Look Ma, No Menu!
“Prohibition has made nothing but trouble,” said Al Capone in 1932 regarding the law prohibiting production, sale, and consumption of alcohol. If only he were alive today to see how many speakeasy bars that have been built in honour of that era – though the hypothetical admiration might be diffused by the hackneyed ‘30s décor that plagued the speakeasy scene here, including the subject of this particular piece. P&C’s (Pussy & Cock) interior design has all the tropes; wooden walls, brown leather seats, gigantic wanted poster of the aforementioned notorious gangster, and its era-specific extensive bar setup. However, credits should be given to them for making everything look appropriately hoity-toity – this is the underground bar of ‘30s socialites, not the sad facsimile of a trend follower.
But décor does not make a speakeasy, of course. We knew that our experience at P&C would be extraordinary after asking its seasoned bartenders (Erik, for example, has nearly two decades’ worth of experience) for a drink menu in order to have a look at their signature cocktails. But instead, they passed us a sheet of paper with two columns; one for taste preference (sweet, bitter, spicy, etc.) and the other for the preferred base (gin, whisky, tequila, etc.). Patrons are meant to then tick their choices – more than one choice can be made for each column – according to their drink palate and return the form to the bartenders. Confused? Don’t be. They simply opted for the omakase (the Japanese word, not the other speakeasy) approach with some semblance of customisation on the customer’s part. The unadventurous needn’t fear though, the team of four can prepare anything from classic cocktails with a personal twist to modern drinks paired with local favourites.
A fine example of a classic cocktail pared with a local favourite is P&C’s Kopi Kampungtini, which is essentially an espresso martini only instead of using a fancy light roast, these guys substituted it with Tongkat Ali. We were sold at the first sip. Easily amused? You betcha. The second P&C drink of the same strain we’ve had dreams of since our visit is the Tom Yum cocktail. That’s right, Tom Yum. This drink honestly felt like we were on a roller coaster ride because just when you think it’s steady and sweet, you’d reach the tip of the rail and the spiciness pinches you in the throat just enough to release some adrenaline. Suffice it to say, our body heat increased exponentially from both the alcohol content and the pure hot-on-the-tongue spiciness of it all.
Unlike certain ‘speakeasies’ – yes, quote, unquote – that come off as more your typical Changkat pub-club hybrid, P&C is a compact space that can only host 25 guests at a time, true to the era it’s trying to facsimile. Consider this a piece of advice for you to visit the venue before you’d need to make reservations first, because it’s only going to get busier from now onwards.
While currently there are no bar snacks available, interestingly, the venue features food pairings. Here’s where the bartenders combine some of the best food and drink for your palate. We tried their Midori Sour and Smoked Salmon combination, which was divine – more so because it came with a cocktail caviar. The price tag is pretty hefty though, ranging from RM120 to 180 depending on the pairing. However, cocktails have the expected price tags of any other speakeasies, going from RM40 to RM60 or more. Considering the quality of drinks, the environment, and more importantly, the bartenders manning the bar, we aren’t complaining.
Head on over to P&C after treating yourself to some of Naughty Nuri’s fine pork ribs to enjoy jazz tunes, quality cocktails, and a quiet corner. Or the other way around. Either way, it’s gangster as fuck.
(BEHIND NAUGHTY NURI’S)
NO. 2, GROUND FLOOR, 20/70A
JALAN SRI HARTAMAS 22
DESA SRI HARTAMAS
50480 KUALA LUMPUR
OPEN: 6PM – LATE (MONDAY – SATURDAY)
T: 017 363 4396