Easily one of KL’s hippest areas, the south-western suburb of Bangsar started life as a rubber plantation during the colonial era – its name, in fact, is a portmanteau of the surnames of Edouard Bunge and Alfred Grisar, who managed the Bunge-Grisar rubber estate. In the 1980s, however, its proximity to the city centre made it ripe for development, and soon, it became an enclave of luxury properties, enticing well-heeled yuppies and expats. The upshot of this are the vibrant F&B, nightlife and retail scenes helmed by some the city’s most exciting tastemakers and entrepreneurs.
With over a decade of experience under his belt, curator Richard Koh has been instrumental in promoting South-East Asian contemporary art in Malaysia and the region. Previously an interior designer, Koh recently expanded his gallery from a modest shopping mall unit to a repurposed house – all the better to showcase its adventurous roster of emerging and established regional artists.
229 Jln Maarof
Founded by Dutch expat and creative Lisette Scheers, Nala’s repertoire has grown from stationery to include home décor, accessories and clothes – all inspired by Malaysia’s cultural melting pot. The colourful and eclectic wares recently found a splendid new home in one of Bangsar’s last standing traditional kampung (village) houses.
18 Jln Abdullah
Upperhouse is one of the latest additions to the bustling Jalan Telawi strip, serving up café fare in a casual but considered setting. While it offers wholesome brunches and satisfying dinners, the restaurant really shines when it comes to desserts. Deftly executed and beautifully plated, the sweet treats feature unexpected flavour combinations, such as carrot cake with burnt honey ice cream.
27A Jln Telawi 3
Tucked away on one of the neighbourhood’s quieter streets, this piano bar is the place to be for quality live jazz. It’s primarily home to a restaurant and lounge, but head up the discreet staircase and you’ll be in for a surprise. Renowned Malaysian musician, actor and dancer Sean Ghazi is the bar’s musical director, so expect an intimate night of local musicians with the occasional visiting international name thrown in.
65-1 Jln Bangkung
Opened by the owners of the wildly successful Ganga Café, Barat offers vegetarian fare with a Mediterranean slant. Set in a pleasant high-ceilinged, two-storey shophouse just next to Ganga, it takes the austerity out of vegetarian cuisine with beautiful and inventive plates made with locally sourced produce – best paired with cocktails and wine.
17 Jln Kurau
This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of Silkwinds magazine