I could drink a case of you, darling, & I would still be on my feet: Joni's lyrics express our feelings about Bangsar's latest watering hole, a true study in the art of compelling mixology - we downed seven cocktails here within an hour, & were still eager for more. Dapper bartenders Alvin AuYong & Joel Poon have made a meaningful return to Malaysia after years away in Singapore, Bali & Melbourne, offering KL's drinkers an experience that's fresh, relevant & reinvigorating at APW, the former printing factory that's increasingly become a thrilling hive for F&B buzz. Case Study is one of 2016's most enjoyable new bars.
Case Study's oeuvre (sketched out on a menu made of APW's recycled paper) reflects a brazen sense of creativity run wild, blending the familiar with the peculiar to pleasurable effect - case in point, the Mexican Cantarito partners shiitake mushroom-infused tequila with red bell pepper water, salted wildflower honey & aperitivo rinomato for a creation that'll surprise with its citrusy earthiness. The purple-hued Terrarium (practically every cocktail is named for the vessel that bears it, served on a printing conveyor belt bartop) is also a delight, showcasing lotus root gin with sweet potato, Indian borage tincture, butterfly pea & apricot infusion - Alvin & Joel believe in casting their net as wide as possible for their influences, going beyond purely Asian inspirations in their ingredients. But their nod to homegrown muses remains palpable - Case Study's many potted herbs, flowers & other plants are harvested for its beverages, with pickling, dehydrating & jam-making all also performed on-site.
It's impossible to resist ordering potions that sound as exhilaratingly imaginative as the Coconut Coupe (Pedro Ximenez, ghee fat-washed rum, curry yoghurt, pineapple, lime) & the Watering Can (Pisco with burdock root, broccoli & plum wine infusions), particularly since each costs a reasonable RM34 nett. Another of Case Study's charms is its focus on affable hospitality, fusing professionalism with playfulness - Alvin & Joel are a terrific tag team for making both cocktails & friends. If the bar's not too busy, see if Alvin can talk to you about his tapestry of tattoos, which tell a story about the man & his life, his hometown in Ipoh & the friends he lost, his philosophies of carpe diem & rolling the dice (but just don't ask him to bite that tattoo on his shoulder).
There's a cocktail for everyone here, whether you prefer easy-going flavours that are instantly & gently gratifying (Penguin Jar is a fantastic beast of Islay Whisky, aquavit-inspired infusion, cream cheese, dill tincture, beetroot & pomelo shrub, while Ceramic Cup combines water chestnut rum with a pumpkin pie infusion, pickled pumpkins, Amaro Montenegro & black sesame orgent) or experimentally challenging (Gourd, with seaweed gin, jujube brandy, cocoa & thyme falernum, bentianna & haricot bean escabeche, is an acquired taste that not everyone will love). Case Study is poised to be a deservedly major hit, with a semi-alfresco setting that exudes laid-back, backyard-garden vibes - expect to hear heaps about this quirky little bar.
Paper Plates, APW Bangsar, Jalan Riong, Kuala Lumpur. Mon-Sat, 6pm-130am. Tel: 011-3639-0695
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