Saturday, June 30, 2018

Rawsome @ Bangsar



Tucked behind an in-construction yoga-and-pilates centre, Malaysian health-food brand Rawsome is stretching into Bangsar, launching its latest cafe here after a flurry of recent openings in Sungai Buloh, MyTown Shopping Centre and Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur.

No fewer than 14 meatless meal bowls make up Rawsome Bangsar's main menu, with a range of bases comprising brown rice with quinoa, cauliflower rice, or soba. Each is clearly meant to be wholesome, though the healthiest might be the Vegetarian Ulam, showcasing crisp traditional local greens galore, tempeh, mushroom bits and metabolism-boosting spicy chia seed sambal (RM18), the epitome of a hearty but guilt-free lunch for herbivores.

Rawsome first started out offering organic chia seed puddings, which remain a dessert staple here: You'll find 27 varieties, from Pineapple Coconut to Mango Beetroot. If you crave a choice that's somewhat more indulgent, try the Latte Nutella, heaped with a huge spoonful of creamy Nutella, made textured with jelly cubes and Oreo crumbs.

And to make it a complete meal, smoothies like this cool-me-down mix of dragon fruit with bananas and strawberries can be ordered with options of Greek yogurt, soy or low-fat milk.



Rawsome
7, Jalan Riong, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Open 7am-5pm, closed Fridays.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Meet & Dine @ Kajang

Meet & Dine showcases a playful sense of imagination in interesting East-West creations like its riff on Chilli Crabs (RM30; deep-fried soft shell crabs in sweetish egg chilli gravy, served with mantou) and Duck Potstickers (RM17; pan-fried gyoza stuffed with duck meat, braised with orange carrot emulsion and leeks), presented with warmth and heart in a spacious setting.

If you're a fan of Aussie beef, the kitchen imbues a bovine twist into recipes such as a spicy corned beef spaghetti (RM22; sauteed with tomatoes and bird's eye chillies, topped with fresh Thai basil) and lovingly brined salt beef sandwich (RM35; tender and thick with melted cheese, heartily partnered with fries, pickled cucumbers, coleslaw and a simple salad). Certainly a venue to consider if you live or work in Kajang.

Meet & Dine
29, Jalan Budiman, Budiman Business Park, Bandar Sungai Long, Kajang, Malaysia. Daily, 5pm-11pm. Tel: 03-8733-9929

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Alta Cafe @ Bangkung, Bangsar

Standing in serene contrast with the bustle of Bangsar, this hidden hearth for honest, hand-crafted bread, breakfast bowls and brunch plates, shored up by everything from Spanish tuna to Malaysian cheeses, is a welcome sanctuary where comfort can be sought through conscientious cooking and pleasure can found in full-bodied forkfuls. 

Tucked on an upper-level shop-lot, Alta (Italian for high) heralds a new collaboration between the ever-industrious folks behind Sitka, Feeka and Food Foundry with the team that runs Bangkung Road’s Pinch Bistro, embodying the kind of nourishing cafe - both physically and spiritually - that makes its neighbourhood a warmer, more rewarding place.

Perfect for patrons who rise and shine for a daybreak of gorgeous, golden yolks, Alta’s menu - springing up as early as 8 a.m. - is headlined by eggs in multiple preparations, layered proportionately over crisp, chunky sourdough toasts. Organic eggs, slow-boiled for six minutes, tender to their core, sit soothingly over their fresh, Sitka-baked base, with a flutter of furikake bringing a bit of the ocean’s brine to each bite (RM15), while scrambled eggs come satisfyingly creamy, made extra-textured with confit chilli peppers and upliftingly tastier with salsa verde (RM21).



Slices of European flair permeate the selection, reflecting smorrebrod-inflected trends that have stormed Copenhagen to Cologne, bolstered by inspirations that stretch from Scandinavia to the Seine and the Savio. Alta tops its tartines and stuffs its croissants with the likes of bresaola with comte and salami with basil, but for a cheeky culinary cross between the rambunctious and the refined, try the buffalo wing rillettes - smoky-sweet shredded chicken meat is served with crunchy shallots for a moreish open sandwich that would score rousingly for a football telecast snack (RM18).


If virtue is your vice though, there’s a wholesome bowl with your blood type and cholesterol count on it waiting for you here, ingrained with ingredients like granola, chia seeds, barley, cranberries and dragon fruit. Thankfully, Alta’s version of rabbit food isn’t a bland horse’s diet - overnight oats are transformed from ordeal into an oxymoron of guiltless indulgence, jazzed up by a groovy medley of roasted pecans and luscious compote of blackberries and mulberries, nicely nuanced (RM26).

We’ve saved the best for last: Cheeses, turned into shining stars of their own specifically conceived recipes, not merely bunched onto a five-for-fifty-ringgit platter with from-the-can crackers and wrinkled fruits. Both the stracciatella and the ricotta fully earn the spotlight, the former supported by an elegant ensemble of Italian olive oil, raw honey and pumpkin seeds (RM23), the latter almost award-worthy with a commanding cast of shaved raw vegetables, tomato compote and black olives (RM21), their artisanal characteristics making us wish Alta were as much cheesemonger as cafe.


The beverage selection isn’t a drink-and-run afterthought either; a piccolo (RM10) presented at the perfect temperature testifies skillfully to the Alta ringleaders’ years of experience behind the espresso machine, while wines (RM30 by the glass) silkily speak up for decades of toil and triumph in Australian vineyards.


Alta’s kitchen currently operates only through 5pm, though the venue remains open past sunset, with hot dogs potentially looming as the harbinger of dinner snacks. Walls bursting with pop-art portraiture hint at other future possibilities - a stracciatella party in July and dumpling-themed dinner in October? Alta clearly has its sights set on scaling further heights.

Alta Cafe
59-1, Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Parking is free on this street.
Open Tues-Sun, 8am-11pm. Tel: 03-2201-0725

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Cemento Cafe @ Plaza Arkadia, Desa ParkCity

A pleasant space for retreating from the crowds and lingering over cakes - can't go very wrong with safe choices like chocolate and durian flavours or cream-and-strawberry-stuffed polo bun puffs.

Cemento Cafe
H-1-13, Plaza Arkadia, Desa Parkcity, 52200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Daily, 930am-730pm.