DR.Inc @ Kemuja, Bangsar

December 3, 2014

First thing to know about DR.Inc: It's meant to be pronounced 'Drink,' not 'Dr. Inc.' But what's even more certain about this hidden coffee bar is that it's one of our favourite new places in Bangsar this year, a soulful little refuge where people can come for a slice of peace & leave hopefully with their spirits refreshed.

'Drink at ease' is the mantra at DR.Inc, which calls itself a cafe & 'cultural gifts store,' tucked between Straits Food Company & Fierce Curry House on Jalan Kemuja, well-removed in both philosophy & feel from Bangsar's shiny malls & shopping streets.

DR.Inc wasn't conceived for crowds; founder Jeremy Chin (who pioneered PCLO Cafe too nearby) & his collaborators at Kedai Bikin & Nala Design have created a lovely, laid-back space that's instantly memorable & distinctively recognisable, but fewer than 30 customers will fit into the indoor section & alfresco communal area (which we recommend for its cheerful breeziness).

DR.Inc's head barista is Neil Liew, a poised & affable 22-year-old who confessed that he hated coffee until the age of 16. But fate takes us all where we least expect, & he now has both the enthusiasm & the skill to become a man to watch in KL's coffee scene, labouring for now with Italian dark roasts at DR.Inc (note: no pour-overs here).

Neil is the kind of F&B craftsman that we really like: He knows his stuff & is confident enough about what works well, but he remains unassuming & is genuinely receptive to feedback. Equally importantly, his mind seems eager to seek inspiration - this Che Guevara (RM14) is a Cuban-inflected concoction of two espressos over ice with a lemon wedge & a touch of sugar.

Also a perfect perk-me-up that'll cool us down: A hyper-caffeinated Fat Americano (RM14), featuring a shot of espresso combined with a tall glass of Coke. Neil keeps the flavours finely tuned & balanced here; these beverages are mellow enough to make them extremely easy to drink, with the depth & dimension of the coffee supplying subtle new nuances.

Presso Bomb (RM14), espresso with made-in-Malacca ice cream soda (less cloying & fizzy than big-brand sodas), a comforting taste of nostalgia, both familiar & strange simultaneously. Neil chose some of these combinations to nurse a wounded heart; they might work for others facing a similar need too.

Magic (RM14): Double espresso with a flat white consistency, served warm, hailing from Melbourne, which both Jeremy & Neil often turn to for sources of influence. Note that food & cakes will only come to DR.Inc later (chicken, egg & potato salads?), but cold-pressed juices obtained from Upbeat Health Bar are available already.

Tis the season: DR.Inc currently offers Christmas-themed picnic baskets that seem ideal for gift-giving, packed with Malaysian initiative Nala Design's beautiful hand-made napkins, towels & more, plus Irish-imported artisan food products like Christmas puddings, caramel spreads, biscuits, chocolates & tea.

Pretty In Peranakan? Plenty more to browse & buy here while Florence and the Machine plays in the background.

DR.Inc opens daily - 8am-7pm weekdays, 9am-7pm weekends. Expect to hear much more of this place in the weeks ahead.

DR.Inc Cafe @ Bangsar
8 Jalan Kemuja, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur

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