Call it magic, call it true: J&P Magic House levitated straight into Jalan Berangan this month, anxious to awe audiences with daily Italian dinners & Japanese-orchestrated shows that might raise eyebrows over whether a man truly can vanish into thin air.
J&P - which stands for the mystically suitable moniker of 'Jewel & Planet' - takes over a two-storey shop-house that's been converted into a street-level restaurant & first-floor lounge. The place provides a whirlwind of fun from the beginning, with a trick bookshelf entrance that slides to reveal a secret passage into the chandelier-lit, curtain-draped main hall.
J&P is owned by Japanese couple Hiroyuki & Taeko Hasegawa, who now call Malaysia their second home. Long enthralled by the mystery of magic, they chose to open a restaurant with a daring difference - every evening, customers can come to enjoy not merely a meal but also colourful performances by a skilled four-man team of young Japanese illusionists.
There are three showtimes nightly, at 9pm (with admission at 8pm), 11pm (admission at 10pm) & 1am (admission at midnight). For the first hour, diners can eat before being entertained by an enjoyable series of card tricks (one of which left us thoroughly baffled - how did the dude possibly do that without us realising it?).
The main event is more theatrical, with the music pumping as J&P's magicians (who include twin brothers) perform on-stage. Doves will fly, the dice will roll & people will disappear & reappear. Is it cheesy? Sure. Is it a stress-busting delight? Oh, yeah.
Patrons can either pay RM188 per person for the 9pm showtime - inclusive of an early entry, a five-course dinner & two drinks - or RM88 each for the 11pm & 1am showtimes - inclusive of two drinks & one meal course such as a pizza or pasta. Otherwise, there's also the option to pay a RM50 cover charge & order from the a la carte menu.
We'd recommend going a la carte, since the selection would be much wider. After tucking into complimentary bread with olive oil & gorgonzola cheese, the choices include satisfactory salads such as this one with grilled octopus & rocket leaves (RM20) ...
... & another with buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh leaves & balsamic dressing (RM24). J&P's local chef, Zul, honed his skills for some 15 years at various Italian restaurants in the Changkat Bukit Bintang neighbourhood, so this is familiar fare for him.
We liked the capellini with lamb, carrots, celery & onions (RM32), capably executed & convincingly flavoursome.
J&P's seafood risotto (RM38) is an interestingly buttery one, blessed with firm rice & fresh-tasting prawns, scallops & mussels.
No lack of protein-packed platters here; no complaints either about the grilled barramundi with baked tomato (RM48). Everything from spinach-stuffed chicken & pan-seared duck breast to braised lamb shank & grilled steaks is also on the menu, rounded out by a dessert repertoire that spans tiramisu, panna cotta & gelato.
Cocktails prove potent & pleasurably priced at J&P, from the Sangria (RM26) to the Strawberry Margarita (RM24).
A well-chosen range of wine by the bottle & the glass is also offered; customers can head upstairs to the lounge to sip this following the show. J&P also hopes to hold weekend magic classes in the near future (both adults & children are welcome).
Many thanks to J&P's gracious team for hosting us; this is a challenging enterprise, but hopefully, the restaurant's proximity to Changkat Bukit Bintang will help lure the curious & make believers of many.
J&P Magic House Restaurant & Bar
19, Jalan Berangan, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-2110-0221 www.jpmagichouse.com
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