Jann, Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur
Words: Patricia Podorsek Photos: Monica Tindall
At the centre of the Chinatown KL revival lies the shiny new Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur. Opened just a few short months, the hotel is already pushing the limits of capacity and drawing more tourists and locals than ever into this iconic neighbourhood. Tucked among its many stylish textures, including floor-to-ceiling windows and an array of jewel-toned colours, we find a new bar on the seventh floor, Jann. Jann bar was named after one of the owner’s daughters. Having a mess of brothers and sisters myself, I am pleased to hear that other aspects of the hotel honour Jann’s siblings. A guest surely wouldn’t want to be caught in that tangle of sibling rivalry!
Brick and brass set a sophisticated backdrop that feels a little like the drape of a tuxedo jacket over bare shoulders. After checking out the views from the patio, we cosy up to the jade wraparound bar. The overall style of the room conjures up a sense of the Great Gatsby, a sort of Chinese twist on the Roaring 20s.
The namesake cocktail at Jann at Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur arrives lavishly in a champagne flute, a lovely pale peach colour with a promise of sugar and spice. Dear Jann (RM50) blends lavender gin with lime, apricot liqueur, and a little vermouth for a very retro drink. The fun twist is the addition of chenpi, dried mandarin peel which adds a particular tang to an otherwise sweeter drink. We like it so much, we order two!
The drinks at Jann all come with a story, and we enjoy hearing about how each represents an aspect of historic Chinatown. Kapitan Yap (RM45) is a nod to Yap Ah Loy, a pivotal figure in the development of the neighbourhood. Undertones of jackfruit, lemon and honey offset the edge of Jack Daniel’s, in a mirror to the Kapitan himself, who was also somewhat double-sided. As a bourbon lover, I like the pairing of tropical fruit with the whiskey, especially topped with a foamy egg-white cap.
A more unusual whiskey pairing arrives with The Tailor (RM45), which infuses Jack Daniel’s with bonito! Not one to think about fish in my beverage, I do appreciate the sweet and salty nature of this drink. The dual kind of the cocktail applauds a century-old tailor shop on Jalan Sultan, which continues to use traditional sewing machines in the age of mass-produced clothing.
More iconic figures are elevated in the naming of Little Devils (RM45), this time the naughty children who would hang out in Kwai Chai Hong’s alleyway in a bygone era. This beverage incorporates a traditional candy known as Haw Flakes with Absolut Vanilla vodka and roselle for a drink that is deliciously sweet, sour and floral all at once. I love the bamboo cup in which it arrives. All of the beverages come in a different, unique vessel that matches the spirit of the cocktail, and come equipped with environmentally-friendly paper straws.
Little devils are also little students, and our next drink salutes the God of Exams, Great Master Kui (RM40). It arrives over crushed ice in a small vase reminiscent of devotions at a shrine. I love the focus on the citrus in this cocktail, tart lemon and bitter grapefruit enhanced by Aperol and Elderflower Liqueur, for a drink that is refreshing and not too sweet. Oh, and tea-infused gin. It’s easy to forget about the alcoholic part of this smooth and easy-drinking beverage.
People are not the only honorees showcased on Jann’s menu. Even the post office gets a mention!! POS 1911 (RM40) is a take on the classic Jungle Bird cocktail, taking flight on the wings of Cachaca and tropical juices. Grapefruit and Campari add a slightly bitter edge like the glue of the envelope of a love letter. This one gets our “stamp” of approval, especially with the little origami crane adorning the rim.
Traditional foods are also highlighted on the cocktail list at Jann. The Bak Kwa (RM45), which translates to ‘dried meat’ in Hokkien, arrives with a crown of locally made chicken jerky warmed by blow torch! The sweet and smoky flavours of the bakkwa blend nicely with the smoky texture of the Alipus San Juan Mescal. A little Grand Marnier, pandan and lemon complement the marinade in this ‘meaty’ cocktail.
Our last foray into the cocktail list also pays tribute to traditional food, this time on the sweet side rather than the savoury. Tau Foo Fah (RM40), or soybean pudding, sweetens silky soft tofu with gula Melaka and a little pandan. So far, it’s not so different from the classic street version. Jann’s more sophisticated rendition then adds Plantation Original Dark Rum, a dash of luxurious tropical heat to fortify this peninsular treat.
Bar Snacks Menu
Similar to the drinks, the bar snacks at Jann reflect the heritage of the neighbourhood. From the Chinese side, we happily munch on Peking Duck Fried Spring Rolls. A crisp wrapper captures crunchy carrots and tender duck, ready for dipping in plum sauce. From the Malay side, Chicken Satay hits the spot with chunky homemade peanut sauce that is not too oily. Lastly, the Salted Egg Yolk Fish Skin lavishes crispy salmon skin with curry leaves and melty salted egg.
Jann Review – Bar at Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur
As the day moves to twilight through the tall windows behind us at Jann, our hearts have been captured by the inventive cocktails and stylish decor of Jann in the new Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur. More importantly, the heart of the Chinatown Renaissance is captured in the stories that each glass delivers. If it’s time to learn more about the history of this neighbourhood, no need to open a textbook.
Reasons to visit Jann, Bar at Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur: classy cocktails and great views that cherish both the heritage and renaissance of the Chinatown neighbourhood.
Jann, Bar at Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur
2, Jalan Balai Polis, Chinatown
50000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6 03 2035 7333
Jann, Bar Opening Hours
Daily 4:00 pm to midnight through the week and 1:00 am on the weekends.
Happy Hours daily: 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm