Throw out that boring sandwich and head out for a quick bite to eat. In KL, it doens’t have to cost the earth and there is an endless list of places to grab a tasty meal, from steaming dim sum to an all-day breakfast. Here is a round-up of some lunchtime meals from across KL, spanning 7 world cuisines.
Salad at Yeast Bistronomy
Yeast is a cafe-come-bakery that has been serving KL diners with authentic french food since 2012. Quality is key here and nothing less than perfection is allowed to leave the kitchen. The menu comprises of breakfast eggs and pastries, fine dinnertime eats and the lunch selection, available both to eat on-site or to take away. Both hot and cold food is available at lunch, but we love the salads here. A classic Nicoise salad is available, featuring succulent tuna, pungent black olives, sunny soft-boiled eggs, salty anchovies, greens, potatoes and onions. The Salade de Mesclun is a simple triumph; deep green and purple Mesclun leaves, dotted with smoked duck bits and crispy garlic croutons, then crowned with a perfectly poached egg. Along with Yeast’s freshly baked bread (and perhaps a cheeky midday glass of wine), you’ll be transported to a Parisian café.
Yeast Bistronomy, 24G Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, 59100, Kuala Lumpur
All-Day Breakfast at Jarrod & Rawlins
Jarrod and Rawlins is a truly British institution, loved by expats and locals alike, that takes pride in their bacon sarnies, juicy sausages, Sunday roasts and full English breakfasts. They have become renowned for their house-made crispy black pudding; calorific but divine. Their full-English is an homage to delicious “greasy-spoon” grub from back home. It’s a heart-stopping mix of thick sausages, crispy pork bacon, fried black pudding, grilled tomatoes, golden hash browns, sunny-side up eggs, baked beans and butter-sauteed mushrooms, all served with toast, butter, tea and juice. Definitely not a ‘light lunch’ and it may have you dosing off at work, but we all need a belly-busting brunch once in a while.
Jarrod & Rawlins, 63, Jalan Bangkung, Taman Bandaraya, Bangsar, 59100, KL
Authentic Ramen Noodles at Goku Raku Ramen
Ramen has become a staple food in Japan ever since the introduction of noodles from mainland China back in 1872. Different regions of Japan have nurtured different varieties of noodles, combining them with distinct flavours and ingredients, however, the dish of noodles in a flavoured broth is eaten across the country. Goku Raku Ramen serve the “Horikiri” style of ramen, doused in a salty soy broth and ideally accompanied by pork, chicken or fish. The broths here are simmered for 48 hours to allow all the flavours to develop. The Tonkotsu ramen are extremely popular. The broth for this dish is silky and aromatic, enhanced by the smokey aroma of roasted garlic and topped with pork belly or chicken, crisp bean sprouts, fish cakes, bamboo, seaweed, spring onion and hard-boiled egg.
Goku Raku Ramen, Lot S025, Level 2, Mid Valley Megamall, 59200, KL
Banh Mi at Obanhmi
Damansara Uptown hides many gems, and Obanhmi is certainly one of them. This Vietnamese sandwich shop is run by two high school friends from Hanoi who had a dream os recreating the incredible banh mi sandwich they would eat daily when living in Saigon. This amazing sandwich harks back to colonial times, when Vietnam was home to the French who introduced them to the baguette. At Obanhmi, the traditional baguette recipe has been slightly altered to develop a lighter crumb and thin crust, perfect for stuffing. Bread is baked fresh throughout the day for ultimate quality, texture and flavour. The original O School sandwich is filled with a generous spreading of meaty and well-seasoned house-made pate, made from pork meat and liver, strips of lightly-fragranced grilled lemongrass chicken, turkey ham, shredded cucumber and carrot, creamy mayonnaise, sweet chilli sauce and lots of fresh coriander. Other varieties include a fried egg, meatballs and BBQ pork. It’s the perfect well-balanced, tasty and filling lunch. Add spring rolls and a Vietnamese coffee, which has notes of dark chocolate and toffee, or a lemongrass tea for only RM5.
Obanhmi, 33, Jalan SS21/56b, Damansara Utama, 47400, Petaling Jaya
Thai Hot Pot at Absolute Thai Hot Pot
You may be cooking the food yourself at Absolute Thai Hot Pot, but speedy service and a boiling broth which cooks the paper thin meats and fresh veg within seconds mean this meal makes the “quick bites” list. Experience the fusion of a Chinese dining experience with tantalising Thai flavours and design you own meal, choosing between a myriad of noodles, colourful vegetables, fungi, sliced meats and fish. The Thai fish balls, tiger prawns, bouncy oyster mushrooms and crunchy lotus root are amongst my top choices. Avoid the eggs which are past their best and disintegrate in the bubbling broth.
Absolute Thai Hotpot, G22, Ground Floor, Bangsar Village 1, No.1, Jalan Telawi Satu, Bangsar Baru, 59100, KL
Toastie at Slurp Cafe
I’m still unsure as to whether this cafe is brilliant or just bizarre. Inspired by Japanese comics and world-famous super heroes, the food served here reflects this surreal world. Both Western and Asian meals are available; the Japanese curry is popular here, as are the toasted sandwiches. I chose the smoked duck toastie; what arrived on my plate was a whole lots more. Smoked duck, check, cheese, check, salad items, check-so far so good. A nice dollop of cherry jam to complement the duck-things are looking up. But what on earth were smoked salmon and beef bacon doing here. Had the chef mixed my order with another sandwich? No, no, this combination was intentional. This is without a doubt the most unconventional sandwich I have ever eaten, but I don’t think I hated it… or at least I ate in such a bewildered daze that I wasn’t sure what I thought. The coffee here is great, so stop by and decide for yourself whether this cafe is crazy or genius.
Slurp Cafe, C-16-01, Dataran 3 Two, Jalan 19/1, 46300, Petaling Jaya
Dim Sum at New Shanghai
New Shanghai rather ironically harks back to old Shanghai, combining the vintage ambiance of the 1920s with an array of traditional savoury and sweet dim sum delicacies, some brought into the 21st century with a few modern tweaks to the recipe. High-quality Chinese teas are served here, giving diners the classic Chinese version of a British afternoon tea. Convenient self-service allows diners in a hurry to have a “proper” meal before returning to work (or shopping!) For maximum satisfaction, try the richly-spiced char siew pork bun, the bouncy steamed prawn and pork siew mai, pan-fried lotus root puffs, sticky lotus leaf-wrapped glutinous rice with juicy chicken, muchrooms and salted-egg and crumbly sweet potato biscuits. Prices are a little steep for dim sum, but flavours earn the price tags.
New Shanghai, Lot 1.02.00, Level 1, Pavilion, 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Bukit BIntang, 55100, KL
Crepes at La Creperie de Caroline
A second French eatery makes the lunch list. This time its a more relaxed affair with Breton crepes. The menu spans land and sea, with vegetarian options also available. Savoury galettes are made with buckwheat flour, as tradition dictates. The paper-thin and butter skins are filled, folded and plated, along with a fresh and fruity side salad. The famous “burger crepe” (Le Breitz Burger) is among the top-sellers, topped with beef mince, stewed fresh tomatoes and sweet onions and an egg yolk. Emmenthal cheese oozed from within to bind the elements together. I went for another favourite; La Ty Coz with leek fondue and emmenthal. Unfortunately, my cheese wasn’t melted enough and was therefore an unpleasant, waxy and thick layer. The leeks were still verging on raw, needing to be slow cooking in plenty of butter and cream for much much longer. Perhaps the chef was having an off day? On the up side, I still had room for dessert after the savoury. La Creperie de Caroline make their own chocolate and nut spreads and jams to go with sweet crepes. The waffles her are also delicious; crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle and topped with melty ice cream.
La Creperie de Caroline, 33 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar, 59100, KL
Sandwich at Miam Miam
Miam Miam is extremely popular and unfortunately, the chefs don’t seem to be able to keep up with demand, therefore long queues and wait time are to be expected. When you do finally receive your food however, it is all worth it. The french toast is Miam Miam’s most ordered item and the cafe often runs out, with wait times for this dish known to reach an hour and a half! Yummy rumbling, I opted for an easy sandwich. Although simple, it delivered on taste, filled with smashed ripe avocado, plump prawns, juicy tomatoes, tangy pickled and egg-mayo, sandwiched between slightly toasted, fluffy white bread.
Miam Miam, 146, Ground Floor, 1Utama, 47800, Petaling Jaya
Lunch Platter at Senjyu
Bento on a larger and heartier scale, an exciting Japanese feast. Senjyu has come up with a selection of lunch platters; a choice between the likes of a California roll, ramen noodles and teriyaki fish or chicken amongst several others. Staff are attentive, topping up tea and bringing plenty of wasabi and pickled ginger throughout the meal. The dishes themselves were served quickly and well-executed. The thick and soft noodles in a toothsome broth with fish, fish cakes, spinach, egg and crispy tempura prawn scored highly, as did the California roll, coated in crunchy roe. The assortment of pickles cleaned the palette nicely between dishes and I even enjoyed the side dishes of cold octopus salad with sweet cucumber slices and shredded cabbage salad with a spiced paste piled on top.
Senjyu, 2F-27, 2nd Floor, Bangsar Village II, Jalan Telawi Satu, Bangsar Baru, 59100, KL
Nasi Lemak at Village Park Restaurant
Possibly the most famous spot for nasi lemak with fried chicken in KL, or at least the most talked about. Everyone has either eaten or been told about their amazing fried chicken. Being the dish most ordered here, the nasi lemak arrives withint moments after ordering. The loose rice is cooked ‘al dente’, giving a nice bite, unlike any other rice dish I have eaten in KL and the coconut flavour comes through strongly. A pile of roasted peanuts and crispy fried anchovies sits to one side of the rice, while sliced cucumber, half a hard-boiled egg and a puddle of chilli sambal occupy the other. The dark-golden fried chicken is adorned with a mound of crispy batter bits for added crunch (and added calories!) Once you have broken through its shell (which is always a little difficult for me with only the use of a spoon and fork), you’ll find succulent meat within. The sambal could have done with being a little more spicy for me, but the flavour was impressive, not overly strong with shrimp paste. I wouldn’t disagree with the general consensus that this may be the best nasi lemak ayam goreng in KL.
Village Park Restaurant, 5, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama, 47400, Petaling Jaya
Room for dessert? Check out KL’s top cakes and bakes here.