It is the bar that started the speakeasy craze in KL when it opened its doors in 2013. When I visited Omakase + Appreciate for the first time, I had another 28 Hong Kong Street experience where I just could not find the bar. No signboards, minimal lighting at night, and hardly a trace of any atmosphere that might indicate that there was a bar.
The office building that Omakase + Appreciate was supposed to be located in was already shut. The location of the building was in a quieter part of the city, so there was not much happening in the area. And so all I had left was a gut instinct that Omakase + Appreciate was somewhere down the stairs.
“If I was a speakeasy bar, where would I be?” I had to think to myself. And so I made my way down a set of stairs only to reach an ominous set of doors – a super sketchy door and a large “Dilarang Masuk” sign (means No Admittance in Malay) pasted straight on it.
No way would this be the entrance I thought…but then again, it is speakeasy so it’s not supposed to be easy to find. I investigate further and hear an extremely faint sound of music coming from behind the door and so I pushed through the door and there it was…Omakase + Appreciate.
The Experience at Omakase + Appreciate
Being a lover of cocktails, it was a no-brainer that Omakase + Appreciate was high on my bucket list of things to experience in Kuala Lumpur.
What I love about this bar is that you aren’t going to get anything that is just average. Everything about the drink preparation is carefully planned, ensuring that every cocktail that leaves the bar is top notch.
For the first round, I decide to go easy on the bartender – I simply order a drink off the menu. And the result was pretty damn good.
So for the next round I wanted to go all “Iron Chef America” on these guys and challenge them with a key ingredient and see what they come up with. After all, that’s the ‘omakase’ part of the experience that I had heard so much about.
Hubby, Dad and I sat at the bar happily watching the bartenders hard at work to concoct an exotic blend of flavours made just for me. It was like watching an episode of “Iron Chef America” and I loved every minute of it. This was the omakase side of things that I absolutely love about this place, which has brought me back here a few times.
- A Cocktail inspired by Eggnog – check!
- A Cocktail inspired by Lavender – check!
- A Cocktail inspired by Cucumber – check!
It was check heck yes all around – we were so happy with our cocktails that we decided to stay for 4 rounds of drinks.
The venue is small…. correction, it’s tiny…in fact it is only 300 sq feet of space, which fits a ginormous selection of alcohol and a select amount of seating. The space is surrounded by fire engine red walls, which brings out a very eclectic aura to Omakase + Appreciate.
And the selection of alcohol is ginormous, taking up so much wall space that it forms the back drop of the bar. I mean truly, the world is your oyster here, the hardest decision is what flavors to pick.
There are two ways to go – the easy route where you just pick what’s on the menu. Wam bam thank you mam…the cocktail will be at your table soon enough. Or the more exotic omakase route is to tell the bartender what base you like and rough idea of your style and let them concoct something made just for you.
Karl Too and Shawn Chong are the brains behind this establishment, and they are amazing at what they do. So amazing that in 2016 (#10) and 2017 (#41) Omakase + Appreciate landed on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list…and they were the only ones from Kuala Lumpur (and Malaysia) to make the list.
I asked Karl how he got into doing this and he said he learned bartending out of a love for it. Karl’s background was in computer programming, but the love and passion for bartending took his talents elsewhere…it became Omakase + Appreciate when he joined forces with co-founder Shawn Chong.
I have already been here several times, which should be indication enough. The quality of the cocktails and the atmosphere has never failed to impress me, it is a great experience.
Omakase + Appreciate is located in the most unusual of locations. You will find it at the basement level of Ampang Bangunan Ming Annexe in Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur.
- Tuesdays to Friday from 5pm to 1am
- Saturdays from 9pm to 1am
- Closed on Sundays & Mondays
The bar doesn’t take any reservations so just make your way over to ensure yourself a cocktail (or 2).
No compensations was received for this review.
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