July 6, 2018
Bar Trigona is one of KL's most visually dazzling cocktail parlours, an intricate mosaic of glints and glamour. But its substance is even more remarkable than its style, celebrating sustainable Malaysian produce that includes wild turmeric from Pahang, fresh fruits from a Bangi organic farm, and raw honey harvested from the bar's own namesake, the stingless Trigona species of bees. It makes a meaningful debut as one of the city's best bars.
In recent months, Indian-born head bartender Ashish Sharma (who's served at Singapore's celebrated Manhattan Bar and at the Four Seasons in Mumbai and the Maldives), Malaysian bar manager Derrick Yee (formerly of Four Seasons Resort Langkawi) and their team have personally travelled to the local sources of their cocktail components, sometimes going off-road into jungle-clad territories for a first-hand peek into the cultivation process. Their intimate comprehension of these ingredients results in potent potions at their prime, channelling a sense of sophistication that's simultaneously sensual and seasoned.
While a formal menu remained unavailable when we visited, there was no shortage of enticements. The reliance on rustic elements is far from a gimmick - the honey, for example, conveys a sourish tang instead of the typical sweetness, so its use requires cautious calibration for the cocktails. But it works subtly well in, say, the Bolio, Trigona's take on hot toddy, comprising rose apples turned into cinnamon-laced cider, mingling with honey and lemon, heated up with juniper berries and star anise.
Considering this is the Four Seasons, our cocktails' prices were lower than expected, never breaching RM50 nett. Other highlights to seek out include the Trigona Old Fashioned, Alpine Martini, Terra, Bitter Smoke, Jewel, and Pollen, crafted with building blocks both foreign and domestic, spanning smoked ginseng to shaved cocoa husks, cedarwood oil to artichoke bitters. Bonus points for the complimentary tequila-based welcome beverages and free flow of Trigona honey-tinged popcorn.
Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
Open Sun-Thurs, 6pm-1am; Fri-Sat, 6pm-2am. Hotel Tel: +603-2382-8888