This is us, after 4 hours at Man Tao, after sharing 5 whisky shots, 4 whisky sour, some Tsingtao beers, all of Man Tao’s signature cocktails and having stuffed ourselves silly with their savoury mantous.
This is the place my friends; the place to chill with your buddies, to chat, to sip on excellent whisky sours (look for bartender Henly), to try intriguing cocktails and to chow down on unique “bar snacks” in the form of savoury mantaos in a bar.
It is also the only place where their signature cocktails are finished with a dash of Tsingtao beer.
The Tsingtao is a light, crisp beer and we were told it was a favourite of the owner of the hotel, thus explaining its prominency in Man Tao.
And if you were to order the beer on its own, it will be served in a transparent beer bag loaded with ice! How cool! Like literally! 😀
Seeing my fascination with them Henly admitted that patrons bagged them home though they are not supposed to. Well, I must admit I was tempted too, since these thick bags are sturdy and thus make good carrier bags!
While our drinks were being mixed, we chowed on mantaos – super fluffy buns loaded with savoury fillings. These are perfect beer bites and each portion could be finished off in 2 bites. My favourite is the curry chicken – delightfully creamy, rich and slightly spicy. It was particularly enjoyable when savoured with the bar’s signature cocktails, most of which carried a spicy undertone.
The cod fish is also good choice, though I would recommend it with rice rather than with mantao. The vegetarian version using jicama wasn’t our thing. Each serving of mantao is RM20.
We started with Man Tao’s five signature cocktails since well, they are the signatures. My favourite was Tsing Tini – light, fruity and refreshing.
1. Tsing Tini (RM40) – sweet and slightly sour, this tasted like watermelon beer.
Ingredients: Elderflower liquor, watermelon puree, basil leaves and a top up of Tsingtao beer.
2. Tipsy Pomegranate (RM40) – Light and sour with a jolt of burn with each sip.
Ingredients: Vodka, pomegranate juice, lemon juice and chilli flakes.
3. China Doll (RM40) – your non-typical Bloody Mary but with taste evocative of a Bloody Mary no thanks to the tomatoes.
4. Moon Goddess (RM40) – this was alike sweet wine, likely due to the addition of brown sugar as per its ingredient list. Thankfully it was given some character from the addition of citrus fruits (lime/lemon juice) . Served garnished with a slice of orange.
5. Spicy Rooster (RM40) – rather spicy and an acquired taste. Order with caution.
Personally we loved the vibe of Man Tao; mellow music where conversations are possible, a glorious view with the KL Tower prominently in a myriad of colors throughout the night, gentle evening breeze keeping the temperature pleasant and the open space airy and last but not least, a calming infinity pool in full view.
Man Tao isn’t your party-dancing bar, but ideal for a lazy session with friends where conversation and good drinks are priorities.
My hardcore alcoholic buddies found the variety of libations available a bit constrained though. Fortunately the bartender Henly was most accommodating to our requests. He mixed some off the menu cocktails for us and by god, he could whip up one of the best whisky sours in the Klang Valley, or so as claimed by my gang that night.
We were happy too with the selection of Japanese whisky available – Single Malt Yoichi, Hibiki and 18 year Yamazaki and enjoyed a shot of each, starting with neat, then with ice followed by a bit of water.
Many thanks to Man Tao Bar for the experience.
Here’s what my buddies Josh and Patrick has to say about Man Tao:
The walk up stairs to the pool side could be best described as a pleasant surprise. From the austere surroundings of the hotel walkway, one is greeted by the infinity pool reflecting the luminescent lights of the KL Tower. In short. Breathtaking.
The decor and ambiance brought to mind the words “modern balinese” and lightly complimented the surroundings, like the right amount of pepper on a properly cooked half boiled egg – refreshing and wholesome. The show case of the evening was the mantao offerings. For the sake of the surroundings one would have expected to have food that greatly challenged the palate, alas, this could not be said about the mantao. While not a standout, it did not take away from the ambiance. Simple food without too much ado. The same could be said of the drinks menu. While there was a menu of set cocktails to complement the mantao, it was underwhelming. The surprise of the night was the off-menu items at the bar and the bartenders! A cornucopia of delectable cocktails, with the whisky sour shining through. The underdog, the heavy hitter, the home run. If there was a place with a whisky sour that I would recommend, it would be here. And coupled with the scenery and ambience, you can just think of one word. Perfect.”
Admiring the stunning city skyline view on the rooftop poolside, I couldn’t have imagined a quiet and relaxing city moment, complete with delicious cocktails. Don’t miss out the Whisky Sour, it’s to die for!
Man Tao Bar
Hotel Stripes Autograph Collection Kuala Lumpur
25 Jalan Kamunting
50300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
+6 03 2038 0000
Opening Hours: Daily 6 pm – 12 midnight (Tuesdays till Saturdays)
Dress Code: Tropical Chic