Cover Chin Chin Gastrpub

We round up six exciting places from the streets of notable food cities in Malaysia for your next epicurean excursion. Find out what’s good in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Melaka, and Kota Kinabalu.

The open-kitchen era is experiencing a revival in Malaysia with bar seats now the prime spots in every establishment, allowing guests a front-row seat to the whole culinary process and even an opportunity to cook up a friendly connection with the chefs or bartenders behind the tabletops. Some of the country's best-kept secrets, the establishments on this list straddle the middle ground between bistro and fine dining for an unforgettable modern dining experience. 

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Back Alley Pasta

In the mood for some fresh, handmade pasta? Hidden in Ampang’s byway, Back Alley Pasta is a cosy dining kitchen where you can sit by the kitchen counter and watch the chef in action. This hole in the wall restaurant specialises in classic Italian pasta and Japanese rice bowls. Tuck into their Quinoa, Spinach, and Truffle Arancini for starters and the Potato Gnocchi with Yuzu Brisket drenched in Miso Bechamel sauce for the main. 

Kindly ask for the specials of the day to try their off-menu fares. They cater for only nine pax per night.

Back Alley Pasta | 8, Jalan 1/67b, Off Jalan Mengkudu, 55000 Kuala Lumpur | 0147585780 | Tuesday to Sunday, 5:30pm to 10pm

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Lut Gastrobar

Step into Lut Gastrobar's sultry red interior that highlights a collection of street-grunge-inspired walls. The eatery initiates a cuisine style focusing on seasonal produce for the curiously modern palate. Sate on the likes of their signature Unagi Toasted Sandwiches and the Uni Capellini with Dashi Espuma. They also boast a sufficient collection of wines to pair with your meals.

Lut KL | 30, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 2, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur | 0143838093 | Monday to Sunday, 5:30pm to 11:30pm

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Chin Chin Gastropub

Chin Chin Gastropub is a neighbourhood izakaya-style restaurant that curates a menu of their contemporary approach of French and Japanese techniques on seasonal ingredients while highlighting local produce. Their take on the Bikini, a meek ham and cheese sandwich from Spain, is stuffed with foie gras and truffle honey. 

The open-kitchen addition makes for the ultimate omakase-style experience. They offer two delectable options: both consisting of a six-course menu, priced at RM250 per pax without beef and RM350 with beef. This is available upon request with a minimum order at the same rate of two pax, by reservations only.

Chin Chin Gastropub | 25-G, Lintang Burma, George Town, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang | 01127430417 | Wednesday to Monday, 12pm to 10pm 

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The Curly Tail

The Curly Tail is a hidden gem added to the nightlife and dining experience in Melaka. While Western food may not be the highlight of this heritage town, this back alley establishment has an intimate space for Iberico Pork specialities. Feed on the likes of the delectable Fan (Abanico) that comes with homemade meat salt, potato cake, pickles, and garlic confit. If you prefer your dessert to be on the tangy side, opt for their Lemon Curd Cheesecake.

The Curly Tail | 53, Jalan Tokong, 75200 Melaka | 062811797 or 0102479686 | Thursday to Tuesday, 1pm to 10pm

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Salud Tapas

If you’ve ever wandered around the hotspots of Melaka looking for nosh and a place to clink your glasses, chances are, you’ve witnessed the vibrant spirit of this corner lot just off the main strip of Jonker. Salud Tapas, Melaka’s very own Spanish tapas bar and restaurant, offers seating at the bar to witness the magic, a traditional center courtyard, a terrace along the street, and a chill out area under the stars. 

Visitors will be spoilt for choice here. A must-try would be their traditional Spanish canapé with roasted vegetables and anchovies from Spain. Drinks run the gamut, which features a unique selection of Spanish wines.

Salud Tapas | 94, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75300 Melaka | 0167220183 | Wednesday to Monday, 3pm to 12am 

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Like its moniker, which means black in the Kadazan language (Kadazandusun), the establishment’s interior is rendered to starkly juxtapose with its gastronomic fares. They incorporate the local produce with their Western-learned techniques in the committed pursuit to elevate Sabah’s native ingredients.

Check out Oitom’s December degustation menu that focuses on both wild and farmed seafood. Highlights include the grilled Flower Prawn, Cabbage & Lemon Thyme relish for starters, and the Hybrid Grouper, Mussels & Dill for mains.

Oitom | Lot J-1-1, 1st Floor Block J, Lorong Pusat Komersil 88/1 88 Market Place Jalan Pintas, Lorong Sri Kepayan, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah | 0143299375 | Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm to 9pm


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