Undaunted by Covid-19, Malaysian Idol Jaclyn Victor opens chic new restaurant in Bangsar

Guided by the knowledge and experience of her business partners, Jac said she feels confident to dive into the food and beverage industry. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Guided by the knowledge and experience of her business partners, Jac said she feels confident to dive into the food and beverage industry. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — With so many eateries closing down in Malaysia due to Covid-19, one might not expect singer Jaclyn Victor to do just the opposite amid such uncertainty.

The Gemilang singer recently opened B.A.T.S in Bangsar, a chic restaurant resembling a classy hotel lounge complete with a mini grand piano.

Food lovers can find an array of halal Western and local dishes and tapas on the menu along with a broad selection of drinks and cocktails for a fun night out.

Jac, 41, said the knowledge and expertise of her business partners Geoff Leembruggen and Shankar helped her take a leap of faith to open the restaurant during a worldwide pandemic.

Coupled with the drop in daily new Covid-19 cases in Malaysia and stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs), she was confident that the restaurant could emerge strong and stay safe at the same time.

“If we pay attention, we can see so many restaurants closing down and hotels going up for sale.

“I don’t know what possessed me to take this chance with the restaurant but I think we’re coming out of Covid-19 and because of the SOPs put into place by the authorities, we’ll come out safe.

“I don’t have any expertise in running a restaurant but I have experienced business partners, so I felt brave and confident to delve into this,” she said during a press conference at B.A.T.S yesterday.

The restaurant’s decor is inspired by elegant hotel lounges with a mini grand piano as its centrepiece. — Picture courtesy of B.A.T.S
The restaurant’s decor is inspired by elegant hotel lounges with a mini grand piano as its centrepiece. — Picture courtesy of B.A.T.S

B.A.T.S inherits its legacy from a bar on Jalan Telawi 2 of the same name, a moniker that Jac and her business partners decided to keep as it remains well-known in the Bangsar crowd.

They chose to give the place a makeover instead and Jac even rolled up her sleeves to get busy with the renovation works.

“We wanted to offer something different and we didn’t want the place to be dark and dingy like other bars.

“We wanted good food and good music. I had a hard time convincing (my business partners) to let me buy this mini grand piano but I think it brings a touch of class and nostalgia to the place.

“I even did the painting, sanding, and shellacking myself because I feel very invested in this.”

After a whirlwind 15 days of renovation, the new B.A.T.S opened its doors on June 29 to strong support from her friends and peers in the entertainment industry.

Jac joined the renovation team to give the restaurant a fresh lick of paint and a new look just in time for opening day. — Picture courtesy of B.A.T.S
Jac joined the renovation team to give the restaurant a fresh lick of paint and a new look just in time for opening day. — Picture courtesy of B.A.T.S

The Malaysian Idol winner has also been working hard to be a welcoming hostess and said being a restaurant co-owner comes naturally to her.

“My friends came in full swing on our opening day to show support and I was very touched.

“Co-owning a restaurant doesn’t feel awkward to me, which I was also surprised by.

“It’s been fun chatting with our diners and getting feedback about the food from them as well.”

The decor is further enhanced with stunning animal portraits by photographer Sanjitpaal Singh and profits from the sales of the photographs will go to wildlife conservation body GAIA.

All the animal portraits in B.A.T.S are up for sale and profits will be channelled to a green cause close to Jac's heart. — Picture courtesy of B.A.T.S
All the animal portraits in B.A.T.S are up for sale and profits will be channelled to a green cause close to Jac's heart. — Picture courtesy of B.A.T.S

A portion of the profits will also go back to B.A.T.S and she hopes to use the funds to kickstart an in-house mentorship programme where she can teach up-and-coming musicians the art of perfecting their craft.

She added that it was a “dream come true” for her to help out budding singers this way as she comes from similar beginnings, having started her career by performing in clubs and hotel lounges at the age of 18.

 “What I love is that I myself started out singing in clubs and hotel lounges and now I can give that chance to other singers as well.

“I’m the co-owner of a place that can give someone the platform to perform and grow.

“I’m not professionally trained as a singer but I have 25 years of experience to share, from choosing makeup, wardrobe, song choices and range, how to work a crowd, and so much more.”

Until then, Jac will be pouring her heart and soul into making B.A.T.S an inviting spot for families, music lovers, and friends alike to savour delicious food and good music.

B.A.T.S is located at 14, Jalan Telawi 2 in Bangsar and is open from 4pm to late, with plans to open for breakfast and lunch in the future.

For more info, visit their Instagram page or call 012-9698557.

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