Known as Neo Tamarind in its previous lifetime, Fook by the Tamarind Restaurant Group has undergone minor renovations and seen a change of theme, but why does the bar and restaurant still feel so dated?

Some establishments take pride in subverting clichés. Others, such as Fook, prefer to revise tired concepts. Why stick your neck out if there is still an appreciative audience? Though not exactly teeming, the restaurant sees a steady trickle of customers on Friday nights, though we suspect it might have something to do with the buy-one-free-one promo on The Entertainer app.
 
The OG of Oriental-themed bars, PS150 entered the scene in December 2015. Since then, a slew of imitators have jumped on the bandwagon: Shelley Yu's, ShuangXi and Suzie Wong are just three we can name off the top of our heads.

Paper lanterns, red fairy lights, water features, and fetishised artwork of Asian women wearing skintight xi paos or sarongs peer down at us as we peruse the menu. It all feels so déjà vu.

Tipples

Any distaste for Fook's décor is offset by the drinks, our favourite being the cocktail named Ecstasy. Sweet and smoky wth just the right amount of astringency, the tequila-based beverage contains ginseng tea, pickled jalapeño, lime and a judicious amount of mint leaves. Brownie points go towards the bar's use of biodegradable bamboo straws.

Tatler Asia
Above Wake Up & FOOK. Photo: Khairul Imran / Malaysia Tatler

With a raunchy name like Wake Up & Fook, it's hard to stifle a smile. Providing a jarring jolt of caffeine at the end of your workday / start of your night out, Fook's take on the Espresso Martini eschews vodka for soju in keeping with the establishment's eastern vibes.

Cinnamon and grapefruit lend some spice and sweetness to the Groovy Baby, which reminds us of Belgian-style lambics. This is one beverage we wish we could bottle and bring back home.

Sweet Sweet Baby, our choice of mocktail at the pork-free establishment, isn't as sugary as its name implies. Dyed a natural pink from pitaya or pink dragonfruit, the frothy drink gets its fragrance from a plant that goes by many names—ohba, shiso or perilla.

Tatler Asia
Above Groovy Baby. Photo: Khairul Imran / Malaysia Tatler

Temptations

Where bar snacks are concerned, Fook fares better than most. Gone is the communal bowl of mixed nuts — a catch-all for germs. Instead, there is tuna tartar served in miniature charcoal cones and torched wagyu tataki served with a pungent fish sauce.

Eliciting an eye-stretching "wow," the black mussels pancakes is an ode to our local oh chien. Eat the enoki fries immediately else they wither and lose all crunch. Were this America, all food at Fook would likely be dubbed 'Pan-Asian.'

QUENCH YOUR THIRST HERE:

Fook | 19, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur | 03-2148 3700 | fook@tamarindrestaurants.com