by Vivien Lian
A young man, in his 40s, neatly dressed in a stream-lined suit, with crumpled rolled-up sleeves, gave a welcoming yet earnest smile, and it’s easy to identify him as one of the key men of the Bricks & Barrels Gastrobar, Calvin Leow. Calvin and Kenny Leow are born and bred Ipohites and former Michaelians. Calvin was an engineer in Unisem and Kenny was a mechanical engineer in Tasek Cement and YTL, who have now joined forces and are the founders of the Black Sheep Group.
Black Sheep Group is the home for S’mores (Bangsar South), Bricks & Barrels (Ipoh and Sri Hartamas), Spitafield’s Gastrobar and The Nightingale which are both located next to each other in Atria Shopping Gallery, Damansara, Petaling Jaya. The duo just relaunched their Bricks & Barrels branch in Ipoh after announcing a bar closure earlier. Rumour has it that it was closed due to financial issues, calling it “Breaks & Burials” by detractors. Bricks & Barrels quashed the rumours by making a comeback, this time with a sophisticated makeover featuring nostalgic 3D embossed Faux Tin ceiling tiles with a gothic hint, a slow spinning disco ball at the heart of the bar emitting coloured rays and each compartment carrying a customised theme of its own.
Aiming for a posh dining experience with average pricing, Bricks & Barrels is a gastrobar, which in layman’s terms, is a bar specialising in high quality food and beer. The duo, who have great passion in creativity and innovation, have committed themselves full time to the F&B industry. Their first venture, S’mores, located in Bangsar South Kuala Lumpur was successful and seven years later, they came back to Ipoh, hoping to jive up the dull spirit of their hometown.
The relaunched bar is now equipped with a revised menu, which still keeps their signature items without stripping away the fusion theme. A new signature beer, the RM10 frosty beer is available from 3pm to 7pm daily.
The philosophy of the duo in venturing into the F&B industry is manifested in their brands – fresh, innovative, functional & above all, a trendsetter of the industry in many years to come. Their short-term goal for the future is to have 8 outlets of Bricks & Barrels in Malaysia and eight outlets of S’mores in Klang Valley for year 2018. The next stop for Bricks & Barrels will be Sky Avenue Mall Genting Resorts World, ready to launch after Chinese New Year. When asked about Calvin’s mantra in life, he quoted from Confucius, “Be passionate, love what you do.” Well, it’s not hard to get the picture from their achievements.