The newest place to be is the Isetan The Japan Store at Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur. What you get, when you step into the minimally decorated space, is a feeling of zen and awe. Staff are courteous and polite without exception. Things sold are listed at eye-popping prices, and displayed in little islands of exclusivity around the store. It feels like you’re in a museum, not a department store.
I’m not sure how long it’ll survive to be honest.
So a drink was in order.
For fans of craft beer, head down to the basement, where the food is located. Tucked away on one side, is Takumi Craft Bar that serves up Japanese craft beers on tap and in bottles.
Takumi Craft Bar offers a tasting paddle of beers on tap, which I enjoyed. It allowed me to sample a selection of beers from what was on offer. The tasting paddle of 3 150ml glasses was RM50.
I picked the Koshihikari Echigo Lager, Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale and Hitachino Nest Beer Red Rice Ale.
- The Echigo Lager was light and crisp. Perfect for hot days, chilled from the fridge. I enjoyed it because it was so crisp, without that lingering sour-bitter taste you sometimes get in lager.
- The Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale had a sweet fragrance, reminiscent of beers like Hoegaarden, but it tasted a little more refined. There was a fruity flavour to it and was similarly easy to down.
- The Hitachino Nest Beer Red Rice Ale was heavier, and has a higher alcohol content at 7%. Made from polished rice, the beer has a sweetness to it with a lingering taste like sake on the tongue. It was interesting. Not my favourite, but interesting.
Also had a Owa Kuro beer from the chiller. Heavier in texture and flavour like that of a stout, it tasted far more refined than a stout, without the bitterness usually associated with it. I found it was less malty as well, and settles more easily on the palate. Owa is brewed by a Japanese in Belgium, so marries the best of both worlds – the precision of Japanese craft, with Belgian ingredients.
At Takumi Craft Bar, you can buy the chilled bottles of Japanese Craft Beer, Whiskeys and Wine from the fridges and drink them at the bar without charge, for now. They don’t serve food, but they allow you to bring in food from the other counters, so you can buy in your sushi or deli foods and enjoy them with a chilled glass of beer. I could think of worse ways to get over the sticker shock of prices in the department store.
AMBIANCE: This is an open bar so expect people gawking as they pass by. Located as it is near the liquor section and a neighbouring sake bar, traffic does tend to be lower than on the other side of the food hall.
SERVICE: Very friendly service when I was there. A couple of the owners were there and they were friendly and accommodating, and well versed with their beer knowledge.
TASTE: It’s Japanese craft beer. It’s different.
PRICE: As expected, prices are high, but that is true of most craft beer. A tasting paddle of 3 glasses was RM50. Beers on tap were between RM29-30 a glass and bottled beers were about RM24 and up.
TAKUMI CRAFT BAR
Isetan The Japan Store
Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur
Takumi Craft Bar @ Isetan The Japan Store Lot 10
Takumi Craft Bar serves up Japanese craft beers on tap and from bottles. You can order a tasting paddle of their beers on tap which is a nice way to taste the different beers. I believe the beers will change from time to time. You can also buy a bottle from the fridge and have them at the bar at no charge. No food is served, but you are welcome to bring in food from other counters to enjoy with your beer. A nice place to chill.