The 452-metre twin towers that soar above Kuala Lumpur mark it out as the spearhead city for South East Asia’s development, a 90s symbol of tiger economy, and a forward-looking city.
Malaysia also spearheaded the fashion for government-funded grands prix in Asian and Islamic countries, when the Tilke-designed Sepang International Circuit first hosted the Malaysian Grand Prix in 1999.
WHERE TO EAT:
Nope, this restaurant is nothing to do with a former F1 driver turned commentator, but it is brilliant and sort of French. The flavours are simple, like foie gras with beef cheek ravioli, crispy duck confit with scallop, and a tantalizing chocolate soufflé with marinated pineapple.
A: Shangri-La Hotel, 11 Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL / T: +60 3-2074 3900
Considered by many foodies to be KL’s best restaurant, chef Takashi Kimura dishes up modern French cuisine laced with Japanese influences. The degustation menu lets you sample his signatures, like abalone en croute with Bourguignon butter and pigeon with foie gras, for a very reasonable RM230.
A: MiCasa All Suite Hotel, 368-B Jalan Tun Razak, KL / T: +60 3-2179 8082
An upscale Malaysian kitchen serving home-style dishes, many based on recipes handed down through generations of the owner’s family. The presentation may be modern but the flavours are all traditional. Favourites include botok-botok (sea mackerel wrapped in herbal leaves) and ayam goreng lengkuas (fried chicken with blue ginger).
A: LG2, Starhill Gallery, 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL / T: +60 3-2141 8973
WHERE TO DRINK:
MARINI’S ON 57
Opened last summer 57 floors up in Petronas Tower 3, this is the highest watering hole in KL. Drinking is almost an after-thought, it’s all about the vista – especially after dark. Happy hour stretches from 4pm to 9pm, making it a beacon for the after-work crowd, and trendier revelers fill out the joint after dinner.
A: Menera 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC, KL / T: +60 3-2161 2880
Perched on the side of a hill, hence the name, this partial tree house boasts a cool setting and creative cocktails. Prepare yourself for the Weed Killer: absinthe, rum, vodka, gin, tequila, crème de menthe and apple juice, fed down a length of hosepipe. There are some safer yet no less original drinks, and there’s an outdoor beergarden. Book the Japanese Garden table in advance – it has a private beer tap.
A: 22 Lorong Dungun Damansara Heights, KL / T: +60 1-6229 1505
NO BLACK TIE
This sophisticated joint is KL’s singular spot for Jazz, Brazilian funk, poetry and the occasional dose of Chopin. The intimate wood interior provides sumptuous acoustics and the perfect place to enjoy scotch on the rocks. On 21st March check out the soulful Musica Popular Brasileira, cover charge RM35.
A: 17 Jalan Mesui, KL / T: +60 3-2142 3737
WHERE TO PARTY:
A cavernous super club, Zouk – which is Creole for ‘party’ – draws the biggest crowds and DJs. It can easily hold 2,000 clubbers. Outside it looks like a huge boulder, and inside there are booths made out of rock formations a
round the dance floor, which offer the most comfortable vantage point. A few years back, one well-refreshed driver strode into one of these booths, tripped, and landed on a table of champagne flutes. He never admitted to his physio where he got the cuts from. There are six rooms, so if you want to get away from house and trance you can find hip hop, indie and funk.
A: 113 Jalan Ampang, KL / T: +60 3-2171 1997
THE BUTTER FACTORY
New to the clubbing scene six months ago, The Butter Factory has quickly established itself as the boldest scene since Zouk. Located at a prestigious address in the Golden Triangle, this two-storey jewel box packs state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. Beats comes in all genres, mixed up like a musical stew.
A: 1 Jalan Kia Peng, KL / T: +60 3-2141 9998
Water is the theme at this concept club, modeled after a giant underwater aquarium – or maybe Stromberg’s lair in The Spy Who Loved Me. Blue wave lighting enhances the experience, along with a real-life model posing as a mermaid and flapping around in a big fish tank. We’ve seen shark tanks in clubs before (see M1NT, Shanghai), but mermaids are a first.
A: Oasis Blvd, Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall, 3 Jalan PJS 11/15, Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya / T: +60 1-6223 9823
The Butter Factory