Eat Drink KL: September 2020

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Staple Eats, Desa ParkCity

For the siblings who founded Staple Eats, a healthy diet has fuelled their lives since childhood. That experience brings authenticity to one of KL's most ambitious restaurants for wholesome eating, brimming with sustainable produce, organic ingredients and natural flavours.

Staple Eats has been lovingly crafted by Malaysian brother-and-sister Danial and Mimi Yik (who were raised by wellness-conscious parents on non-GMO food) and Mimi’s fiancĂ©, Keanu Subba, a mixed martial arts champion and keto diet practitioner. 

Its setting is a beautifully soothing sanctuary hidden in Desa ParkCity, filled with sunshine and flourishing with plants of different kinds. It's the perfect space not only for birthday parties and bridal showers but to explore a menu of mindfully made meals that taste scrumptiously satisfying.

Staple Eats has a solid foundation for its offerings. It starts with the thoughtfully sourced ingredients - not just grass-fed beef but milk from grass-fed cows in Johor; not merely gluten-free bread but keto-friendly bread too, baked in the kitchen here; zero-glycemic monkfruit sweeteners that cost five times more than regular sugar; fresh coconuts that produce coconut oil to replace all other forms of cooking oil; and much more.

The recipes have been meticulously fine-tuned. Staple Eats ran deliveries for a year before opening the restaurant; its founders consistently consult with a medical doctor who has guided their dietary habits for over 20 years. Their menu has changed half-a-dozen times in their first two weeks, with constant refinements to broaden their reach even to people who rarely think about healthy eating.

The final key is the culinary crew, led by Sarawak-born chef Jerry Siah, who brings a background of fine dining to Staple Eats' table. Jerry has honed his craft all across Asia in the past decade - his resume spans South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore - so his professionalism is evident on every plate, elegantly conceived and expertly executed. Watching him and his team work in the open kitchen is one of the pleasures of Staple Eats.

Staple Eats proves that you can still indulge in brunch without feeling the guilt. The morning menu (9am-1pm) hits all the crowd-rousing notes, from Eggs Benedict to Steak & Eggs, with behind-the-scenes efforts to ensure everything is as good as it gets, health-wise. If you see chicken on the selection, it's free-range meat; if you see eggs, fruits and vegetables, they're organic. What you won't see, though, are refined sugar, vegetable oil, MSG, or anything that the family here wouldn't consume themselves.

We love the Avocado Toast (RM18.90), a familiar favourite done with a nourishing flourish, with smashed avo and feta cheese over a choice of keto or gluten-free bread, rounded out with sauteed mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. Mimi's personal baking - diabetic-friendly, relying on almond flour instead of wheat, laced with Himalayan salt - banishes all stereotypes of dry, bland bread at health stores; this is fragrant, fresh-textured bread that we'd enthusiastically eat even on its own.

From the main menu, nasi lemak is transformed into a dish you can savour regularly without harming the health. The Keto Nasi Lemak (RM9) features cauliflower rice, aromatic with coconut oil and milk, along with all the essential accompaniments, including cucumber, hard-boiled egg and anchovies. Groundnuts are substituted with walnuts, lower in calories and higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, while the sambal is another keto rendition, lusciously sweetened with organic onions. Add RM7.80 for a second sambal, coating juicy wild-caught prawns, crisp enough to eat from head to tail.

If you crave genuine grains, Staple Eats covers that too, with its Garlic Fried Rice (RM29.90), crafted with wild black rice, yielding a firm bite but a slightly glutinous chew (you can also choose konjac rice for a keto option), with tender Australian beef steak slices and a runny-yolked egg. Staple Eats takes the initiative to secure beef that's not only grass-fed but grass-finished, which means the cattle received a grass or forage diet their entire lives, resulting in meat that's leaner than its grain-fed counterparts but richer in nutrients tied to immunity and anti-inflammatory benefits.

We might not expect to discover char kway teow in a healthful restaurant, but here it is: Staple Eats' signature Keto Duck Egg Char Kway Teow (RM19.90) is constructed with konjac noodles (made with konnyaku potatoes, the edible tuber that you've seen in Japanese dishes like oden). These konjac noodles have a slick, smooth spring, making them almost an al dente version of CKT, with prawns and creamy duck egg. The soy sauce is the other secret weapon - organic and fermented, free of hormones, supplying the most wholesome umami possible. Sure, it isn't the same as a glorious, gluttonous plate of Penang char kway teow in George Town, but it's still a surprisingly tasty alternative for those afternoons when we lust after CKT.

Desserts don't have to be a no-no here, even if you're cautious about calories. Staple Eats bakes plenty of cakes that abide by admirable dietary philosophies, from the Low Carb Cheesecake (RM20; layered on top with blueberries) to the Keto Cacao Cake (RM20; as soft as mousse, blended with organic cacao beans and grass-fed milk cream, sweetened simply with zero-calorie Lakanto) and Keto Carrot Cupcake (RM15; pecan-crowned, every bit as lip-smacking as any patisserie's cupcake). The restaurant nails the formula for what makes desserts irresistible, with all their decadence intact.

Staple Eats' organic perspective extends to its coffee, with certified Mexican organic beans roasted in Australia, medium-bodied with a mildly nutty finish and mellow acidity. It's a versatile base for well-balanced caffeinated beverages, including the Bulletproof Coffee (RM13; two shots of a long black with Irish grass-fed butter), Cappuccino (RM10; add RM3 for unsweetened almond milk), and a notably reviving Special Mint Latte (RM11; uniquely blended with the pure syrup of peppermint leaves, crushed with a pestle and mortar on order, cleansingly complete with fresh mint leaves).

All in all, it's clear that Staples Eat goes beyond the call of duty to be a health-minded gourmet restaurant that truly delights. Many thanks to the team here for having us.

Staple Eats
D-1-8, Block Davidson, Plaza Arkadia, Desa ParkCity, 52200 Kuala Lumpur. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-530pm. Tel: 016-331-2548

This post first appeared on

Cafe Deli by El Meson: Now in Desa ParkCity, Mont Kiara & Bangsar

When El Meson first opened in Bangsar in 2009, it instantly became a Spanish restaurant to watch, impressively showcasing everything from sherry-sauteed chicken livers to suckling lamb leg. After enduring for a decade, El Meson has evolved and expanded, transforming into Cafe Deli by El Meson, revamping its outposts in Desa ParkCity and Bangsar, and launching in Mont Kiara. Cafe Deli remains pleasurably porcine and steadfastly Spanish, but its repertoire now includes a Southeast Asian selection - it's the only place in KL where you can have both terrific Hokkien Mee and paella in one restaurant.

Check out our video above on Cafe Deli by El Meson. All footage and photographs in this post were taken in early 2020.

Serenaded by the melodic sounds of Spanish guitars, Cafe Deli by El Meson earlier this year proved that it's still one of the Klang Valley's premier Spanish spots with a feast of paella enlivened by flamenco performers in Desa ParkCity.

The Desa ParkCity is typically filled with friends and families from around the neighbourhood loving the vibes here, which include a leafy alfresco area overlooking The Waterfront's lake. 

Cafe Deli might be the new kid on Mont Kiara's block, but it's already a blockbuster, bringing in the crowds to this neighbourhood-friendly space.

We started with a sampling of temptations from Malaysia and other parts of this region: Have no hesitation about the Hokkien Mee - it meets the mark for full-bodied flavour, hitting the spot with noodles slicked up in tasty dark soy sauce, tossed with sliced pork, prawns, squid, white cabbage and choi sum, plus so much crispy pork lard croutons that you're liable to find them in every spoonful, dramatically boosting the pleasure quotient (RM24 for a portion that two can share, rounded out with sambal belacan for extra depth).

Cafe Deli is part of The Social Group of Restaurants, which also comprises the respected Thai eatery Ekkamai in Publika and Damansara Heights. So it's no surprise the kitchen here can whip up a wonderful Minced Pork Pad Gaprow, fragrant with Thai basil, fiery with cili padi, completed with warm jasmine rice and a fried egg for a soulfully satisfying one-plate meal (RM24).

If you love pork belly in the form of siu yok and char siu, Cafe Deli merits investigation - the siu yok is crisply roasted, with thick crackling to bite down on, reminiscent perhaps of porchetta (RM18, served with mustard), while the decadently caramelised char siu is stuffed in fried mantou with spring onions and cucumber for a sweet-savoury, irresistibly guilty indulgence (RM18).

True to its name, Cafe Deli is also very much a retail space where customers can purchase European-imported hams, sausages, cheese, canned fish and more. The counters are laden with fresh-baked pastries too, evoking Cafe Deli's other sister outlet, Lisette's in Bangsar.

Pick a charcuterie platter of premium cold cuts - 24-month aged jamon iberico, Prosciutto di Sauris, French ham and truffle salami (RM44) - for a snack to share or a starter to kick off your feast.

Spanish specialities still sparkle here: The mixed paella is richly aromatic with saffron, moist and mighty with a bounty of meat and seafood, as enjoyably robust as paella that you might find on the streets of Barcelona (RM78). Classic tapas are also abundant, featuring classics like plump prawns made lip-smacking with olive oil, garlic and chillies, washed down, of course, with a reviving jug of sangria, the perfect antidote for a steamy, humid evening.

While our visit here for was dinner, there's also reason to wake up earlier for Cafe Deli, especially when the weekend rolls in - this could be the perfect place for people-watching, as everyone from families to gym-goers, discerning diners to social media devotees flock to Cafe Deli for something to please them. The Big Breakfast will fuel you up for all of Saturday and Sunday's fun activities, packed with English sausages, streaky bacon, two eggs your way, and more, but the selection also spans intriguing specialities like 'breakfast mantou,' baked eggs chorizo, truffled scrambled eggs, and even spiced-up Mumbai Eggs Kejriwal.

We might have saved the best for last: Who knew that Cafe Deli might be a destination for divine steaks - the U.S. bone-in prime rib is glorious, exemplary in pure succulence and primal flavour, done justice by the chefs here (500-600 grams, at RM53 per 100 grams). If beef is the object of your food fantasies, this is something to sink your teeth into and savour slowly.

Many thanks to Cafe Deli by El Meson for having us here.

Cafe Deli by El Meson
Now at The Waterfront (Desa ParkCity), 163 Retail Park (Mont Kiara) and Bangsar.

This post first appeared on