Review: Bar Trigona’s Newest Menu Showcases the Colourful Diversity of Malaysian Produce

Education through imbibement.

Bar Trigona needs little to no introduction—it is, after all, the first Malaysian bar to enter the World’s 50 Best list and enjoys the swish interiors of a five-star hotel bar at the Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur. Since its inception in 2018, the bar has been known for using locally-made honey, thanks to its namesake. Six years later, head bartender Rohan Matmary is shaking off this identity and expanding the bar menu’s focus into the wide array of fruits and ingredients native to Malaysia. This culminated in Bar Trigona’s newest menu, aptly named Colour Me Curious. 

When asked for his inspiration behind the menu revamp, Matmary explained that he was inspired by his trips to farms around Malaysia and wanted to focus on fruits only available locally. I’ll answer the question already forming in your head: No, there isn’t a durian cocktail on the menu. 

Colour Me Curious is divided into four parts: Unique & Local, which serves to showcase what Malaysians eat and drink; Spirit Free, a low-to-no ABV menu for those who wish to join in on the fun without imbibing; Bottled, a series of bottled cocktails that guests may choose to bring home to enjoy; and the Trigona Honey Flight, paying homage to Bar Trigona’s history of honey. Think of Colour Me Curious as an educational menu, designed to showcase the best of what Malaysians eat and drink. If you think of the number of tourists that make their way to the bar, it only makes sense. 

The bulk of Matmary’s creative flex can be seen in the Unique & Local part of the new menu, where he interprets Malaysian culture and cuisine through his own foreign eyes—and palate. Every drink here is a twist on a classic cocktail. You may notice some adjectives after each cocktail name; the first word is what variant of cocktail it is, and the second is how you’ll feel after drinking it. The number of cocktail glasses is how you assess the strength of the drink. I tried nearly everything on the menu, and here are some standouts. 


Highball drinks are easy to drink and easy to make, but Matmary has decided to go the challenging route with Pastel and experiment with clarification, fermentation, and infusion. It’s a twist on the sherry cobbler and is smooth and fruity, with a fairly low ABV. The main fruit in this mix is the rose apple (jambu air, as Malaysians know it), whose fruit is clarified to turn pink and naturally fermented to create a light rosy hue. The drink also contains a light rum infused in red wine sherry casks with the inclusion of local strawberries and bunga kantan (torch ginger flower). It’s an extremely enjoyable drink that can be sipped for a good amount of time without too much dilution, and the depth of flavour ranges from a sweet to a lightly sour element. 


If you could bottle a banh mi into a Margarita-style cocktail, Sienna would be it. Matmary was greatly inspired by his trip to Vietnam—particularly the pickled carrots and cucumber inside the banh mi. He decided to turn this inspiration into a drink stylised after the Jalapeno Margarita, swapping out the jalapeno for house-made pickles. The cocktail includes pickled brine made with cili padi for some heat and coriander for a slightly green flavour. For those who steer clear away from coriander, I am happy to announce that you can barely taste it. It’s a spicy and savoury cocktail that ranks up there as a personal favourite of ours, adding a variety of flavours to your night out drinking. 

Cacao & Curry 

A banh mi-inspired cocktail is pretty wild, but I was properly shook when Matmary told us that the Cacao & Curry has a whole curry puff blended into the drink. Upon sipping, it certainly tasted as such. The head bartender shares that his falernum liqueur was made with curry puff instead of nuts, and the crushed ice cocktail makes for a refreshing yet interesting savoury drink. Topped with a chocolate bonbon with a curry puff flavour within, this drink tastes as fun as it looks.


Loyal patrons of Bar Trigona will already be familiar with their classic Trigona Old Fashioned, powered by honey. Chic is the exact opposite of the Trigona Old Fashioned; it’s a miso old fashioned with red miso fat-washed whisky giving the drink the bulk of its umami flavour, with sweetness derived from a house-made soy caramel. It is topped off with a spray of Islay malt infused with hojicha for a multifaceted take on the Old Fashioned.  


Despite James Bond famously taking his martini “shaken, not stirred”, I was always of the firm belief that martinis should be stirred to maintain its clarity. Imagine my surprise when Matmary’s theatrical performance of making it “rain” with liquid nitrogen was followed by vigorous shaking, only to reveal the clearest Vesper martini I’ve ever seen in my life. It turned out that the dry ice was not just theatrics, but a calculated move to make the cocktail as cold as possible, resulting in its clarity. 

The Zen martini itself was delicious, with Eastern flavours owing to lychee and pickled ginger, making it a great starter martini for those (like myself) who don’t usually enjoy martinis. 


If it’s more theatrics you want, be sure to order the Santo after the sun goes down. You might even get the opportunity to cleanse some bad juju with this drink; this version of a whisky sour contains no egg whites and is powered by a blend of bourbon and rye whisky which are aged with Palo Santo wood for three months, and later aged with vermouth. As for the theatrics, Matmary smokes the cocktail with menthol by burning steel wool that has been steeped in menthol, for a minty effect. Don’t forget to scan the QR code for a surprise.


The selection of favourites ends with a fancy cocktail that’s also sustainable to boot—after all, Bar Trigona has won numerous awards for their efforts in sustainability. The Ambrosia, a take on the Bellini, has a Telmont champagne base, which is also known for being sustainable. Not just any peach is used in this Bellini inspiration—Matmary sourced Penang-grown donut peaches, which have a dryness that goes well with the champagne. It is dehydrated and infused with cognac, then topped with champagne. If you’re not in the mood to splash out on a drink, there is also a version with Prosecco instead of champagne at a lower price point. 

Address: Level 7A, Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur, 145, Jln Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur.

Opening Hours: 5 pm – 1 am (Monday to Sunday)