A pre-World War II building fuses contemporary charm with the glory of yesteryear, writes Kerry-Ann Augustin


OLD Malaya is impossible to miss. The colonial building which sits like a grand old dame along the narrow roads of Jalan Raja Chulan has a fresh coat of paint, making it look as majestic as it was when the building was first constructed in 1919. The open area in the building’s compound offers a completely different feel — chic wooden high tables and chairs match the raw industrial build of the bar, where young executives mingle and mix.


But the fuse of nostalgic and contemporary is an insight to the heart of the building, a newly restored complex which houses six established, fine-dining restaurants.


It’s hard to imagine that just years ago, the building was one of Kuala Lumpur’s many abandoned colonial structures left to rot while the rest of the city continued to blossom. In the years that it was left vacant, layers of dead leaves blanketed the grounds and vines from the nearby trees crept in between the cracks of the decaying walls. Mould swallowed big areas of what was left of the ceiling and the roof was reduced to rubble.

“Even in its dilapidated form, the first thought that went through the minds of Old Malaya’s founder Kana Theva and co-founder Datuk Syed Mustaffa Shahab when they saw the building, was how it was such a shame that it had been left to rot,” confides Nanthini Theva, the director of corporate communications at Pampas Group of Restaurants. The group, a household name in the Malaysian F&B industry, started renting the building in December 2014. “The building was in such a prime location but was in a way ‘hidden’ from KLites,” she says.

Our intent was to cultivate restaurants and restaurateurs who are intensely passionate about their cuisines, and who take pride in delivering the best food and beverage coupled with excellent customer service. Ultimately, this became a reality – as Old Malaya now houses the most passionate and talented restaurant owners in Kuala Lumpur.



The restaurants at Old Malaya are focused on sourcing the finest locally and internationally produced food, which is transformed daily into the most mouthwatering cuisine by teams of highly skilled professional chefs.

Currently Old Malaya houses the following restaurants and cuisines:

Pampas – Steakhouse and Contemporary Western.
Canvass – Modern Malaysian.
Manja – International Tapas.
Luce – Italian.

Pier 12 – Seafood tavern.