Shophouse Charm: A Guide To The Row KL

Shophouse Charm: A Guide To The Row KL

The Row — or Asian Heritage Row — sits along Jalan Doraisamy and charms the regular passer-by with coffeehouses, restaurants, and niche retails. (Left: Image by @ysliangphotography. Right: Image by @babacancook.)

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A quick three-minute walk from Medan Tuanku Monorail station will find you at The Row. Many still use its former name, ‘Asian Heritage Row’, to refer to these refurbished 1940s shophouses.

Since its refurbishment, The Row now houses charming coffeehouses, restaurants, and several niche retails. There are two event spaces in the building — a rustic, high-ceiling hall named Slate and an outdoor rooftop perfect for parties and BBQ called Deck.

Getting there: You can find a guide for taking the train, walking, and parking, here. Now, let’s take a virtual stroll down the street to see what’s in store!

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Makans at The Row

1. Yarl

Ten years ago, Yarl was a small sidewalk stall in Brickfields. Now, you can sample their authentic flavours from Northern Sri Lanka at Yarl The Row — its third outlet! Freshly launched in January, the restaurant serves unique Jaffna dishes and special home-grown recipes. Their lunchtime buffet is famous, as you can pick from many carefully selected home-cooked vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

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2. Heritage Pizza

Did someone say authentic Italian wood-fired pizza? If there’s one thing in common between Italians and Malaysians, it would be the love and pride we have for our food. The Italian founder of Heritage Pizza, Antonio Delachi, does his best to curate an authentic pizza experience for the people of KL. What are you waiting for? Reserve a table to enjoy piping hot pizza straight out from the oven, paired with Italian beer or wine!

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3. Kwong Cheung Loong Kopitiam Bar

This retro kopitiam and bar is a cosy rest stop for the café goer and a popular spot for the paw-rents. They offer toast and eggs at breakfast and mouth-watering local dishes like nasi lemak and ayam percik for other meal times. Worried your furry companions will go hungry? Fret not, as the kopitiam has snacks they sell in the store for your four-legged friends.

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4. Mojo

Are you looking for bistro food in a cosy outdoor garden setting? Look no further. Tucked in between both rows of shophouses, you’ll find inviting garden tables perfect for a get-together with friends. Mojo serves pork-free Asian and western fusion food that you can enjoy with coffee, cocktails, or a mug of refreshing beer!

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5. Restaurant Dominic

Be transported to a Parisian Café at Restaurant Dominic. Enjoy French food prepared by Chef Phillip Murray Dominic, who has trained in Austria, Italy, and the grand hotels of Kuala Lumpur. Prepare to spoil yourselves as you dine on three- to five-course menus at affordable prices. An a la carte menu is also available.

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6. Common Grind

Café lovers, this cosy little venue is precisely what you’ll need for a coffee and cakes kind of day. One of the first shops to open at The Row back in 2015, they’ve long stood the test of time. The tried-and-tested Almond Salted Caramel Mille Crepe is a must-try!

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7. Limapulo: Baba Can Cook

Regulars of this Peranakan restaurant would know of Uncle John’s passing recently. He will be missed dearly, but his legacy lives on — in the stories he told and the food at Limapulo. At Limapulo, they strive to serve authentic and affordable Nyonya dishes in a rustic and inviting setting.

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8. Kappo Takebayashi

This Japanese Kappo restaurant specialises in sashimi and sushi. Chef Tatsua Takebayashi puts his flair into every sushi and chirashi don. Compared to his previous location at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, this space at The Row is much cosier and more personal.

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9. Chamber3

Chamber3 is a live music restaurant that offers a wide range of food, from Thai to western. The outdoor patio is lit up with fairy lights in the evenings, making it a romantic setting for date night with live music in the background. On weekdays, from 11am to 3pm, Din & Fai Koh Roast Duck set up shop at Chamber3 and is very popular amongst the regular lunch crowd there.

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10. Basecamp

New hidden café alert! Last month, Basecamp opened its doors, pitching its tent on one of The Row’s rooftop spots. Glamp with your friends outdoors (in downtown KL!) while having sandwiches or pasta and sipping on refreshing drinks.

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Shopping at The Row

1. Connoisseur Bespoke Tailoring

Isaac Hor and Carl Yee are here to suit you up! Their made-to-measure garments are made using the finest fabrics while ensuring your outfit brings out the best in you. Connoisseur also offers image consulting services to help you achieve your dreams and corporate services to level up your professional life.

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2. Pulpy Garden

A plant shop located in downtown KL is a preamble to urban city living. Pulpy Garden is here to help you create your little home nursery. Local and imported plants are available online or in-store. Get your plant delivery on the same day if you purchase before 2pm!

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3. The Bike Artisans

True to their name, The Bike Artisans was born out of a love for cycling and the craftsmanship of hand-made bicycles. They believe that the right bike fit and materials for a bike can bring better enjoyment to the biker, whether for the novice or the veteran. Drop by to get your bike the regular maintenance it needs or hit them up for a custom bike frame.

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4. Batik Boutique

At Batik Boutique, their mission is to disrupt the cycle of poverty through hand-dyed textiles. Feel confident in your purchases, knowing that the artisans and marginalised communities behind each product are given a fair and sustainable income. Unique and high-quality apparel, gifts, and lifestyle products await you in-store and online.

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5. Switch Hair Salon

This Japanese hair salon in downtown KL is dedicated to providing the best for your hair. Japanese hairstylist Takeshi Odera has returning customers that love the extra tender loving care he puts into their mane. You’ll be sure to walk out of there feeling confident and gorgeous.

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(they/them) River is a pawrent to 2 cats and an introvert. Part of the UBI (Useless Bits of Information) brain club, inspiration usually strikes when they're in the shower, on the toilet bowl or during commutes.