From under-the-radar restaurants to secret speakeasies, concealed cafés to pop-up pudding bars, Kuala Lumpur’s culinary scene is full of surprises (and flavour). Welcome to our ‘Undiscovered KL’ series, where we look a little closer, take the road less travelled, and uncover some high-profile hidden gems. First up: the cosiest coffee shops in KL.
Having left Sri Hartamas last year, popular coffee joint Podgy & The Banker is back in Bangsar as Podgy Kurau, a homely little haven in Bangsar’s breezy foodie district, Lorong Kurau. The interior design is inviting and Instagram-friendly; monochrome tiles, modern design with a rustic wooden touch, potted plants. It’s classy-meets-cosy, a top choice for a long chill-out. They have regulars for a reason, and it’s not just the in-house baker’s lemon meringue.
Address: 5, Lorong Kurau, Lucky Garden, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 9am-10pm (closed on Tues)
A cool courtyard café tucked away in Section 17, Petaling Jaya, Tujoh gives off a little “hipster’s household vibe”, thanks to the monochrome murals and retro radio sets that decorate the place. Laid-back, light and bright thanks to the signature skylight, it’s a welcome neighbourhood retreat for coffee and cake, including marvellous matcha lattes. As well as all-day brunch, Tujoh does a great dinner these days, with rich recipes such as risotto, ravioli, and rib-eye steak at reasonable prices.
Address: 617 Jalan 17/10, Section 17, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-12am; Sun, 11am-10pm.
AKU CAFÉ AND GALLERY
A charming Chinatown coffee-shop-and-art-gallery combination, Aku is a fascinating first-floor café around the corner from Petaling Street. A minimalist space with mahogany tables and vintage furnishings, it’s an ideally secluded spot to smell the siphon-brewed blends, peruse some paintings (check their Facebook page for upcoming exhibitions) or just bury your nose in a book and while away the afternoon with a slice of cake. A hidden gem with history and hand-drip coffee.
Address: No. 8, 1st Floor, Jalan Panggong, Kuala Lumpur
Hours: Tues-Sun 11:00am-8:00pm (closed Mondays).
Mikro is a small space with big ideas and a bigger heart. The brainchild of best friends and fellow foodies Nas and Fahmi, this cosy community-focused café in Melawati is already a firm local favourite (despite only opening in November 2017). Encouragingly eco-friendly, Mikro aims to be resourceful and sustainable; used cooking oil is converted into bio-fuel, and organic food waste is used as compost for the kitchen garden. Coffee is locally and seasonally sourced, and the five-item menu is influenced by innovation, using only fresh ingredients. Take our word for it: try the Tuna Shak.
Hours: Daily 8am-10pm
Address: 320, Jalan Bandar Melawati, Melawati Square, Pusat Bandar Melawati, Taman Melawati, 53100 Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malaysia
PIU PIU PIU
A quaint and quirky coffee house hidden away within the Zhongsan Building (1950s shophouses converted into creative spaces), Piu Piu Piu – so named for the owner’s fond memories of childhood water pistol fights – is inspired by the sophisticated standing bars of Tokyo. The intimate interior is complemented by a small alfresco area. Delicious desserts are homemade with non-processed ingredients (the Burnt Cheese is unmissable); the house special Sour Lemon brew features five-day-preserved lemons in a soda and shochu mix. Coffee beans are sourced locally.
Address: 80B, Jalan Rotan, Kampung Attap, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Operating Hours: Closed on Mondays; Tuesdays–Saturday: 11:00am to 7:00pm; Sundays: 11:30am to 6:00pm