Restaurants had such a big year in Malaysia last year. 2017 saw hordes of Malaysians queuing up for Japanese cheesecakes and nasi lemak burgers. It also created traction for chains that sell crispy Korean fried chicken — making the allure of restaurants even harder to resist in a food-loving city like Kuala Lumpur.
The arrival and departure of talented chefs also disrupted the supply of quality food in the city in 2017. But thanks to the persistence of restauranteurs, we witnessed how promising new places like Deuce and Goa by Hubba picked up the torch from its fallen predecessors Coquo and Hubba Hubba, respectively.
Meanwhile, the aggressive expansion of catering and restaurant franchisers also helped to meet the growing demands of Malaysian’s hungry stomachs. After 21 long years, the creator of Alexis Bistro finally gave the reputable jazz bar a little sister in the name of Isabel Restaurant & Bar, which whips up Southeast Asian cuisine. All Tasty Ideas, the brain behind The Good Batch and Nara Kitchen & Co as well as Hyde and 61 Monarchy, also adds another gem to its prized creations: Food by Fat Cat. It throws a healthy pitch to a fusion menu of an all-day breakfast.
As the last leaf of 2017 settles, let’s take a look at these 10 new restaurants that could well be the venue of your next gastronomical adventure in the next 12 months.
This new cavern is a haven for carnivores. It serves beef that’s dry-aged for at least 30 days, resulting in an extraordinarily rich flavor and buttery texture. You’ll definitely thank Argentinian chef de cuisine Ramiro Moya and his team for serving you tomahawk, T-bone, porterhouse and rib-eye with bone for the dry-aged range, or wet-aged cuts cuts of striploin, short ribs, back ribs, oyster blade, flank and Wagyu brisket MB9.
Vantador, No. 38, Jalan 25/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603 6211 5588
As its name suggests in Spanish and Portuguese, you can expect to enjoy red meat roasted to perfection on your visit at La Carne. Think herb-crusted beef rump, lamb leg glazed in rosemary-pomegranate molasses, and other succulent steaks. Aside from the crowd-favourite, char-grilled Australian rib-eye steak with chimichurri sauce, the restaurant also boasts its wood fire pizza. Its hand-stretched dough crusts are more flavourful than usual with interesting toppings like savoury smoked duck slices.
La Carne by Kopimeo, No. 33, Jalan Tengku Ampuan Zabedah B, 9/B, Seksyen 9, 40100 Shah Alam, Malaysia, +6012-206 0326
Looking for a new place to indulge in the usual wine pairings? Head on to Mont Kiara and check out the newly-opened Wine & Cheese Bistro, where you have the option of pairing bottles of vino with seven varieties of formaggio. Made by Malaysian-based brand Milky Whey, these cuts of cheese are inspired by Italy’s Montasio and France’s Morbier and Chaource styles with flavours ranging from earthy, nutty, leafy and lemony. Of course, tasty tidbits of warm tapas are available too.
Wine & Cheese Bistro, Suasana Suites, Persiaran Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603 2715 2273
New restaurants have been sprouting in Sunway Geo Avenue in the recent months. One of them is Flower Girl Coffee, which lays down a menu of comfort food. Soft, creamy omelettes accompanying smoked salmon and avocado toasts will surely make breakfast lovers feel good. Don’t forget to bring a good book to go along with their divine blends of coffee and fern-adorned space. You’d find it difficult to leave your cozy spot.
Flower Girl Coffee, Sunway Geo Avenue, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Bandar Sunway, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
From the creators of SOULed Out and WIP, Soul Society has revamped Bukit Ceylon’s Hubba Hubba into Goa. It’s a kitchen and bar that shines its light on modern Indian cuisine and cocktails. Celebrity Chef Sapna Anand will give you a taste of the western Indian state with her Goan beef cutlet, Allepey grilled fish, and Kashmiri lamb cups among others. Order her delightful versions of Goan street food and Goa by Hubba’s indigenous space furnished with blue tie-dyed drapes and mandala art will definitely take you all the way to India.
Goa by Hubba, No. 1, Jalan Ceylon, Off Changkat Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +6017 786 7611
Chef Toni Valero may have moved to Singapore, but his legacy remains in Coquo that has been reborn as Deuce. Specialising in casual but modern European cuisine, Deuce serves smoked cecina and octopus served with pickled beetroot and saffron aioli that remind us of Chef Toni. It also serves gastronomical experiences in shareable plates that’s perfect for romantic or family dinners. An open bar with a wide selection of handcrafted cocktails and wine labels on hand for those looking to unwind with a drink or two.
Deuce Dining & Bar, D1-G4-6, Solaris Dutamas, Publika, Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603 6211 2822
If you’re a fan of The Good Batch Cafe and Nara Kitchen & Co, then you’re bound to love Food by Fat Cat. Resembling these two well-loved cafes, the newly-opened bistro offers comforting fusion rice bowls and stir-fried ramen as well as pleasantly plated all-day breakfast hits such as kimchi eggs benedict, and matcha kaya waffles. Delicious coffee and hand-crafted coolers also headline its sophisticated beverage menu.
Food by Fat Cat, D-01-01, Block D, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Sunway South Quay, Bandar Sunway, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, +603 5650 5181
Two decades since its launch, Alexis Bistro & Wine Bar welcomed its little sister. Named Isabel, the restaurant and bar has taken over the space that once hosted guests of Palate Palette along Jalan Mesui. Aside from its Instagrammable interiors of wooden accents and woven furnishings, the new space delights the tastebuds with its Southeast Asian flavours. Visit and make sure to order Chef Hafizzul Hashim’s Vietnamese chicken rice, Indonesian-inflected clams, or Thai khanom chin before indulging in their house-made ciku ice cream.
Isabel Restaurant & Bar, No. 21, Jalan Mesui, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603-2110 6366
You’ll never run out of options when you check out Ate_Cetera. From indoor or al fresco dining to a cafe setting, this playful restaurant has three sections with distinct ambiences to suit whatever mood you’re in. Its expansive space boasts of impressive urban chic decor Lush greenery and natural light also inundate its charming nooks and selfie-worthy corners. And if you’re looking for wholesome food, they’re all available until after midnight with an elegant menu that lists down a mix of popular cuisines from different countries. Must-trys include the ATC Nasi Goreng, Gochujang Bowl, The Benedict, and duck confit leg served with waffles and truffle butter.
Ate_Cetera, V-02, External Alfresco Area, Hartamas Shopping Centre, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Taman Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +603-6203 6838
M Marini is the first champagne and caviar cafe in KL. Now relocated to a strategic spot at One KL along Jalan Pinang, it channels the space’s casual chic elements with an extensive menu to boot. Here, you can indulge on meticulously selected cold pastas, seafood, crustacean and crudo bar. But out of all these sophisticated offerings, nothing can be more luxurious than its Beluga Siberian and Osietra caviar.
M Marini Caffe & Terrazza, Ground Floor, One KL, Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia +603 2386 6030