August 9th, 2022
The Bar by Sam Kinugawa at Empire Damansara: Restaurant Review
The Bar opened this week with no fanfare, no flashy launches & no hype, hidden on a secluded corridor with no foot traffic, providing pleasurable proof that some of the places most worth unveiling are the ones that modestly try to fly under the radar.
The Bar – a name that’s markedly minimalist – is spearheaded by the two-man show of Japanese bartender Osam “Sam” Kinugawa & his Malaysian partner Chin; the story goes that Chin once visited Kinugawa’s Tokyo workplace, Bar Nems in Meguro, & was so impressed that he coaxed Kinugawa to come to Malaysia & helm a similar bar here.
The Bar is on Empire Damansara’s first floor; it currently has no neighbours, since most of this complex’s F&B outlets – from Boat Noodle to Sevencups – remain firmly one floor below. It’s an elegant space with elevated seating at the counter that evokes the feel of a sushi bar, bringing customers to an even eye-level with Kinugawa, the better to stimulate conversation.
The still-serene interior is swathed in warm, welcoming hues; we also like the alfresco terrace with its verdant view. Our new favourite secret spot plans to smoke its own ham & cheese soon, serving them as snacks that might be a magnet for crowds.
The Moscow Mule
No official cocktail list is offered so far, but we recommend this rendition of the Moscow Mule, comprising Belvedere Vodka & The Bar’s own-made ginger ale. Most of the cocktails cost between RM30 & RM50.
Fruit cocktails are a speciality here; our best-loved mangosteen makes an admirable appearance, its tasty-sweet essence mixed with rum. Chin & Kinugawa say their dragon fruit cocktail is also a winner, but we’ll save that for future sipping. Expect to hear more about The Bar in the months to come.
Location and Contact Details
The Bar by Osam Kinugawa
112, First Floor, Empire Damansara, Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03 2116 9680
Open Monday-Saturday, 6pm-2am