Friday, November 6, 2015

The Prep Room @ Sri Hartamas

The Prep Room is ready for its close-up - this new cafe lives up to its name, showcasing the hard work of a kitchen crew that prepares everything from patties & yoghurts to soups & sauces from scratch. For a start, the Big Bear all-day brekkie (available even at 9:30pm) boasts a rustic sausage & hash brown made right here at The Prep Room - the former with minced beef or chicken marinated with basil, rosemary, coriander & paprika; the latter with shredded potatoes sprinkled with sea salt. Combined with scrambled Omega-3 eggs, a chunky potato salad, chicken ham, bread, sauteed shiitake mushrooms & baked beans, it's a heavyweight platter that two can share for RM20.50. There's a reason for the lower-than-expected prices here - The Prep Room is helmed by the founders of Penang's Coffee Elements, & they want to maintain identical prices in both cafes.

 If there's one item to order, it's the soaked-oats bircher muesli (RM12-RM13), offered in varieties like Orange Goji Berry (creamy wholesomeness, flaunting a luscious fruitiness, laced with The Prep Room's own marmalade), Jackfruit Gula Melaka, Apricot Banana or Apple Berry Walnut. The portion is enough for a meal, complemented by a white caffe mocha (RM8.50; espresso with melted white chocolate) or one of the other beverages tinged with the cafe's own-made toffee or caramel sauce.

The Prep Room's repertoire is far-reaching. Its Thai seafood spaghetti (RM18.50) is robustly flavourful but explosively spicy, inspired by The Prep Room founder Akmal Zaki's two-year working stint in Bangkok & his liking for 'pad kee mao.' The Spanish Pan (RM19.50) is a super-thick omelette packed with potatoes, onions, capsicum & cheese, meant to be consumed together with a chicken-&-tomato stew. The pulled chicken burger features tender, slow-cooked breast meat with jalapenos, onions, herbs & spices, but our favourite part of this humongous serving (a real bargain for RM17.50) is the very chunky wedges (made with both potatoes & sweet potatoes), hot & fluffy with a lightly crisp exterior. Some flavours & textures could still be tweaked to be more effective, but these recipes have clearly been created with the customer's satisfaction in mind - we like the thoughtful touches like having a free flow of bread to accompany The Prep Room's broccoli, pumpkin or wild mushroom soups (RM8-RM12; house-made, not canned). Bonus trivia: The Prep Room's main chef is 21 years old but he still looks 16.

We love The Prep Room's table menu booklets, filled with pages of illustrations that are charming & whimsical, overflowing with character & heart. The menu also tells the deeply personal story of how Akmal started both Coffee Elements & The Prep Room - this place is quite the labour of love, & it has the potential to become a genuine stand-out in this neighbourhood.

The Prep Room
Jalan Sri Hartamas 7, Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. Mon-Fri: 1130am-10 pm; Sat-Sun: 930am-10pm

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16 comments:

  1. I don't really fancy breakfast stuff at 11am.. I'm a morning person and everything that starts at 9am is great :) still will check out their other menu for lunch or dinner soon.

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    1. Leo: oh yeah, they plan to open earlier on weekends later on (probably at 8am or 9am), after they've beefed up their staff :) i'm the opposite, i prefer breakfast stuff later in the day, heh :)

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    2. My sentiments exactly! Couldn't agree more with thule aka leo. They open so late and serve breakfast and call it their all-day breakfast menu. 11!!! That's almost lunch hour!!! Duhhhh!!!! Tsk! Tsk! 9 is not so bad! I'm up and about by 5! LOL!!!

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    3. Suituapui: heh, must sympathise with the fact that they just opened and are short-handed/short-staffed for now ... but they will be opening earlier on weekends soon enough :) i appreciate how they offer their breakfast menu all day long, for constantly late people like me :)

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  2. I like the chicken burger, it looks great!

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    1. Happy walker: that was an interesting chicken burger ... pulled meat instead of a processed patty :)

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  3. Very interesting place, Sean! Seems like they have a good variety of dishes and the portions a large enough.

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    1. Linda: yes, a king's ransom in terms of variety, served in princely portions indeed! :D

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  4. The menu is a standout....did the owner do this himself? If he did, he should write a cookbook....it reminded me of one of Jamie Oliver's cookbook, Jamie at Home, with hand drawn pictures....really nice! :)

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    1. Contact.ewew: yeah, the owner did most of the illustrations himself ... am glad you like the menu too, and i think other customers will also appreciate his effort! :)

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  5. If that's their scrambled egg, I'd pass. I'd like mine soft, runny, creamy. Wouldn't mind trying the Spanish pan and the stew though.

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    1. Suituapui: heh, yeah, everyone has a different preference for scrambled eggs ... i generally prefer my eggs sunny-side-up though, that would be my favourite :)

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  6. Had lunch and ordered the Thai style spaghetti, creamy smoke salmon pasta and chicken burger. The Thai spaghetti was spicy -nice but overly sweet for my taste. The creamy smoke salmon was not creamy enough and sweetish but somehow also bland. The chicken burger and wedges were nice. The accompanying salad had too much black vinegar. Service was leisurely even though there were only two tables. Too much form over substance.
    Not sure I will come back as EatdrinkKL has one new restaurant review a day to try.

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    1. Foodfan: sounds like there were both hits and misses in your experience here - thanks for the detailed commentary though. hopefully the prep room's founder will take note of your feedback :)

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  7. Dear Sean,

    Things have been pretty crazy lately.
    I would like to thank you for the write up and the team is humbled by the review . We will strive to ensure consistency of quality whilst providing good service to our customers.

    We would like to update on The Prep Room's operation hours:

    Mon to Fri : 11.30am to 10 pm
    Sat & Sun : 9.30 am to 10pm
    and yes we are open everyday now :)

    cheers!

    Thank you and have a good day!

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    Replies
    1. The Prep Room: hope it's been crazy in a good way! thanks for writing - i've updated the opening hours :)

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