There is undeniably a burgeoning growth of coffee specialty stores and hipster cafes all over Kuala Lumpur. And scouting for the newest and hippest places in town has become a favourite past time for urbanites, be it to relax with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, people watching, feigning being hard at work on the laptop and yes, capturing that brag worthy 'gram. Heartpatrick convinced KL's urban explorer, Bern Lim, to down copious amount of caffeine in the name of research to bring you the 10 best-loved and instagrammed cafes in and around KL.
Image credit: @theglasshousecoffee
Typing up some loose ends on the few key charming locations that I covered during an assignment trip down south.
On a quiet Thursday morning, I took a walk at the charming Rochor Center, this colorful set of HDB flats on its last few months of existence. The imminent demolition is slated for Sep 2016, bringing with it almost four decades of memory.
My first month with the new mirrorless baby and this showcase of a series of random shots done on it is finally due. Am delighted by the results that I got so far, especially when shot on the m.zuiko prime lenses.
SPACES • MAR 2016
The glory of yesteryear lives on in Lai Chun Yuen, where the gentle sighs and piercing cries of Chinese opera singers linger in the air, its atmospheric grand central hall and darkened corridors lay quiet in stark contrast to the surrounding bustle that is Chinatown. This is most probably the most under-rated quaint stays in Singapore. Do excuse the smallish rooms though.
And so I'm jumping onboard what seems like a very common progression among 'aging' photographers looking for some sort of relief from aching backs and necks from having lugged a few tons of full-frame photography equipment around for years. Heartpatrick is excited to venture into the strange but not-so-new world of mirrorless cameras, and I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised by the features and image quality that this baby has thrown back at me after a few weeks of TLC.
Heartpatrick's cuti-cuti Malaysia kicks off in Year 2016 with a drop-in to my favourite Malaysian town for an ex-colleague's wedding. Still charming as ever, and the discovery of newly opened homestays and other f&b establishments mean more reasons to be back, hopefully soon.
Continuing the tradition of big travel projects, here's a compilation of our portraits taken during the ten-day journey through Rajasthan. With just the three of us this round, we are definitely missing the impact afforded when we go out in full force, all eight of us.
PORTRAITS • NOV 2015
White works, especially when it is used as a clean backdrop to highlight the sunny cheerful smile of Peng Sheng on a sun-blessed afternoon.
PORTRAITS • NOV 2015
A little more than a year since the first portrait session, Akira is back for a fresh set of shots as we document her growing up years.
SPACES • SEP 2015
Nine Running Yolks may be a newly founded KL-based bakery, but the passionate baker behind this brand, Jiric, is definitely no stranger to the home baker scene in KL. Fresh from his stint in Qatar and Paris, he's finally settling down for greater things. Look out for his decadent creations in cafes around town, starting with Third Wave Coffee at Nexus, Bangsar.
PORTRAITS • OCT 2015
Fresh from the Lake Gardens this morning, and just a few weeks away from the second bundle of joy, Erika the bubbly mummy is back for a fresh set of pregnancy portrait.
SPACES • AUG 2015
One of the more recent cafe offerings to mushroom out from the Chinatown neighbourhood is The Front Door and their very photogenic open-face sandwiches.
PORTRAITS • AUG 2015
During my research in Instagram of exciting things to do in New York, I chanced upon Rudolf's profile and so my first portrait shoot over at this exciting, new playground was arranged. Naturally, the backdrop features one the top destination in my off-the-tourist-map spots list - this really cool underground metro station on 9th street. And we also threw in a visit to the High Line Park to take advantage of a sunny summer afternoon.
PEOPLE • JUL 2015
Been awhile since my last female portrait, but Lee Sin is simply one of those fresh young faces that you cannot say no to. And for a self-declared "cafe rat", there is no better place to shoot her than in the company of one of her favourite cafes in town.
Thank you Awesome Canteen and Prologue in Petaling Jaya for the opportunity to use your beautiful space.
URBAN HERITAGE • JUL 2015
As the fading trades lose in limelight to new hipster cafes, chic homestays and other artsy establishments, the revival of the Jonker neighbourhood marches on as I start a second set on one of my favourite Malaysian cities.
SPACES • JUN 2015
Clean and minimalist is this sun-kissed space that works marvellously for any OCD instagrammers and incidentally serves great matcha latte and aglio olio pasta too!
The minimalist movement has taken over Instagram by storm. A huge group of ardent believers are dedicating their effort to producing sets after sets of clean, uncluttered, almost OCD-like images that celebrates the simplicity of life around us.
This is a movement that I have just recently picked up myself, and while Turkey, with its cacophony of mess, is most certainly not the best place to start, it was nevertheless a fun experience attempting to intepret my surrounding in a whole new way.
It may just be a tiny red dot on the world map, but the lion city packs an unbelievable bunch of architectural wonders in such great density that any archi-crazed instagrammer will be left gasping for air. Heartpatrick picked the brain of fellow avid Singaporean urban explorer Clement Foong to compile our top 15 must-go places for the perfect Instagram shot on the tiny island.
Image credit: @leeyikkeat
URBAN HERITAGE • APR 2016
I'm a city boy at heart. The bustle of the urban jungle excites me, its various dizzying interplay of architectural elements and their inhabitants sprawled out like a treasure throve of pleasant discoveries, keeping my wandering mind entertained.
Follow me as I explore the various neighbourhoods around the Klang Valley region in this ongoing series of images that hopefully will let you see the city in a completely new light.
SPACES • MAR 2016
The second collaboration with the folks behind Twenty Grammes brought me to their spanking new branch, this time in Ang Mo Kio. Set amidst local neighbourhood kopitiams and hardware shops, the dessert bar stands out as shiny testimonial to the changing of times, attracting curious stares from housewives on their way back from the markets and buzz from the younger generation looking for something new to tickle their tastebuds.
SPACES • FEB 2016
Perched on the 22nd floor of what looks like a slighted dated and rough building is this gem of a cafe. 3/3rds is truly a treasured find. In fact the venture out from the bustling city center into this industrial area is an adventure in itself. Loving the hint of gentrification that is sweeping Wong Chuk Hang, can't wait to see how much more of a hipster playground this neighbourhood may become.
A short and sweet shoot to stress-test the new Olympus OMD on my most favourite subject. I have to say that it held up pretty well except for scenes where the model is placed in front of a busy backdrop, at which there was a high tendency for the camera to focus on the backdrop instead. Still more fiddling with the advanced settings to bring the new baby up to speed with my shooting style.
So a drop-in to Georgetown is never complete without also checking out some recent openings in the cafe scene.
IThe sweet, beautiful Rajasthanis, to dedicate an album to them is perhaps as effortless as finishing a satisfying cup of hot masala chai in one gulp. While it's definitely common to find the opportunistic ones who were out to give our tourist buck a few spins, once we got out of the tourist hotspots, we found a whole community of genuine locals who were eager to break their daily routine for some small chat about the Gods, the Forts and everything in between.
The check-in to Beijing, China's massive capital of over 11mil people, was greatly motivated by the need to admire the thriving modern arts and culture scene there, though its setting against a historical backdrop that stretches back three millennia was quite a unique contrast. The modern architecture circuit is easily followed by searching for all the SOHO developments in the city, and along the way, hutongs and their new-found quirkiness make for an interesting distraction that is worthy of an afternoon here and there.
This album focuses on the modern take on the city as well as the on the creative reimagination of the old.
PORTRAITS • SEP 2015
My love for Taman Bukit Pantai, or the fishy neighbourhood as I affectionately call it, started many years ago with the discovery of Baba Low and Sekeping Tenggiri. It's not easy to be hip with streets that are named after fishes, but when you have houses that are rebuilt with a strong sense of artsy progressive architecture style yet still marvellously staying true to its vintage roots, you get a really promising neighbourhood that continues to excite at every turn.
PORTRAITS • SEP 2015
Colin wanted a set of photos to commemorate his coming of age by, and thus the slipping on of the tux, though rare as an attire in Heartpatrick's lineup, is all but appropriate, especially so when set against the chic modern setting of the St Mary Residences.
The search for that perfect gym for a long-pending shoot finally ended with the discovery of The War3house, this rough and tough outlet built out of a former warehouse in Subang Jaya. And there won't be any better model to grace this charming backdrop other than the super committed Chris Wu himself.
Special thanks to the friendly folks behind The War3house for the permission to use this venue.
There's something about the visual of a lone person against the backdrop of a big wide space that makes me want to break into a song, or in the case of my street photography, a frenzied high-speed shutter to capture this almost poetic moment. Rare as it may for this opportunity to appear especially in a crowded city like New York, my tendency to stay away from the rat race and venture deep into the neighbourhoods did help.
SPACES • JUN 2015
Having established himself well in the interior design space for commercial projects, Joe certainly got a head start in his first foray into the f&b industry. Stubborn Joe's interior is a marriage of the aesthetics of vintage materials and furniture items, and the functionality of a well-designed space.
TRAVEL • MAY 2015
Turkey sets me off at a part of the world that is until now been alien to me. While I'm used to identifying a travel experience based on the association to very distinct cultural elements of a country, here's one place that can be pretty confusing when it comes to that.
Sights of women dressed in black abayas are common amongst their modern counterparts sporting the latest European fashion trends. Echoes of prayers from nearby mosques chime in to the latest Western pop culture-influenced music from bars and trendy cafes in town. Our intepretation of Turkey seems to take on different sides as we traverse from one street to the next, and from one neighbourhood to the others.
This charming crossroad of the East and the West, our journey has just begun.
In between admiring the handsome copper piping pendant structure looming above you and admiring the beautiful brunch presentation, I'm finally unsure of which one to give more attention to. Rocket Coffee Bar is this bright, airy, and modern space that makes every Instagrammer's dream come true.
My twelfth trip to the city of angels, and I'm not sure why I'm still counting anymore. The agenda has seen some much-needed refresh, with the last few being the need to check out the latest list of hipster cafes in town.
Dawei is a freelance fitness instructor and an aspiring song-writer, but this weekend morning in April, he really is this quiet, contemplative self waking up to the silent warmth of the sun.
PORTRAITS • APR 2016
The collaboration with a beautiful couple from Chongqing, China brought me, finally, a happy tick in the box for that edgy couple portrait theme that I have wanted to do for the longest of time.
The yesteryear lives on in Kam Leng, its walls telling stories of which characters have long passed, and the nostalgic air lingers.
It was almost a decade ago since my maiden trip to Bali, and I could not have imagined that my second trip back to this isle of style would be a portrait shoot for a charming model against the backdrop of two of the island's most exotic resorts, definitely one of the most memorable assignments to date.
SPACES • MAR 2016
Kicking off Heartpatrick's foray into the Singapore cafe scene is this collab with Twenty Grammes. The direction is to create a series of clean images highlighting the interaction and experience between human and food, not just any food, but glorious desserts in the likes of soft-serve froyo, yoghurt parfait and waffles with homemade salted egg sauce.
My first travel album on the new Olympus OMD baby, and what better place to test its capability than Hong Kong's sweeping urbanscape of over 7mil-strong population. Things have not terribly changed as compared to my earlier trip four years ago, but my focus has. This round is mostly about the charming public housing estates made famous by instagram. My only wish is that I had the luxury of time to comb each and every one of them and squeeze all the photography opportunity dry, but that may require that I be based there for awhile, perhaps not something that I would not entertain.
Two years since the handover of HeartAbode, and the space continues to evolve as fresh, exciting ideas present themselves. The highlight of this refreshed design involves the extension of the living area into a L-shaped glassroom to welcome the pretty sight from the courtyard garden inwards.
My first portrait project of the year brought us to this charming set of apartment blocks in Seksyen 17 PJ, called Happy Apartments, where the oldschool vibe of urban heritage still linger in the air.
It was the promise of mystical palaces and majestic forts and colorful cities that lured us here, and the beautiful state of Rajasthan certainly did not disappoint. With Jaipur, the Pink city as our starting point, we ventured deeper into Jaisalmer, the Golden City, and then Jodhpur, the Blue city, and finally Udaipur, the Lake city, each one of them unique in their own ways.
PORTRAITS • DEC 2015
Two years since their first child, the Giles family introduces Elizabeth, the newest bundle of joy to join this cheeky, fun family.
PORTRAITS • NOV 2015
It's a real honour to have the charming Deanna Yusoff herself join the line-up of the Heartpatrick People series in this small collection of shots done against the backdrop of HeartAbode, fresh from yet another round of refurbishment.
As a spin-off to the main album, this subsidiary album focuses on the old ways of living in Beijing, and on the string of attractions that have continued to capture the fancy of cultural fans from around the world.
Finally, the sinking of my eager teeth in the Big Apple has arrived. This giant metropolis of which magical images has been ingrained firmly in my memory via its portrayal in all forms of media imagined, to be able to actually experience it with my own pair of eyes is strangely surreal.
PORTRAITS • JUL 2015
It's a fun afternoon over at Futagoza Studio for a shoot with my beloved Fitness First Menara Manulife Bodyjam gang. After having jammed together for what feels like the last decade, it's refreshing to see each other in anything but gym wear and posing not for the mirror in the studio, but for the camera.
SPACES • AUG 2015
Kicking off an engagement for the string of The Morning After chain of cafes is the coverage of this relatively new outlet at Oasis Square. Am definitely looking forward to spending some good quality time at the other TMA locations. :">
So three years have passed since my last prewedding assignment in Melaka and this pretty happy couple is all it takes to reignite another round of passionate recollection of my beloved heritage town as we brave our way through the throngs of weekend crowd from the Stadthuys to Riverwalk to Jonker.
PORTRAITS • JUL 2015
Wallace operates a pet shop and hotel and dropped by one afternoon to pick Gizelle the cute little toy poodle up. And so the art direction for this follow-up shoot was set. I have always wanted to marry the pet theme with my male portraits series, but while my original intention was more for a studio-like approach, this album is definitely one of those accidental theme that turns out to be pretty share-worthy as well.
Many things can happen over a cup of tea.