Pop Up Dining KL

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Pop Up Dining KL is a collaboration of young chefs, putting their food out there to serve to a group of guests in pop up venues [source]. It is almost as if they are ninjas appearing whenever they so please to serve a fine dinner for private guests, and once they leave, they disappear with the night till the next session.

Monday happens to be their favourite day of the week to set up their pop up diner. Which Monday to be exact? You've got to check their Instagram for that. As for the location, they have been based at Jaslyn Cakes for a few dinners now but intend to do their next pop up at another location, perhaps still within the Bangsar suburb.

* I apologise if the lighting in the photos may seem "off" to you. The location had low-key lighting and I for one am not an expert on that, unfortunately.

So my friend, Lydia, and I got to experience this:

Price: RM75

I noticed that they don't name their foods but rather simply include the ingredients which work as both the title and description. Quite clever.

A plate of rice crackers with a certain tomato-based topping greeted us upon arrival.  Not the best ice-breaker but it was a start - a minimally seasoned snack to kickstart those tastebuds.

I absolutely love sourdough bread and am particularly glad it was served with more than enough butter, though I wish I had an entire slice of bread rather half. Crusty with a soft, warm and dense middle, this was the perfect tummy warmer. Also, is anyone else a fan of those slightly burnt edges of breads that gives off the most profound flavour? Because I am.

Prawn, sorrel, chicken and onion sauce.

Had to Google up what a sorrel was and it's apparently used in cooking for its acidic flavour. Combined with the sweetness of the onion sauce and the prawns, it added freshness to each bite taken with it.

Tomatoes, lala, pegaga, pickled shallot, cured egg yolk, sea butter.

These various types of tomatoes were blanched, giving that burst of elegantly refreshing juice upon arrival in your mouth. The cured egg yolk was used as garnish on the top but the highlight, I believe, was the sea butter base made with obviously butter and Himalaya sea salt. It sounds like a handful putting salt into butter but that did not threaten the freshness of the entire dish. This has to be one of my favourites of the menu.

Rice congee, ikan bilis (anchovies), egg, local greens, fish sauce caramel, spring onion

"Congee? Really? What possible greatness can it hold besides being just ... congee?" My exact thoughts pre-dinner. And guess what? I took back what I said.

There's nothing much to be said about the rice congee itself other than it being well done - not too watery nor chunky. The fish caramel sauce was slightly peculiar. Typically, I enjoy congee with soy sauce and just soy sauce so having some sweetness was an interesting experience for something savoury and fishy. Also, do you see that egg? Yes, it is poached. Dear restaurants who do not know how a proper poached egg is like, please refer to that image. 

This could be one of the better congees so far but I'm sorry, nothing beats my mom's homemade one. 

Duck breast, beetroot, cucumber, cashew nut leaf.

The congee was filling but there was still space for one more. This beautiful duck breast, which was tender enough to render a phrase of weak-in-the-knees, claimed the final course before dessert. For someone who is not a fan of beetroot, the sauce was a surprising delight. You can tell it's quite thick from the way it can potentially run all over the plate but just refuses to.

Rose apple, milk, meringue.

Dessert was a milky ice cream with apple slices with a subtle rose flavour and meringue. The ice cream melted fairly quickly and became cream-like at the end. I'm not sure how to describe the apples. The texture is comparable to the blanched tomatoes but it was more like having extremely juicy and cool apples. I would've very much preferred the ice cream to be the highlight.

Dinner ended with hot rose tea and financiers a.k.a. tiny French cakes which are such a delight with tea. We got to take more home as well!

Thank you, Pop Up Dining KL for having us :)

If you're interested, follow their Instagram or 'like' their Facebook page to get the latest announcements and menu for the next session. 

Organica Lifestyle @ Bangsar (featuring KindMeal)

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Disclaimer: One meal is sponsored. Reviews are solely mine and do not represent the views of the sponsor.

I finally managed to check out Organica Lifestyle after knowing of its existence for quite a while. As its name suggests, it serves delightfully healthy food that are meat-free and advocates healthier lifestyles not just for food - they also run yoga and pilates classes. 

Its location may be a bit of a hassle to discover for those who are not familiar with the area. If you're coming from the NPE or Federal Highway (through Mid Valley), just make sure to turn left after the Petronas station and then to your immediate right turn. Look out for the white house with brown gate and you'll be on your way to a healthy meal in no time.

As much as this is actually a restaurant, it still looks like a home from the way it is designed. To me, it was as if my Pinterest pins came to life.

These images show the counter you'll see where they do their juices and what not. Behind is the kitchen where more magic happens. From the looks of it, one can tell that they to not cater to crowds or massive groups which is actually great because the setting truly looks like a healthy getaway as you indulge in good food and be around the friendly people who work there.

My friend and I went for 3 dishes: 
Great Life Bowl (RM28.00)
Quinoa Nasi Lemak (RM29.50)
Veggie Fritters (RM29.50) [which is actually the "Green Lantern Set" on KindMeal]

The Great Life Bowl, more like colours of the rainbow in a bowl, is basically a salad with a quinoa base. It includes ingredients like carrots, tofu, cauliflower, broccoli and purple cabbage which are then topped with their signature Tahini Dressing (tumeric and honey are the primary ingredients). This dish is a little dry but if you're the type who prefers oil-free food, this is what I recommend going for. 

The quinoa nasi lemak was interesting. I've never had this much quinoa in my life, what more with a vegetarian curry and having the conventional peanuts being replaced with pine nuts. I regret not asking how they did the curry because it is absolutely packed with flavor and is still so yummy even though it is practically meat-less. Go for this if you're looking for local delight with a twist.

These veggie fritters are from the "Green Lantern Set" under KindMeal and they are my favorite of the lot! If you're familiar with the Indian vadai, this tastes almost exactly like it. These glorious fritters are crispy on the outside yet so soft and moist on the inside, textures that won the hearts of my friend's and mine upon cutting up the first piece. And who knew that a creamy lightly-salted feta-avocado-beetroot dressing would do so well with feta cheese?! The next time I buy vadai from a mamak restaurant, feta should be the next thing to get on my list. Good lord, I'm still not over it.

The Great Life Bowl and Green Lantern Set both come with their own drinks but unfortunately, they were out of mint so they couldn't make the cold-pressed coconut mint juice for us. We settled for a beetroot based juice, not that I'm complaining. 

So if you're a blogger reading this, what if I told you that you can get one of these meals for FREE?

KindMeal is currently offering free meals to bloggers or those with Facebook fan pages with the hopes of encouraging more food lovers to experience meat-free cuisines and sharing their food stories with people.

Who/what is KindMeal?

They are Malaysia's first meat-free lifestyle platform, offering a unique angle towards promoting restaurants and cafes, with the primary objectives of saving animals, health, environment and money. Basically they're meat-free advocates so if you're a vegetarian/vegan, this is your place to go.

Who runs Kind Meal?

They're operated by PetFinder.my, Malaysia's leading animal welfare portal, a platform for animal lovers and rescuers. 

How can I get on board?

All you need to do is look for KindMeal in the app store, download it and you're good to go. They use digital coupons (go green!) and you no upfront payment, booking or any form of printing is required. You need not worry about having to use your coupons because if you choose not to, just allow them to expire when they do and you can obtain more coupons after. 

- Thanks for having me on board, KindMeal! :) -

Address: 15, Jalan Tempinis 1, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur.
Opening hours: 10.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. every day except Mondays
Contact no.: +60 12 704 8565
Email: hello@organicalifestyle.com
Website: www.organicalifestyle.com

Event: New Zealand Dessert Showcase @ Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Jaya

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Three New Zealand brands: Whittaker's Chocolate, Omaha's Organic Ice Cream, and Marcel's Pancakes organised a dessert showcase at Empire Shopping Gallery in collaboration with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Kuala Lumpur last month.

While preparing the ingredients and equipment, a small crowd of people from the media started filled up Jaya Grocer's demo kitchen that afternoon. Each attendee was given a goodie bag with compliments from the organisers which included a packet of Marcel's Pancakes tandum and a bag of peppermint chocolate from Whittaker's.

Preparing the dark chocolate mousse with tofu and pancake pieces.

Using Hubbards muesli as the base for the parfait.

Preparing the parfait alongside the dark chocolate peppermint cake.

We were served the following breakfast combinations:
Dark chocolate mousse with tofu, a piece of pancake, a scoop of organic blueberry ice cream, chocolate shavings and a fruit of your choice. 

For something with milk, go for the muesli with dark chocolate mousse and a scoop of organic ice cream.

That dark chocolate peppermint cake can be eaten by itself or served with organic ice cream topped with fruits.

Of course, strawberries would be first choice.

Ice cream would normally be extremely sweet but these organic ones are not to say bland, but rather guilt-free in my opinion. They don't taste like dessert at all.

We took a break from mousse and pancakes and proceeded with baked breads and of course, the organic ice cream. Seem they're advocates for having ice cream for breakfast!

We ended off with crepes and more ice cream. I actually love the crepes because they are less fluffy than the pancakes and still are light. Would very much prefer this with ice cream.

Generally, all the breakfast options did not have an overwhelmingly sweet note even though most of the ingredients are conventionally sweet and suited for dessert. And no, this is not an excuse to have ice cream for breakfast! The ice cream used in the demonstration is organic and healthy unlike what we mostly have here in Malaysia which conventionally has alarmingly high sugar content. 

Thank you for the invite, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise!
For more information on each product, click on the links above.