Speakeasy Bar Micro in Mont Kiara peddles handcrafted cocktails in Prohibition-era setting

It is the brainchild of Ipoh-born MasterChef UK winner Ping Coombles.

The dozen or so drink options ensure the selection process is fairly quick and easy (All photos: Bar Micro)

Cosy in atmosphere and creative in the fine art of mixology, Bar Micro is a small space with big flavours. Located on the first floor of The OOAK Suites and Residence in Mont’Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, perched above Provisions bakery and coffee shop, it is a destination you seek out rather than stumble upon, unless you live in the neighbourhood.

Bar Micro has its speakeasy vibes down to a T with dark curtains shielding patrons from prying eyes, and a black ceiling and low lighting that seem determined to not draw undue attention. Unlike the Prohibition-era restrictions that necessitated such illicit watering holes and their bathtub gin and moonshine, however, the drinks here are made of the good stuff.

Peruse the compact menu via the glow cast by portable table lamps, which appear to be a popular accessory in cocktail bars these days. The dozen or so drink options ensure the selection process is fairly quick and easy, after which all thought can be dispensed with and relaxation can really begin.


Its darkened interiors and low music translate into a focus on conversation and conducive quality time

If you are unsure about your pick of poison for the night, alcohol strength is a great place to start. Bar Micro has helpfully separated its handcrafted cocktails into the Symphony and Indulgence Series, which feature drinks with a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) and stronger shots respectively. Both put a playful spin on familiar favourites. Sanglia (RM46) from the Symphony side of the menu is a twist on sangria with white wine, Bacardi white rum, citrus and soda water, while the Indulgence’s Blue Boy (RM43) is intriguingly reinterpreted as Bombay Sapphire Gin, Blue Curacao and blueberry marmalade with lemon and a malic acid solution.

Those who do not see anything they fancy can request an off-menu classic cocktail or go the omakase route and put themselves in the hands of the mixologist. We sample all options on the table by ordering the Olden Highball, an Auld Fashioned (yes, that’s spelt correctly), and “something refreshing with gin”.

Olden Highball (RM46) tops a Bulldog Gin base with elderflower syrup, lemon and jasmine tea soda. While it is pale golden hue and purple flower garnish are pleasing but unassuming, it is possibly our favourite drink of the evening with its zesty character and balanced sweet-and-sour notes. Its Symphony label rings true — the alcohol is on the lighter side, which makes this dangerously easy to swallow.


Olden Highball and Auld Fashioned

The Auld Fashioned (RM52) upholds the original tenets of an Old Fashioned: It pairs spirit with sugar, water and bitters. However, it upgrades the typical ingredients of regular whisky, Angostura bitters and muddled sugar or simple syrup to Spent cacao clove bourbon, beer syrup and orange bitters. These create a spirit-forward sip — the Indulgence influence, no doubt — that has a strong spice nose and mild malty aftertaste. It has a slightly thicker mouthfeel than your everyday Old Fashioned, and might be an acquired taste for some.

Our omakase request manifests as a gin and lychee cocktail. At RM62, which the receipt states reflects the drink’s higher ABV, it is slightly on the pricey side considering it didn’t leave much of an impression.

No such complaints could be made about the bar bites. Some, like the mini bowls of Sarawak laksa (unavailable on our visit), are small in size as a nod to the establishment’s name. Others, however, nod to the spirit of bar snacks, which should be varied and shared.

Take the Bad Girl Fries (RM23). Crinkle-cut fries are drizzled with mayonnaise and baptised with gherkin, jalapeno, cheese and onions to form a substantial snack, and no amount of posturing about calorie counting or needing to hit the gym early the next morning will stop you from sneaking in one more bite. It helps that the tang and tartness of the briny pickles and onions cut through the cheese, mayo and starch, extending the ability to snack on almost indefinitely.


Bar Micro is the brainchild of none other than MasterChef UK champion Ping Coombes

A twist on the Malaysian bar favourite of spiced nuts is the Micro Signature Nuts (RM8). The homemade spice mix with salt and curry leaves is almost reminiscent of a marinade for meat or fish, so savoury and complex are the flavours. You should definitely expect decent grub here — after all, Bar Micro is the brainchild of none other than Ping Coombes, the Ipoh-born 2022 MasterChef UK Champion of Champions and 2014 MasterChef UK winner.

But you don’t only want to swing by Bar Micro for its celebrity association or the hopes of bumping into Coombes on a visit home. Instead, you are more likely to head here for a nightcap after dinner at 163 Retail Park next door (when the queue at Fei Fan Hotpot gets too wearisome, maybe), or if you are around the neighbourhood and in the mood for some peace and quiet.

With seating for under 20 patrons, mostly around the bar, and small homely touches like colourful throw cushions and potted snake plants, this darkened, unpretentious hideaway promises an hour or two of respite from the bright lights and constant noise that overstimulate the senses in the city beyond.


Bar Micro, Unit LG2-09, The OOAK Suites and Residence @ Kiara 163, 5, Jalan Kiara 4, Mont’Kiara, KL. Sun-Thurs, 5pm-midnight; Fri-Sat, 5pm-1am. 011 1218 5950.

This article first appeared on June 12, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.

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