Review: Opium KL Changkat

Updated on August 16 2014

The latest opening on Changkat stands in place of the old Werner’s. It’s a corner lot that has great potential for outdoor dining, and plenty of space for enjoyable dining amidst the otherwise hustle bustle party atmosphere of Changkat. Opium KL is the latest concept to come from the Werner’s Group, and is an entirely new concept to the area, one that is a refreshing change from the usual scene.

With cocktails from award-winning consultant Joshua Ivanovich, Asian dishes with a modern twist, and decor and furniture pieces that have been shipped over from places such as Vietnam, this place brings a new life to the street.

Related: Know your classic cocktails

The atmosphere

Under the helm of restaurant manager Sascha Alexander, this restaurant is testament to the Werner’s Group’s tendency to want to be edgy and make things a little different. Opium KL is modelled on an old school Shanghai concept with opium pipes on the walls, hemp oils in the dressings and opium loungers in the Rose Room. You can expect old Shanghai classics playing in black and white on the TV  and classic Shanghai music from that era to accompany your meal.

Opium KL Changkat
An old school Shanghai feel in decor, and atmosphere gives Opium a refreshing take on an Asian inspired restaurant.

The food

The endless bowls of dishes, steamers and earthenware are filled with creative variations on classic dishes, and with pots and crockery that make the meals perfect for sharing. Chicken wings are made from a recipe tried, tested and perfected by Werner himself thirty one times. A fern leaf salad with grilled prawns is drizzled with hemp oil, pizza is served with poppy seeds and beef brisket with tendon stew is delicious, tender and served with lotus leaf buns instead of a heavy rice dish.

Opium KL Changkat
The fern leaf salad served with grilled prawns is drizzled with hemp oil.

The drinks

With Ivanovich’s touch to the cocktail menu, you know you can’t go far wrong with the cocktails. The menu is filled with house cocktails and “Twisted Classics”, each coming in its own pot or bowl — beer be warned is to be drunk from a bowl.

The Tea Trader is recommended for the ladies, with a light peachy flavour, and the Peking Man, as a slightly heavier drink, is recommended for guys — we’re not quite sure about the recommendations as they both tasted pretty good. If you want to go for something non-alcoholic but stick with the local flavours, the twist on an assam boi with a touch of mango is refreshingly good, or the Calamansi, apple and ginger drink is incredibly satisfying.

Forbidden City - Opium KL
The Forbidden City cocktail is a mix of rum, grand marnier, 5-spiced syrup, lime and orange juice.

Opium KL opens at 4pm with last orders for food at 11pm and snacks until 1am. The bar closes at 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, or 1am on Sunday through Thursday.

Opium KL, 50 Changkat Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, +6 03 2142 5670, www.opiumkl.com

Keirsten Clark left urban commuting, frosty mornings and chilly evenings of the UK behind for sunnier climes. She is a cake freak and loves to run -- everywhere. Follow her on Twitter @keirsten for updates on all things geeky and content related.