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Bar review: Modern Society impresses with experimental cocktails and comfort food

With more speakeasy bars mushrooming around the city, chancing upon a cocktail bar with a bold new concept that’s unlike any other in Kuala Lumpur feels quite like an achievement. That’s why we couldn’t help but pat ourselves on our backs when we stepped inside the unassuming but sophisticated space of Modern Society.

Located inside the newly-opened Damansara City Mall, the contemporary bar and restaurant offers experimental cocktails, innovative food, and modern music in a minimalist yet tastefully-designed setting.

The concept

Modern Society
Modern Society also mixes and serves cocktails at The Loft, an intimate lounge that has its own dedicated mini bar located on the second floor.

After studying business and economics in a university near London, Modern Society co-owners and childhood friends Hugo Ng, Shen Yi Lai, and Jun Wei wanted to bring a piece of the UK’s exciting contemporary bar scene to Malaysia. A few years after their return to KL, their vision has finally been translated to a laid-back watering hole.

Located at the main entrance of DC Mall near Jalan Damanlela, the bar is decked out in black, white, and brown, and is furnished with a high ceiling along with funky lights that change with the music. It is also decorated with long white marble counters, which were shipped in from Greece.

Modern Society
The Loft can sit around 30 people or accommodate up to 45 standing guests for private functions.

Against a back-lit pinewood wall, an industrial-looking staircase leads all the way up to The Loft, where guests can chill and hang out in a more intimate setting, closer to the DJ and turntables. This area on the second floor is great for private or corporate events.

The drinks

Perfect for those who want to drink and socialise at the same time, Modern Society boasts an extensive selection of imported liquors. These are used to mix rare concoctions listed in the bar’s 15-page menu. Highlights include Shenanigans (RM38), a smoky-spicy-savoury beetroot infused cocktail; and From Russia With Love (RM38), a classic martini with a blue curacao twist.

Modern Society
From left: The Rum Runner and The Scientist

A fantastic showcase of its house mix of four rums, the Rum Runner (RM38) is a relatively straightforward concoction with a subtle hint of citrus. Generously topped with nutmeg, this tipple skews toward the sweet side, but finishes strong. Quite a good choice for any night’s opening salvo, if you ask us.

But what’s the point of checking out a new place without indulging in drinks you haven’t tried elsewhere before? Feeling adventurous, we tried the Big Breakfast. To be honest, we felt a bit apprehensive when we were told that a cold brewed coffee formed its base. But taking the first sip turned out to be the night’s best decision for us, as the slightly bitter flavour of the coffee went surprisingly well with the brew’s refreshing infusion of sour apple.

Modern Society
The Big Breakfast

Next up was the siphon-crafted The Scientist (RM60). Infused with rosemary, this gin-based potion teased our olfactory senses with its pleasing aroma from fresh fruits, flowers, and spices. Coming over to our table, the mixologist showed us how to make this tipple — putting citrus, elderflower, cinnamon, as well as orange and lemon peels together under flames inside a vacuum coffee maker.

This combination of ingredients was heated for a few minutes, to allow its juices to drip down into a mix of gin with manuka honey, and rose tea below. Served hot and in shots, the sweet-smelling concoction lined the throat with a warm sensation. The gin base elegantly toned down the sweet and savoury mix of the honey and tea, leaving an addictive tangy aftertaste.

The food

Modern Society
Butternut Squash (Image credit: The Yum List)

Apart from drinks, Modern Society also serves a slew of comfort fare with some tasty twists that’s perfect for dinner.

For starters, we couldn’t get enough of the herb-marinated butternut squash (RM10.90). The oven-roasted plate oozed with a creamy beef bolognaise that mitigated the sweetness of the beschamel sauce. We also enjoyed the modern Scotch egg (RM10.90). The poached egg was covered with crumbs of delicate salmon belly and thinly sliced beef bacon. We preferred dipping it into the accompanying tomato salsa instead of the chipotle aioli mayo, which was a tad overpowering.

Modern Society
Modern Scotch Egg
We’d also come back for Modern Society’s signature chicken ramen burger (RM26.90). The tender ramen noodles were prepared crispy and a bit burnt on the surface, and held together a moist miso chicken patty showered with sweet caramelised onion, spicy chipotle mayo, and cheddar cheese. Best to eat it with your hands, as the noodle bun is difficult to consume in bite-size portions with a fork.

The verdict

Modern Society
Chicken Ramen Burger

If you’re looking for a new place to hang out with your buddies, Modern Society is definitely a must-visit. With its long list of impressive cocktails, you’ll never run out of interesting drinks to try. You’ll also love its playlist of contemporary music, which makes hanging out on a Friday or weekend even more enjoyable.

After several weeks in soft opening mode, Modern Society was officially launched on 21 July with a stronger lineup of flavourful concoctions. It also has a #GirlPower promotion on Wednesdays, where ladies can enjoy cocktails for only RM2 per glass from 5pm to 10pm.

Modern Society, Lot L1-10, Level 1, Damansara City Mall, No. 6, Jalan Damanlela, Pusat Bandar Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, +60 3-2771 9710