Nowadays, it takes more than just good food for a cafe to bring in customers. Ambience and decor has also become a major pull factor – from interior design to how food and drinks are presented, it’s all about paying attention to the little details.
For the cafes that have embraced this and given it their own twist, they’ve won a soft spot among Instagrammers from not only Kuala Lumpur, but across the Causeway.
So for all you cafe-hoppers looking for your next cafe du jour, get your hashtagging fingers ready: here’s a list of the 9 most aesthetically-pleasing cafes in or near KL that will make a welcome addition to your Instagram feed.
1. Merchant’s Lane
Need a reprieve from the tourist-laden Petaling Street? Then head over to Merchant’s Lane, a cool little cafe hidden above an old shophouse next to the Advance Tertiary College building.
Walk up the stairs and you’ll find a bright, cheery interior, while the outdoor seating area has a vintage, unpolished feel to it, thanks to the owners’ efforts to conserve the building’s original structure.
And while most of the cafe’s spaces are Instagram-worthy, the beautifully painted flower murals have our vote for prettiest background.
No. 150, Jalan Petaling,
Opening times: Mon – Tues, 11.30am – 10.00pm; Thurs – Fri, 11.30am – 10.00pm; Sat – Sun, 9.30am – 10.00pm; Wed, CLOSED
2. Wild Sheep Chase
If you’re a fan of popular Japanese author Haruki Murakami and his whimsical yarns, then the name of this cafe should ring a bell – it’s inspired by his third novel of the same name. Its clean, minimalist style and plain white-and-wood interior allow you (and your food) to stand out in photos.
The cafe is known for serving some of the yummiest and prettiest soufflés in town, so it’s definitely a must-try when you’re in KL. The Taiwanese recipe used creates a light yet decadent dessert that keeps people coming back for more. But be sure to quickly snap your pic before the soufflé falls!
6-1, Desa Business Park
Off Old Klang Road
Opening times: Tues – Wed, 12.00pm – 8.00pm; Thurs – Sun, 12.00pm – 10.00pm; Mon, CLOSED
Are you old enough to remember what a VCR is? Then you’ll like this cool cafe, located in Pudu, near Chinatown and Bukit Bintang. Seen from ground level, the building even looks like a VHS tape.
Snag a seat on the first floor so you can enjoy your coffee with a great view of the surrounding greenery. Their desserts, which include cheesecakes galore, are also something to be savored slowly.
2, Jalan Galloway
Opening times: Mon – Sun, 8.30am – 11.00pm
Botanica+Co.’s interior is so full of lush plants that you’ll feel as though you’re dining inside a secret garden tucked away in Bangsar South. The floor-to-ceiling windows also allow just the right amount of natural light to shine through.
The restaurant serves up hearty meals such as lamb tacos and spicy crayfish aglio olio, so if you’re looking for something lighter, you can skip over to its sister outlet next door, Botanica Deli, which serves up gourmet sandwiches and is just as well-decorated.
G5 Podium, The Verticals
Bangsar South City
No. 8, Jalan Kerinchi
Opening times: Mon – Thurs, 11.30am – 10.00pm; Friday & Eve of Public Holidays, 11.30am – Midnight; Sat, 9.30am – Midnight; Sun & Public Holidays, 9.30am – 10.00pm
5. LOKL Coffee Co.
Pronounced “local”, this friendly neighborhood cafe is just a 5-minute walk from Masjid Jamek LRT station. Connected to BackHome Hostel via the cozy shared inner courtyard, you can choose to either chat up a resident of the hostel or keep to a quiet corner.
The cafe’s walls are covered in brightly-colored pieces of pop art that have a distinctly Malaysian influence. Its menu, which offers a fusion of Western and local cuisine (e.g., Hainanese Meatloaf and Buttermilk Chicken Chop), changes fairly regularly and is generally pretty good.
30, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee
Opening times: Mon – Sun, 8.00am – 5.30pm
Serving up the Japanese equivalent of the local ais kacang (shaved ice dessert prepared with sweet syrup and various toppings), Kakigōri turns it into an artform with inventive and carefully-balanced toppings ranging from purées to espumas (a creamy foam topping).
You’ll find it tricky to figure out how to eat the tall mountain of shaved ice without having it topple over, but it’s a welcome challenge. While located just outside KL in the quiet residential area of Taman Paramount, the quaint outlet is set within a small enclave of other chic boutique shops and hipster eateries.
25, Jalan 20/13, Taman Paramount
46300 Petaling Jaya
Opening times: Tues – Fri, 2.00pm – 11.00pm; Sat – Sun, 1.00pm – 11.00pm; Mon, CLOSED
7. Breakfast Thieves
After making a name for itself in the ultra-hip Fitzroy suburb of Melbourne, Australia, Breakfast Thieves has landed in KL, bringing with it extravagant brunches and wake-you-right-up coffee.
The cafe is housed within a gorgeous glass and wood structure at APW, formerly a decades-old commercial printing factory. Patrons can have their pick of the modern Australian menu, which features an Asian touch, like Uncle Foo’s Fiery Crab Burger.
Lot M, 29-5 Jalan Riong, Bangsar
Opening times: Tues – Sun, 9.00am – 5.00pm; Mon, CLOSED
8. Rimba & Rusa
Like someplace you’d find within the pages of a storybook, Rimba & Rusa is a charming hideaway. Comprised of two floors, the high ceiling and pastel-hued finishing touches lend a light, airy feel.
Its menu is crafted by the folks from Wondermilk, offering heavier Western-Asian fusion fare than what you’d find at its sister cafe.
Quick tip: if you’re looking for a quiet meal, be sure to get a seat on the ground level, as there’s a children’s play area on the second floor.
D-GF-01, Sunway Nexis
47810 Kota Damansara
Opening times: Mon – Thurs, 12.00pm – 10.00pm; Sat – Sun,10.00am – 10.00pm; Fri, CLOSED
Out of a sublime combination of retro aesthetics and great food and drink, DR.Inc (pronounced “drink”) was born. Set along a quiet row of shops in Bangsar, the cafe offers light fare (quiches and cakes) to heavier mains.
Its interesting coffee offerings are the highlight, however – try the Presso Bomb (a shot of espresso dunked into a big glass of locally-sourced ice cream soda) or the Che Guevara (two shots of espresso served with a wedge of lemon and brown sugar) to get a unique caffeinated experience.
Set above the cafe is Nala Designs, a boutique designer that creates anything from jewellery to stationery, drawing inspiration from Malaysia’s diverse culture and history.
The cafe is also easy to get to, as it’s a mere 5-minute walk from the Bangsar LRT station.
8, Jalan Kemuja, Bangsar
Opening times: Mon, 9.00am – 7.00pm; Tues – Sun, 9.00am – 10.00am