These days, when Petaling Jaya residents eat out, they’re heading to Kota Damansara, a suburb that’s fast turning into something of a nightlife hotspot. Playing host to chic boutiques, top-notch restaurants and happening nightclubs and bars, the setting and atmosphere here draws in the young and yuppie crowd but it’s still family-friendly. Newcomer Saint’s Bar & Kitchen is one such locale – a trendy-looking restaurant that offers unpretentious fare. Just weeks after opening, Saint’s is already proving its popularity, not only for its British-inspired food menu, but also for its drinks, open-mic nights and sophisticated ambience.
Besides a mouth-watering though limited menu of good food, Saint’s should be lauded for its luxurious ambiance. Featuring chandeliers and a Hershey’s-chocolate-coloured ceiling, it looks like a cross between a British tavern and an ultramodern dance club. Heavy-set wooden high tables and chairs contrast with contemporary bar stools to create an open plan feel. A black leather sofa forms part of the seating plan, with red and white cushions adding a splash of colour. For those who prefer to have their meal al fresco, there’s an outdoor dining area on the five-foot walkway.
Chic and contemporary, Saint’s has a lively and inviting atmosphere. Sporting warm lighting, a stage for live performances on Fridays and Saturdays and large flat-screen TVs televising sports matches, it’s got an artsy and inspirational vibe to it. Saint’s is busiest on Thursday nights when it hosts an open mic night, plus Wednesday is the bar’s official Ladies’ Night.
It’s obvious that Saint’s takes pride in its drink selections – there’s an extensive list of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including gourmet coffees, teas, fruit juices and soft drinks. Pondering the drinks menu can be difficult – with its collection of bottled beers, flavoured martinis, aperitifs, whiskies, cognacs, bourbons, rums, gins, tequilas, vodkas, liquers and wines – but when in doubt try owner and manager Nicky Craig’s suggestions.
The not-too-sweet Passionfruit Caipirinha, a mix of Cachaça, gomme syrup, lime and passion fruit, is delightfully refreshing while the A Taste of Speyside (10-Year Old Macallan, honey whisky, apple juice, mint leaves and dot angostura bitters) offers a hearty ‘hello-weekend’ kick. One thing’s for certain; Nicky’s a mean mixologist.
The story of how Saint’s came about is inspiring – a classic example of how passion, hard work, creativity and family can give birth to some of the best ventures. Armed with close to 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Nicky came together with his aunt and uncle to start his very own restaurant and his dedication is evident in every nook and cranny of the place.
Menus offer brief, almost restrained, descriptions: ‘Steak Sandwich – Served with caramelized onions’ – there’s no need to hide behind flowery descriptions, the fare speaks for itself. There’s a variety of light bites, sharing platters, gourmet sandwiches as well as burgers, mains, pastas and salads. Portions come in just the right sizes – generous but not too much that you’ll have difficulty finishing them, and they’re elegantly presented.
For starters the chicken satay is sticky and crispy on the outside yet tender inside, although the taste is slightly dull. However the accompanying sauce is rich and nutty, and offsets the meat’s pale flavour. The restaurant’s best-kept ‘secret’? Haggis. Most approach the dish with trepidation but Saint’s version is usually a roaring success and for RM32, this could be lunch sorted. The haggis balls with mustard mayo are savoury and richly-flavoured – for this dish, you’re sure to visit again.
Next up is fresh prawn rolls with passion fruit hollandaise sauce – a tangy and fulfilling dish. All is purring along nicely when the bruschetta platter is served; the mushroom bruschetta is creamy and not too cheesy, while the bruschetta of smoked salmon with cream cheese and mushroom fricase is well balanced. All in all, it’s safe to say that Saint’s food combinations work extremely well, leaving the restaurant pitched high up on the culinary chain.
At 15:00 the restaurant wasn’t quite as busy as it would’ve been at lunchtime. It’s only been open eight weeks so is still finding its way but service was prompt, friendly, almost befitting a fine-dining venture. Without a doubt, Saint’s Bar & Kitchen deserves a repeat visit – if not for the stellar entertainment and atmosphere then for the worthy cuisine (namely the haggis).
Located at the The Strand in Kota Damansara, Saint’s is roughly 22km from the Kuala Lumpur city centre. It’s an easy-to-find establishment – occupying a corner lot on the Red Carpet Boulevard and it will soon be in the shadow of a mega shopping mall. However, you won’t have to endure unsightly construction while eating here – the soon-to-be-constructed mall’s oversized colourful signage blocks any view of the ongoing work.
Saint's Bar & Kitchen
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 01:00
- Address: No. 26 – G Red Carpet Boulevard Encorp Strand, Pusat Perdagangan Kota Damansara, PJU5, 47810 Petaling Jaya.
- Tel: (6016) 2075 298