almost human club: Foraging for the heart of humanity in KL Eco City Mall's cafe with a soul

August 21, 2023

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“What defines us as human?" the co-founder of almost human club asks. 

It seems like a profoundly philosophical riddle for a cafe operator to pose, but that's what fuels the existence of this space, which launched in KL Eco City Mall in March.

almost human club aims to be a transit point in this bustling commercial and corporate enclave, a pitstop for hustlers and hard workers, helping them take a breather from their grind and recharge for their next challenge.

The cafe's catchy tagline - 51% human, 49% ugh - characterises how many of us feel throughout the workday, as our humanity slips away amid the increasing strains of city life. 

almost human club's founders empathise, emphasising that "being human is tough."

At first glance, this compact space might look like another of KL's quirky-cool cafes conceived for Instagram. But it's a purposefully positive place with a warm heart and a welcoming soul, fuelled by a mission to be a meaningful refuge.

We returned recently to chat with almost human club's founders (who prefer not to be explicitly identified by name) and learn more about their cafe's design, ambition and offerings.

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almost human club's three Malaysian founders come from diverse professional backgrounds, spanning design, logistics and information technology. Together, they've pooled their passions in craftsmanship and cuisine to reimagine what a KL cafe in a mall can be.

Harnessing a tight 500 square feet, almost human club blends nature-loving elements of wood and light to carve out a pseudo-outdoor sensation in a nearly completely enclosed space that feels surprisingly intimate, shielded from the bustle outside. 

The founders took inspiration from various spaces - airport lounges with carpeted floors, and even Disneyland, which feels like a world unto itself. "Space shapes behaviour, which over a long period of time becomes culture," they note.

Some customers grab a cup of coffee and snack on the move, but others enjoy hiding out at almost human club, their own personal sanctuary shared with like-minded strangers.

Tattoo spotters might catch a glimpse of one of the founders' ink of a Japanese daruma doll, constantly staying upright in a symbol of perseverance. “You fall down seven times, you get up eight times," he says.

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almost human club's innovatively striking feature is its sunwell, resembling a skylight.

Hemmed inside a mall, the cafe has no roof window for natural sunlight, so the artificial light that streams from the soaring ceiling brings in energising brightness. Some artistically inclined patrons enjoy sketching under the sunwell, while one loves lingering to solve a Rubik's cube. 

Thoughtful touches abound: Lo-fi music plays throughout the day, curbing cortisol and elevating the mood. Low tables with measured postures encourage conversations; padded seat cushions ensure comfort. Plug points are readily spread out to recharge our devices.

Eagle-eyed visitors might spot minor 'mistakes' in the cafe's furnishing, such as a bent portrait frame. Those are intentional, embodying how people and places shouldn't have to be perfect.

Fun fact: All the frames bear a blank brown canvas, letting customers project their own vision.

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almost human club's menu is expected to evolve entirely every three months, so regulars will never tire of the selection. All food and drinks are Muslim-friendly.

The Lumberjack (RM22) is hearty without being overwhelming - a platter of English breakfast sausages with tater tots, caramelised onions, charred cherry tomatoes and sunny-side-up egg, a cheerful brunch of champions that won't leave us feeling sluggish in a food coma.

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The Morning Monster (RM30) is an even bigger breakfast, supplementing the sausages and tater tots with sourdough toast, sautéed mushrooms, a choice of scrambled or sunny-side-up egg, and honey balsamic vinaigrette salad with toasted almonds.

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Pursuing pasta? The chase concludes with the chicken lover's Tori Karaage Creamy Pasta (RM24), tossed with fragrant herbs, bold black pepper and Parmesan cheese, with crispy-juicy marinated fried fowl as the star of this Italian-Japanese show.

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A rice bowl to relish: The Tori Teriyaki Don (RM18) promises satisfying sustenance, blanketed with grilled boneless chicken over omu fragrant rice for the perfect pairing of meat and omelette, complete with crunchy broccoli, crispy fried garlic and fukujinzuke pickles.

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almost human club's baristas brew with precision to coax out the character of their beans, skilfully tackling this citrusy-zesty Ethiopian blend, a medium light roast that's smooth and subtly acidic with an aftertaste that channels black tea and brown sugar.

The Latte (RM12) will wake us all up - almost human club offers a double shot by default.

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D’Oh Espresso (RM14) - yep, a reference to Homer's catchphrase - is crafted to look like a Simpsons-loving doughnut, nearly tiramisu-like with milky whipped cream poured over the espresso with premium cocoa powder. Ay, Caramba!

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The Einspanner (RM13) borrows Viennese classic influences for its iced black crowned with thick, silky cream - cool comfort for hot, humid afternoons.

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The Liberty Spark (RM13) is the flavour of freedom - a sparkling lemonade Americano, mingling with natural honey and Perak rainforest-sourced sparkling mineral water - strong, bittersweet and reviving, like the most memorable moments in life.

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Bento takeaway boxes are also available. Note that almost human club also offers its own clubhouse plan with perks and rewards for loyal hustlers.

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almost human club
Lot G, KL Eco City Mall, Jalan Bangsar, Kampung Haji Abdullah Hukum, Kuala Lumpur. 
Open Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm; Saturday, 10:30am-6pm.