it seems like something out of ‘The Great Gatsby’. The interior looks classy with its marble-topped bar and comfy cushioned seats, and there’s classic jazz playing on the speakers. It’s stylish, but not overly so; Andrew tells us you can just be yourself here. Did we mention they also have a secret room that fits eight to ten people? Definitely good for groups that want some privacy. They currently have over 100 drinks on the menu with the finest selection of champagnes, wines, single malts and your usual liquors. As for the cocktails, they have the classics as well as some modern twists. The Old Fashioned served with an ice ball and dehydrated orange is a winner – it’s manly and smooth, and the bourbon gives it just the right amount of kick. The cocktail menu changes regularly so you’ll get to taste something different every time. It’s not too crowded at the moment, so if you want to avoid busy places, Hyde is the answer.

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See more area guides

Bangsar
Things to do

Bangsar

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.

Hartamas
Things to do

Hartamas

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.

Damansara
Things to do

Damansara

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.

KL City
Things to do

KL City

Your cheat sheet to all the best restaurants, shops and things to do in the main areas of the city centre including Bukit Bintang, Petaling Street and Pudu.

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