Tiffin made its debut back in 2016 as a culinary pop-up called Tiffin Food Court, which ran for a month or two each time at various spots around town. It quickly made a name for itself as ‘the’ hottest makan spot – thanks to its unique “Malaysian food court with a twist” concept, featuring fusion dishes and experimental flavours from some of the country’s top chefs and culinary talents. Tiffin’s event spaces were also a reflection of its crowd (think neon lights and cool art installations) – all catering to a young, urban, and affluent crowd.
Even a pandemic hasn’t stopped the brand’s growth: it now has a permanent space called Tiffin at the Yard, which covers some 22,000 sq ft of space within the historical Sentul Depot in Kuala Lumpur. Formerly a railway engineering workshop, this 110-year-old heritage building has been revitalized as a lifestyle destination, with Tiffin being its main F&B hub. Visitors can expect 15 rotating and permanent vendors, serving an eclectic mix of offerings the likes of Afro-Carribean, Middle Eastern, and Asian fusion cuisine.
I’ve been meaning to check this place out since it opened in November 2021, but the crowds were massive from the hype at the time lol. It seems to have thinned a little now, as there were plenty of seats during our visit on a Saturday afternoon.
Not that there’s much to worry about – the space seems to have been designed with social distancing in mind; the seats and stalls are spaced far apart, and there’s plenty of room to move around. The building is enclosed – but the high ceiling and skylights, which allow for good natural lighting, provide a lofty sense of space. Add to that the nicely landscaped trees and greenery within, and it feels like you’re dining in a premium, open-air food court.
Parts of the depot’s original interior, such as the exposed brick walls and cement flooring, have been preserved, which lends to the whole ‘post industrial’ feel of the place. It’s hip, it’s chic, and it’s very Instagrammable.
There’s something for every palate here. We wandered around the stalls for some time trying to decide on what to eat (it’s impossible to get everything in one go – which warrants a return visit!). If you’re interested in Afro-Carribean cuisine, KL’s famous Joloko has a spin-off stall here called Jojo’s. Conceptualised as a ‘Carribean beach shack’, expect to find sandwiches called ‘bakes’ with fillings such as jerk-spiced barracuda and carne guisada. Sweet-toothed alcohol lovers will want to pay a stop at Licky Chan for its alcohol-infused treats – and just indulge in their dairy and vegan alcohol-free options.
For starters, we got some crispy bread and hummus (RM15) from Leen’s, which also serves Middle Eastern favourites such as kebabs and shawarmas. I love hummus and can probably eat it as my only dip for the rest of my life – so this was right up my alley. The crispy bread had the texture of chips/crackers, and was insanely addictive with the hummus.
Moving on to something a bit more substantial, we ordered Udang Di Sebalik Brioche (RM20) from Red Red Botak Head. The dish’s name is a cheeky play on words on the Malay proverb “ada udang di sebalik batu” (there’s a prawn hiding beneath the rock – which means there’s a hidden plot or something unseen). Picture huge, juicy pieces of shrimp in a creamy, tangy sauce, topped with caramelized onions and sandwiched between a soft and fluffy brioche – and you have the UDSB.
No points for guessing why the store is called “botak head” (baldie). Chef Liang works the kitchen, and is super friendly (not many chefs crack a smile while they’re working – at least not the ones I’ve encountered lol), and the staff is super warm and friendly as well.
And finally, the Hubs and I shared a main of crispy noodles with roast duck (RM22) from Halley by Wondermama, which serves dimsum and roasties. The noodles were pretty good and came with bokchoy, egg, plus juicy and flavourful roast duck. I think there was a bit of preserved vegetables in it too which gave the broth a rich flavour and a slightly sour kick.
Wanted to try TokyoRamen; unfortunately they were still preparing the food and I didn’t want to wait 30 minutes. Another trip then!
There are many vendors that looked interesting but we didn’t manage to try them all on this visit. Some that caught my eye include The Bao Guys, featuring fluffy mantous sandwiched with everything from fried chicken to braised beef with spicy mala mayo; Taco King and its selection of authentic Mexican tacos; and Olivia’s Deli, which serves Valencian-style paellas. For alcoholic libations, visitors can head to Bar 44, while coffee lovers can indulge in cold brews and lattes from Kopenhagen.
Will definitely plan a return visit some time soon!
PS: All payments here are cashless so have your e wallets and debit/credit cards ready!
TIFFIN AT THE YARD
PT189-PT183-PT185 Jalan Strachan, Off, Jln Ipoh, Sentul, 51100 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (or Waze to Tiffin at the Yard/Sentul Depot). Parking is free.
Opening hours: Thurs – Fri (5PM – 12AM), Sat-Sun (10AM – 12AM).