The secret behind Reka:Bar’s success: “constant search for flavour and innovation” and the importance of teamwork

Reka:Bar team

In numbers…

Launch: 25th November 2021

Seating capacity: 90 guests, comfortably seated

Area size: 2,400 sq feet

Flavour Lab Equipments: Rotary Evaporator, Centrifuge, Fermentation Vessels, Sous Vide

Design studio: A collaborative effort with Nyapshin Koh and his team from Port 25. Countless hours were spent together poring over every detail and contour in and outside the bar.” says Nick Choo, co-founder of Reka:Bar. 

Address: 67M, Jln Setia Bakti, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Reka:Bar logo

In the beginning, there was a logo: a concentric circle had the first letter R’s tail end touching the last letter A’s tip and vice versa. The ethos of Reka:Bar is symbolised by the word “Reka,” which means “create.” 

If you look closely, you can see dots on the logo. “You may have noticed a curious pattern of dots as a repeating motif in Reka. It might be on the drip tray along the bar, in our logo, and even on the ice that cools your drink. These dots represent the name of our bar in Braille— it serves as a subtle reminder for us to be accessible and welcoming to everyone who enters our bar.” says Reka:Bar team.

The interiors of Reka:Bar

Distinguished by its distinctive contemporary design, a futuristic ambience, and an impressive assortment of expertly crafted cocktails, Reka:Bar’s cocktails are inventive, geeky, and consistent. The far end of the bar was occupied by the flavour lab, which contained several equipments and jars of housemade ferments, syrups and more.

Nick Choo, co-founder shares, “The tagline is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the postmodern ideal of constantly questioning accepted principles and rules in the team’s constant search for flavour and innovation.” A prime example of this is its signature drink, Dusun, which (hopefully) breaks the long-standing taboo of durian and alcohol.

What are the principles that drive the sustainability of the business?

Our first ethos is to recycle and reuse anything we can. Our Domino Effect menu, where various parts of each ingredient are used in succeeding drinks on our menu, is the best example of this. Additionally, whenever possible, we work to reduce the use of plastic and single-serve items where possible.


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How do you build a good team?

A good team starts with good people. We’ve been very fortunate in that regard.

We practice a culture of transparency and openness and value every team member’s contribution. 

While it is no secret that we set very high standards for work at Reka:Bar, we ensure the same rules apply to everyone, from the majority owner to the newest part-time team member. The team also schedules regular “catch-up” sessions to check every member’s mental and physical health. 

We seek to understand every team member’s aspirations and provide mentorship and opportunities for growth. 

While not entirely unexpected, finding exceptional people to work with is our most challenging problem. 

We hesitate to say that anything came particularly easy as we have had to work and obsess over every single detail to ensure the guest experience is (hopefully) excellent, but certainly, we have really enjoyed and very much appreciate the close rapport with our guests and support from our fellow industry professionals ever since we opened.

The development of Reka:Bar Signature menu 

Tell us about the Domino Effect. 

The initial concept was that each drink would be created with a core ingredient in mind, and a different portion of that ingredient would be used as the garnish for the following drink. It took us several months of research, experimentation, and tastings to come up with the final “flavour wheel”, and we are happy with the composition of all 12 drinks.

We tried to incorporate a wide spectrum of sights, scents, flavours and textures in our Signature menu so that our guests might enjoy a whole journey while seated at our bar.

Three Signature cocktail recipes and its inspirations from Reka:Bar

The finer details matter. Tell us about the finer points of presenting your drinks. What is the science behind your accompanying garnishes? 

While many of our drinks use cutting-edge techniques such as distillation, hydrosols etc., we’ve often found that what makes the final drink come together is more of an art. With garnishes, for example, sometimes a garnish will be used to accentuate an intended flavour (Watermelon Sugar High), other times to provide a flavour contrast (Martini. Still not Stirred) or to complete a theme ( Wine… Not?).

We strive for the expression of flavour and balance in every drink we serve. The science is the tool that makes the art possible.

Last but not least…our main goal is to provide an amazing and exciting experience for every one of our guests. If we can leave every guest with a touch of kindness, humour, and “wow” in 2023, we’ll be pretty satisfied ;).

Reka:Bar’s Cloud and Clear

Make your reservations at Reka:Bar here. Reservations and for group bookings (more than 14 guests) are encouraged. Please send Reka:Bar a message via Whatsapp at +6010-287 8908, so that the team can assist you better.

Follow them on Instagram for the latest updates!

Reka:Bar operation hours are Monday to Thursday: 6pm-1am, Friday and Saturday: 6pm-2am, Sunday: 5pm to 12am

Image credit: Reka:Bar 

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