THE glass partitions encasing Parklife in Bangsar South provide sweeping, panoramic views of the heaping mounds of rainbow-coloured greens on show. These vivacious salads are the center and soul of this months-old eatery that champions greens with vim and vigour.
The artistic output of cousins Ewen Lim and Ang Ling Chee, the restaurant took place after Lim – a sports activities fanatic – visited her cousin Ang in Japan (the place he was working on the time) and realised that the meals that he was producing at his restaurant Cocomomo & Co in Osaka would discover a prepared viewers in Kuala Lumpur.
“I instructed him, ‘Why don’t you simply come again to Malaysia?’ But it surely wasn’t straightforward for him, as a result of he has a Japanese spouse, and youngsters, had been in Japan for 4 years already and had a cute little restaurant. However I satisfied him to return again and we began planning our restaurant, ” says Lim (who named the restaurant after the music Parklife by Britpop band Blur).
And Ang is actually the right individual to spearhead a vegetable-centric restaurant. In any case, he spent almost a decade working with famend London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi, whose flavour-driven salads sparked a vegetable revolution in the UK. Ottolenghi can also be a best-selling cookbook writer who has quite a few cookbooks to his title, together with the eponymous Ottolenghi which has bought over 100,000 copies.
Apparently, Ang really began out at Ottolenghi’s self-named restaurant as an unskilled evening baker.
“I used to be searching for a job in London a couple of months earlier than my visa ran out, and I discovered the Ottolenghi restaurant. They have been searching for an evening baker to make all kinds of breads. I had completely no expertise doing that, so my interview was a failure.
“However a couple of days later, I known as again and mentioned, ‘I would love to strive once more, I actually love the job and the individuals right here’, and so they gave me an opportunity. And I believe I used to be very hard-working, as a result of after a couple of months, they requested me if I wish to keep on, ” says the affable Ang.
Ang jumped on the alternative and went on to finish a culinary arts programme at Hammersmith & West London School (which Ottolenghi sponsored) and labored with the chef for the subsequent decade or so, working his means as much as head chef.
At Parklife, he has mimicked Ottolenghi’s magical contact with greens – his menu boasts 80% plant-based meals with a 20% concession to meat-eaters who may need to complement their greens with some meat.
On the similar time, Ang says he has paid heed to native calls for, the necessity to steadiness flavours correctly in addition to the truth of working with the elements obtainable on the native entrance.
“After I labored at Ottolenghi, I learnt about spices and vegetable combos. I used to be impressed by the cooks who got here from locations like Morocco, Palestine and Lebanon and consequently, I actually fell in love with Arabian meals, as a result of it’s so mild and flavourful.
“However the menu really mixes and matches, as a result of I needed to discover ways to use native elements, that are very completely different from what’s obtainable in London. And with Asian cooking, every little thing is all the time overcooked or overblanched, so right here, I simply attempt to have a steadiness and maintain the greens crunchy, ” he says.
Begin your veg-venture right here with an assortment of plant-based choices just like the Roasted Butternut Squash (RM14). Complemented with rosemary honey nuts, basil and pomegranate sauce, it is a mild, exuberant providing the place every little thing coalesces fantastically – from the plump, smooth butternut squash items to the fruity notes of the pomegranate sauce.
Up subsequent, strive the Beetroot & Kale Slaw (RM14), a refreshingly vibrant dish that bears some resemblance to a standard coleslaw with the astute deduction of the overly wealthy mayonnaise that sometimes coats the greens (thus destroying all dietary worth). Right here, the beetroot, kale and carrot have remained intact, their purity accentuated by toasted pumpkin seeds and a handcrafted mustard dressing that imbues the greens with a calmly acidic contact.
The Roasted Potato Wedges & Candy Potato (RM11) is one other successful concoction that makes use of the eatery’s common Romesco sauce and is enhanced with garlic, rosemary, mint and edamame. The break-out star on this ensemble forged is the Romesco sauce, a thick, chunky tomato-rich affair simply bursting with flavour.
Maybe the most well-liked merchandise on the menu for the time being is the Signature Hummus (RM12) – the restaurant sometimes sells 54 kg of the stuff each week! Constructed from blended chickpeas, Arabian spices and pomegranate, this clean operator has a velvety texture and a lightweight zestiness from the lemon within the combination. The revelatory ingredient on this star-studded constellation is the pomegranate seeds which burst upon contact with the mouth and add a contact of sweetness to the amalgamation.
Carnivores and omnivores received’t really feel too sorely not noted because the Meat Platter (RM268 for an enormous portion) affords a lot of meaty choices for all. On the platter, you can see lamb shank, smoked duck breast, spiced rooster, lamb patties, cous cous and grilled greens.
All of the caveman choices on this plate are equally good – the smoked duck is tender with undulating smoky notes, whereas the rooster and lamb patties each provide yummy, malleable morsels of flavour. On the facet, you’ll uncover candy roasted tomatoes blistered with char spots in addition to pliant slices of grilled eggplants. It’s a meal that hits all these requisite excessive notes after which some.
Parklife additionally affords a number of desserts made in-house, of which the Carrot Cake (RM13) is a must-try. The cake is extremely good – not too candy, smooth and fluffy – principally pretty much as good as carrot cake can get.
The Vegan Lemon & Pistachio Cake (RM10) in the meantime is just not fairly as triumphant – the cake is kind of dense and doesn’t actually have a powerful flavour profile.
Since Parklife opened its doorways, Lim and Ang have been inundated with requests to open extra retailers, a name they’re heeding with their second enterprise – a kiosk in REXKL that can serve salads on-the-go. Up subsequent, they hope to open a a lot greater outlet, an area they hope will give them extra room to experiment.
“In the mean time, we’ve got talked to loads of potential traders, so hopefully they may make investments and we will develop a bigger outlet in order that we will create an even bigger number of salads. I can experiment extra when I’ve the house, then I can practice extra younger individuals to problem their style buds relating to greens, ” says Ang.
ParklifeUpper Floor Stage
No. 1, Avenue 1
eight Jalan Kerinchi
59200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2242 1193
Open each day: 10am to 10pm