As the world embraces technology and modernity, retro fashion is back, and it’s hot! You may wonder, what’s with our utter fascination with the past. Well, retro is all about solidity and lastingness. The retro trend allows us to own some actual possessions of the past in an increasingly virtual world.
On the other hand, if the collection of odd collectables from the ’70s isn’t your thing, and you’re looking for more organised and decluttered spaces- minimalism might be for you. In this list of 6 Popular Retro and Minimalistic Theme Cafes in KL, you’ll get the best of both worlds while sipping away at your favourite beverage!
1. Chocha Foodstore
This café’s spin on traditional comfort food is what makes this retro-themed café-garden unique. The potted plants, high chairs, spiral staircases and wide window panes lend a feel of stepping back into simpler times. Chocha Foodstore prides its locally sourced ingredients and zealously includes Malaysia into their dishes.
A must-have here is their Cincaluk Fried Chicken and Pan Seared Duck Breast. All their dishes are served alongside a healthy bowl of fresh ulams. In fact, they love their ulams so much, that their only dessert is a crème Brulee dish infused with ulam raja and basil. If you’re wondering what that tastes like, head on over to Chocha Foodstore!
Address: NO 156, Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.
Hours: 11.00 AM -11.00 PM (Closed on Mondays)
2. Lima Blas
This Peranakan café screams nostalgia of old Melaka shop-house vibes. The décor includes an (intentional) minimal seating and walls decorated with vintage signage and knick-knacks. Their speciality here is Nyonya cuisine, serving the likes of pai tee, ayam ponteh (Nyonya chicken and potato stew) and cendol.
Some other must-haves here include their Gerang Pedas Pari, a spicy concoction of fatty stingray cooked in a tamarind-based sauce. Other than the food, you’ll find old-school decor in every nook and cranny such as vintage Chinese signboards, rotary dial phones, old typewriters and retro table fan. Instagram-worthy? Definitely!
Address: 15, Jalan Mesui, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 10.00 AM – 10.00 PM
3. Merchant’s Lane
Merchant’s Lane boasts a range of East-meets-West recipes with a nostalgic minimalist décor concept, surrounded by nature that will beg you to take photos. If you’re here during breakfast hours, be sure to try Eat Die Me, a big breakfast serving of eggs, two sausages, plus cheese-baked tomato, creamed corn and hash. Depending on the week you’re there, there will be waffles, with a choice of ice cream ranging from vanilla to pandan passionfruit.
A must-have here is their Italian Chow Mein. A Malaysian spin pasta severed with stir-fried traditional chicken rendang. If you’re staying for dessert, give their re-creation of roti jala a try. Better than Sex is a pancake of stringy batter generously topped with melted cheese, served over kaya toast flavour ice cream drizzled with gula Melaka. A decadent dish indeed.
Address: 150, Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 11.30 AM – 9.30 PM
4. Botanica + Co
Another minimalist café on our list, Botanica + Co hosts an extensive window panelling, wooden floor and loads of plants. So, you can have your meals and enjoy the beautiful and clean-cut décor of the café.
The owners at this café pride their locally sourced ingredients and serve food from all around the globe. From the Middle East mezze of textured hummus, spicy muhammara & creamy baba ganoush with house-baked flatbread, to the American hot Reuben sandwich with pastrami, salami, melted Swiss cheese, BBQ sauce and an extra flourish of kimchi, they have it all!
This café is definitely a must-visit if you’re looking to get away from concrete buildings and wind down for a while.
Address: G5, 8, Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 11.30 AM – 10.00 PM, 9.30 AM – 12.30 PM (Saturdays)
5. Lim Kee Cafe
A beautiful retro café located n the middle of KL, Lim Kee Café will remind you of those old Chinese Kopitiam places sans the sweltering heat. Be prepared to be welcomed through elegantly regal-looking doors and old-school rattan chairs along the front.
Though not the place to have main meals, this café serves up a huge variety of in-store baked cakes that will have you licking your fork. Their cakes go exceptionally well with their freshly brewed teas and coffees which honestly are a perfect way to pick yourself up after a long walk around Chinatown.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a cool delight, give their ice creams a try. Their ice cream flavours skate from pandan to teh tarik, mascarpone to soursop.
Address: 66-68, Jalan Sultan, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.
Hours: 9.30 AM – 6.00 PM
6. Bubble Bee Café
The main item at this café is their Egg waffles, a light and airy serving of warm, toast waffles served with a scoop of ice-cream of your choice. Fun to share as you can break off each ‘egg’ off the waffle, scoop on the ice-cream and have a great time.
Bubble Bee Cafe serves a selection of cakes, ice-blended drinks, coffee, chocolate, tea, cold-pressed juices, all-day brunch, wraps and Panini toasts. Whatever mood in you’re in for be it a heaty serving of panini or a refreshing glass of Red Beet alert, this café has it all.
To add to the food, Bubble Bee Café boasts a beautiful décor AND they encourage their customers to create their own art. Feel free to help yourself to the marker pens set at the corner of the shop if you feel inspired to draw!
Address: 139, Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.
Hours: 9.00 AM – 6.00 PM
Retro & Minimalistic Theme Cafes in KL
There you have it. A list of retro and minimalist cafes you have to visit while in KL. If you’re not in the mood to leave your home though, head on over to the foodpanda app and have your favourite meals delivered to you.
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