Eating healthy is simple when everything comes together, writes Meera Murugesan.
IT is only a few minutes past 11 in the morning but the trendy-looking restaurant with a profusion of plants and wooden tables and benches is already filling up.
People walk up to the counter to place their orders and return to their tables, holding large bowls filled to the brim with nourishing goodness.
Eating healthy in the Klang Valley is always a challenge. Organic produce or health food restaurants are overpriced to the point of being ridiculous. It always seems easier (and cheaper) to order a plate of char kuey teow or fried rice for lunch from a coffee shop or roadside stall.
But Aaron Lim, the young, enterprising chef and founder of Kubis & Kale, is hoping to make every meal a good and healthy one for customers.
As one of the pioneers in the Malaysian poke bowl scene, Lim started his restaurant in September with the aim of “taking the bowl to greater heights”.
As a result, it’s not all about raw, uncooked meals beautifully presented in bowls, but also cooked food and vegan delights.
“There is a market for raw food but we have to tackle the local palate too and Malaysians like cooked food. They find it strange if it’s not available,” says Lim.
He describes Kubis & Kale as a venue for simple, seasonal, healthy food. “We emphasise on the choices we make about what we eat, where it comes from and how it’s prepared.
“Our philosophy is cooking from scratch by using whole seasonal ingredients and working with a community of farmers and suppliers who support and advocate real food,” he explains.
The cooked food selection at the outlet is tempting, even for a fussy eater with superfood bowls offering dishes such as Grilled Molasses Chicken Breast served with whole grain pasta and blistered cherry tomatoes, among other colourful ingredients, as well as Herb Baked Dory fish on brown pilaf rice with charred broccoli and oyster mushroom, and even Skirt Steak on mushroom rice with mango salsa for meat lovers.
Lim’s winning point is the fact that his healthy meals are not limited to salads and seeds or “bird food”, as some people call it.
HEALTHY AND TEMPTING
His superfood bowls consist of rich flavourful food made using good quality ingredients which appeal to local and foreign tastebuds.
“Malaysians have a natural liking for strong flavours in their meals, so healthy food shouldn’t be tasteless or bland,” says Lim.
The name Kubis & Kale reflects Lim’s philosophy of a restaurant that thinks globally but acts locally.
The food served is both trendy and appealing to locals and foreigners who favour clean eating.
As a trained chef, Lim has also come up with a range of sauces to accompany the superfood bowls.
The sauces include Garlic-Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Mango Mustard, Smashed Basil and Lime Cilantro Jalapeno.
Each superfood bowl consists of a base (such as brown rice, quinoa or mushroom rice), some sides, toppings and a protein (either chicken, fish, meat or tofu) and is accompanied by one sauce.
Sides range from pesto carrots, Sichuan eggplant and chilli jam sweet potatoes to edamame and tropical cucumber. Toppings include sliced almonds, garlic chips, toasted coconut and seaweed flakes.
Customers also have the option of “building”’ their own bowl by choosing the protein, sides, toppings and base of their choice and enjoying the meal with their selected sauce.
“We strive to make eating well easy, accessible and affordable. It’s fuss-free here. We cater to light and green-eating with smidgens of meat for those who still prefer it. We are highly trendy but firmly rooted in the core of healthy eating,” adds Lim.
Vegetables used in the dishes are sourced from a pesticide-free farm in Seremban and meals meticulously prepared to ensure quality and freshness.
With superfood bowls starting from RM15.90, Kubis & Kale attracts a wide range of customers, from office workers and college students during the weekdays and families in the weekends.
Lim is hoping to delve further into vegan food and offer a wider selection of meals for vegans at his restaurant. Veganism is a growing trend in Malaysia, he adds, but it’s still difficult to find good vegan restaurants here.
His mission to offer healthy, flavourful food has resulted in a lot of positive feedback from customers. It has also changed his personal dietary habits. “It has changed the way I eat and view food too, just like my customers.”