Friday, April 1, 2011

ARTHUR'S BAR & GRILL AT SHANGRI-LA KUALA LUMPUR

ARTHURIAN CYCLE?

Arthur's Bar & Grill was formerly The Pub, the favourite haunt of many of KL’s movers and shakers. Now this Shangri-La stalwart has been refurnished and refreshed to become Arthur’s Bar & Grill and is already a wateringhole among the cognoscenti.

But why is it called Arthur? Why not William, Harry, Charles. Andrew or Edward? With Prince William on everyone's mind, Willy's Bar should be so relevant? On top of that, the bar is not inspired by King Arthur and Camelot as some might infer, since there are no shields, suits of armour, the sword Excalibur or Round Table (though there is an Oval Room).But I guess Arthur is as good a name as anything!

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The new Arthur's Bar & Grill at Shnagri-La.


The Pub opened with ShangriLa and that was nearly a quarter century ago! It was so popular nothing was done as why why bother with an engine that was purring perfectly and bringing in the dough? Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing! Leaving something alone is often the best policy as tinkering for the sake of change is a waste of time and effort.

Still, after two decades, a major revamp and name change were in order. Some say it is to attract new clientele but to me, the 'new clientele' would be the children of original patrons who are now grown up. This would have been the first time they were patronising The Pub and the interior and decor would have been 'new' to this new generation as it was well maintained throughout the last two decades so some sentimentalists were sore over the renovation and vowed never to return. So you win many, lose some! But since I was not paying for the renovation, I was pleased to check our Arthur's on your behalf.

The verdict? Better than The Pub!


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The new Arthur's Bar & Grill and that is the boss aka Head Barman aka Corporate Project Manager for Bar & Concepts

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Serhan Kusaksizoglu aka Charly. His surname is scary and a tongue -twister by he can still be called Serhan!

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The magnificent Big Bar

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From the second floor, you have a bird's eye view of who is coming and who has left.

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This is not some secret torture instrument to hook women but are meant for ladies to hang their handbags.

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The lovely Oval Room and very popular as you enjoy a bird's eye view of the junction between Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan P.Ramlee below yet the room feels like an oasis due to the swaying trees.

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Pub grub has never been so upscale and delicious! I pigged out till I reached the Plimsoll Line.

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Sinfully delicious desserts mean now is not the time to diet.


Arthur's Bar & Grill is a Manhattan style concept loaded with polished leather, luxurious wood, open-brick and that great rarity found nowhere else---a double height ceiling. Ideal for claustrophobic sufferers! From the second level, one has a bird’s eye view of who is coming and going. So if you see some dish entering, you can saunter down before he or she gets picked by someone else. Or if you see someone who should not be there, you can quietly sneak out via the side toilet entrance!

The main bar with its immense shelves awashed in bottles is a magnificent sight, and should appear even more so as the drinks are downed and a pretty barmaid climbs on a ladder to get your favourite tipple.

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Here she is seen getting your private bottle stored in the members' cabinet.


Speaking of ladies, there are handy hooks under bar tables so ladies can hang their bags safely! Much better than leaving your handbag on your chair or bar stool as it is bound to fall before the night is over. Or leaving it on the floor to absorb spilled beer.

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Hooked at Arthur's.


Lording over Arthur’s Bar & Grill is Charly, Corporate Project Manager , Bar & Concepts aka Head Barman Extraordinaire. Grins the affable Charly, “My actual name is Serhan Kusaksizoglu but with a tongue-twister name like that, is it any wonder people prefer call me Charly? However I notice most manage to pronounce my name after a few of my cocktails!”

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Yo Charly!


Of course there is a reason he is called Charly and not Harry or Lesley. He chuckles deeply, “I am Turkish but was born in Munich, Germany but I didn’t get my nickname in Europe but in Istanbul. That was 23 years ago and I was working in the Lobby Lounge of Ramada Istanbul. As it happened, I was in charge of 15 waitresses and naturally guests and staff started referring the lovely ladies as angels and I became Charly, as in Charlie’s Angels!”

The name stuck but he spells his moniker as Charly rather than Charlie. “I spent 4 years studying at Istanbul’s Hotel Management School and returned to Stuttgart in 1988. All my life I have been a bartender and am proud to say I was Head Barman at Schumann’s American Bar in Munich, world famous as THE bar in all Germany!”

He spent 11 years at Schumann’s but eventually decided to travel and embark on new adventures but always of the liquid kind. “My dream was to explore Asia so off I went to Beijing and opened Atmosphere, the very atmospheric bar on the 80th floor of Shangri-La’s China World Summit Wing hotel which is 330 metres above ground.”

He arrived in Kuala Lumpur last year to oversee the rebirth of The Pub into Arthur’s Bar & Grill which opened late December 2010. Now 42, he insists on being based in Kuala Lumpur rather than Beijing. “Beijing can be so cold and the winds can blow through your bones! I now travel to open new bars and plan the concept in other ShangriLa hotels from my base in KL.”

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Arthur's comes in two levels.


Patrons can catch Charly most nights as this internationally known mixologist performs his magic in concocting amazing drinks of all tastes, colours and flavours. He is a hands-on boss and will mix your drinks before your eyes at the bar if asked. And without extra charges!

Those who saw Tom Cruise tossing drink canisters into the air and catching them in the 1988 movie ‘Cocktail’ may be disappointed at Charly’s lack of acrobatics and bar antics. No juggling of bottles, no spinning, no fancy flying flacons. He sniffs disdainfully, “I am not interested in visual tricks. I only want to mix the best drinks for you!”

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If you think a sussed-up drink is just something to pour down your throat, Charly begs to differ. “We use the highest quality brands which include aged liquers, special syrups and good ice! Yes, our trademark is round ice cubes from filtered water. Most bars think ice cubes are the least of their problems but not Arthur’s! Our presentation is nice but not over the top so don’t expect too many colourful umbrellas, orchids and miniature dolls!”

Such dedication explains the prices of his three famous creations----Shangri-La’s Pimm’s Cup, Lemon Grass Giblet and something that contains his name, Charly’s Rum Punch. Around RM 110 for three drinks seem steep but Charly looks pained and assures me this is very reasonable.

As ‘Bar’ is ahead of ‘Grill’ in Arthur’s Bar & Grill, marvellously mixed drinks dominate but the food is excellent too. There are snacks like calamari (RM 20), soups (18), salads like Arthur’s (RM 32) and Cobb USA (RM 34) and burgers (RM 38). Grilled meats start from RM 55 for sirloin to RM 48 for salmon to Wagyu (RM 120). Each comes with two side orders and sauces. Local can’t-do-withouts include satay (RM 35), char kway teow (RM 35) and seafood mee mamak (RM 35). The fish and chip (RM 42) is highly recommended.

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Yummy! The steak tastes scrumptious!


The Oval Room is an oasis overlooking the busy junction between Jalan P.Ramlee and Jalan Sultan Ismail framed by trees and may require booking.

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The Oval Room has the best view of the hustle and bustle below as you lap up life's luxuries like the dessert shown here below

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Arthur’s is up and running at full steam but it is not exactly Schumann’s is it? Declares Charly Kusaksizoglu, “We will make Arthur’s just as famous!” Well it should succeed. Already they have the dishiest and prettiest bar tenders, waiters and waitresses which I suspect must have been poached from the other outlets!

Shangri-La KL; 03 2032 2388

7 comments:

azul said...

Very nice.... i would love to try at Arthur's Bar & Grill.

Ms. Tindall said...

Just discovered the renovated version, Arthurs. Love the oval room.

chandran said...

As we were staying at the Shangri-la, my girlfriend & I decided to give "Arthur's" a try and had dinner on Wednesday, 26th October 2011. I must say it was very disappointing. The wine was fine. The steaks were just not to a standard expected from an establishment housed in a 5 star hotel!! It was tough and the quality of meat was not good. The bill was not cheap as well. Normally I would have registered my disappointment but as we were tired I skipped it. I did however register my discontent on checking out the next day. As expected no one has been in touch to provide an apology even! Poor show by Arthur's!!!

chandran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Low said...

Enjoyed Charly's hospitality Tuesday night at the new Shangri-la in Toronto.

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