JungleBird, one of KL’s best loved drinking holes, has finally nestled into its new home after an intense three-month, ground-up build. The founders took it upon themselves to conceptualise, design, and largely construct the new outlet themselves since late October last year.
The new space, a triumph of hard work, sweat and tears, keeps much of the cheeky, laid back atmosphere of the original JungleBird KL but has a distinct new sense of airiness. The window on the front end welcomes in light, which further accentuates the famed relaxed charm that the original Bird had so successfully imprinted on its guests.
“When we were informed of the sale of our previous location, and with a move looking certain, having a new space with daylight was one of our priorities. Our vision was to create an all-day dining and drinking atmosphere for JungleBird. Catering to this new era where people want a place that allows them to work, interact, communicate, dine and unwind was at the forefront of our mission. This is why we have reworked the concept a little to ensure the space is a welcome home away from home for our guests and friends, without losing sight of what we had originally set out to create. I won’t lie when I say there were tense moments throughout the build when reaching an impasse on certain key decisions, but ultimately, we believe it all came together very well and I am very excited to welcome everyone here”. said Lolita Goh, Founder
The general layout of the space creates the opportunity to build a purpose-built lounge area, separate from the main bar, creating two distinctly different guest experiences. What makes this ‘living room’ environment unique from the previous location is the addition of a rather sizeable, open banquette style seating creating a comfortable and breezy setting for guests to relax. Some of the old furniture has been revived, alongside introducing a stand-alone booth, allowing for larger groups to enjoy a slightly more intimate stay. Perched on the windowsill, customers will also find local herbs and chilli plants growing that will be used as everyday ingredients in both food and cocktail offerings.
“It has definitely been an experience, that is for sure" said Founder, Joshua Ivanovic. "We have all learnt so much over the course of the build, from brick-laying to plastering, figuring out how to work with natural materials like hardy bamboo and building actual furniture pieces. We left the major M&E jobs to the professionals, along with some other tasks we didn’t feel we would be able to tackle ourselves. The motto was basically to keep going until we found something we couldn’t do. I can say with absolute certainty that the new JungleBird was built on YouTube tutorials, copious amounts of espressos and Family Mart sandwiches!”
Divyesh Chauhan, Founder, adds "The bar is equally impressive. Not that it was too built from scratch but the impressive display of bottles a great story about the ethos of the JungleBird. The bar serves as a focal point for customers with an ability for us to connect and tell stories spreading the gospel of rum and our signature cocktails”.
It was clear to the founders that a new space with its new airy ambience needed a new philosophy for cocktails. This gave them the opportunity to take bold steps by going back to the fundamentals of rum and building a new menu up from there.
“The new cocktail offering focuses on important rum producing nations around the world". said, Joshua. "We have taken well-known classics along with some slightly more obscure, lesser-known recipes and reworked them in our own, JungleBird way. Taking into consideration the new design and look of the space, the new menu promises to offer sleek, modern serves using contemporary techniques, whilst maintaining the iconic flavour profiles our guests would expect from the likes of a Piña Colada or a Ti’ Punch. Ask for a Brazilian Quentão or a Haitian Cremas, we’ll happily introduce you to what it is!” Divyesh adds.
A key addition to the new JungleBird space is an expanded and more developed food offering. Having created a purpose-built kitchen at the very back of the outlet allows JungleBird to present an exciting Asian, Britannia and Caribbean inspired food offering.
Lolitta said, “This, for us, was definitely one of the most exciting aspects of the new concept". I grew up in a culture where food is a language of love. To cook for your loved ones and to see how they (hopefully!) enjoy eating what you put on the table brings me joy. So to finally have a platform and a full kitchen for me to get my hands sticky was a bit of a dream come true. Excuse the pun.
The direction and concept of the menu were to highlight some iconic regional dishes from rum producing nations, a little bit of Britannia, but never forgetting our Malaysiana identity that we have always tried to champion. All of which have been given a little bit of a JungleBird impression. To give a few examples, we have Albondigas Guisadas from the Dominican Republic, a cheeky twist on Curried Crab & Dumplings from Tobago and a pretty special Cubano sandwich.
Everything on the food menu is available from open till close unless if we run out of course, as the saying goes, you snooze you lose. But in all seriousness, we think it is important to have the ability to feed our guests right up to the end of their stay with us, day or night. Feel free to come say hello to me if you spot me behind the kitchen, I promise you I’ll reward you with nothing less than yummy goodness!”
The new restrictions have created some obvious challenges for everyone at JungleBird, especially as the build was completed only a few days before the implementation of the current MCO. However, the entire team had taken it in stride and pivoted to a take-away and delivery only format, offering some exciting new serves from both the food and beverage menus alongside dishes and cocktails from our previous selection. The JungleBird takeaway menu can be found on all the usual social media platforms, from UMAI, or collected directly from the venue itself.
Joshua continues, “With the build now complete, the dust has settled a little and we are able to reflect on the current situation, not only in Malaysia but globally. Everyone has been affected in one way or another, some much worse than others. Our industry has been hit tremendously hard around the world, and as much as we are itching to welcome our dearly missed guests, we understand it is important to follow the government set MCO restrictions. Our hearts go out to those affected most and we hope everyone stays safe”.
With the updated SOP's as of 9 February 2021 for dine in, Junglebird reopens tonight 11 February 2021.
Address: 61M Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For enquires call +60 3-2011 5715 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Current opening hours are 9.30 am - 9.30 pm (or in accordance with latest government SOP and regulations)