Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Barlai @ Pudu & Mr Brooks @ Bangsar Shopping Centre

The BIG Group's two newest watering holes are dramatically different from each other, except for one key point: They're both exceptionally hidden from public view, with no signboards outside to betray their existence. Here's a peek into Barlai at Pudu ...

... & Mr Brooks at Bangsar Shopping Centre.


 First up, Barlai, nestled within the peaceful oasis of a refurbished building that's reputedly more than 80 years old _ the Sekeping Sin Chew Kee guest house, behind VCR cafe.


Sip French Press coffee (RM6) in a stark space that's highlighted by street signs on walls with exposed bricks ...


 ... or check out the cocktails; each costs a wallet-pleasing RM20 or less. The bar opens bright & early, so this is the spot for morning Mojitos, Margaritas & Martinis, with twists of kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass & lychee.


Chilean Merlot clocks in at RM16 by the glass. Food will be served later; basic fare like nasi lemak & hot dogs. Barlai is currently is one of the friendliest of The BIG Group's establishments, with personable service that makes this place worth recommending.

Next up, Mr Brooks, which can be either an adventure or a chore to locate, depending on one's tolerance.

Basically, the bar is kinda behind Ben's on BSC's third floor; look first for the Sunbeam Alpine car ...

... then push through the tool panel to reveal a speakeasy-style bar evocative of Tate at The Intermark.

This is a sumptuously decorated place, nothing like the minimalism of Barlai. That's reflected in the stiff prices too: Cocktails here each range between RM50++ & RM95++.

We could only afford two of the cheaper options, but both tasted fantastic, with beautifully balanced flavours. Nan's Carrot Cake lived up to its description of being thick & lightly spiced, with a cheeky nip from Grandma's secret Drambuie stash (RM60++).

Fruit N Nut, a cosmo that's creamy with a distinctive pistachio after-taste (RM50++).

By the way, there are rumours that Mr Brooks will turn into a members-only bar, with the possibility that patrons might need to spend RM3,000 on a single receipt for a six-month membership. Best to call to check before coming here.

Mr Brooks
Level 3, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur
Mon-Sat, 5pm-2am. Tel: 03-2282-0241


Barlai
3, Jalan Sin Chew Kee, Off Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur
Daily, 10am-10pm for now

Mr Brooks
Level 3, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur
Mon-Sat, 5pm-2am. Tel: 03-2282-0241


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28 comments:

  1. wpw, very quaint. but searching for hidden places is not on my agenda. :P

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    Replies
    1. Sibu Food Diva: heh, yeah, it can be a challenge! :D

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  2. hohoho~ finally Barlai is opened!

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    1. 女飞侠: yes, took a bit longer than expected! =)

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  3. wow up to RM95 for a cocktail? That's a steep price but of course that depends what goes into the cocktails too. so hurry up to Mr.Brooks before they turn it into a members-only bar? hehe

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    1. Eiling: yeah, i think the prices are nearly justified, as the ingredients are relatively excellent and the cocktails are so deliciously prepared. i wish i could have tried them all! :D

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  4. The Big Group are so creative! Both look fascinatingly quirky. Hows the food though?

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    Replies
    1. YouHadYourLunch: heh, unfortunately neither outlet currently serves food (though that will change for barlai) :)

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  5. Barlai? LOL what a creative name!

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    1. Ken: heh, ya, i think it's a play on the 'balai polis' that's nearby and of which they have the signboard =)

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  6. I think Barlai more my type of place, hehehe. :P

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    1. CK: heheh, ya, i think so too :D

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  7. What a unique place, Sean! I love the cup and saucer.

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    1. Linda: yeah, definitely distinctive :D

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  8. Just popped into Mr. Brooks on Monday. The cocktails look fab. Not cheap though! I liked the sound of the Carrot Cake. Glad you tried it.

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    1. The Yum List: ooo, hope you enjoyed Mr Brooks! yeah, this place could be a drain on the wallet, so we had to practice self-discipline in only ordering one cocktail each :D

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  9. Wowwwww!!!! They must have put a lot of thought into their branding and naming of things on their menu. I wonder where they got the road signs from... LOL!!!

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    Replies
    1. Suituapui: heh, i think the signs were salvaged :D

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  10. I'm disappointed the balai doesn't have a lock up area. hahaha

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    Replies
    1. KY: haha, yeah, there should be a holding cell for patrons who get too drunk :)

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  11. i assume the road signs is not stolen one, hahaha!
    Looking forward to visit the barlai!!! It looks interesting!! What a creative name too!

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    Replies
    1. 小乱: heheh, hope you enjoy your visit! no stolen items here :D

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  12. Wah, Balai has finally opened, I definitely will pay a visit soon!

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    1. 比比: yay! the team here is quite friendly, so i think you'll like the place =)

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  13. Nasi lemak with wine; that would be quite a first

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    Replies
    1. Footfringe: it would be FABULOUS :D

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  14. Hi, could you tell me where is the landmark of the Barlai? Thanks

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    1. Janice: hmm, a bit tricky, but it's behind VCR Cafe. If you can use Waze, look for Sekeping Sin Chew Kee. it's in the same building. it's off Jalan Pudu, but i'm sorry i'm not good at providing clear road directions. Hope you find it.

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