Omakase + Appreciate

An Old Fashioned, Yamazaki Whiskey on the rocks and a Jungle Bird

An Old Fashioned, Yamazaki Whiskey on the rocks and a Jungle Bird

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Strolling by in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, one would never expect such a nice little place tucked in the corner of a building. Built into the façade of a fire exit, the Omakase + Appreciate is one of the few speak easy bars starting to litter around this vibrant town, our very own Nicholas Ng takes a gander.

As you walk into the bar, the first thing that catches your attention is the hand painted piece, reminiscent of a late 1800 scene you would see in Malaysia, where the Mandarin officials, British officers and other various tradesmen would gather, and in the middle of all the conundrum, Harry Johnson, the legendary bartender showing off his infamous skill. You would notice that his skill is very much akin to that of the Indian teh tarik maker standing beside him. An impeccable piece of art, really!

1800's inspired Harry Johnson painting

1800’s inspired Harry Johnson painting

This would seem like the perfect place to have a serious night out, where you can have a good conversation with good company, out of the distraction of loud party-goers. You might feel like you have walked onto the set of Mad Men, but only in an Asian setting. The décor’s finely tuned to be an amalgamation of eastern and western culture. Even the pristine slate grey bar is distinctively set in both ways, on one corner, like a sushi preparation table, and the other, like a classic English bar.

Aptly named after the japanese way of serving a “to entrust” chef selection, the bar is pretty much like what it sounds. Drinks are specially catered every week and every month by special preparations crafted by the owner-bartenders Shawn Chong and Karl Too. All they simply ask is for you to taste and appreciate.

Their ethos is simple, to reintroduce the classics. As Shawn Chong comments:

Weekly and monthly hand crafted cocktail menu

Weekly and monthly hand crafted cocktail menu

I believe that cocktails have had a bad reputation, that they have been interpreted so differently. I believe it is the media’s perception that makes it seem very feminine, but they are not always. This is why we seek to reintroduce the classics where the liquor really gets to shine for what it really is. Simple, unadulterated classics.”

They veer to emphasise on the simple flavours of the cocktail, for example, the Yamazaki Whiskey on the rocks where the rock is carved out of a wholly transparent block of ice into a big ice ball. It is definitely an experience seeing this drink being prepared, albeit its simplicity.

Another of their highlights is the Jungle Bird, which is dubbed a Malaysian classic. Bases for this drink include the Zacapa 23 rum, Campiri, lime and pineapple making it a must try for people who are up for something different. Perfect combination of the east meets west philosophy.

As I do with every new bar I go to, I always ask for a preparation of an Old Fashioned. If you happen to be a fan of classic cocktails, you would know that it takes a good 15 minutes to prepare this drink. This is how you test the skill of a bartender, which Karl gladly obliged.

All in all, this would be the place for the bold and adventurous and a definite must try for veteran cocktail drinkers. If you are out and about and looking for a good place to have that cheeky drink with your mates, this would be a great place to start the night… or end it.

East meets west slate grey bar

East meets west slate grey bar

Courtesy of: omakase + appericate | Photography by: suzi zahari 
Nicholas Ng About the author

Perpetual master of words bringing Southeast Asia to your fingertips. With a LLB and LLM from the UK, The FG Magazine is just one of his many talents. Head of Public Relations at a marketing agency by day, freelance writer by night, he is always looking out for the next cause célèbre.


  1. Great article and original way of presenting the vintage cocktail culture. Thanks for posting.