Once upon a time, 29 Jalan Riong might have been alive with the sound of printing machines; now it’s dominated by lively chatter coupled with the clinking of glasses and cutleries. The factory and surrounding space now host regular markets and festivals, as well as several beautifully-designed eateries and a co-working space. But don’t just come here to eat, drink and Instagram, go hang out at the Pocket Park, which features a lighting installation by Jun Ong.
One of APW's latest tenants is a 30-metre long origami dragon that lights up after dark. This is Kaiju Company, a Thai-Japanese fusion restaurant offering interesting selections of rice bowls, salads and pastas with fun and bold flavours.
Try the tom yum udon. Or get the Hawaiian Kaiju rice, which is a fresh take on the classic Japanese curry rice. This rice dish is topped with chicken patty, fried egg and mushrooms, and drenched in Japanese curry. For drinks, there are sake cocktails, with flavours such as Ribena, lemonade, asam boi, lemongrass and more.
Collaborative workspace Uppercase is located within the compound of Bangsar’s Art Printing Works, a former printing factory-turned-urban creative campus which includes cafés (Pulp and Breakfast Thieves), event spaces (Bookmark, The Bindery, The Canopy), a food hall (Paper Plates), a cocktail bar (Case Study Bar) and even a pocket park by pow ideas. For RM450 per month, you get usage of a desk for five days a week, plus access to their perks – of which there are many – such as yoga lessons, networking events, free monthly events with talks and breakfasts, workshops, F&B discounts and more.
The good folks at APW have repurposed a small area within the confines of its commercial area into a pocket park – a quiet respite that provides city slickers with a spot of greenery. At night, the area is lit up with a strike of ‘Bolt’ – an installation by pow ideas’s Jun Ong made from an intricate network of LED tubes on steel legs, displaying a series of curated lighting patterns. This beautiful yet functional space is definitely redefining our idea of a park.
Opened by the same people who run Kaiju next door, Biru San takes the Japanese-inspired decorations of its sibling restaurant to a dystopian extreme – the space is lit up with dark blue neon lights, and an industrial-looking metallic bar counter acts as the centerpiece.
When it comes to drinks, beer lovers will rejoice at their menu that’s littered with various options of craft beer, most of them being from Japan. Among the labels available are Hitachino and Yoho Brewing from Japan, Siren from England and Hawkers from Australia. We recommend going for the Red Rice Hitachino beer – this craft ale is brewed with red rice and has a sweet, fruity and crisp flavour.
The paper-cutting room for the nearly 50-year-old Art Printing Works factory and warehouse on Jalan Riong may have gotten the makeover it deserves. Pulp, helmed by Singaporean coffee boutique Papa Palheta who also runs Chye Seng Huat Hardware and Loysel’s Toy cafés, has been integrated with the time-honoured factory. Although the stellar coffee and desserts here encourage lingering, the owners insist that Pulp be described as a coffee retailer and supplier, rather than as a café.
If it's food you want, order the avocado open sandwich and an eggy breakfast for sharing. Get serious in a cupping room where you learn from baristas who work their gear with topflight technique. Or marvel at the mementos of the warehouse over a Blue Batak brew. A high ceiling, a blue paper-cutting machine repurposed into a coffee bar, and a space bathing in sunlight – Pulp is still one of the prettiest cafés in Bangsar.
Previously a pop-up joint offering burrito versions of a maki, Makirito now has a permanent outlet in APW. Operating from a cosy space above 52 Barbers, Makirito is primarily a grab-and-go eatery that can accommodate a handful of people inside, with a small al fresco dining area for smokers.
Each six-inch long maki burrito is made with the basic ingredients of sticky Japanese rice, romaine lettuce, cabbage and rice puffs wrapped in nori, with four variants on offer: Signature Salmon (diced Norwegian salmon, masago, chuka wakame and shoyu mayo sauce); Teriyaki Chicken (grilled chicken, crab salad, edamame, red onions and teriyaki glaze); Spi-Seafood (salmon, jellyfish, pineapple, masago, crab salad and flaming mayo sauce); and Spicy Tofu (a vegetarian option comprising tofu, edamame, red onions, spring onions and chuka wakame flavoured with spicy gochujang sauce).
Already attracting brunch hunters and Instagrammers in droves, Breakfast Thieves (yes, it’s the sister of the one based in an old chocolate factory in Fitzroy, Melbourne) is a stunner: a glasshouse-like space with lots of pale wood, white tiles, pastel railings and concrete, punctuated by the occasional plant and exposed light bulb.
KL’s Breakfast Thieves features a minimal brunch menu of modern Australian dishes with Asian influences – think berry compote yoghurt with granola, ginger apple crumble and soft-boiled eggs; spicy baked eggs with beef salami, onion jam and okra; and even eggs Benedict is given an upgrade with braised beef cheeks, honey apple compote and yuzu hollandaise.
Proof Pizza + Wine serves up an artisanal array of pizzas and, well, wine. Although a two-storey space, the restaurant is fairly small, exuding an intimate atmosphere. The first floor is shared between the seating area and the kitchen, while the loft upstairs holds a few booths for small groups. The floor-to-ceiling wine shelf commands your view as you walk in, and there are piles of logs scattered around the restaurant – not just as mere props, but actually used to fuel their impressive wood-fire ovens.
Proof’s menu is divided into the classic and gourmet sections. Classic flavours include the Margherita and Diavola (house-blend tomato sauce, chorizo, red onions, chilli flakes and mozzarella); while their gourmet list flaunts a more eclectic combination of ingredients and toppings like black truffle paste, nduja sausage (a spicy, spreadable salami) and Taleggio cheese.