Monday, 21 September 2015

The Bar, Empire Damansara, Petaling Jaya

The Bar, Empire Damansara
The Bar, Empire Damansara

The Bar, Japanese Perfection at Empire Damansara


Ellen Smillie, Alasdair Hamilton, Monica Tindall (The Yum List)
 
Have you ever imagined yourself at a sleek bar in Tokyo: hidden from the crowds, but oozing in hip cool character; concealed from the mainstream and gushing with clandestine appeal? A seat at The Bar in Empire Damansara will beguile you into feeling just that, until that is, you peer out over the balcony and behold the wall of verdant jungle, reminding you, you’re in still in KL. 

After gaping at the magnificent green outlook sighted as we entered The Bar, one of the first things that impressed us was the streamlined, uncluttered and attractive decor. A long slender bar is elevated just enough for us to contemplate the work going into making our drinks. Comfortable bar chairs entice us to stay for hours, and spot down lighting creates intimate circles of light along the length of the counter. 

The Bar, Empire Damansara
The Bar
The Bar, Empire Damansara
The Bar

This polished interior is mirrored behind the bar. Head bartender Sam, (from Tokyo), models the exemplary stereotype of precision and excellence perceived to be common Japanese values. Every move is made with intention. Methodical care is sensed in the production of every beverage.

The Bar, Empire Damansara
Head Bartender Sam

All cocktails are made from scratch. There’s not a premixed juice or heavy syrup in sight. Everything is made in front of you. Ice is chiseled with a pick to exact requirements, fruits are peeled and hand squeezed. Every recipe is served in its own distinct glass. This dedication raises the act of drinking a cocktail and sharing some social time with a friend to a captivating experience. 

I suspect that barman Sam can make any cocktail in the book, but the specialties that must be tried are his sake creations shaken with fresh fruit. 

Lemon Crush is prepared with homemade lemon ice. It’s sour and refreshing: ideal after a day out in the heat. The balance of the tart lemon with the sweeter sochu makes the mix very easy drinking. 

The Bar, Empire Damansara
Lemon Crush

A wonderful aroma teased our noses with the Passion Fruit Sake. Fresh passion fruit, lemon and persimmon juice are shaken over ice with sake, proving a crowd favourite.

The Bar, Empire Damansara
Passion Fruit Sake

Monica tried the Mangosteen Sake on her first visit to The Bar and claims she has been craving for it ever since. She convinced Sam to make another and we all marvelled at how he peeled the mangosteens, then squeezed the juice from the flesh through a cheese cloth, keeping only the liquid for the drink. Sake, sparkling water and lemon juice top up the flute and we too now understand the ease of addiction.

The Bar, Empire Damansara
Mangosteen Sake

Moscow Mule, icy cold in a copper mug with a singular large chunk of ice floating in the middle, transports our thoughts to a much cooler climate. This classic recipe however is set apart from the regular preparation with the addition of Sam’s own house made ginger ale. Leaving nothing to chance, Sam insists on making his own mixes enabling him to fashion drinks exactly the way he envisions them.

The Bar, Empire Damansara
Moscow Mule

Feeling hunger pangs, we note that The Bar previously offered a handful of gourmet bites smoked in house. Mixed nuts and pretzels have no place here. A recent change in menu has seen the introduction of yakitori barbecued on the balcony by a chef from northern Japan! Authenticity is clearly of high value at The Bar! 

The Bar, Empire Damansara
Yakitori Chef

Viewed through the floor to ceiling windows that separate the indoors and out, we watch smoke dance an enchanting choreography. Chef fires up the charcoal and occasional flames whip upwards adding more fun to the show. All parts of the chicken are used in these skewers: liver, breast, thigh and skin. Tender, succulent and each with their own unique seasoning, it’s worth ordering a tray or two for sampling. 

The Bar, Empire Damansara
Chicken Skewers - Yakitori

The next time we’re craving a little order in our lives, seek a little taste of Japan, or are just looking looking for a pleasurable beverage, The Bar is where you’ll find us.

Reasons to visit: an entertaining night watching master bartender Sam at work; superb cocktails made from scratch - no premixes; sake and fruit cocktails; gourmet yakitori bar bites; sleek intimate ambience.   

The Bar
112 Empire Damansara
No.2 Heritage Lane
Jalan PJU 8/8A
Damansara Perdana
47800 Petaling Jaya
Malaysia
+6 03 2116 9680
www.facebook.com/thebarkl1
Open 7:00pm – 2:00am 7 days a week
Price of most popular cocktails range from RM 38 – RM48.


18 comments:

  1. Oh, it's a bar! I was thinking that was an unusual name for a Japanese restaurant. Japanese whisky is No. 1 in the world now, edged out the Scots from the top spot.

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    1. Good God!!!
      Robert, the Bruce, Lady MacBeth and the MacDonald Clan of Glenbogle (Monarch of the Glen) will be declaring war on Japan!
      Lord All - A - Mighty - there will be Haggis and Black Puddings raining down on Distilleries all over Japan!
      Shock - Horror - and shock again! The Locks and the Glens of Scotland are a-trembling
      and Nellie of the Lock may appear in Yokohama Harbour!

      One "miracle" for the Land of the Rising Sun is enough! The overnight
      sporting triumph that shook South Africa to the core!!!!!!
      Defeating South African pride in the World Rugby Union,
      the Sporting world is still taking gulps!

      Cordobes Junior - do something!!!

      El Colin Cordobes, the shocked!
      PS; Don't tell Lady MacBeth but Suntory Whisky is quite good.

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    2. Hee hee! Yes Japanese whisky has become so popular here that they're having difficulty in keeping supply up with demand.
      The official number one whisky in the world however this year is Ka Va Lan, the blue label Solist from Taiwan! I believe a whisky from Tasmania got in the top few places last year or the one before too. Same thing is happening with the French wine industry - they're being beaten in their own game by new producers.

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  2. Ahhh.... that small dollop of Wasabi on the Yakitori! That's exactly how they served it in Japan!

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    1. It was just the right amount to complement but not overpower.

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  3. The bar looks a relaxing and inviting area.
    I do like the look of the lemon crush..

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  4. It looks like a soothing and welcoming place! :)

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  5. It looks like a soothing and welcoming place! :)

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    1. Yes, very soothing with the green outlook and clean lines.

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  6. It looks like a soothing and welcoming place! :)

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  7. I've never heard of sake being mixed with fruits. This sounds interesting enough. But I reckon the more traditionalist Japanese would cringe at their sake being used as such.

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    1. Most likely you're right. Although the Japanese do seem to like to commercialise lots. I recently came across 'sparkling' sake in cute little pink bottles - I wonder what the old school train of thought would think about that ;-)

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  8. Mangosteen + sake = WOW!
    He he... Can we also have a "durian + milkshake"? ;)

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  9. Hello, what a pretty place. The drinks look wonderful, I would like to try the lemon crush! Thanks for sharing your review. Have a happy day and new week ahead!

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  10. Although I am non-alcoholic, the place indeed seems inviting!

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  11. What a CHIC bar...I love the decoration. I would like to try the Passion Fruit Sake and the Lemon Crush!
    Really stunning photos. I like the beautiful 
    composition and the play of colors..... Have a lovely week ;-)))

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