Streetscapes: Desa Sri Hartamas still a happening place

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on October 19, 2020 - October 25, 2020.
What makes the commercial area in Desa Sri Hartamas vibrant is the variety of F&B choices (Photo by Sam Fong/The Edge)

What makes the commercial area in Desa Sri Hartamas vibrant is the variety of F&B choices (Photo by Sam Fong/The Edge)

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Desa Sri Hartamas in Kuala Lumpur is generally bustling, especially in the evenings and weekends. Jennie, who has been working in the area for many years, says parking has always been an issue. But with the numerous restaurants there that serve a wide range of food from Chinese and Balinese to Korean and fusion, it is unavoidable.

This time around, we will explore one of the neighbourhood’s main streets, Jalan 27/70A, which is connected to a few smaller streets — Jalan 24/70A, 25/70A and 26/70A.

These streets are located at the centre of the commercial area, which is tightly packed with shoplots. Businesses such as clinics, salons, pharmacies, music centres and convenience stores can be found there. But what really makes the place vibrant is the variety of F&B choices.

Good online reviews have helped boost the popularity of restaurants and cafés in the food haven, among them, Mei by Fat Spoon, Breadfruits, Café Olle, Naughty Babe Dirty Duck, Naughty Nuri’s, Backofen, Geo’s Café and Beatles & Buns (formerly known as Buns Burger Bar).

If you are looking for an outlet that serves only ice cream, then The Ice Cream Bar, which offers alcoholic and non-alcoholic ice cream, is definitely a place to check out.

Wang Mei Yin goes to the ice-cream parlour from time to time to enjoy its treats while spending time with her friends. “What’s not to like about The Ice Cream Bar? I love the ice cream and the atmosphere is perfect for a good catch-up session with friends. I usually order their alcoholic ice cream. To me, the flavours are unique and delicious.”

Backofen, which serves western cuisine, is the first eatery that comes to Rajesh’s mind when it comes to good and affordable food. It also offers a variety of cakes and pastries. “The portions are quite big and it is value for money. I will happily pay to eat at Backofen anytime because the food is delicious,” he says.

Some of the restaurants serve alcoholic beverages, and the area comes alive at night with groups of people mingling over drinks and good food.

(Photo by Sam Fong/The Edge)

Looking at the dynamic atmosphere, it is hard to imagine that Sri Hartamas (adjacent to Desa Sri Hartamas) was once an isolated neighbourhood that lacked amenities and accessibility. According to real estate agency Hartamas Research, the area only began to blossom in the 1990s when Desa Sri Hartamas and Mont’Kiara emerged.

“These three areas — Sri Hartamas, Desa Sri Hartamas and Mont’Kiara — complemented each other in terms of property price appreciation, amenities and accessibility. Now, they have ample amenities that support the population and are connected to major highways such as the North Klang Valley Expressway, Sprint Expressway and Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway,” says the agency.

The words “hot spot” and “happening” often come to mind when people think of Desa Sri Hartamas, and the agency does not foresee any changes to the area anytime soon. “Even with the appearance of newer commercial areas such as Solaris Mont’Kiara, Solaris Dutamas and even Desa ParkCity, Desa Sri Hartamas is still in the list of top happening areas.”

The agency says demand for the area may be affected slightly by the current economic situation and the Covid-19 pandemic as it may not be a good time to start a new business.

“But the advantage of being located in a prime area is that the demand and familiarity will stand the test of time.”

It also notes that the ageing buildings may affect the rental potential.

According to data provided by Hartamas Research, the rental for ground floor units is RM5 to RM7 psf, depending on factors such as negotiations, owner’s holding power and location.

A 4-storey, 7,196 sq ft shoplot in Jalan 27/70A was sold for RM5.35 million in 2015. Another 4-storey shoplot in Jalan 26/70A, with a built-up of 6,176 sq ft, was transacted for RM3.5 million in 2017.

In 2018, there were three transactions. Two 4-storey shoplots in Jalan 27/70A, both with a same built-up of 7,196 sq ft, were sold for RM3.53 million and RM3.65 million respectively while a 4-storey, 6,167 sq ft shoplot in Jalan 26/70A was transacted for RM3.1 million.

Last year, there were three transactions — two in Jalan 25/70A and one in Jalan 27/70A. At the former, two 4-storey shoplots, with the same built-up of 6,167 sq ft, were sold for RM4 million and RM4.35 million respectively while at the latter, a 4-storey, 7,631 sq ft shoplot was transacted for RM4.2 million.