Dining with a twist

 

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Anyone and everyone who has ever lived in Malaysia will tell you that one of the things they love most about this country is the food – the variety of cuisines, the rich flavours, the endless dining options and the availability of it at all times.

Now, what if we told you that your dining experiences could be a little different or even extraordinary? From mildly unusual to all-out quirky, these eateries will have you channelling your inner child and planning interesting dinner dates with your pals.

 

1. Old China Café

 

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Starting off with something traditional, this is a place that wears its theme beautifully and takes you back in time the instant you step through its timeworn wooden swing doors.

In a modest little shop-house in the heart of the city, just around the corner from Petaling Street, stands Old China Café – a charming restaurant that offers an authentic Peranakan dining experience.

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One of the oldest (and arguably most atmospheric) eateries in Kuala Lumpur, this establishment honours the history of Malaysia’s 19th Century Chinese community. Aged paintings, ancient photos and Chinese poems for prosperity adorn the walls whilst diners sit at classic marble tables. Two large traditional Feng Shui mirrors on either side of the restaurant are faced to each other in the belief that they will perpetually reflect good luck.

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Old China Café’s extensive menu boasts a variety of Nyonya favourites and other local delights that are bursting with flavour. Try their Nyonya laksa, beef rendang and siu yook/chicken devil curry. This place does not disappoint!

*Note: This is a non-Halal restaurant.

Address: 11, Jalan Balai Polis, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan
Opening hours: 11.30am – 10.00pm daily
Website: Here

 

2. Otherwise Cafe

 

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Quirky is the word that comes to mind when describing the theme of Otherwise Café in Kelana Jaya. Filled with faceless mannequins dressed in elegant bridal gowns, mismatched furniture, counters made of old railway sleepers and antiques (many from the owner’s own collection), this dimly lit café can even be described to have an eerie vibe. 

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Adding to its unusual character is the fact that it only serves as an eatery after working hours. By day it functions as a wedding photography studio, complete with hair and make-up services (suddenly the soul-less brides don’t look as creepy).  

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This café is certainly also photo-friendly and an Instagrammer’s paradise.

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If you’re looking to have a good cuppa and a slice of cake (or two – we don’t judge) in a place other than the overly-Instagrammed cafes your friends are raving about, then this is a place you should definitely consider. 

*Note: This is a non-Halal restaurant.

Address: 11, Jalan Balai Polis, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 5.00pm – 10.00pm, Friday & Saturday 5.00pm – 11.00pm (Closed on Tuesday)
Website: Here

 

3. Dining In The Dark

 

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Dining In The Dark is a restaurant providing its patrons with a one-of-a-kind experience that appeals to all your senses except that of sight. No surprises here, this eatery has diners cloaked in darkness and, in an interesting twist, served by visually impaired wait staff. 

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It obviously bans the use of mobile phones and cameras – which in this day and age is a novel idea. More socialising, less social media!

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If you are one of those people who often have trouble deciding what to order from the menu then fret not, Dining in the Dark has you covered – just tell them your food preferences and food allergies (if any) when making your reservation and they‘ll handle the rest. Each multiple course meal is a well thought out flavoursome mystery that will tantalise your taste buds. It certainly makes for an interesting meal when you have to guess what you’re eating. 

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If you’re feeling really adventurous and happen to be single, you could even take it a step further – sign up for this year’s most unique dating event, Dating In The Dark! This restaurant is giving whole new meaning to ‘blind dates’ and on 26 November 2015 will help daring patrons find their match through ‘proper screening and enhanced shortlisting methods’ carried out before the event itself. You wouldn’t have to exchange anxious looks or worry about anything other than learning more about their personality. Click here to learn more.

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– Discount is provided when reservations are made online.
– Mobile phones will be placed in personal lockers outside the dining hall.
– Diners must be aged 12 and above
– The standard dining duration is 90 minutes (if you would like to be there longer, make a reservation for 9pm)

Address: 50A Chankat Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 6.00pm to 9.30pm (last seating) daily
Website: Here

 

4. Out of Africa Restaurant

 

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Here’s another oldie but a goodie. Out of Africa is one of the oldest themed restaurants in town – which means it has serious staying power and is somewhere you can’t afford not to try. One meal at this South African inspired dining establishment and you will find yourself planning a return. 

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The moment you reach the entrance archway, you get a sense that you’ve left the urban jungle and stepped into a fascinating new world. From the exotic animal heads and skins mounted on the walls (sounds scarier than it looks) to the captivating murals of safari wildlife and a large photo of Nelson Mandela, this place is tastefully decked out to leave an impression.

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Out Of Africa also offers an authentic South African menu. Ostrich or ox tongue, anyone? If you’re not too keen on the more exotic dishes, our all-time favourites are the Zebu Steak Pie (have it with the mashed potato – YUM!) and the Madiba Pizza.

The pies are fairly large and could comfortably feed two, unless you’re hungry enough to devour one on your own. 

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This is also a kid-friendly restaurant with a designated playground and convenient direct entrance to the pool area of PJ Palms Sports Centre. 

Make sure you also check out the equally impressive Kudu Bar attached to the restaurant.

Address: PJ Palms Sports Centre , 1 Lorong Sultan, 46200 Selangor 
Phone: +603 7955 3432
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 12.00pm – 2.30pm & 6.00pm – 12.00am (kitchen closes at 10.30pm), Saturday & Sunday: 12.00pm – 12.00am (kitchen closes 10.30pm & 10.00pm respectively) *All drinks and desserts are available til midnight.
Website: Here

 

5. Hello Kitty Gourmet Cafe

 

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Bonjour Hello Kitty! This whimsical Parisian style Hello Kitty Gourmet Café is new on the scene and has devoted fans of Asia’s favourite kawaii character ecstatic and snap-happy. French inspired with a cartoon-like twist. It sounds like a strange theme but oui – somehow it works. 

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Located on Oasis Boulevard outside Sunway Pyramid, this dainty café has the Hello Kitty motif present throughout the premises and, to the delight of its patrons, even has her face featured on much of its items. 

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Diners can order the very pretty themed food from an A la Carte menu or have the Afternoon Tea. Try the Hello Kitty shaped Wonderland Waffles served with berries, bananas, strawberry jam and chocolate sauce or some of the café’s delectable macaroons.

Address: Lot 083.F.6, Oasis Boulevard, Ground Floor Sunway Pyramid, Selangor
Phone: +603 – 5612 7703
Opening hours: 10.00am to 11.00pm, Monday to Friday, 10.00am to 1.00am, Saturday & Sunday.
Website: Here

 

6. D’Dream Café 

 

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Another cartoon favourite that will bring back fond childhood memories for many Malaysians, Doraemon, is celebrated in brilliant blue at the D’Dream Café. If life has gotten a little too serious for you lately, then this could be just the place to unwind and be silly with friends. 

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The playfully themed eatery, tucked away by Jalan Kuchai Lama, has diners surrounded by three decades worth of Doraemon collectibles and various products that can even be purchased. 

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D’Dream Café serves up Taiwanese cuisine and whilst the menu is fairly simple, patrons will be tickled by the Doraemon elements in some of the dishes.

Address: 42-1, Jalan Kuchai Maju 6, 58200 Off Jalan Kuchai Lama, Kuala Lumpur
Phone: +603 – 5612 7703
Opening hours: 10.00am to 11.00pm, Monday to Friday, 10.00am to 1.00am, Saturday & Sunday.
Website: Here

 

7. Chemistry Café + Lab

 

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Calling all science geeks! Shah Alam’s cosy Chemistry Café + Lab should definitely be your next dining experiment. This eatery is made up of whacky ideas and patrons can’t get enough of the eccentricity. Wait staff dressed in lab coats, murals of experiments, lab equipment displays, a periodic element table on the wall and various other decorative items all give this café a unique touch.

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There’s no denying that one feels a thrill when being presented with caffeinated beverages in test tubes and conical (lab) flasks that can be injected with sugar syrup via syringes.  

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Chemistry Café + Lab serves up some appetising western dishes and the desserts are sensational.

Address: No. 26, Jalan Kristal J7/J, Seksyen 7, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor
Phone: +017 – 6262797
Opening hours: 3.00 pm – 1.00 am, Tuesday to Friday. 2.00 pm – 1.00 am, Saturday & Sunday (Closed on Monday)
Website: Here

 

8. DC Comic Superhero

 

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Holy smokes, Batman – It’s a DC Comics Super Heroes Café, right here in Malaysia! Part of an extensive DC Comics store in Sunway Putra Mall, this café has girls and boys of all ages excited. 

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Everywhere you turn, DC Comics characters and merchandise will be there to greet you. The food is cleverly designed to thrill, with elements of our favourite superhero’s – caped cups of coffee and food with Batman’s symbol on… what fun! 

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Wonder Woman turkey roll or Green Arrow mint tea anyone? Even the menu features a comic style layout.

Address: Unit 2-29, 2nd Floor, Sunway Putral Mall, 50350 Kuala Lumpur
Phone: +603 7954 6377
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm daily
Website: Here

 

9. Ahoy Café

 

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Yes, you guessed it – Ahoy Café is a nautical themed café, one with great charm. Located in the busy district of SS15, this eatery has stiff competition from countless other cafes around – but we think this place has what it takes to ‘weather the storm’. 

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From the illustrated map on the wall and lights with rope cords to decorative anchors and sailboats, this café is fun and certainly unique.

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Ahoy Café serves the menu you would expect of a cosy little café but manages to playfully incorporate nautical elements into all its food items. 

Address: 74 Jalan SS15/4, SS15, Subang Jaya, Selangor
Phone: +6019 914 1334
Opening hours: 11.00am – 12.00am daily
Website: Here

 

10. Blue Elephant

 

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We all like a bit of glamour and sophistication now and then, so Blue Elephant’s silver screen themed restaurant is perfect for shaking off the workweek stress. Shed that office attire, slip into something a little more comfortable and head to this snazzy restaurant and sexy lounge bar.

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Director’s chairs, an elegant display of movie-inspired photos, movie posters and quotes; not to mention the giant golden Oscar statue – all add up to one very impressive and consistent theme.

Address: 15M & 17M, Plaza Damansara, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur
Phone: +6019 914 1334
Opening hours: 5.00pm – 2.00am, Monday to Thursday. 5.00pm – 3.00am, Friday & Saturday.
Website: Here

 

Themed restaurants in Malaysia

 

Intrigued? How could you not be curious to try some or all of these out! It doesn’t matter what your age or personality – there is something interesting for everyone. Time to have some memorable dining experiences.