Past meets present in lively Chinatown hangout

Once the sun goes down, Junk’s signage and antique doorway can easily be seen amid the hustle and bustle of KL’s Chinatown.

A TOUCH of Penang vibes is now right here in central Kuala Lumpur.

Six months ago, Junk Café@Chinatown KL opened on Petaling Street, opposite the Kwai Chai Hong belt.

From Penang’s George Town to the Malaysian capital city’s Chinatown, you’d get the same vibes, as the KL version is essentially an offshoot of Junk Café Penang which opened in 2015.

The central Junk seems to embody its name, with all sorts of collected knick-knacks being some of the first things you see as you enter.

Souvenirs, pictures, antiques and memorabilia adorn walls as well as the shelves behind the bar.

From the outside, you are not going to find the cafe difficult to spot – even in the middle of the west end of Petaling Street – as the entrance is clearly lit.

With its antique frames, the doorway is akin to those of Penang’s old kampung and Peranakan houses.

Step in then, to an elongated area with a long bar over at the far end.

The decor includes paintings, antique Chinese dressing tables, movie posters from yesteryear, fragments of Chinatown’s history, Balinese masks, old horse saddles, a zebra-skin rug and a broken traffic light.

This experience has been described as akin to stumbling upon a hidden realm where past meets present.

That sounds pretty apt, as the row of buildings in which Junk KL is housed is about as old as Chinatown itself.

Food is available from noon onwards when the doors open, and the cafe operates six days a week.

Burgers seem to be the in thing here, with the Full of Junk beef burger being one of their signatures, alongside Tzatziki Twist or Savoury Slow Roast Lamb and Great White Grouper (fish burger).

Apart from the burger menu, there’s also fusion fare as varied as Tuscan Chicken or Beef Pasta with an Asian touch, and Crab Pesto Pasta for a taste of coastal indulgence.

True to its name, their Mafioso Pizza made with beef or chicken is spicy enough that it’s an offer you cannot refuse.

There is also a pastry and dessert counter offering cakes, croissants and ice-cream.

The long bar with paintings, antiques, movie posters, and knick-knacks on the wall.The long bar with paintings, antiques, movie posters, and knick-knacks on the wall.

This is just a snippet of a fairly wide menu that differs from lunch to dinner, and one that even offers kids’ versions.

In the beverage department, Junk KL has the standard beer, wine and wide liquor menu, alongside servings of coffee and tea as well as non-alcoholic drinks.

Their array of cocktails and shots do impress.

Dozens of cocktail recipes come in the form of classics like Strawberry Daiquiri, Moscow Mule, and Salty Dog to specially crafted ones like South Indian Side, Macha Goes Junk, Belong to the Wild, Tropicana Curry, Teh Asam, Jie Jie and Di Di.

A few mocktail recipes are also available.

If you like music, the place comes alive with soulful sounds from about 9pm onwards.

Junk Cafe begins to get busy towards the weekend.

From Wednesday to Sunday, live acts and DJs play a somewhat reggae, even ska-influenced vibe, laced around lots of soul, funk, R&B and retro for the most part.

Great music vibes make Junk a chill spot.Great music vibes make Junk a chill spot.

A few reggae, ska and mod nights have already been held here, attracting quite a crowd.

In the months since the Kuala Lumpur branch opened, it has had a host of acts in.

These include the likes of Brendan de Cruz, Kaya the band, Greg Ramanado, Jon Raj, Stan Calvin, DJ Newell, Maha Jeffery, Leon Sapphire, Emmanuel Chin, DJ Bernie, DJ Leonard Sinclair, DJ Camykaze, Arab & Bada, DJ Slyfly, DJ St4n, DJ Cross and Sir Yobba.

So, whether you’re in for a night of reggae and R&B, soul, pop or just to while the afternoon or evening away, Junk Café in Kuala Lumpur is a welcome addition to the hustle and bustle of Chinatown.

JUNK CAFE @ Chinatown KL,

No.124, Jalan Petaling, KL. Business hours: Noon to midnight (Sunday to Thursday), Noon-2am (Friday and Saturday). Closed on Mondays. For reservations, call 012-311 8831.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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bar hop , nightlife , kl


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