East Of Eclectic: Mr Chew’s Chino Latino Bar

Restaurant extraordinaire Eddie Chew and Christian Bauer present new flavours with their latest gem. By Emmilyn Yeoh

Lacquered cobalt doors contradict exposed brick walls at the grand entrance

Is there really room for another Asian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur? Mr Chew’s Chino Latino Bar’s inventive Chinese-Japanese-Thai menu might seem a little odd, but its madcap owners are all about breathing new life into the local restaurant scene. Settling for an ordinary contemporary Asian experience was never an option for the dynamic duo. Sipping on a G&T in a Chinese takeaway box, sampling the nori taco that tastes like salmon sushi, and chomping on bits of catfish char siew like a true pescatarian … staples are given a twist and taken up a notch, with the eclectic details separating the great from the ordinary.

Dessert tacos of mango pomelo, strawberry, and hazelnut chocolate

The Empress Dowager Cixi painting by Christophe Turchi, Chris and Eddie’s friend, makes the most Instagram-able backdrop

How did this curious idea for Mr Chew’s come about?

Eddie Chew: Our travels take us from Europe to Australia, and we discovered that Asian cuisine has made a big comeback. This sparked the idea of having a modern Asian-influenced restaurant here. When we were shown this penthouse, Chris [Bauer] and I knew right away that this breathtaking space would bring everything to life.

What would Mr Chew say when it comes to having fun?

Christian Bauer: Asians are best at eating great food, but it’s the Latinos who really know how to party and have a good time. We didn’t want to go down the 1960s Suzie Wong route because we wanted to differentiate ourselves. Simplicity is beauty—a modern space, lightly accented with Asian elements.

EC: The Empress Dowager mural in the dining room is our humorous take on an Asian version of Frida Kahlo. She wears a Carmen Miranda fruit basket, with a marmoset monkey on her shoulder, tequila bottle on the side, and she’s munching on tortilla chips. How’s that for fun?

Christian Bauer and Eddie Chew

What is Mr Chew’s element of seduction?

EC: The dedicated dessert bar clad in a mint-dominant colour palette and Christian Lacroix cushions. The old-school ice shaver evokes nostalgia, while the bite-sized desserts are fun to eat.

What makes a killer Mr Chew’s experience?

CB: The spicy somen noodles tossed with ikura and century egg! We have one rule for every dish that we make, and that is, “If I lived at the other side of KL, would I drive all the way across town just to have it?”

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