You may recall from earlier posts we’d recently stumbled upon an area nearby where we live which is full of Middle-Eastern, and other restaurants. Heaps of them. We termed this area Little Lebanon, and it quickly became our favourite place for dinner because of the choice of cuisine, and the short walk from our building.
Two days after new year’s eve, we took guests Jess and Ben to Little Lebanon for a Middle-Eastern feast. It was awesome. A few days later we caught up with some friends in town and organised to blow everyone’s minds and taste buds (but not their wallets) by taking everyone to Little Lebanon. I was excited. I’d begun telling everyone who was visiting KL for a few days to go there for dinner at least once. Not only because of authentic, cheap, delicious food, but also because the walk there is interesting: you need to walk along a bunch of semi-deserted back streets which look as though they lead to somewhere you’d lure someone if you were a murderous stalker. Which is exactly what Michelle said whilst my group of eight hungry friends were making the trip last Sunday.
Michelle was right, in a way; as we walked down the dark and deserted street towards the “magical corner” (beyond which lies the strip of restaurants, cars, people, lights, smells, and happily full bellies), there was an eerie sense of abandonment. Karen remarked that the roads were pretty quiet that day and that she was not surprised it was quiet here too. The quiet roads, however, were no reason for some of the restaurant signs to’ve been taken down leaving only empty frames and broken fluorescent bulbs.
Turning the magical corner revealed, to my utter disbelief, no cars, or people, or lights, or smells, or happily full bellies, only half-packed up but fully-empty restaurants. The nightlife and food which I was expecting to blow my friends’ minds had been replaced with a bunch of closure and “we are moving” signs. Imagine it; our favourite restaurant was not only closed, but all the restaurants in the Jalan Damai area were gone. 25 in total. Gone. Only stray cats remained.
A little digging found the 25 restaurants (and other businesses) in the area had been operating under residential zoning for years. I suspect someone knew someone who wanted to build some apartment towers in the lucratively central location. Some money probably changed hands under some table. And just like that, Little Lebanon was gone. Literally in seven days.
What a let down :( Some restaurants were moving to other areas, none of which are as close or as unique as Little Lebanon. Our favourite restaurant Zuhrat Al-Khaleeg is apparently moving to Bukit Bintang, a longer walk (30 minutes or so) but situated in the busiest nightlife area of Kuala Lumpur city centre. Good for business, but not good for me. Which sounds selfish, but it’s my blog :P
So, yeah. The end of an area. RIP Little Lebanon. You’ll be sorely missed.