Last Updated: December 26, 2016
Cafes in Kuala Lumpur are really different from that of Singapore; First, KL Cafes all tend to have wifi with really interesting passwords. Ask the barista and they reply with ‘idontknow’ or ‘imnotsure’.
Yep those are actually the wifi passwords, a really cute ploy. The staff are a lot more passionate about their food, especially the ones at #8. To a point I would even say that this trip steadily turned into an education experience.
For the most part, Cafes in Kuala Lumpur have really well thought-out interiors, but more attention could be paid to the food quality. It’s still easier to find a place that offered good cafe food in Singapore. Seth and I scoured over dozens cafes in coming up with this list to bring you the best of cafes in Kuala Lumpur.
If you choose your stops wisely (albeit with this list), I promise you the whale of a time.
Namoo is the one place you can get a Salted Caramel Bingsu (22 RM), the ice is sadly not as fine as the ones you get in usual Korean bingsu. It however comes with a very hearty serving of chewy ricecakes, popcorn, caramel sauce in a 500ml measuring cup. Namoo goes all out Korean, serving a awesome rice burger too.
Namoo uses Japanese rice for their patties with enough oil for a crisp but not too much that the starch taste is burnt and gone. I recommend the chicken over the beef burger (28 RM) as I found the Yakiniku too sweet. For all things Korean in KL, Namoo is the place to be.
Address: Solaris Dutamas, 1, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 Jalan Dutamas 1, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Opening hours Mon-Thu, 10.30am-10.30pm; Fri-Sun, 10.30am-11pm
Located directly across Namoo, Whimsical is home to the reknowned Cotton Candy Affogato (13 RM). Really popular amongst the Kuala Lumpur Instagram community here. The tower of cotton candy floss cloaks a coffee cup that has a scoop of Gula Melaka below.
Pour the espresso over as the cotton candy melts to slowly reveal the delicious mess that awaits you. I would prefer to leave a little bit of cotton candy to nibble upon in case the espresso is a tad too strong. Mix the ice cream, espresso and cotton candy together and the resulting mixture tastes like a really interesting coconut coffee blend.
Address: D2-G3-05, Solaris Dutamas, 1 Jalan Dutamas 1 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Outside Publika mall) | Opening hours: open daily 9am-11pm except on Tuesdays
The same KL cafe series behind Garage 51 and Procrastination, Coffee Societe is the birthplace of the mochatella (16.9 RM). Espresso ice cubes that sit on a sweetened nutella sauce with milk served to the side. The cubes are 100% espresso and do not dilute the drink as per the ones you get off Singapore.
I love to scoop up the bits of nutella with the straw whenever the drink gets too heavy. It is a sweeter version of the usual Affogato you get. On another note, avoid the poached eggs here, the ones we had were a tad too overcooked. Consistent with other reviews I had read about the franchise prior to this trip.
Address: Solaris Dutamas, 1, Jalan Dutamas 1, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Opening Hours: 8am -11.30pm
A rather large converted shophouse on the second level, first thing I noticed here was the mad wave of Instagrammers (The #ootd type, exploiting every single wall and scenery for the perfect shot).
Merchant Lane seems built for Instagram shots, with swings, textured walls, a high window for natural light to fall through, a big trend about cafes in KL was how the Instagram culture here surpasses food to include the people themselves.
I personally recommend the South China Sea (24 RM), grilled salmon served on a interesting Asian Rosti with pineapple to the side. It is a very well thought out dish and the ‘rosti’ is seasoned with sweet Malay spices (those used in Nasi Briyani, but very faint) accompanied with salmon for flavor and the pineapple toss that pierces through the other 2 savory elements for taste. It was a very coherent and well thought out dish.
Address: No, 150 Jalan Petaling, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Opening hours: 12pm- 8pm (daily)
Essentially the same place under the same management, the latter is just their pancake department for the entire shophouse. I loved the Buttery chick chicken (20 RM) here, essentially an exceptional savory pancake done well. Pancakes are lighter and made fluffy to accommodate the intense taste of the lightly curried and butter cream chicken.
Also try the I love Kaya (22 RM), poached fruits with French toast in a caramelized Kaya sauce. Really sweet, potentially a bit too jelak but definitely one of the better finds in our trip here.
Address: 50490, 7, Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Opening Hours: 9am-5pm (Mon-Thurs) 9am-10pm (Fri-Sun)
Technically, Softsrve is more a dessert bar than cafe, but still very popular with the crowds. Softsrve is a wee bit pretentious I felt, as they serve dry ice with their soft serve mostly for that cool smokey effect which doesn’t really do much to the flavour anyway. What really drove me here was the oolong soft serve, something Seth remarked on the taste that I had to try.
I loved how they managed to modernize that same refreshing oolong taste into a soft serve. Making it thick like ice cream and slightly sweeter for taste. The soft serve base also comes in chocolate/vanilla with a topping of your choice, I had the oolong honey (10 RM) that came with a seasame biscuit, honey drizzle and… yes dry Ice. The marketing gimmick annoys me a tad bit but the soft serve is seriously good and worth a visit.
Address: 31, Jalan SS21/1A (located between Capital Nasi Dagang same row as The Good Batch), Damansara Uptown, Petaling Jaya. | Opening Hours: 11am to 11pm. Closed on Mondays.
One of the more obscure cafes located in Bukit Jalil, it was one of the cafes found far away from the main cluster areas of other cafes. I recommend the (Rebecca 18 RM) here- the earl grey ice cream was exceptional. Rich enough to experience the flavour with a really surprising minty after-taste, I love the design behind this ice cream waffle.
Interestingly enough, the ice cream gets too rich on its own but pairs really well with their soft chewy waffles and fresh fruits. We came on a Friday afternoon and there was already a queue, I suggest to at least make a reservation or try to plan a trip here during the off-peak.
Address: Jalan Jalil Jaya 6, Bukit Jalil, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Opening hours: Tue – Thurs: 10am – 7pm Fri – Sat: 10am – 11pm Sun: 10am – 7pm (Closed on Mondays)
Pulp sits as a lone garage by itself in the middle of nowhere which is expected no less from Papa Palheta. The same people behind Chye Seng Huat and Nylon cafe in Singapore, they always aim to deliver cafes in new ulu location for the ultimate cafe experience. Heck, even the toilets have their own neon lights and are really cool.
The coffee culture in Pulp is especially strong, with beans left in cups for you to sample taste/smells. Each cup comes with a description to train you on the nose you should pick up.
Pulp does mostly single roasts, with a range of 8 coffee beans. I tried the Suke Outo here that was strong but came with a really light citrus taste – something you don’t get often in Singapore. Starbucks has that Kati Kati blend but that’s a notch too strong. Talk to the baristas here, they are all enriched with lots of coffee knowledge to share. I learnt quite a lot in my time here.
Also try the nutty toast (10 RM) here, it comes with a really generous serving of nuts and almonds with a thin peanut butter sauce and honey drizzle. A really hearty toast done right.
Address: 29-01, Jalan Riong, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur | Opening Hours Tue-Fri 9am-7pm; Sat-Sun 9am-10pm (Closed on Mondays)
VCR houses a see-through ceiling kind of like a glasshouse allowing natural light to fall through easily, making it a really chill place to watch the afternoon drive by. There’s a second floor with more room and a grassy area to experience a picnic-like brunch as well.
VCR’s French toast (18 RM) comes served with a fresh berry compote, espresso ice cream and mocha sauce. I love the play on darker tastes instead of making it the atypical sweet dessert. Their menu is specially curated with new limited period dishes during seasons like Christmas, CNY etc.
The big breakfast platter (32 RM) and potato waffle (20 RM) are some of the other popular options here too.
Address: 2, Jalan Galloway, Bukit Bintang, 50150 Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Opening Hours: (daily) 8:30 am – 11:00 pm
Breadfruits aims to deliver the same hearty breakfast but with a more healthy twist. Th storefront is quite… deceiving though, looking like a fruit seller stall. Surprisingly the taste was not compromised. We had the Gourmet Antipasto Breakfast platter ($29.80 RM) which comes with the cheese board with salami ham bacon biscotti, 7-minute egg AND 2 drinks (A coffee and juice I might add).
The bacon was poached with a slight crisp that retained its flavor. Who says breakfast always has to be guilty and dripping with oil?
I recommend the carbonara (16.8 RM) too, it comes with the slow cooked egg fresh on top the pasta. Mix it in to enrich the carbonara sauce further. I love the concept, indulgent food without the sin and really value for money too. Thumbs up from me.
Address: No. 17, Jalan 26/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Opening Hours: 8.30am – 9pm daily
A really simple waffle done right. Standing Theory’s B.B.C waffles (20 RM) are crisp with a touch of honey. Served with bananas and cornflake ice cream, the melted cream acted as a dip with the smoked bacon. Bacon waffles like these tend to fail because the savory aspect wipes everything out.
However, the ratio of ingredients here was perfect with little bits of cornflakes/bacon for that added oomph in every bite. Not too bad that the dish ends up being messy – you just end up eating the waffle and bacon separately. It was really clever to pair a cornflake ice cream with savory smoked bacon, these 2 meshed really well together.
Address: Jalan SS 2/103, SS 2, Petaling Jaya, 47300 Selangor, Malaysia | Opening Hours: 11am -11pm (daily, closed on Mondays)
Alexis prides themselves in their desserts and I would recommend to stick with that. We tried the lobster roll here that was absolutely terrible – they use slipper lobster instead and the entire dish has a very fishy pungent flavour. Thankfully the Mixed Fruit Pavlova (16 RM) was the saving grace, fresh cream sneakily layered with thin bits of caramel in between with a fairly light meringue only capable by a decent pastry chef.
Fresh fruits atop for flavor while this may not be the most Instagrammable of desserts it was definitely one of best, sweet enough to taste yet light enough to keep you coming for more. Understandably one of the better cafes in the Bangsar Area.
Address: 29 Jalan Telawi 3 Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Opening Hours: 10am -10pm (daily)
In the day its Three Little pigs, in the night it turns into The Big Bad wolf. This cafe/restaurant is hidden inside the supermarket, something that really surprised us. They go all out pork (or if you prefer bacon) with everything, It is the Oh my Bacon of Singapore.
I absolutely loved the meatosaurus (34 RM), a meatloaf wrapped in bacon with a clear mushroom sauce and a tapas salad served to the side.
There is a wee bit balsamic vinegar on the side for that added salty factor. The dish is really coherent, the tapas salad for a lighter taste and the basalmic sauce for something edgier. I loved the sin, I loved the hearty flavors that went on with the dish and absolutely loved the price too. I could not stop nodding in pleasure having this dish.
Address: Jalan Telawi 1, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Opening hours: 10am- 10pm (daily)
Oddly enough, the name means people indigenous to Australia/New Zealand but they served a large variety of Mediterranean/Arab food like Kebabs here. We had the lamb kebab (24 RM), the play on taste is not excellent, meat could have been more tender but the seasoning was on point, light enough to enhance the taste on lamb.
Place is a wee bit cramped and the menu is left on the board, this was quite a personal annoyance. Food wise, Antipodean wins on big servings, the prime reason why it is popular amongst the locals. You get your maximum value for money here.
Address: 20, Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Opening hours: 8am-10pm (daily)
If you love a play on your coffee, try the Xpreespresso (16.95 RM) at Coffeestain. Essentially, it is an espresso base mixed with two flavored sodas of your choice. Choose from a range of 14 flavors, mostly fruit bases like Guava, Wildberry, Pineapple to include even floral tastes like Lavender and rose.
There is a mint flavor which we opted with watermelon, the resultant coffee tasted like decarbonated coke. While our experience may not have been the best, I could see how you could create multiple dimensions to coffee with the different mixtures. I will leave this for the more adventurous foodie.
Address: D4-G3-01 1 Jalan Dutamas 1 Solaris Dutamas Kuala Lumpur 50480 | Opening hours: Mon, 9.30am-9pm; Tue-Thu, 9.30am-11pm; Fri-Sun, 9.30am-12midnight
Strangers at 47, named after the unit number it’s locate at, is an independent cafe that is run privately by local owners. This KL cafe is well-known for their crepes, serving hearty savoury selections like the Not Your Local Beef (24 RM) crepe, as well as sweet renditions like the Purple Rage (9 RM). Beef was a tad tough thou, but crepe was great.
Purple rage is an interesting one, made with Japanese sweet potato, coconut sago and pandan-infused gula melaka. The crepe itself has also been infused with sweet potato, turning it a violet color when served.
Address: 47, Jalan 17/45, 46400 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia | Tel: +60 3-7497 2409 | Opening hours: 11 am – 10 pm (closed Tues)
Operated by a passionate group of baristas, Bandits’ interior is a play on urban minimalism with rustic touches. Loads of natural light coming from the large window panels, the coffee is definitely the highlight here given the owner’s barista background.
Food wise, try the Poached Egg (14 RM) and French Toast (14 RM).Collaborating with local indie bakers such as Baked by Lisa and Accidental Bakers, you can also expect great baked goods at Bandits both sweet and savoury alike. Try the Smores Brownies (10 RM) especially for a indulgent marshmallow and chocolate feast; Its really sweet though, be forewarned.
Address: 16, Jalan Medan Setia 2, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Operating hours: Not finalized
A neighbourhood cafe in Damansara Kim, The Kitchen Table also fronts a small bakery upfront serving cakes and pastries like the Flourless Chocolate cake ($12.90).
Contemporary in design, The Kitchen Table has quite a friendly team of staff who make you feel comfortable amidst the cold concrete interiors.
The Kitchen Table’s serves classic Western food which most will be familiar with; Pulled pork with house made BBQ sauce, fried egg and apple sourdough (22 RM) is one recommended sandwich to try here.
Address: 23, Jalan SS20/11, Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya | Tel: +60 3-7733 4000 | Opening hours: 10am-1030pm Daily (Kitchen closes around 3pm -6pm though). Closed Mondays.
The vibes at Acme Bar and Coffee are vastly different in the day v.s the evening time, where it turns more into an intimate restaurant great for dates. Acme Bar and Coffee’s space was designed to feel ‘timeless’, and personal to every guest that steps into the restaurant.
A sense of familiarity and old charm is present, bringing you out of Kuala Lumpur to an European country in a snap.
Acme Bar and Coffee presents comfort foods like Salted egg yolk chicken strips (18 RM) that most Asians will be familiar with. A special brunch section is also available serving poached eggs and other morning delights. The Sizzling Brownie (19 RM) is also a signature dessert that’s showy, but otherwise pretty ordinary. Prices are a bit on the high side at ABC, so do take note.
Address: The Troika, Persiaran KLCC, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Tel: +60 3-2162 2288 | Website | Opening hours: Mon – thurs 11:00 am-12:00 am; Fri 11am – 1am; Sat 9.30am – 1am; Sun 9.30am – 12am
Upon entering Podgy & The Banker, you get a very relaxing atmosphere that takes over your mood, especially with the copious amounts of natural light just pouring in from the body length glass that makes up the surrounding walls. Ample white space all around.
A very basic brunch item, the runny Poached eggs on toast (10 RM) is a hot favorite amongst fans of this cafe. Personally, I loved the Home Brew French Toast with Nutella (10 RM) which combined nutella with coffee infused toast.
I’ve read online that service experienced has been less than ideal at Podgy and the Banker, but while I personally didn’t experience anything I would call bad, the staff do seem a bit more nonchalant about things so I’d say service to me was average here.
Address: 2 Jalan Sri Hartamas 8, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Website |
Opening hours: Wed – Mon, 9am – 12am (closed tues)