Real Food started out in Singapore, where it now has three outposts, before launching its first Malaysian branch at Penang's Straits Quay in 2013. This month, it finally reaches KL, determined to draw health-concerned consumers in 1 Mont Kiara Mall.
Real Food is both a beautiful vegetarian cafe & a bountifully stocked grocer with an impressive repertoire. Expect the kitchen to offer everything from gluten-free kombu & shiitake soup (RM16) to miso mulukhiyah soy noodles (RM22) to fried Bario rice (RM17), organic pizzas made from scratch (RM30) to kombucha iced tea (RM10) & kale-apple smoothies (RM17).
Start with a snack - Real Food enables shoppers to skip the heavily processed fast-food fries at most malls & munch instead on crisp 'chips' of baby spinach leaves fried in a light, vegan-friendly sesame batter (RM12).
Real Food will be a magnet for customers seeking distinctive fare - pumpkin pancakes are a prime example, made with a dense mash-up of organic pumpkin, soy milk, coconut oil & self-raising flour, served with fruits & agave syrup (RM23). Add RM11 for a scoop of vegan brown rice milk ice cream (flavours include coconut or chocolate - ice cream is RM13 on its own).
Guilt-free burgers are also a highlight - there's one with a hand-made patty of beetroot, carrots, onions, millet & potatoes, stacked with guacamole, greens & biodynamic-farmed tomatoes, served with organic potato wedges & vegan mayo (RM30, tasty but pricey, reflecting currency exchange rate realities, since this currently costs $12.80 on Singaporean menus) ...
... & another with a croquette-like patty built with lentils, oregano, mushrooms & roasted walnuts, complemented with an organic potato salad & sprouts (RM30). We respect how the food here emphasises complex textures & wholesome nutrition, striving to be accessible instead of an acquired taste.
With a selection this broad, there are bound to be both hits & misses. Order the sun-dried Oriental noodles with Real Food's signature vegetarian steamed dumplings drizzled with organic sesame oil & tamari (RM24) - it reputedly takes three people six hours to painstakingly make 60 sets of these plump, juicy dumplings. But skip the pasta with organic aubergines, tomatoes, cucumber & mushrooms (RM24); the pasta is made with raw material organically grown in Italy with pure spring water, slow-dried at a low temperature to maintain its nutrients, but this recipe is too bland to satisfy.
Real Food's heartiest offering is the steaming-hot baked claypot quinoa, delicious with coriander, mozzarella & optional garlic (RM34), in a surprisingly filling portion that two patrons could easily share.
Beverages include a warm, nuanced & dairy-free blend of fair-trade raw cacao & soy mik (RM13.50), plus espressos & lattes that rely on Viennese-roasted, Sonnentor-brand fair-trade beans. Ignore the wine bottle - we purchased it at Village Grocer.
G-11, Ground Floor, 1 Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-6211-9078
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