From a plant-based restaurant and bar in Chinatown to a mod-Malaysian bistro, make a date at KL’s trendiest new spots
Takeouts are great, but let’s face it: nothing beats the atmosphere of dining in at a trendy restaurant. With the RMCO now in effect, homebound foodies can now look forward to dining at the city’s coolest new culinary spots. For this reason, we’ve rounded up Kuala Lumpur’s hottest new establishments whose delicious and inventive dishes are well worth the trip.
Blonde, the latest venture by family-run restaurant group Serai, is an elegant, light-filled space, taking pride of place in the newly refreshed retail and restaurant hub of The Republik. Walk through Art Deco arches to find dark woods, rattan finishes and metallic touches – like the other restaurants before it, the menu is just as stylish as the interiors. This modern Malaysian eatery serves up an international menu of brunch and bistro classics with a nod to Asian flavours and Malaysian influences, created by group managing director and head chef Najib Hamid. Try the hearty smoked salmon and scrambled egg brunch, which comes dusted with a seaweed crisp and ikura roe, or the Dutch-style pancakes which are served alongside plump figs grown by Shah Alam’s own Mutiara figs.
G.03A, Republik, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur
2. Apollo Dining
Go for the ’gram, stay for the fresh Malaysian mash-ups. Bangsar’s newest fusion restaurant, Apollo Dining, makes fantastic use of a narrow shoplot tucked between trendy coffee shops. The bare concrete and rammed-earth interiors are lit by an expansive skylight, highlighting a menu that uses local produce and flavours in surprising new ways. Must-tries: the pan-roasted scallops to start, a tiger prawn linguini for your main and then crispy, slightly funky cempedak nian gao (glutinous rice cake flavoured with a relative of jackfruit) fritters to end.
28, Jalan Kemuja, Bangsar, 59000, Kuala Lumpur
3. Starving Hub
Helmed by Chef Wong, previously from fine-dining Cantonese establishment Noble House, a trip to Starving Hub in Sri Petaling promises a meal that delights all your senses. While it continues in the wide vein of Asian cuisine, what sets it apart is its inventive execution of traditional dishes. Case in point: fried dumplings fashioned as roses rising out of a small garden pot (pictured below). You’ll also find the likes of foie gras and black caviar – which, though unconventional on an Asian menu, still feels cohesive with the rest of the dishes.
75-1, Jalan Radin Tengah, Sri Petaling, 57000 Kuala Lumpur
4. The Hungry Tapir
Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown district has been revived as a bustling, Instagram-worthy hub filled with hip eateries and bars that draw both young and old alike. Plant-based restaurant The Hungry Tapir is the newest kid on the block, sporting a striking bold pink patio adorned with tropical motifs and an industrial-style interior with exposed brick walls, light beams and plenty of fun wall art. This vegan spot, which comes with a full-service bar, features tasty fusion nosh for your picking. Be sure to try the masak lemak, which features a coconut and lemongrass fettuccine served with zucchini and tomatoes, and the tender satay skewers made from hedgehog mushrooms. They’ve also recently launched a new high-tea menu on Sundays, which entails a delightful assortment of scones, Malay kuih, cookies, tempeh sandwiches and even teh tarik – all powered by plants, of course.
135, Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
5. Stammtisch KL
Stammtisch KL is the perfect spot if you’re dining in with a large crowd. Serving up hearty portions of authentic German fare, which you can chase down with a wonderful selection of beers, tasty and tender meats make up a large portion of their menu. Rethink everything you thought you knew about the classic meatloaf with the restaurant’s homemade Hackbratenor consider tackling the Ensemble Platter with your entourage. This huge spread comes with a whopping 10 items, from crispy pork knuckles and three types of juicy sausages to spaetzle, a unique type of German pasta.
18-G, Jalan Medan Setia 2, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur
6. Chipta 11A
Dining at Chipta 11A is a deceptively casual affair. The restaurant follows the Omakase style, in which no two meals are alike, and the day’s menu depends on the selection of produce and chef Jack Weldie’s mood. Seated at the long communal table, you could be served yams with rice pops, cured amberjack sushi, heirloom tomatoes and mackerel with a roselle vinaigrette, or super-fresh sashimi. The only constant is flavour.
11a, Jalan 20/16, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling Jaya
7. Skydome Hotpot
Located on the rooftop of Wisma Trax on Jalan Chow Sow Lin, Skydome Hotpot takes the concept of elevating its food quite literally. As you cook a variety of ingredients in one of their three soup bases – coconut chicken, mushroom or spicy mala – you’ll get to watch the night sky through the expansive glass skydome. There are even private domes catering to different dinner sizes, including a VIP one that’s perfect for those occasions when you want to pull out all the stops.
No.1, Jalan Lima, Chan Sow Lin, 55200 Kuala Lumpur
Hero image by Blonde KL, Serai Group