Hands up, #makchicmumtribe…how many of us prioritise date nights as much as we know we should? It’s easy for one-on-one time with our partners to slip (or more like snowball) to the very bottom of the priority list, the moment we become parents. Or to have date nights gradually evolve into family dinner nights, with our kids ever-ready to crash the romantic rendezvous we had planned!
Let’s make 2022 a year where we commit to improving our relationship with our partners, through some much-needed quality time. Here are some of team makchic‘s favourite dining venues, to help you kick off this coming Valentine’s Day:
Dining In The Dark
Since having kids, our “date nights” slowly evolved into quick date mornings, post-school drop offs. We know of all the yummy brunch places and hipster cafes around town, especially those located around our daughter’s school. When the hubs and I recently decided it was time to finally plan a longer dinner date night, we decided to hunt for something out of the ordinary – and ended up at Dining in the Dark KL.
Dining In The Dark KL provides a unique sensorial experience, where diners will dine in pitch darkness, with the menu being a complete surprise- the menu is only revealed at the end of the experience. It was so much fun trying to guess what we were both eating (for the record, the food was delicious), whilst trying not to end up with the same mess our toddler makes at the dining table as we pass our food around!
Great attention is given to the texture, aroma and taste of the food here, so that diners can explore and appreciate each plate in new ways, and with different aspects of their senses. The carefully curated menu can even be tweaked for vegetarians, vegans and those with allergies- all you need to do is to inform the restaurant of your preferences beforehand. Definitely a fun experience, where you and your date will get to savour your dinner in brand new ways!
Contact: 012- 305 2011
Address: 50A Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur 50200, Malaysia
Operating hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 6.00pm (First seating), 6.30pm, 8.30pm, 9.30pm (Last seating); Closed on Mondays
TTDI is fast becoming a gastronomical haven, with fabulous food choices aplenty. One dining spot in particular has always stood out for my husband and I -Akâr Dining, with its impeccable modern French cuisine, creative tasting menus and refined (yet relaxed) setting.
We stumbled upon this place the day before I was to give birth to my second child (I’m pregnant in this photo – and hungry!), and this proved to be a perfect, pre-delivery treat for the both of us. Akâr Dining’s seasonal carte blanche menus are always inventive, using the freshest of ingredients to create a balance of flavours that proves both delicate and delicious.
For those who enjoy their dinner with a bit of a “performance”, try and get a seat at the counter area, where you can watch the restaurant’s culinary experts whip up your meal (and plate it beautifully) – making this a memorable date night spot for a special night out.
Contact: 018-2770597 (WhatsApp)
Address: 109, Jalan Aminuddin Baki, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 6:30pm-10.00pm (Dinner); Closed on Mondays
The husband and I love to frequent this chic establishment at The Republik in Damansara Heights for their progressive Australian cuisine with a local twist. Their menu heartily sees us through brunch dates, right up to date nights.
Being the carnivore that he is, the hubs is a fan of the Angus strip loin with Lebanese-style fried potatoes, while I usually go for their salads and pasta (squid ink spaghetti with Hokkaido scallop and blue swimmer crab is an all-time fave). The restaurant is halal, with no alcohol served. However, they have a refreshing range of mocktails that perfectly accompanies their mains.
Operating hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm
Address: 1, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara, 50490, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.
After nearly 18 years of marriage and 3 kids, it is not surprising to see our priorities have now shifted to the kids and the exhausting daily list of to-dos. Date nights require time, planning and preparation, which can be in short supply, especially during the pandemic! Our way around this is to steal time during the week when the kids are in school, to spend some time together and bring the focus back to just the two of us again.
Nothing could make me happier than coffee, delicious treats (sweets for me, and savouries for him), as well as free-flowing conversation and laughs in a beautiful and quiet spot with my best friend. Story of ŌNO hits the mark on all counts!
Recently opened in SS2, Petaling Jaya, ŌNO considers itself a matcha and coffee specialist, offering a fantastic selection of matcha from the more established Niko Neko Matcha, and coffee from the Curate Coffee Collective. A must-try in the menu is ŌNO ’s “When Two Worlds Collide”, a creamy matcha beverage paired with carbonated cold brew, which can be enjoyed by sipping the creamy top first, before the cold brew at the bottom and then end it by mixing the two together. Pair your drinks with their delicious Japanese sandwiches or sandos for a perfect brunch or lunch date!
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 9.30am – 5.30pm. Close on Mondays
Address: 47, Jalan SS 2/30, SS 2, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
I don’t know if it’s because my husband and I aren’t Kdrama-level romantics, or we’re just naturally homebodies – but recalling a memorable date night spot is harder than I thought!
However, there is one place we frequent that has hosted many pre-and-post-marriage dates, deep, earnest conversations and an exchange of coquettish looks on a few occasions – Happy Stan at the Republik in Damansara Heights (a project by VCR and Karl Too). In fact, we’ve seen it grow from just an intimate bar with only coffee, tea, Kombucha and cocktails, to a bistro that serves up hearty breakfasts that VCR is known for, to the more elegant Tuna Tataki and Beefu Don with pan-seared medium rare Black Angus.
Happy Stan’s lush, velvety booths and the tasteful amount of gold trimmings create a sensual, private vibe. There are balcony seating (overlooking the other restaurants at the Republik), bar seating as well as booths – and we always opt for the booths for a less casual setting.
I used to be a bit of a coffee snob owing to my barista background (now I survive on Nescafe Gold, hah!), so I loved teaching my then-boyfriend all the different tasting notes of VCR’s quality brews (if you appreciate specialty coffee, you’ll be familiar with VCR). Their cocktail menu is interesting, with espresso-based cocktails on offer, but we don’t drink and thus can’t vouch for it.
When it’s chow time, I always go for the breakfast items because VCR’s sourdough is ace – but we also enjoy Stan’s Cheese Steak (RM38) and Beefu Don (RM50). Leave room for dessert for VCR Bakehouse’s signature bakes! Another noteworthy feature of Happy Stan is its location. F&B establishments in the Plaza Damansara area tend to get busy, especially on the weekends, so there are plenty of other good options if you couldn’t score a reservation, such as Blonde and Krung Thep.
Out of curiosity, I asked my husband why he enjoys our dates at Happy Stan. Here are his three reasons:
“It’s quiet and not overcrowded.”
“It’s close to your place when we were dating.”
Contact: 017- 2053799
Bar Operating Hours: 12pm – 12am (Sunday-Monday close at 10pm)
Bistro Operating Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Friday-Saturday close at 11pm)
Address: M.01 & M.06, Republik, 1, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur
Lu Sean’s Pick
We hardly have date nights – the kids still demand to be put to bed by one of us (and usually the designated parent will fall asleep with them). On special occasions however, we do make an effort. On our last date, we returned to Sushi Oribe at Vipod Residences, where we love their authentic Japanese cuisine and friendly service! We were happy with their sushi sets – or you could always choose to splurge for their seasonal omakase. Try to get a seat at the bar for maximum chef interaction (and to pretend we can finally travel to Japan!).
Contact: 03-2181 4099
Address: Ground Floor. Block C-1, Vipod Residences, No 6, Jalan Kia Peng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur. 43000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 12.00pm – 3:00pm (Lunch), 6:00pm-10.00pm (Dinner); Closed on Mondays