Words: Kitty Lang
Photos: Monica Tindall
Nestled between two shop fronts in TTDI you can find an unassuming, grey staircase, leading to an unremarkable door, with a simple sign ‘Soma’. Reveal the meaning of the word – ancient Hindi for ‘the drink of the Gods’ – and you might get a hint at what’s inside. Like so many craft cocktail bars in our vibrant KL city, you are unlikely to happen upon Soma Cocktail Bar in TTDI. Like a well-kept secret, those in the know, know!
Soma Cocktail Bar TTDI
Sultry jazz music warms the cool vibe, uninterrupted by smoke thanks to the outdoor smoking area. The style, created by Jason Julian, the cool, tattooed director, is ‘free and easy’ with a firm nod to sustainability – we were most pleased with the stainless steel straws. Jason, formerly a chef, clearly transferred his skills from the kitchen to the bar where he has a flair for flavour profiles and a loyal following of customers.
Soma Cocktail Bar TTDI Menu
Our task for the next two hours, was to try some of the plethora of cocktails on offer; a challenge we were ready to accept!
We embarked our tasting with the Zen Green Tea (RM 43) thoughtfully served in a bamboo cup. It was made with delicate tea with elderflower, aloe vera, sour plum water and egg whites and topped with a clover flower. It was a real taste of the Orient and despite knowing there was more to come, I couldn’t help but finish the whole cup.
Yuzu Sour (RM 43) immediately appealed to Mon and me, both firm lovers of the citrus fruit. Served in an old-fashioned glass and adorned with dehydrated orange (all their fruits are dehydrated in-house), this was a super pleasing and super citrusy cocktail. Combining triple sec, orange juice, yuzu purée and lemon juice balanced with simple syrup, this would not be out of place at breakfast!
Caning requested the Asian Pornstar (RM 40). I think he was marginally disappointed when a martini glass with a cocktail arrived! True to tradition with a base of passionfruit, vanilla and vodka, the twist came with the addition of sour plum, garnished with dehydrated lime. The bright, vivid orange colour really popped.
Galician Breeze (RM 40), so-named after the key ingredient of Spanish Nordes Gin, was paired with elderflower liqueur, Three Cents tonic water and rose syrup. The paired flavours married beautifully to the lemongrass and lavender botanicals of the gin. It came served in a tall glass decorated with dehydrated lemon and a rose-bud proffering an overwhelming rose scent with a floral burst. Pretty and feminine, heady and luxurious, this is a definite crowd-pleaser.
One of the house cocktails was aptly named Mainland Remedy (RM 40). It reminded me of the Black Jacks sweets served in a little Turkish tea glass. Very classy and bijou. With a taste of liquorice, the star ingredient was Nim Jiom Pei Pa Kao, a traditional Chinese cough syrup, made from herbs and roots. It was created following a request from a customer, and paired with black tea, gin and lemon juice.
Gin Drinks at Soma
Gin & Coriander (RM 38) had a base of Ophir gin, dry vermouth, Three Cents tonic, and fresh coriander. The pink peppercorn in the Ophir was really highlighted by coriander but not overwhelmed by it. It’s immensely drinkable and another popular drink all round.
Being a Brit, I do subscribe to the philosophy that tea is the answer to everything. My favourite being Early Grey. Earl De Grey (RM 43) comprised of tea-infused gin, elderflower, earl grey, lemon, honey and grapefruit, the subtle floral notes complemented by the citrus flavours.
Soma Cocktail Bar Twists on the Classics
Something that stood out on the menu was the Cheese Bloody Mary (RM 43). My theory is that the measure of a good mixologist is their ability to create a good Dirty Martini and Bloody Mary, so this was my chance to test it out! Vodka was house-infused with Parmesan, paired with a homemade Bloody Mary mix and served with a giant Parmesan chip. It was paler than normal on account of the home-made tomato juice, loosely based on a minestrone soup and made similarly, with onion, celery, garlic and tomatoes. Certainly not your traditional Bloody Mary, but very unique.
Bartender’s Choice at Soma Cocktail Bar TTDI
There is a lovely option called “Bartender’s Choice” on Soma’s menu where you tell your mixologist what flavours you like and obligingly they will create a cocktail to suit you. Surprised to find that every one of us enjoyed the earlier coriander cocktail, Lini, Jason’s partner in crime, suggested The Coriander Sour (RM40). Based on a gimlet and pea green in colour, it’s served in a champagne coupe. A combination of gin, lime, simple syrup, coriander and mint leaf made a likeable beverage. The heavy coriander flavour united us all in being the favourite, whilst we politely fought over the last few drops.
Preferring the more traditional style of Bloody Mary, Jason created “Kitty’s Style Bloody Mary.” Until then, I had NEVER had a drink come with a warning. It was a Bloody Mary just for me, made in the traditional way, with the usual suspects of Worcester Sauce (hailing from my home town), Tabasco sauce and tinned tomato juice… with a twist. Repeatedly asked if I could handle spice (I can), the whole cocktail was finished with two birds eye chillies. I’m not going to lie. It was a bit pokey! It was delicious, however, though certainly not for the faint-hearted (or my tasting buddies, it seemed).
For our second Bartenders Choice, Jason made “Monica’s Morgasm” (RM 43), I’ll admit that we came up with the name but with passion fruit purée, dark rum (Mon’s favourite), sour plum and lime juice, topped with soda it really was morgasmic.
Our grand finale fell to my proclivities with Jason whipping something using my favourite spirit, a smoky whisky (RM 45). Magically, he selected my number one choice, Lagavulin! Egg white combined with simple syrup and lemon was then smoked with sakura wood chips. On tasting, I literally did a happy dance at its deliciousness. Whilst slightly more restrained in their response, Mon and Caning were also both very impressed.
Whilst Soma doesn’t have a full kitchen, you can order various bar snacks in the shape of potato wedges with cheese, sweet potato fries, salmon and chicken bites.
Soma Cocktail Bar Review
Soma is a delightful bar, which, when you walk in, immediately envelops you with warmth and when leaving, makes you feel you are parting from friends. It’s a great find, championing fantastic cocktails.
Reasons to visit Soma Cocktail Bar TTDI: a quality craft cocktail bar in TTDI; personally tailored cocktails; excellent twists on classics.
Soma Cocktail Bar
145A, Jalan Aminuddin Baki
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Wilayah Persekutuan,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Soma Cocktail Bar Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat 6 pm-2 am
Sun 6 pm -12 am