Klang Valley Restaurants That Launched During The COVID-19 Pandemic

It is a known fact that restaurants suffered a lot during the AGC due to the lack of restaurants and unprofitable food deliveries.

Even during the current CMCO and RMCO, where social distancing measures limit the number of restaurants, it is likely that restaurants have not regained their usual income.

Despite the unstable business outlook, some F&B entrepreneurs still took a leap of faith and decided to launch completely new restaurants.

After asking questions and doing our own research, we’ve narrowed down our list to feature 10 new F&B stores in Klang Valley.

Their launch dates vary from March 2020 until later, and none of them are restaurant chains or franchises.

1. Akâr restoration

Inside the restaurant and one of their detailed dishes / Image credit: Akâr Dining

This modern French fine-dining restaurant opened on March 9 at Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, just a week before the AGC on March 18.

When the AGC was first announced, the restaurant closed in hopes of reopening on March 31, using the time to regroup and improve its plans to better serve customers.

However, when the AGC was subsequently extended on March 24, the team quickly developed and launched a limited-edition takeout menu of simpler meals.

Despite the challenges, Akâr Dining reopened on May 8. In the interest of social distancing, the restaurant has implemented QR codes allowing customers to scan and view their menu.

2. Kitchen A.zeta

A.zeta Kitchen is an Italian restaurant in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, which launched on March 17th.

After the lockdown began, the restaurant began offering bespoke take-out and food deliveries through MrSpeedy.

They also offered customers the option to support them by purchasing gift cards worth 125 RM for their food and drinks which would be valid until October.

A.zeta Kitchen opened for dinners on May 12th.

In light of the RMCO, however, their website announced that it would only serve restaurant customers for dinner from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

3. Calia Malaysia

Calia Malaysia is a retail food concept imported from Melbourne, Australia, and is its first outlet in Malaysia as well as its first international outlet.

It offers a relaxed, upscale dining experience and a menu inspired by Spanish, Chilean, Japanese and Chinese cuisine.

In the first month of its launch on June 19, the restaurant had served nearly 12,000 diners at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.

However, the team revealed that the pandemic has had an impact on their supply of internationally sourced products such as fish, uni and wagyu from Japan.

Therefore, they have repeatedly sold on Wagyu since the start of operations. This is only one of many challenges though, and you can read more about their history here.

We also reviewed some of their dishes and desserts on our sister post in an article you can read here.

4. Coffeeloca

Coffeeloca opened its store in Banting, Kuala Langat on March 15, just 3 days before MCO.

They wouldn’t have known how the pandemic would affect them when they started offering a wide variety of salty and sweet dishes with hot and frozen drinks.

With MCO and all of its extensions, the team had to switch to online deliveries.

Its founder, Czafrizan Hussin, said one of his biggest lessons was to find a way for the company to survive and keep its employees. Proudly, he revealed that they were able to avoid pay cuts or layoffs.

Since the reopening, growing demand has led Coffeeloca to expand its team from 4 to 13 employees.

5. La Cucina by Spetta

Menu items with his handmade sausage and pasta / Image credit: La Cucina

La Cucina de Spetta was launched on July 17 in Taman Sri Sinar, Kuala Lumpur.

Freshly prepared food at affordable prices is the restaurant’s key to attracting customers.

The restaurant bakes its own bread and makes its own sausages and pasta, for which it also runs classes.

More than just a restaurant, it creates a more community space for its customers, which also helps increase brand awareness.

6. Monroe KL

Monroe KL serving dinners / Image Credit: Monroe KL

Monroe KL is a casual restaurant serving Asian fusion dishes located inside the KLoé Hotel in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

The hotel itself opened on March 12, just a week before the AGC.

During the lockdown, Monroe KL halted operations and only welcomed its team in May.

At the same time, they opened up for dinner and take out, focusing only on their breakfast and lunch menu.

They have since attracted so many customers to the point of having to turn away diners due to limited tables as part of social distancing measures.

7. Moonkissed

One of the restaurant’s rice bowls / Image credit: Moonkissed

Moonkissed is a fusion restaurant serving healthy rice and noodle bowls to satisfy Malaysian taste buds.

Released on June 22 at Sea Park, Petaling Jaya, they promote themselves as a healthier version of Malaysian comfort food because their bowls are additive-free and use halal ingredients.

Although it’s only been less than 2 months since the start of dinner operations, Moonkissed is already seeing steady traffic from repeat customers visiting each day.

8. Sushi and spices by WTF

Sushi & Spice is a Japanese and Thai fusion restaurant serving vegetarian and vegan sushi.

They are part of the WTF group, which stands for “What Tasty Food”, an Indian vegetarian restaurant. Their soft launch on August 21 at Mount Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

Merging Japanese and Thai cuisines seems like an unusual combination, and combine that by limiting myself to vegan dishes only, I’m curious to see how this restaurant will do in the coming months.

9. TGT in life

Wine and specialty coffee are served at the restaurant / Image Credit: TGT In Life

TGT In Life stands for “Together In Life”. It’s a restaurant that started with its sister cafe, The Roast Things, which has 6 years of experience as a wholesaler for specialty roast coffee.

It launched on the first weekend of March, shortly before the AGC, offering sweet and savory dishes, specialty coffee and a range of Low Intervention wines served by the glass.

The purpose of serving wines by the glass is to give customers the opportunity to try more than one type of wine without feeling overwhelmed.

Dine-in was welcome again when the cafe reopened on May 13 on Tropicana Avenue, Petaling Jaya.

ten. Cafe Tiffany

Tiffany’s Cafe is a cafe serving a selection of breakfast and brunch options located in Glenmarie, Shah Alam.

While waiting for the AGC to be lifted, their kitchen opened for online deliveries on April 29.

The restaurant itself started serving restaurant customers on June 23.

It appears that business is doing well in the 2 months it has been operational, as its investors are already confident to open a second outlet in Rantau Panjang, Klang soon.

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While it must have been a disappointing and scary time for those who opened just days before the AGC, they have proven their ability to adapt quickly and stay afloat so far.

On the other hand, those who opened up during the AGC time at RMCO must have had a lot of confidence in their game plan.

There is no doubt that many of us are mourning the loss of some of our favorite restaurants that were unable to survive the pandemic.

But on the bright side, now we have these new restaurants and more filling up empty store lots and offering new specialties to try.

Who knows, maybe we’ll find some new favorites among these soon.

  • You can read other F&B articles we’ve written here.

Featured Image Credit: Vulcan Post / Monroe KL

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Jothi Venkat

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