Streetscapes: A mini island of eateries

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on February 24, 2020 - March 01, 2020.

Photo by Ethel Khoo/The Edge

Tasty Chapathi is one of many Indian restaurants in the area

Photo by Ethel Khoo/The Edge

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Jalan Medan Setia 1 and 2 in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur, form an oval shape on the map and are lined with 5-storey strata-titled shopoffices. These shopoffices — 137 of them — make up Plaza Damansara 1, which was developed by Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB).

According to Metro Homes Realty Bhd executive director See Kok Loong, Plaza Damansara 1 is a prominent commercial area in Damansara Heights and known to be a place for good food.

Many trees surround the area, providing shade for bright and sunny mornings. During the day, despite the area’s perennial parking issue, the atmosphere is peaceful, calm and quiet.

The area is filled with eateries and popular for its pubs, bars and fine-dining restaurants. The types of cuisine offered include Indian, Western, Chinese Muslim and Japanese. Other businesses such as banks, pharmacies, clinics, convenience shops, salons and gyms are available as well.

Some of the notable eateries are Meat the Porkers (Indian restaurant), FLOUR (Indian restaurant, relocating in March), Nourish (café and bakery), Huckleberry Food & Fare (café and bakery), Gin Rik Sha (restaurant and bar), Kind Kones (vegan ice cream shop), Cata (Mediterranean restaurant) and GravyBaby (Western restaurant).

At night, the area transforms into a vibrant area, as it is a popular gathering place for people to hang out and have a drink. The notable pubs and bars include JungleBird, Skullduggery, Nomi Tomo Sake Bar and Sid’s Pub.

On one end of the oval shape, along Jalan Medan Setia 1, there is a beautifully renovated and repurposed white colonial mansion. Originally built in 2007, it is a boutique development by PNB known as Republik Damansara Heights (previously known as Plaza Epicure).

The one-acre, 2-storey development has over 26,000 sq ft of net lettable area and comprises 11 retail units. It houses various gastronomy and dining experiences (Playte, Frangipaani, Blonde and Happy Stan) and service and retail brands (KitaKita and Smile & Co Dental Clinic).

At the other end of the oval shape, along Jalan Medan Setia 2, is Menara SBB, which houses a CIMB Bank branch. The building, constructed in 1996, is used as an office and data centre. It comprises seven office levels and four basement car park levels.

Plaza Damansara is a favourite hangout place for KL-ite Wong Yee Ting because of its many food choices. She regularly visits the area and her favourite restaurant is GravyBaby.

“[GravyBaby] has many types of food, from appetisers and main courses to desserts and snacks. But I love their pies. They are savoury, with the exception of the apple pie. My favourite is the slow-cooked steak and wild mushroom pie,” she says.

The pie is filled with mushrooms, carrots and thick chunks of tender beef.  “Some beef pies are not really nice because the meat is quite hard. The meat in this pie is soft and chewy,” she says. The pie is paired with the Original British Meat Gravy, which enhances it taste.

Metro Homes’ See says the area is mature and stable. There will be no changes to its landscape in the coming years, as it is a fully developed area.

Transaction records provided by See show that shopoffices were transacted at RM650 to RM850 psf between 2018 and last year. The sales were on a per floor basis and the floor space is 1,200 to 1,600 sq ft. R ental rates for the ground floor are between RM6,000 and RM7,000.