Rowing with Gentrification (Part II)

We are all highly aware that Kuala Lumpur’s ‘gentrification’ is sweeping across the city of Kuala Lumpur like a hurricane – blink and you might miss the luxury tower block that has just replaced your favourite kopitiam or the thirty-years-old bicycle shop. It is definitely changing the city landscape at a fast pace and shows no signs of slowing down. The game of the moment is guessing where the cool kids will be going next.

Guess what? The secret was already out of the bag. You’re welcome.

Gone are the days of being able to interact with your neighbours instead of putting your nose into aged old copy of Reader’s Digest. The Row is set to make it happen again with the effort of budding entrepreneurs.

For a second, I felt like I wasn’t in KL.

—Daniel from League of Captains


uber cool custom-made racks

Pestle & Mortar — I.T., community, lifestyle,

This Kuala Lumpur-based streetwear brand has quickly expanded into a full-fledged lifestyle brand, aligned with the vision of the cool dudes behind it. Their latest fusion business encourage you to tick off at least two to-do items during your visit.  

Fusion business seems to be the I.T. thing these days; alcohol and laundry. The pairing of coffee and clothes comes just naturally. League of Captains is the collaboration between Pestle & Mortar and their F&B partner Daniel.

“We don’t sell clothing, we sell lifestyle. People buy the clothing because they want to live the lifestyle,” said Hugh. As the creative director of the brand, Hugh is a lifestyle connoisseur in his own right.

The street style connoisseur–Hugh Koh.

The two storeys made up a total of 1,000 sq ft space which consists of, “This space is a boutique and cafe, we all like to hang out in cafes so we thought — why not open a cafe,” explained Hugh when asked about how the idea came up. “Over here, there are a lot of offices, but not too many places to hang out. I thought this was well suited for our concept so let’s do it!” They are responsible of attracting the younger (18 – 25 years old) crowd to The Row due to their followings.

“We strongly believe in having brick and mortar shop as we run a lot of events and we want people to come and join us,” Hugh continued. “It’s the whole deal.”

The best of both worlds.


The bar. Good things do come in small packages.

League of Captains by Pestle & Mortar — sincere, well-curated and clean

Daniel wants to fulfill your daily caffeine consumption with his creativity.

“This place used to be my party place ten years ago,” said Daniel in a nostalgic but glad-that-it’s-making-a-comeback tone.

People tend to stay in the job that aren’t right for them due to fear and a sense of ‘if it hurts me, it must be progress’ masochism, not Daniel, who left his white-collar field after realising his true calling. “I just found my passion.”

Daniel used to work as a barista in Melbourne and that experience has impacted him heavily in his future undertakings. “Honestly, I like the creativity. Coffee is my tool to access that. It has changed my life, brings me closer to people. It has given me different views on life.”

Last but not least, a piece of life advice from the young man who has been there, done that, “If you want to be a working class, stay overseas. if you want to do something for yourself, it’s back home. Opportunities are abundance.”




Wipe the slate clean with an exciting event space

With the aim of supporting and fostering various types of local communities, Slate’s highly versatile design allows passionate people to turn every event into one of its kind. It has hosted some of the most successful events in KL city thus far. To say that the  3,300 sq ft space begets magic is an understatement. ◆

Also read: Part I of Rowing with Gentrification


22 – 64 Jalan Doraisamy, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia