Barlai @ Pudu & Mr Brooks @ Bangsar Shopping Centre

February 18, 2014

The BIG Group's two newest watering holes are dramatically different from each other, except for one key point: They're both exceptionally hidden from public view, with no signboards outside to betray their existence. Here's a peek into Barlai at Pudu ...

... & Mr Brooks at Bangsar Shopping Centre.

 First up, Barlai, nestled within the peaceful oasis of a refurbished building that's reputedly more than 80 years old _ the Sekeping Sin Chew Kee guest house, behind VCR cafe.

Sip French Press coffee (RM6) in a stark space that's highlighted by street signs on walls with exposed bricks ...

 ... or check out the cocktails; each costs a wallet-pleasing RM20 or less. The bar opens bright & early, so this is the spot for morning Mojitos, Margaritas & Martinis, with twists of kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass & lychee.

Chilean Merlot clocks in at RM16 by the glass. Food will be served later; basic fare like nasi lemak & hot dogs. Barlai is currently is one of the friendliest of The BIG Group's establishments, with personable service that makes this place worth recommending.

Next up, Mr Brooks, which can be either an adventure or a chore to locate, depending on one's tolerance.

Basically, the bar is kinda behind Ben's on BSC's third floor; look first for the Sunbeam Alpine car ...

... then push through the tool panel to reveal a speakeasy-style bar evocative of Tate at The Intermark.

This is a sumptuously decorated place, nothing like the minimalism of Barlai. That's reflected in the stiff prices too: Cocktails here each range between RM50++ & RM95++.

We could only afford two of the cheaper options, but both tasted fantastic, with beautifully balanced flavours. Nan's Carrot Cake lived up to its description of being thick & lightly spiced, with a cheeky nip from Grandma's secret Drambuie stash (RM60++).

Fruit N Nut, a cosmo that's creamy with a distinctive pistachio after-taste (RM50++).

By the way, there are rumours that Mr Brooks will turn into a members-only bar, with the possibility that patrons might need to spend RM3,000 on a single receipt for a six-month membership. Best to call to check before coming here.

Mr Brooks
Level 3, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur
Mon-Sat, 5pm-2am. Tel: 03-2282-0241

3, Jalan Sin Chew Kee, Off Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur
Daily, 10am-10pm for now

Mr Brooks
Level 3, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur
Mon-Sat, 5pm-2am. Tel: 03-2282-0241

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As a separate initiative, the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites for January-March 2014 is now online, featuring 100 pretty nice eateries, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter. This eBook of restaurant recommendations is available for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Jan-March-2014 (This link expires March 31, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).