V Life Cafe
Pictures by Gisele Soo
SeeFoon finds that a Healthy Life begins at V Life
I never imagined that I would actually relish eating a plant-based meal (think vegetarian) but I find my taste buds becoming more and more acclimated to this healthy alternative.
Hitherto, vegetarian meals were limited to Indian or Chinese dishes, the former usually dripping with oil and the latter suffused with MSG which would immediately produce tremendous thirst and swelling on my legs.
But in the past few years, Ipoh has seen a proliferation of vegetarian restaurants that promise no MSG and some actually grow their own vegetables.
V Life Cafe is one of these.
Newly opened, V Life is a tastefully decorated cafe that is bright and airy (air conditioned) with one wall devoted to hydroponic vegetables. The plants are grown without soil, in controlled environment conditions inclusive of temperature, pH balance and exposure to macronutrients, micronutrients, water and lights. This means fresher greens that are picked, cleaned and put right onto your plate and into your mouth. There is something so satisfying in knowing that you’re eating healthful vegetables that will nourish your body.
Plant-based meat is made out of various types of ingredients including plant proteins, vegetables, peas, mushroom and spices. It looks and tastes exactly like real meat, and so does the texture. It could be in the form of burger patties, nuggets, and ground-meat stuffed into sausages.
One may argue that our bodies require animal protein for sustenance, but plant-based proteins from peas, mung beans, fava beans and brown rice in different compositions deliver greater or equal levels of protein than their animal-based counterparts. Combined with fats from cocoa butter, coconut oil and expeller-pressed Canola Oil (using chemicals and non chemicals), juicy plant-based burgers and sausages that sizzle in the pan or on the grill can be created.
Natural flavors and colors come from plants like beet juice extract (which really give the appearance of a rare beef burger) and apple extract imbues taste to the presentation. No synthetic additives are ever used. A promise that V Life stands behind.
Potato starch and Methylcellulose (a plant fiber derivative) help hold their ingredients together, similar in function to cornstarch or flour, providing the right amount of texture to enjoy every bite.
Sunflower lecithin, a natural emulsifier, is similar in function to an egg which also holds the ingredients together and improves texture while calcium alginate is a plant-based casing made from seaweed, and yeast extract provides B vitamins (same yeast that makes beer and bread).
We started with the Hulk Soupe Du jour (or soup of the day), a hydroponically grown kale soup that could have benefited from some extra herbs and spices but had a clean healthy taste. RM11.80.
Similarly, the Superfood Quinoa Bowl—tri-colour quinoa, broccoli, scrambled eggs, mixed berries, purple cabbage, avocado baked with egg yolk and truss tomato—was certainly healthy but a little organic soy sauce or chilli flakes left on the table for self service would have livened up the dish. RM18.80.
V Made Plant-based Meat Bun is a mantou-style lotus leaf bun filled with deep fried V meat chop, pumpkin floss and fresh vege with parmesan crisps. The meat chop has a mouthfeel like Spam and there is a taste of sambal. Deliciousness itself. RM18.80.
V All Love Nasi Lemak, a classic and everyone’s favourite, was served with V meatballs in red curry gravy, sunny side up egg, vegan anchovies and papadum. The rice was nice and lemak; the sambal tasty, spicy enough and not overly sweet; and the V meat which looks like chicken had a bouncy fish ball-like texture. I could certainly become a committed vegetarian for this. RM18.80.
Spaghetti Carbonara had sauteed shimeji mushroom in a cream sauce, served with their signature V minced meat. While the spaghetti was a tad on the soft side (I prefer al dente), I understand that local tastes dictate that the pasta is cooked to this degree of doneness, and the sauce more than made up for it. The sauce was velvety and creamy, rich but not excessive, hearty but not heavy, coating the spaghetti and shimeji which were finally showered with cheese. RM16.80.
Hawaiian V Meat Pizza was topped with V minced meat, diced sweet bell peppers and pineapple, slathered with smoked BBQ sauce and tomato bolognese sauce on a very thin crust. Yummilicious. RM20.80.
Thai Holy Basil V Minced Meat Rice had sauteed minced meat with cut long beans, the holy basil imbuing its fragrance, served with purple rice and a sunny side up egg. The meat tasted just like chicken and with my eyes closed I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. This dish was fiery and just to my taste. RM15.80.
The last dish our group tasted was the piece de resistance, the Beyond Plant-based Meat Burger, an imported thick patty layered with sauteed mushrooms, sliced pineapple, egg omelette and topped with cheese.The pineapple lent its sweetness and the brawny mushroom sauce became the “icing on the cake”. Biting into the burger, I discovered that it was pink inside, just like a real medium rare meat burger, a simulation I found irresistible. RM46.
For drinks, I recommend the Pink Guava (RM13.90); Lemon ginger and honey (RM12.90); Espresso soda lemon (RM12.90);Matcha Latte (RM12.90) and the Premier Chocolate (RM12.90).
When you do visit V Life, ask for Manager Vincent who will be happy to give you his recommendations.
42, Lintasan Perajurit 6, Taman Ipoh Timur, 31400 Ipoh, Perak
Business hours: 11-9pm, opens daily
Delivery available via foodpanda and Grabfood