Eat Drink KL: October 2022

Monday, October 31, 2022

JUS Resto Bar, APW Bangsar

Lebanese-inspired chicken wings, charcoal-seared to a blistered brown, heaped on smoky muhammara; Norwegian-style lompe soft potato flatbread, layered with hamachi tartare and milk corn that exude a subtle heat; Sabah king prawns, Hokkaido scallops and French Dover sole, grilled to full-fleshed seafood succulence: Bangsar's new JUS Resto Bar is a pleasure for fans of intense flavours throughout a sultry spectrum of luscious produce and lively recipes, turning up the temperature with an unbridled flame and undisguised spices.

Launching this Thursday, this collaboration between Atelier Binchotan and Wholly Spirits deserves to be one of November's top destinations - its delicious synergy of dining and drinking is buoyed by compelling craftsmanship in the kitchen and the bar, bolstered by poised, perceptive service that ensures an excellent experience.

Pen in a couple of hours for the JUS journey, starting with kaya toast showered with feathery grated foie gras, followed by burnt vegetables with dynamic dimensions, a juicy burnt tomato topped with strawberries, brightened by chill-spiked somtam dressing and cha om leaves, and burnt cauliflower, perfectly cooked for crunch, savoury with smoked eel and Parmesan cheese.

Atelier Binchotan's mini barbecued pork burger with gribiche is just as great at JUS, while the mini smashed Angus beef burger with cheddar cheese is a diner delight, rich and robust.

Our favourite JUS order: Iberico pork ribs with mala spices, gnaw-off-the-bone tender, bringing together prime Spanish meat with that sweet Szechuan heat, lusty and lust-worthy. 

The Australian wagyu hanger steak with morsels of marrow doesn't fare quite as well, with a defiant chew and surprisingly feeble flavour, but one miss versus 10 hits isn't bad at all.

JUS is worth exploring even for its bar alone - the team behind Wholly Spirits offers a staggering selection of everything from Spanish Tempranillo by the glass to Swedish Hernö gin for a soothing G&T, but its cocktail list makes it a true force to reckon with, from the inventive Trump tribute of Covfefe (cold brew coffee with passionfruit, gula Melaka syrup, Irish whiskey, sumac, belacan and nutmeg) to the Shokugeki (peanut butter-washed whiskey with rectified grape jelly liqueur, with toasted peanuts and dried shrimp garnishing the glass), Double Jack (jackfruit-macerated gin with house-made jackfruit syrup) to the Xiao Long Nu (dry gin with longan liqueur), 50/50 Sea (pandan-infused gin with young coconut syrup) to the Bacon O.F. (smoked bacon-washed whisky with bourbon, maple syrup and aromatic bitters), channelling clean, clear flavours with vibrant nuances. JUS is good juju.

JUS Resto Bar
APW Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Sinderella, Chow Kit


Get out your glass slippers for an evening at Chow Kit's new Sinderella, serving up sharing plates like lamb leg bites caramelised with gula Melaka, coupled with cocktails like Dosarella, surfacing in a smoky swirl with bourbon, Lillet Rose, Martini Rosso and elderflower.

5-1 & 7-1, Jalan Yap Ah Shak, Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur.

JY Fusion Food, Desa Sri Hartamas

JY brings joy to early birds: Desa Sri Hartamas' friendly new cafe serves breakfasts for a bright start at 8am, with plates of sourdough waffles with sunny-side-up eggs and savoury duck bacon to kick off the morning.


JY Fusion Food
5, Jalan 19/70a Plaza Prismaville, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

The First Chapter Speakeasy celebrates a second year in TTDI with stylish new cocktails & scrumptious cuisine

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The First Chapter embarks on its second year in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, celebrating in style by launching inventive new cocktails to ignite the senses.

Marking its first birthday recently on 8 October, this sleek, speakeasy-inspired bar is brimming with surprises, from cocktails curated with flair to cuisine crafted with care. 

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The story of every encounter with The First Chapter starts at the entrance of shelves, bursting with hundreds of books. Pause a moment to appreciate the A to Z of content, spanning Gabriel Garcia Márquez to Tolkien (a favourite of The First Chapter's founders) to Zadie Smith. 

Reinforcing the mystique of The First Chapter, patrons can only access this first-floor bar with a code that changes each evening. Reservations are a prerequisite.

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Past the shelves, discover an elegantly entrancing space, looking timeless with echoes of 1920s American glamour, set in shadowy leather, stone and marble. Comfortable couches beckon us to linger for hours.

Fun fact: True to The First Chapter's themes, you'll find books tucked in nooks and crannies throughout this setting, KL's most suitable bar for bookworms. 

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From the beginning, The First Chapter has consistently had fun with its cocktails, from a Payasam-inspired potion with coconut cream to The Scottish Nut that blends Johnnie Walker whisky with hazelnut tincture.

The bar's refreshed cocktail selection is a beautiful showcase of fundamentals balanced with flamboyance, essential in the Elemental (RM38), which brings together Tanqueray No. 10 with blue curaçao, pineapple and fresh lime, frothed with Miraculous Foamer for a creamy, vegan-friendly bitter. We often avoid cocktails with blue curaçao, but The First Chapter's concoction is enjoyable to the final sip, shining through with the gin's bright grapefruit notes.

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OK Cupid (RM38) - resembling a gin sour - rekindles our romance with pisco, relying on Demonio de Los Andes Pisco Quebranta for its Peruvian brandy base, smooth with a perfumed headiness, made extra-aromatic with the Italian sweet bitterness of aperol that furnishes a colourful splash of orange, layered with aquafaba in lieu of egg white. 

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The Malayan Iced Tea (RM45) is a potent pleasure of vodka, gin, tequila and rum, reassuringly top-tier, thanks to Grey Goose, Tanqueray No. 10, Patrón Reposado and Plantation 3 Stars. Local herbs of serai and selasih infuse this with an uplifting fragrance and flavour.

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If you relish cocktails that put a twist on classics, check out the Passionate Mojito (RM42), with Plantation 3 Stars rum that overlaps fresh, full-bodied passionfruit pulp for a tantalising tang, rounded out with fresh lime, mint and jaggery to remind us why mojitos are evergreen.

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Beyond cocktails, The First Chapter also serves up a storm of munch-worthy meals. 

Beef Sliders (RM48) prove as satisfying as any burger - thick, tender patties topped with onion jam, red cheddar and spicy garlic sauce in soft buns, complete with chunky, spicy wedges. 

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For hearty eaters, the pizzas will combat hunger pangs - but they're not empty-calorie stomach stuffers. The First Chapter's Asian-inflected pizzas are addictively tasty, in varieties like Buttermilk Chicken Pizza (RM28) and Tuna Curry Pizza (RM30), spiced just right for a kick, meaty, cheesy and crunchy in punchy, perfect proportions. One slice simply isn't enough.

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Chicken Cutlets (RM28) are ideal for snacking, sharing, or even as an entire single-plate meal for one person, with savourily marinated meat buoyed by crisply juicy, thinly sliced cucumber.

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Crunchy Meatballs (RM26 for six pieces), packed with a choice of chicken or beef, and Breaded Onion Rings (RM18), paired with tartar sauce, will keep the party going till midnight.

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For potato enthusiasts, chomp on the Cheesy Potato Balls and Sweet Potato Fries with chilli mayo, all the carbs you need to complement the cocktails.

We haven't written the last word about The First Chapter yet. Fans will be happy to know that its founders have launched a sister bar, Benang The Second Chapter, in Bukit Damansara - but that's a thread for another time.

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The First Chapter Speakeasy
139a, Jln Aminuddin Baki, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur.
Open Wednesday-Saturday, 5pm-12am. Tel: 011-2319-2556