I received an invitation from Cheng Yi to visit a Vegetarian restaurant together and I had to do a double take. Cheng Yi? Eating vegetarian food? I have a mental image of him gnawing on a bone… (better still, I have a real image…click here). Anyway apparently a meat man can be meat-ed out afterall. To be fair, Kevin and I had been a little out-of-control with our eating spree lately, so an all organic meal could probably do us much good. Though, as you will find out, we still overate anyway.
I almost had to cancel the dinner because it was day 1 of my Dengue fever (as I found out the day after when I was diagnosed). I run super high fever and felt like I was hit by a truck, aching all over and could barely get out of bed. But a promise is a promise, so I popped a couple of Paracetamol tablets and soldiered on. Turned out, good thing we did because Eco Life Kitchen opened on their off day just for us, how nice of them.
This restaurant is located in Fraser Business Park (which is completely foreign to me), it’s apparently not hard to find if you know the area, just look for Munich Cafe & Bar which spots a very bright signage at night. The owner also runs an Eco Leisure Village called Song Yan in Bukit Tinggi, which comes with a farm. This means the vegetables they use in the restaurant mostly comes from their own farm. The kitchen is run by Chef Steven Siew (long lost cousin?), who has also turned vegetarian himself.
Our welcome drink was a very thirst quenching Fizzy Calamansi Lime Drink, which truly hit the spot for me (as I soon find out I need tons of liquid for my illness).
Mango Sushi Roll
First we were presented a pretty looking sushi roll. It had mango on the top complete with mayo and black sesame seeds, inside there are cucumber, pickled radish, purple cabbage, and pumpkin floss. This item is not yet on the menu, though I can see it being popular if it is. I love the natural sweetness of the vegetables and the lovely textural contrast.
Omelette Roll (RM11.90)
This is not vegan of course because there are eggs. But I love the idea of wrapping the omelette on top of seaweed. Inside there are a variety of vegetables not dissimilar to the Mango roll above. Personally I prefer this one more than the Mango roll just because I’m an egg lover.
Pumpkin Tofu (RM9.90)
The Pumpkin Tofu is done Thai style with julienned cucumber, green mango, pineapple, turnip, carrot and topped with a Thai chili sauce. Kevin as a huge fan of tofu approved of this. I enjoyed the fresh vegetables and fruits although the peanuts kinda put me off the dish (can’t eat peanuts because I’ll lose my voice).
How do you make the Rojak sauce without prawns? Chef Steven said that the sauce is derived from Seaweed for the ocean taste. The group enjoyed the dish, while I had to avoid it again due to you know what.
Mushroom Satay (RM8.90)
Of course, it won’t be surprising to see a lot of mushrooms in the menu. Because of the earthy note and the chewy texture, mushrooms can be very good meat substitute. By the way, you won’t see mock meats (basically gluten… eeww) on the menu, which can be a turn off for many. The mushroom satay is made with Coprinus Comatus mushrooms (杏鮑菇), which are typically very big and chewy. These are great as beer (if beer is allowed) snacks.
Vegetable Steamboat (RM23.90)
It’s nice to see a whole platter of fresh organic vegetables and I was happy to spot some of my favourites: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Enoki Mushrooms, Bitter Gourd, Pumpkin and various green leafy veg. The foojuk (fried beancurd skin) is popular amongst the table too. There are 2 types of broth to choose from: miso and old cucumber soup. Both are lovely.
Nasi Lemak (RM14.90)
This is a very photogenic dish. The nasi lemak here is made healthier with brown rice cooked with coconut oil (instead of coconut milk), curry vegetables made with cashew nut milk instead of (coconut milk), and on the side we have sambal, belinjo, tempeh, cucumber, and an enoki mushroom tempura (I’m deliberately ignoring the peanuts, of course). I thought that the curry is packed with flavours and I enjoyed the homemade sambal with the rice. The coconut oil isn’t so pronounced though. Nevertheless it’s quite a filling dish and I’d say it’s suitable for sharing, unless you are focusing on this dish alone.
Vegetarian Bak Kut Teh (RM16.90)
Bak Kut Teh in an Vegetarian restaurant? Are they crazy? In fact, this dish is one of their pride and joy, as there are over 14 herbs used in the recipe for that maximum flavours. Instead of fatty pork, you get a variety of mushrooms, tofu, foojuk etc. The broth is surprisingly flavoursome, though cleaner tasting. There’s a very meaty tasting mushroom in there called Monkey Head Mushrooms, which I must try and source and cook one day.
The noodles used in the Assam Laksa is the Korean Sweet Potato Noodles which is one of my favourites, however I’m not a fan of Assam Laksa at all so can’t say much for this dish (no benchmark, you see).
The Indo Curry Mee however, fared a lot better owing to the same delicious curry from the nasi lemak. I like how they used thick udon noodles to soak up all that lovely gravy, though few bites later this does feel a little cloying for me because the curry is really quite thick.
Lei Cha (Hakka Thunder Tea) is a very foreign dish for me because I’ve never had it in my life. Here it’s made really colourful with brown rice, carrot, pumpkin, peanuts (again), radish, beancurd, Chinese white cabbage, chickpeas and a green sauce made with basil, mint, and a host of other herbs is poured on top before eating.
Once again I have no benchmark for this dish so I can’t compare it with the rest. However, I really liked the combination of texture and the clean flavours of the vegetables and herbs. This is something I’d probably order again, sans the peanuts.
I wasn’t kidding when I said we overate. There were 4 of us for all these dishes! The last dish that came out was a very good looking plate of Fettuccine coated in pesto topped with spinach and mixture of carrot and pumpkin. If I wasn’t so full I’d gladly devour more of this because I really love the pesto!
To finish, we had a couple pots of flower teas (caffeine free of course) to cleanse our palate.
Thank you Eco Life Kitchen for accommodating us and we can’t wait to visit the resort in Bukit Tinggi!
Eco Life Kitchen
40-4 Fraser Business Park
Jalan Metro Pudu
Off Jalan Loke Yew
Tel: 03-2389 0228