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7 new restaurants and cafes to check out in December 2018

It will be an exciting new year come 2019. The gastronomic scene in Klang Valley this month welcomed several new restaurants, cafes and bars including the latest ATAS Modern Malaysian Eatery in The RuMa Hotel & Residences, Kuala Lumpur that’s just a few days old. We had an intimate preview of the restaurant a few months ago and enjoyed dishes that featured strong local influences and heirloom ingredients. Unlike OpenHouse’s progressive take on traditional recipes, ATAS brings an inspired menu that focuses on local herbs and produce — somewhat similar to what FlockBeta KL and Dewakan have to offer.

This time of the month also means scrumptious Christmas buffets and special dining menus to celebrate the year-end festivities. Get your tummy ready to a month-long of feasting — from roasts to yule logs, and lots of cocktails in between. Make sure you take the time to squeeze in some workouts as well — you want to still look good during those countdown parties.

But before the year comes to an end, make sure you take some time off to pay these new restaurants a visit — not only for mouthwatering dishes and delicious cakes but also for the impeccably designed interior spaces. Or even plan some gatherings here too.

ATAS Modern Malaysian Eatery

ATAS serves up unique flavours made with hand-picked local produce and heirloom ingredients by resident Head Chef Tyson Gee. After spending two years in the country, the Canadian-Chinese chef has developed a menu that reinterprets the Malaysian palate. Signature dishes with robust flavours roasted over charcoal and a blend of spices made the traditional way await you – each is plated in a unique and unconventional fashion. The restaurant, designed by British interior architect Andy Hall, is a true homage to local heritage and culture.

The RuMa Hotel and Residences, 7 Jalan Kia Peng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, +60 3 2778 0888 


Head Chef Daniel Yap, who has a background in culinary arts and Italian cuisine, heads the kitchen team. Gooddam introduces a ‘new style’ of Italian food – one that disparate from the conventional and familiarity of the cuisine, but is kept simple. The dishes are mostly inspired by the northwest region of Italy, Piedmont, which is known for its exquisite Italian cooking and wines. The restaurant, which opens for dinner only, offers a simple menu comprising progressive reinterpretations of authentic Italian cooking. We recommend the Grilled Cabbage Shoots, Paccheri (pasta with seafood ragout) and Damak Chocolate that is served with braised pear and buah keluak powder.

Gooddam, Lot B-G-07, The Hub SS2, Jalan Harapan, Seksyen 19, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Lucky Tora

Tucked along Jalan Mesui is the new Lucky Tora, a contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar that combines modern flavours into Japanese cooking – in a funky way. They certainly don’t play by the rules here. Try its ‘crazy karaage’ that is served with cheese and chili, squid okonomiyaki with spicy Thai yuzu sauce or the rum & raisin ice cream with salmon skin. When you’re done with food, head over to the bar for Lucky Tora’s specialty cocktails including the Zen Garden that is perfumed with rose petals.

Lucky Tora, 25 Jalan Mesui, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur +603 2859 0489

Credit: @redcameraguy

Catcher in the Rye

Brought to you by the guys behind Wild Sheep Chase, Catcher In The Rye Café is the latest treat for ardent social media buffs and fellow foodies. The minimalist interiors paired with lush tropical greens set the perfect backdrop for photo-taking. Come here for its signature Earl Grey Souffle that is served with chrysanthemum ice cream for a cooling dessert on a hot day. For something more substantial, go for the deep fried mac & cheese or stir-fried cold green tea soba served with preserved plum.

Catcher in the Rye Café, 605 Jalan 17/12, Seksyen 17, 46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, +6012 312 1203

Ember Modern Bistro

Another kitchen opens in TTDI with a progressive Asian menu that goes beyond conventions. Chef Gary heads the kitchen with a creative spin on modern cuisine, serving unique fusion dishes including cold noodles with duck confit, sliced pear and a ponzu-citrus sauce, as well as wagyu tartare that is layered with kerisik and fried shallots for a local touch. Never leave without trying its desserts that come highly recommended – all of which carry an interesting blend of flavours. Ember Modern Bistro only opens for dinner.

Ember Modern Bistro, 20 Jalan Wan Kadir 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, +6018 323 2786

Chez Gaston

Chef Florian Nigen brings the same ethos from his family’s 30-year-old restaurant in Bretagne, France to Kuala Lumpur’s Bangsar with the opening of Chez Gaston. The traditional French restaurant and bar offers a selection of cold cuts, hearty French dishes as well as Chef Florian’s signature recipes, alongside an eclectic range of wines, popular French beverages, spirits and cocktails. Some outstanding must-haves include rabbit pate with dry prunes, Boudin noir (homemade pork blood sausage) and Daube de Sanglier (wild boar slow-cooked in rich red wine sauce).

Chez Gaston, 12 Jalan Bangsar Utama 9, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, +6011 3993 0036

Credit: @alyssia_yu

Thurs 2.0

This hipster bar-slash-café serves earl grey bubble tea cake that is all the rage right now. The fluffy chiffon cake is topped with sea salt cheese milk foam and homemade boba for extra texture. Its all-grey interior space is extremely minimalistic, with charcoal-textured tables and chairs that are perfect for flat-lay shots. Caffeine addicts will enjoy the coffee here that is served with a side of charcoal sable.

Thurs 2.0, No.270, Jalan Cheras, Taman Miharja, 56100 Kuala Lumpur.

Martin Teo


Martin has a bent for history and food culture, especially of the Peranakan heritage. Since the pandemic, he finds joy in plant parenting and continues to expand his collection of Philodendrons, Anthuriums, and Syngoniums. He's now on a lookout for the elusive Philodendron Florida Beauty to add to his urban garden.


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