Hartamas area guide

Discover the best restaurants, shops, bars and cafés in the areas of Hartamas, Mont Kiara and Solaris Dutamas

Mei by Fat Spoon
Photo: Hizwan HamidMei by Fat Spoon

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.

Best things to do in Hartamas

Hot Yo Studio
Sport and fitness

Hot Yo Studio

This yoga studio does hot yoga classes and also sells yoga apparel and cold-pressed juices in a minimalist, black-and-white space. Call beforehand to check on the week’s class schedule.

MAP @ Publika
Art

MAP @ Publika

Set up as a nucleus for all art activities in the Hartamas area, MAP consists of two spaces, White Box (an exhibition space) and Black Box (a new media space). Both feature an open-plan space and flexi-walls that allow for it to be transformed for your individual needs. For further inquiries, contact 03 6207 9732 or email  info@mapkl.org.

Theatre Lounge Café
Theatre

Theatre Lounge Café

An arts space that serves as a venue for events, seminars, talks, meetings, rehearsals and other arts-related activities. Various gigs, musicals, plays and stand-up comedy shows are frequently held here.

Hammam Publika
Things to do

Hammam Publika

I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly dirty person. I shower with appropriate regularity, exfoliating once a week and sometimes extending to dry body brushing, when I remember. So when I found myself sitting on a warm marble slab, watching the dead skin fall off my arms in long grey ribbons, I was forced to reconsider this assumption of cleanliness. Hammam has been an institution in Bangsar Village for spa junkies for years, and everyone who goes in comes out a convert. To the uninitiated, it remains inexplicable – why would you pay someone to strip you down and scrub layers of dead skin off you? With this question in mind, I made my way to the new Hammam outpost in Publika. It’s a long, beautifully tiled space in the Moroccan style with flickering wall sconces, courtyards and plenty of private nooks and crannies. My experience starts in a pretty changing room, where I strip down to (disposable) underwear, wrap myself in a robe and nervously contemplate my skin for the last time. I’m guided into the actual hammam, a beautifully warm, tiled room with a domed ceiling and three marble ‘beds’. The air is steamy but comforting, and as I admire the tiling, I’m sluiced down with a few buckets of warm water. I’m then instructed by my personal scrubber, a French-speaking Moroccan lady called Nadia, to lie face down on the marble, where she proceeds to remove my disposable bra and a good deal of my dignity in one swift motion. I’m covered in a combination of black soap (deri

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The Harp Academy
Things to do

The Harp Academy

Get your facts right: A harp isn’t some type of lyre you see angels play on a Christmas card. This string instrument – also available in various forms such as lap, folk, lever and pedal – produces a soothing, dulcet tone. The Harp Academy mainly sells Aoyama harps but it also offers lessons (individual or group) taught by teachers who are professional performers themselves. The academy also has its own orchestra and jazz band, which you can hire to play at private events, parties and functions – what better way to set the tone for your wedding than with an elegant-looking harp ensemble?

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club
Sport and fitness

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club

Besides providing a sprawling golf course, the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) also offers yoga, aerobics, line dancing, kickboxing, tennis, badminton, bowling and martial arts classes.

Borneo Ink
Shopping

Borneo Ink

Home to siblings Eddie David, Simon David and Lina David, as well as apprentice-turned-artist Russell Lloyd, the award-winning Borneo Ink opened its doors in 1999. Today, it’s one of the most sought after studios in KL – especially if custom and traditional or tribal tattoos are up your alley.

Blade Fencing Kuala Lumpur
Sport and fitness

Blade Fencing Kuala Lumpur

Tracing back hundreds of years, fencing was one of the few sports at the first Olympic Games. It’s often referred to as fast-paced physical chess, and is equally challenging for both mind and body. While excellent for honing coordination, focus and strategic thinking, fencing also improves strength, stamina, agility, flexibility, posture and balance, providing a workout that torches plenty of calories.

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URBAN Concept KTV
Nightlife

URBAN Concept KTV

Best for birthday celebrations and long singing hours, Urban Concept KTV has a pretty impressive song selection and karaoke system. Morning prices here are at RM10 for three hours, perfect for long breaks in between classes (we're looking at you, Taylor's students).

JKids Publika
Kids

JKids Publika

A playground in a shopping mall is nothing new, but Jkids Malaysia is uniquely designed in the sense of movable toys such as Spinning Palm Trees and Dancing Balloons. Voted best Kids' Playground in 2013 by Babytalk Magazine, take a break from all that shopping and let your kids go wild at Jkids.

TTP.my
Shopping

TTP.my

During his many years in the advertising and printing industry, co-founder Ee Han Ong noticed that customers at digital printing shops often had to go to nearby mamaks or cafés to wait for their printing jobs. He was inspired to start TTP.my to provide customers with a place where they can sit and discuss the jobs they want done, have a bite to eat or a cup of coffee, and wait for their printing in comfort.

CuBs & CuPs
Restaurants

CuBs & CuPs

Owned by Korean partners David Son and Liz Kim, CuBs & CuPs in Desa Sri Hartamas attracts a good crowd of pet owners and those eager to hug resident dogs Cola the Siberian Husky and Mocha the Alaskan Malamute. Nacho the little Pomeranian and new face Mochi the Japanese Spitz trot around the café and sniff other dogs, and if you’re lucky, they’ll show you some affection too. We like that self-service and cleanliness are emphasised here, so that means ordering at the counter and getting your own cutlery, serviettes and condiments from a clearly marked cabinet. The same self-service rule also applies to cleaning up after your own dog (which you can bring here), and if you’re worried about only having a pack of tissues, the well-equipped cleaning station at the back of the café will help. Food-wise, there’s the usual café fare, as well as bingsu for dessert. Take note that food prices are a little on the steep side, but if you can get over the RM25 price tag, the churros waffles come highly recommended. If you feel that your pooch will be left out while you’re having your meal, order a bowl from the dog menu and voila, you and your dog can enjoy mealtime together. Also, remember to bolt the café door when you enter and exit so the dogs won’t sprint out.

Best shops in Hartamas

Arcadia
Shopping

Arcadia

Though they specialise in vintage furniture and homeware, Arcadia stocks a whole load of paraphernalia unrelated except that they’re all cool. Limited edition art prints lean against vintage cabinets, which are topped with typewriters, toys, models, stationery and miscellanea. Their proudest claim to fame is a clutch of refurbished vintage Eames chairs scattered throughout the store. Don’t worry if you don’t see anyone manning the till – they’re usually smoking on the balcony outside.

Ales & Lagers
Shopping

Ales & Lagers

Away from the harrying corridors of Publika is our pick for best bottle shop in KL. Obscured behind espressolab on a lonely Solaris Dutamas lane, Ales & Lagers doesn’t share the same cool vibe perfected by some of its more illustrious neighbours on the block. However, the imported craft beer specialists make up for the cramped space and nonexistent design with a very simple yet effective modus operandi – serve the most dizzying array of bottled craft brews in town. ‘At the moment, we carry 40 to 60 different types of craft beers,’ says owner Kennhyn, whose goal is to reach a variety of 100 in the near future. Currently, the beerbeer.org blog ringleader relies on Taps Beer Bar and four Singaporean suppliers to bring in limited quantities of stock from cult brands like Oregon’s Rogue Ales and California’s Lagunitas to the impressively curated Ales & Lagers bottle shelf. ‘I carry brands and brews I like in terms of taste and flavour, primarily to study how the market reacts to them,’ he explains. Ales & Lagers is all about beer education, appreciation and discovery. Regulars can opt to either take away their purchases or pick out bottles based on Kennhyn’s recommendations and savour the brews in glasses right away. The two sets of barstools and small tables here become hot property come weekend, but when we visited the place on a Monday afternoon, it was already buzzing with regulars sharing tasting notes and stories of blowing off work. Everything appears rosy for the little

Bang Bang Geng
Shopping

Bang Bang Geng

Bang Bang Geng is not a camera shop. Owner Chin Koon Yik enshrines his impressive camera collection (there’s a Kodak Autograph 3A made in 1914) on shelves and none are for sale. The dozens of analogue cameras attest to his cultish hobby of collecting anything photographic, from magazines, films and accessories to books. Chin’s aim is to share his film photography knowledge so the shop’s main product is his expertise. He provides lessons on shooting with a 35mm as well as a photolab service for film processing. The shop is named after the 2010 movie about four war photographers (two of whom were Pulitzer Prize-winners) called ‘The Bang Bang Club’ and this sentiment is translated into this quirky mecca that pays homage to the dying art of analog photography.

Ben's Independent Grocer
Restaurants

Ben's Independent Grocer

We’ve heard of people driving across the city to do their weekly shop in BIG, and we don’t blame them. It has everything you need in a supermarket: excellent stock, good organisation, well-lit and spaced aisles and a whole lot more. Like a florist. And an oyster bar. Also, one of the best coffee stops in KL, a dessert counter, a bakery round the back, a porky restaurant, a bargain bin and plenty of seasonal promotions to keep the customers happy. It’s the little touches that matter, like the medicine hall-style section for traditional Asian ingredients, the incredible selection of magazines, and the GStick ice cream stand just outside.

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Century Fiesta Desa Sri Hartamas
Shopping

Century Fiesta Desa Sri Hartamas

With over 3,000 costumes available, Century Fiesta should be your choice if you don’t fancy heading into the city to pick out an outfit. We were impressed by their Lady Gaga section, which must be a good moneymaker, and their selection of different ethnic costumes, including Thai, Vietnamese, Spanish, Brazilian and Korean.

White Elephant
Shopping

White Elephant

The charity arm of British India is now open and it’s perfect for bargain hunters who like the same design aesthetics of its mother store. The store stocks an abundance of goods from clothes, books, toys, musical instruments, homewares and other curiosities. Proceeds from the store will go to charities chosen by members of the White Elephant committee.

Whimsigirl
Shopping

Whimsigirl

This local children's label mixes textures and colours in a subdued, classy way. The tiny traditional-wear-inspired outfits are made in about 20 pieces each, and you'll definitely love the gorgeous Malaysian interpretations on your little boy or girl. They also stock a Japanese line of linen and calf leather footwear called Peep. Catering for newborns up to four year olds, the twee little shop tucked away on the second floor is a place worth dropping by. 

Island & Republik
Shopping

Island & Republik

If ubiquitous IKEA furniture and household items are too passé for your liking, then Island & Republik should be your next port of call. Featuring high-end brands like Romo, Sandberg, Cole & Son, Given Campbell, Thomas Paul and Stroheim, the Plaza Damas stalwart specialises in all things home and fancy, including bespoke furniture, soft furnishings, carpets, rugs, tableware and lighting. Boasting a whimsical exterior reminiscent of London shoplots of yore, Island & Republik has been a favourite among new homeowners in the area since it first opened more than a decade ago.

number76
Health and beauty

number76

Tumbling waves, pink-tinged tips and braided updos are the name of the game at number76, the city’s latest Japanese import. The brainchild of a KL-based Japanese entrepreneur and a leading Japanese hair stylist, number76 has made a name and a chain for itself across the city. They’ve just opened a second Bangsar branch, bringing their total to four low-key salons with a café feel and plenty of wood. The emphasis is on feminine, natural styles, and if you’re still feeling the ombre look, stylists here have perfected the art. Finish things off with their Ultra Sonic Iron treatment, in which they employ a flatiron-like tool to zap nutrients straight to the core of your follicles.

Best art galleries in Hartamas

Dumpster
Art

Dumpster

Owned by former ad man Romaizie Mustapha, also known as Rom, the idea behind Dumpster is to make sure local artistic talents don’t go to waste by providing the artists a platform to showcase their work.  Rom previously owned the vintage store Outdated (now known as Arcadia), but has decided to focus more on works inspired by local culture instead of vintage objects, which explains why most of the artworks featured are Malaysiana-inspired. The vision for this came about when he noticed a trend of the younger generation forgetting our traditional local cultures. One of the talents Rom works closely with is Kide Baharudin, who paints old Malaya of the ’60s in various settings. Other examples of works here include Amin Daud’s futuristic-looking prints of the Proton Saga and Oz Ishak’s poster of ’60s singer A Ramlie and Malaysia’s very own The Rhythm Boys.  Going beyond canvas and framed artworks, Kide’s drawings can also be found on T-shirts, tote bags and cushion covers. The ‘Hipster Kuda Kepang’ tee is apparently quite popular with customers. Besides works by Kide Baharudin, other artworks available in store are by L

Galeri Chandan Publika
Art

Galeri Chandan Publika

Located within the enclaves of the ultra-hip Publika, Galeri Chandan is a unique multi-disciplinary art, design and project management group. Apart from promoting art shows and offering conducing space for artists, the gallery also opens its doors to selected artistic events.

Artemis Art
Art

Artemis Art

Located at Solaris Dutamas, Artemis Art specialises in contemporary works from up-and-coming artists. The art gallery aims to share the stories of talented artists whose works are shaped by the culture that surrounds them.

The Edge Galerie
Art

The Edge Galerie

The Edge Galerie aims to promote local and regional art. Besides exhibiting works by both upcoming and seasoned artists, the gallery also organises auctions to facilitate buyers in the art business and investment process.

Segaris Art Centre
Art

Segaris Art Centre

Segaris Art Centre aims to represent the best of modern and contemporary Malaysian art. Not only is the gallery used to display artwork but also to organise art seminars, workshops, performances and fairs.

Galeri Titikmerah
Art

Galeri Titikmerah

Galeri Titikmerah is a pop up gallery by artists from Studio Rumah Terang.

Best restaurants in Hartamas

Nathalie's Gourmet Studio
Restaurants

Nathalie's Gourmet Studio

July 2011 Maybe I’m a solitary voice in the wilderness, but of late there’s been a palpable sense of same-sameness, barring a few notable exceptions, when it comes to cuisine in KL. Venturing off the beaten track isn’t a popular option, and that’s why – because she’s willing to take chances – Nathalie Arbefeuille’s cooking is all the more exciting. Since launching her eponymous Nathalie’s Gourmet Studio, the self-taught chef has been zooming up the radars of foodies and socialites alike, and it would not be imprudent to say her food is these days de rigueur whether it’s a ladies’ lunch or home catering you’re after. And why not? Ms Arbefeuille, whose surname (literally ‘leaves of the tree’) is as quietly poetic as her gastronomic creations, has succeeded in resuscitating our collective palate with her often playful, always inventive dishes. Although the food may not always hit its mark, her method of enlivening classical French culinary techniques with innovation ensures that the spirit of creativity is never gratuitous and always a visual and textural feast. The menu invariably invokes oohs and ahhs amongst newcomers but there are fixtures we have come to know and love: Nathalie’s jellies give starters an added dimension, her foams add airy yet paradoxically voluminous lightness to main course dishes, and her irresistible Parmesan cones and wafers lend weight to ephemeral soups. The menu may be limited but it’s thoughtful, and such creations as the intriguingly flavoursom

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Easy Green
Restaurants

Easy Green

Come lunch hour, the folks of Mont Kiara head to Easy Green for their daily dose of gourmet salads. The gourmet salad bar champions healthy eating and judging by the queues, it seems to be working. Go for the signature salad with cheese and mixed nuts. You also get to customise your combination of greens, dressings (apple vinaigrette, sesame sauce, honey mustard, lemon olive, etc) and additional toppings such as organic quinoa, parmesan cheese or smoked salmon.

S.Wine
Restaurants

S.Wine

Nestled in a far corner at Ben's Independent Grocer, S.Wine (as you can tell by its name) specialises in everything pork. From continental pork salads to crispy roast pork, the menu of piggy delights will satisfy the most orthodox of pork lovers. We especially favour the pork loaves here inspired by the signature pork buns at New York's Momofuku Seam Bar. The alteration of the classic Chinese dish contains braised pork belly slices with pickled cucumber sandwiches in steamed mantao. Awards Food Awards 2012   Benjamin Yongwas shortlisted Restaurateur of the Year in the Time Out KL Food Awards2012. Our food awards are 100% voted for by the people of KL. This way, we guarantee that popularity and consistent performance is rewarded.

Best Japanese restaurants in Hartamas

Uokatsu
Restaurants

Uokatsu

The monarchs of Japanese dining in KL – haughtily led by the likes of Kame Sushi – may never go out of fashion but sometimes we’re allowed to say, ‘three cheers for the mid-range Japanese restaurant’. There aren’t many of these in KL, but an entry like Uokatsu makes you wish for more. Here, appreciation of quality produce and an unpretentious evening can exist concurrently. On a Friday night, I appear without a reservation. Much to three other couples’ and my chagrin, there’s a line. Dining customers look out at us from behind the glass doors with a perverted sense of pity. Thankfully, tables clear out fast and a spot is secured in less than ten minutes. It becomes my turn to stare at diners-to- be that wait with hope. Oh, the cycle of a Malaysian diner. No time to be romantic for the mentai rice must be eaten. It’s mentai on egg on rice, the holy trinity of a good time. Apparently, it’s also the ghost of Fukuharu’s once-beloved mentai sushi. The egg appears stiff and accurately rectangle like a yellow Lego piece, its surface burnished and bumpy from the marinated roe. In one bite, the mentaiko is salty and creamy, the egg sweet, and the rice sticky and heavy. The message of comfort introduced by the rice bowl extends quite excellently throughout the meal. The grilled ocean trout is sufficiently tender; its oil gush out as the flesh is flaked. Next to it is a mound of grated daikon in soy, a necessary foil to the richness. The sashimi I ordered are on par as that from a p

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Kushiyaki Kuni
Restaurants

Kushiyaki Kuni

This yakitori bar may be under-the-radar, but its handwritten menu packs a punch. We swear by the grilled kawa (chicken skin), pork with mentaiko and ox tongue, but it’s the offal that truly shines. Snack on heart, liver and gizzard while knocking back a few sakes, and watch Japanese expats do the same around you.

Hamasho
Restaurants

Hamasho

Tokyo’s Kaisen Sumibiyaki Hamasho sees its first international outlet and it’s only right that Hartamas is the suburb of choice. On a Tuesday night, the restaurant buzzes with suited Japanese men who take frequent swigs of saké and long drags on their cigarettes, talking a little too loudly past the 10pm mark. Waitresses shuffle about in kimonos (a bit kitsch, yes) and do their best by chanting ‘irasshaimase’ and topping up empty glasses. The space attempts to emulate an authentic izakaya experience, but dressed up with the comfort of air conditioning, a high ceiling and elbow room. Amber lights glow, a loud Japanese poster of a cartoon fish is slapped across the wall, fish nets haphazardly droop from steel exhaust pipes, and tarnished wooden crates embellish the counter. Amidst all this casualness, smoke blows in intoxicating clouds from all directions. This sets the tone for the food, which is all but formal. While the sumibiyaki (charcoal-grilled seafood) concept is not something that’s foreign to us, there aren’t nearly enough restaurants in KL that practise it. At Hamasho, there are fish, surf clams, crab legs, scallops and buttered vegetables, which you cook on portable charcoal grills on the table. I start with Atlantic mackerel, a flat piece of fish that tastes exactly as advertised – salty, fishy and wonderfully flaky. That is to say, by sheer luck, I didn’t overcook it. But this luck fluctuates throughout dinner – some items are removed from the grill completely

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Toridoki
Restaurants

Toridoki

The team behind Toridoki only skewers the chicken or vegetables over the fire. At this yakitori bar, the chefs combine the different parts of the chicken on one skewer, such as the chicken thigh or breast wrapped in skin. Off the yakitori menu, the konsai salad showcases a different take on the Japanese root vegetables, where they are covered in mayonnaise and then topped with grated parmesan. Don’t fret with the limited options because with the way the yakitori is done, you’ll definitely be back for more.

Yakitori Dining Fukuda
Restaurants

Yakitori Dining Fukuda

No stranger to the Japanese food scene, the people behind Kurata in PARKROYAL add another restaurant to their list with Yakitori Dining Fukuda by Torifuku, a well-known yakitori restaurant in Shibuya, Japan. Backed with 25 years of culinary experience, Chef Doi Yasunori adds a French twist to his food with dishes like foie gras terrine and smoked salmon with onsen egg. The cosy izakaya dining concept allows you to watch as your food is being prepared. Fukuda takes pride in simple yakitori skewers like the negima (chicken and spring onion skewers) as they use kampung chicken. If you notice a hint of smokiness with every bite, that’s because they use imported Japanese charcoal to cook the skewers of meat. Take note of the chilli flakes placed at every table as Chef Doi insists on adding a dash of spice to your yakitori.

Kame Sushi
Restaurants

Kame Sushi

July 2013 When you eat out as often as I do, it’s a rare experience to stumble across a great restaurant, and rarer still to encounter food that’s so true to the spirit of its creation that it just rocks your world. Kame (literally meaning turtle, and the nickname of proprietor/chef Mizukami Masahiro) Sushi is just one of these treasures. Tucked away in the burgeoning colony of Japanese and Korean restaurants that is Desa Sri Hartamas, Kame is Tokyo-sized tiny, and the already cosy interior is unapologetically dominated by a massive sushi counter and a smattering of miniscule private rooms. At this little restaurant, which also happens to be the hangout of choice of chain-smoking single male Japanese punters, it’s omakase that rules. Forget your bog standard sushi, sashimi, tempura and teppanyaki. Here, chef Kame, erstwhile of Rakuzen, serves what he likes, when he likes, with the freshest seasonal (that’s seasonal in Japan, mind) produce taking precedence on the degustation menu. Meaning ‘I’ll leave it to you’, omakase is perfect for chefs because it gives them carte blanche to let their creative juices flow. For diners, if executed with flair and alacrity – as is propitiously the case at Kame – it’s veritably gastronomic paradise. Because seafood is imported twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays, the sashimi is irreproachably fresh, and whether it’s the sea urchin roe, firefly squid, prawns, abalone or tuna maguro you’re savouring, the freshness and quality are unmistakea

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
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Best cafés in Hartamas

Tray Café
Restaurants

Tray Café

Taking over the impressive Haute Food Co, Tray Cafe is following its former tenant's footsteps in masterful dessert-making. The cakes and tarts at Tray are something of the café's pride with things such as pavlovas, tarts and by virtue of obligation, a peanut butter and chocolate cake. The place also has value-for-money lunch sets that see pastas, quiches and soups whipped up.

BreadFruits Café
Restaurants

BreadFruits Café

This café in Hartamas offers well-executed brunch fare, some of which feature their signature ingredient – wild honey. Owner KK and his uncle harvest wild hives from Pahang rainforests before manufacturing and packaging honey into bottles. Raw, unprocessed, locally sourced honey is something of a revelation, and the wild nature of the bees makes for a complex, treacle-like sweetness with hints of lychee and sugarcane. Pour the golden liquid onto the excellent roasted banana French toast, watch it cascade sexily down the banana, take a photo of this madness, and get eating.

CuBs & CuPs
Restaurants

CuBs & CuPs

Owned by Korean partners David Son and Liz Kim, CuBs & CuPs in Desa Sri Hartamas attracts a good crowd of pet owners and those eager to hug resident dogs Cola the Siberian Husky and Mocha the Alaskan Malamute. Nacho the little Pomeranian and new face Mochi the Japanese Spitz trot around the café and sniff other dogs, and if you’re lucky, they’ll show you some affection too. We like that self-service and cleanliness are emphasised here, so that means ordering at the counter and getting your own cutlery, serviettes and condiments from a clearly marked cabinet. The same self-service rule also applies to cleaning up after your own dog (which you can bring here), and if you’re worried about only having a pack of tissues, the well-equipped cleaning station at the back of the café will help. Food-wise, there’s the usual café fare, as well as bingsu for dessert. Take note that food prices are a little on the steep side, but if you can get over the RM25 price tag, the churros waffles come highly recommended. If you feel that your pooch will be left out while you’re having your meal, order a bowl from the dog menu and voila, you and your dog can enjoy mealtime together. Also, remember to bolt the café door when you enter and exit so the dogs won’t sprint out.

First Step Coffee
Restaurants

First Step Coffee

First Step’s house-roasted beans are the coffee of choice for Mont Kiara residents in the know; here you’ll find none of the pretension and heaps of privacy – as well as good coffee. The shop is spacious, and the coffee menu spotlights top-notch espresso-based creations, Dutch coffees and single origin lattes. Should all that caffeine require some balancing, there are sandwiches, cakes, and because it’s a Korean coffeeshop after all, shaved ice with rice cakes.

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Rubberduck
Restaurants

Rubberduck

Finding this pâtisserie-café can be a chore as it’s hidden in a less trodden corner of the confusing labyrinth that is Plaza Damas. But it’s worth the effort. The alfresco space, though small, permeates with the smell of freshly baked cakes and pastries, with highlights such as the Felchlin Chocolate Mousse, lemon tart and perfectly formed macarons. The coffee, supplied by the Artisan/Three Little Birds roastery, is good and strong. Rubberduck has also started serving hot meals for lunch; the roast chicken with salad is simple yet hearty. To look for the café, get out of Hartamas Shopping Centre through the Starbucks exit, cut through the first block of shops in front of you and turn left; Rubberduck is right across from Don’s Warong.

DOMA Modern Korean
Restaurants

DOMA Modern Korean

A Korean eatery that goes beyond kimchi, Doma serves up contemporary Korean cuisine with a sense of imaginative playfulness that’s uncommon among the traditional, tightly wound restaurants in the neighbourhood – it’s a real find even in Mont Kiara’s Koreatown. Carl Lee and Terry Song’s menu abounds with Korean fried chicken, pork belly sliders and steamed scampi; afterwards, don’t miss the bingsu and sticky rice pancake with ice cream.

The Red Beanbag
Restaurants

The Red Beanbag

The Red Beanbag is a modern Australian inspired café serving up hearty portions of eggs Benedicts, burgers and French toasts among other brunch delights. If you're in for a full meal, steaks, pastas and the like are also on the menu. Coffee is a specialty here but non-caffeine consumers can try out their chocolate drinks, smoothies and juices. Cakes and other creamy treats are available for afters.

The Prep Room
Restaurants

The Prep Room

Previously of Penang’s Coffee Elements, Akmal Zaki is now at The Prep Room. The menu – a labour of love, quirkily hand-illustrated – features a standard selection of burgers, pastas, salads, stews and soups, as well as, of course, coffee. It’s elevated with thoughtful touches: hash browns, sausages, pasta sauces and the like are made entirely from scratch, for instance. The fare is fairly straightforward, but far less common is the café’s charm and character – for that alone The Prep Room is the star of the Sri Hartamas show.

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Best coffee shops in Hartamas

Redemption Espresso Bar
Restaurants

Redemption Espresso Bar

A cool minimal espresso bar in Plaza Damas offering an equally focused menu – coffee from BluKettle roasters plus cakes and pastries from home-bakers. There’s also a small selection of tea and juices. It’s a photogenic space, and a quiet spot to get some work done. Get the organic sourdough bagel from TTDI-based Bread Fox. You can choose your filling: cream cheese with salmon; basil pesto with sundried tomatoes; Nutella, banana and almond; or barbecue pulled chicken. Do also try the organic cranberry raisin scones.

CoffeeSociété
Restaurants

CoffeeSociété

The ambiance is cool and cosy, and their double espresso is beautifully pulled with its thick layer of crema on top.

Coffee Stain by Joseph
Restaurants

Coffee Stain by Joseph

We like Coffee Stain’s medium body espresso; its intense, long finish is a result of a delicate blend of beans from Papua New Guinea (for the smooth acidity), Guatemala (for that touch of sweetness) and Columbia (a balancing act to round off the flavours). The beans – especially roasted in Singapore, with a KL-based Japanese master overseeing the tasting and blending – are brewed using a top class Nuova Simonelli machine. Like your coffee pure? Then try the single origin coffee prepared by siphon, dripped, or brewed using the really cool, hourglass-shaped Chemex manual coffeemaker. There are around ten different beans available at any time, but we suggest you watch out for the highly prized Panama Geisha, an auction-favourite known for its light body, honey and citrus flavours, and a surprising jasmine-like aroma. It’s not always available, but when it is, be ready to part with RM60 for a taste (price may vary according to market). Awards Food Awards 2013   Coffee Stain by Joseph 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. Food 40   Food 40 is our monthly, definitive guide for where to eat in the Klang Valley. No entry into the Food 40 has provided any Time Out team member with a free meal or other incentive. If you have eaten somewhere that you think should rank amongst KL's top 40, email us and we'll check it

Best places for dessert in Hartamas

The Ice Cream Bar
Restaurants

The Ice Cream Bar

The Ice Cream Bar is the latest venture by the same people behind your favourite ice cream parlour, Inside Scoop. Things are done differently here as this bar – yes, we can call it a bar – specialises in alcoholic ice creams; think spiked Inside Scoop favourites such as Smoked Cognac, XO Cranberry, beer and more. Located in Desa Sri Hartamas near Naughty Nuri's, The Ice Cream Bar's minimalist interior (think bare white walls, strategically placed pots of green plants and jet black chairs) ticks off all the stark-but-cool boxes. Try to cop these spots when you're here: the small outdoor seating area good for a party of two or three, the cosy (and prettiest) corner with two grey upholstered chairs, and if you're with your ice cream-loving troop, the communal table. Menu-wise, there’s a good selection of boozy and regular flavours. The Ice Cream Bar collaborated with The Singleton for a limited-time line of whisky-infused ice creams last May, so keep your eyes peeled for future partnerships with other brands. Meanwhile, take a few indulgent licks of brandy-infused dark chocolate Smoked Cognac, XO-infused cranberry and beer – your afterwork drink in a cone. If you’d rather have non-alcoholic ice cream, try premium and signature flavours such as white truffle chocolate with sea salt, mint stracciatella, raspberry yoghurt, blood orange sorbet or durian. After you've picked your scoops, opt to have it in a glass cup, handmade cone or on Inside Scoop's famed buttermilk waffles, an

Whimsical Gelateria & Caffe by Cielo Dolci
Restaurants

Whimsical Gelateria & Caffe by Cielo Dolci

The good folks behind Cielo Dolci are behind Publika’s newest ice cream addition – a twee space that appropriately brings its name to life. After the success of the brand’s nasi lemak gelato, this café provides ground for parings of brunch dishes with ice cream, both savoury and sweet. Who says you can’t have your big breakfast platter with a side of beef bacon ice cream, or your tomato salad with a scoop of basil gelato? No one, that’s who.

Ben's Bake Shop
Restaurants

Ben's Bake Shop

The Big Group has a sweet new addition – Ben’s Bake Shop that sells nothing but the sugary, caramelised and everything nice. Located within Ben’s Independent Grocer, keep to the right as you stroll down the aisle till you come upon an open store with white round tables and pale green stools fronting a counter offering a decadent selection of pastries, cakes and treats.Its spot between coffee joint Plan b Roasters and B’wiched sandwich bar is to accommodate their sharing of menus. That means you can sit at any of the three outlets and, after making your orders at the respective stores, have your food and/or drink – including the bill – sent to you.Like its name suggests, desserts rule at Ben’s Bake Shop. The kitchen churns out cookies, churros, petit fours and KLonut, the local version of this year's popular croissant-doughnut hybrid creation, cronut. Take the time to try out the made-to-order plated desserts crafted by Mabel Cheah, all priced at RM15. From Thai tea crème brûlée to the sweet and sour baked Alaska and cheese plate of Roquefort ice cream, white chocolate slice, rum-soaked raisins, and toasted walnuts and pears drizzled in truffle oil and soy caramel, you won’t be leaving the place disappointed.

Swich Café
Restaurants

Swich Café

Some of the best cakes in the city have come out of the ovens at Swich. Owner Cheng uses seasonal fruits to come up with masterful surprises like the now infamous cempedak cake and Musang King durian mud pie. Don't make the mistake of skipping the near-perfect Valrhona chocolate cake.

Salon Du Chocolat
Shopping

Salon Du Chocolat

Chocolatier Salon du Chocolat serves a short list of chocolate staples – brownies, hot chocolate and waffles – but shame on anyone who skips the chocolate crêpe: delicate, fluffy and thin, the crêpe is topped with your choice of creamy dark, milk or white chocolate. The Belgium chocolate is flavoured with in-house roasted cocoa beans, making for a decadent dessert.

Best bars and pubs in Hartamas

The Vault
Bars and pubs

The Vault

There’s no screaming sign here, but in-the-know patrons walk up a stairway (hint: look for The Prep Room) to gain entry via a vault door – hence, The Vault KL. Belly up to the bar to seek solace in a carefully curated list of cocktails and classics: The Vault Heist comes with lemongrass-infused vodka, the passion fruit martini smacks of something sweet, and the Smokey Negroni (London dry gin, Italian sweet vermouth, peated Islay whisky) is so strong it could serve itself.

Ales & Lagers
Shopping

Ales & Lagers

Away from the harrying corridors of Publika is our pick for best bottle shop in KL. Hidden along a lonely Solaris Dutamas lane, Ales & Lagers doesn’t share the same cool vibe perfected by some of its more illustrious neighbours on the block. However, the imported craft beer specialists make up for the cramped space and nonexistent design with a very simple yet effective modus operandi – serve the most dizzying array of bottled craft brews in town. ‘At the moment, we carry 40 to 60 different types of craft beers,’ says owner Kennhyn, whose goal is to reach a variety of 100 in the near future. Currently, the beerbeer.org blog ringleader relies on Taps Beer Bar and four Singaporean suppliers to bring in limited quantities of stock from cult brands like Oregon’s Rogue Ales and California’s Lagunitas to the impressively curated Ales & Lagers bottle shelf. ‘I carry brands and brews I like in terms of taste and flavour, primarily to study how the market reacts to them,’ he explains. Ales & Lagers is all about beer education, appreciation and discovery. Regulars can opt to either take away their purchases or pick out bottles based on Kennhyn’s recommendations and savour the brews in glasses right away. The two sets of barstools and small tables here become hot property come weekend, but when we visited the place on a Monday afternoon, it was already buzzing with regulars sharing tasting notes and stories of blowing off work. Everything appears rosy for the little bottle shop that

P&C Cocktail Bar
Bars and pubs

P&C Cocktail Bar

This closet of a space is accessible via a discreet door behind Naughty Nuri’s, the beloved Balinese pork ribs house that racks up a full house nightly. At this point, we’ve seen one too many speakeasies channeling the Prohibition vibe, so décor-wise, P&C is cosy, but nothing to shout about. What’s worth celebrating is the omakase concept. You’ll receive a double-columned placard; tick one box from each category. The first column lists a range of flavours (do you like your cocktail sweet, spicy, bitter, earthy or zesty?) while the other spells out the hard liquors (choose from a variety including absinthe, brandy, gin, saké, vodka or tequila). Traditionalists would do well to check off the boxes marking ‘smoky’ and ‘whisky’, which results in a cocktail reeking of masculinity. We were immensely pleased with what we got. Thirsty for some bubbly, we also challenged the bartender to balance champagne’s delicate flavours with umami (sweet and savoury) nuances. The cloudy champagne that came drew a few testy looks from us, but all it took was one sip to fall in love with it. P&C is a non-smoking venue, which makes complete sense, given its confined space. 

Barfly
Bars and pubs

Barfly

Barfly takes the crown for the cheapest beers in town. How does RM12 nett for a pint of Tiger and RM14 nett for Guinness sound? Like a party. The crowd of happy faces range from regulars to nearby office workers to college kids, all eager for the low-priced booze. People don’t usually order the cocktails here, but when they do, it’s to take up the ‘Barfly Monsta’ challenge – a drinking game where you knock off a glass of strong concoction as fast as you can. Break the outlet’s current record and you get any one drink on the house.Barfly has other outlets at Soho KL and StarParc.

Bricks & Barrels
Bars and pubs

Bricks & Barrels

We’ve made a couple of cloak-and-dagger visits to this corner-lot bar in Desa Sri Hartamas, and on most occasions, have been greeted by generous crowds and lively spirit. And we’re not referring to the bottles they keep behind the bar either. After-work crowds are sizeable here on most evenings, and when the sun sets on a Friday, tables are hard to come by. The reason for this is that the folks at Bricks & Barrels have gotten all the right ingredients in place. For one, they’ve got decent proximity to downtown KL and the suburbs of PJ, and they’re a mere stone’s throw away from Mont Kiara’s residential hub. Throw in excellent happy hour deals and entertainment on the side and this bar – barely a year old – is set to be a firm fixture on KL’s drinking circuit. And talk about sexy surroundings: Exposed brickwork and iron fixtures make an appearance indoors, giving the place a semi-industrial feel. Prefer the beer garden variety? The alfresco area at Bricks & Barrels is for you, then. In fact, the best seats at Bricks & Barrels are the ones in the bar’s spacious outdoor area, decorated with faux grass and wood accents, while a small stage hosts nightly live performances (except on Sundays). Beer, as the bar’s name suggests, is never in short supply. Best times to head there for a pint? Happy hour (4–6pm), when a pint goes for the bargain rate of RM10nett. Every. Single. Day. Not a fan of lager? Rejoice in the fact that Guinness pints and house pouring wine go for RM15nett each

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
SOULed Out Sri Hartamas
Restaurants

SOULed Out Sri Hartamas

A steady fixture in the KL night scene for over ten years now, Souled Out remains a popular hangout spot, especially among the city’s youths. The extensive menu serves decent, uncomplicated grub and standard drinks but the steady crowd is mainly due to its energetic and lively atmosphere. Also, they boast a good kids’ menu  featuring chicken burgers, fish nuggets and their famous warm chocolate lava cake. Never empty, this is a busy hub for patrons to eat, drink, listen to live bands and play a game of football. Awards Food Awards 2013   SOULed Out was shortlisted Best Pub Grub 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.

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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Damansara Utama
Things to do

Damansara Utama

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.

Sunway
Things to do

Sunway

Let’s not mask the fact that Sunway is an area dominated by students, which isn’t saying that it’s a bad thing. If you need help getting around the area, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is making things better. It’s fast – not a concept Malaysians are accustomed to hearing and practising. Let’s not also forget about Sunway Pyramid and Sunway Lagoon, where there are plenty of things to do. If you don’t have plans in Sunway, you do now.

Sri Petaling
Things to do

Sri Petaling

Sri Petaling is a mixed bag of old eating establishments, massage parlours and cafés. You can get around most of the Jalan Radins by foot, although ideally a bicycle would be nice. The 'hood is quiet but by no means dead. 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.

Petaling Jaya
Things to do

Petaling Jaya

To say that Petaling Jaya (aka PJ) is huge is an understatement. Divided into several areas and neighbourhoods (better known as 'seksyen'), there are your oldies like Jalan Gasing and PJ Old Town to newer, flashier areas like Damansara and Aman Suria. For non-PJ folks, wrapping your head around the many sections can be a bit of a nightmare, so to help you out, we explored the area to come up with this cheat sheet to some of the best restaurants, cafés, shops, bars and things to do in PJ. Got a favourite PJ spot not listed here? Let us know in the comments.