Healthy Food Do Taste Good

In pic: Dawson Tham (proprietor of De cafe & Resthouse), Tan Shi Peang (nutritionist and founder of One Platform Resource), Louisa Loh (chef of the event, an artist of Numerology and Mandala Art), Neo Chow Cheng (wife of Tan Vooi Yam, proprietor of 1200 °C) and Tung Siew Hoe (owner of Centainnel Agriculture based in Siputeh, Ipoh)

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen and Gisele Soo
Pictures by Gisele Soo

There is a general belief out there that healthy food doesn’t taste good. De Cafe & Rest House Dawson Tham, Numerology and Mandala Art artist Louisa Loh and nutritionist Tan Shi Peang who founded One Platform Resource in 2019, is out to shatter this belief in a one-of-a-kind event titled ‘Healthy Food Do Taste Good’ which was attended by people from all walks of life. Present were the sponsors Langit, Centainnel Agriculture and Twelve Hundred C (1200°C). 

“The talk was aimed at promoting healthy eating and lifestyle, supporting local products and proving that healthy eating can taste good as well,” said nutritionist Tan. 

Greeny green juice

We were all given an appetite-stimulating Greeny Green Juice which was blended with four types of greens: bitter gourd, ambra (also known as ambarella), cucumber and mint leaves. There was no added sugar and was most refreshing. 

Guests were served  a full 4-course meal at the two-hour event. We began with Bruschetta (pronounced as Bru-Sketta)  an Italian appetizer or snack that is served before a meal. Usually served on a toasted slice of white bread, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil, Louisa who curated the menu and actually prepared it with the help of Dawson’s kitchen staff, was persuaded by our Ipoh Food Diva, SeeFoon to use sourdough, who avers that it is “more digestible than standard white flour and less likely to cause food intolerance”. (SeeFoon’s whole discourse on sourdough in the previous writeup on Yin’s Sourdough Pizza can be read  here.) Bruschetta in its original form of bread drizzled with olive oil has now evolved into a wondrous number of variations with toppings ranging from mushrooms to salami to cheese and in this particular case, grilled tomato and Thai Basil.   

Bruschetta

Next on the menu was the Rainbow Wrap which was filled with shredded purple cabbage, black fungus, bean sprouts, carrot, lettuce and prawns wrapped with Vietnamese rice paper. It came with two different sauces: the first one consisted of peanuts blended with chilli, Bunga Kantan and lemon while the second one was with yogurt, mint and dried grape.

Rainbow wrap

The third dish was their Local Delight made of Langit’s organic white rice (beras Adan), black rice (beras Keladi) and red rice (beras Sia) with a piece of chicken thigh accompanied with two types of sauce: pumpkin and thai basil sauce. The pumpkin sauce was rich with no sugar added, allowing the natural sweetness of the pumpkin enhanced with white onions, to lend its flavour to the chicken while the Thai basil sauce with chilli and Langit’s black pepper endowed it with a mild fiery tang.

Local Delight

Interested readers may scan Langit’s promo QR code which is valid until July 31, and key in YUMMY to get RM6 off for any orders.

In addition, the food was served on crockery sponsored by Twelve Hundred C. whose proprietor Tan Vooi Yam and wife, Neo Chow Cheng believe that beautiful crockery enhances the taste of food. 

Crockery

All the vegetables came from Centennial Agriculture which are raised bio-dynamically (coming soon an interview with Tung Siew Hoe, owner and passionate Engineer turned organic farmer) who also gave a talk to the group on his farm. 

Louisa Loh

“Louisa came up with the menu and I advised on the types of ingredients that fit the five-Rainbow concept, which is to serve and eat food with 5 colours of the rainbow.” Tan Shi Peang explained in her talk on nutrition.

Asked what drives her passion to go healthy, she described that it is not merely to improve her appearance and health (the average weight loss of her clients is approximately eight kilograms in two years) but it also boosts her confidence. She further highlighted that what keeps her going is the health improvement of her clients and she hopes to raise awareness on the significance of a healthy balanced diet.

There are plans to add the dishes onto De Cafe’s weekend special menu, though nothing has been confirmed as of yet. Let’s all be patient and in the meantime, check out Ipoh Food Diva to know more about De Cafe & Rest House.

A small display of all the sponsors’ products was set up in the lane out of De Cafe where attendees could purchase the products used during the demonstration and lunch.

Langit rice

De cafe & Rest House is located at 35, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 30000 Ipoh. One may contact them at 05-2461010.

Go healthy everyone! Another event of a similar vein have been planned as follow:  

Healthy Meal Cooking Class 1.0

It’s a bliss to have someone prepare your meals. It’s also a bliss to be able to cook for someone you care about. Learning to cook a meal that’s delicious, yet with balanced nutrition will be a memorable experience.

  1. Rainbow Wrap
  2. Local Delight

Date: August 2, 2020 (Sunday)
Time: 10am to 1pm
Location: One Platform Resources, Ipoh
Fee: RM180 per pax (limited to 5 pax)
Instructor: Louisa Loh
Nutritionist: Shi Peang

 

 

Morel Italian Fusion Restaurant

SeeFoon Forages in Morel Soho

It’s hard to forage in Malaysia unless you follow a knowledgeable Orang Asli who still lives off the land. But in other parts of the world where foraging is practised, not just by those who live off the grid but by ordinary folk like you and me, mushroom foraging is not only productive for the kitchen but also great fun. But not without its risks though; for picking the wrong mushrooms can kill you!

I know only of one kind of mushrooms that one can forage in Malaysia and that is after a thunderstorm and these white “thunder mushrooms” spring up in one’s garden. They have a wonderful fragrance and when lightly pan-fried in butter, are yummilicious. Alas, these are rare occurrences nowadays unless you live close to the jungle.

Being a lover of all mushrooms in whatever shape and form, perfumed or otherwise, I now head for Morel whenever a mushroom craving hits me. I remember the first time I went to Morel when they first opened almost two years ago and demanded to know why they named their restaurant after a famous mushroom when they didn’t have any on their menu. This has since been rectified in a big way and mushroom maniacs like myself can indulge to my heart’s content.

Chef Aw Kah Meng, a homegrown Ipoh chef who left for the big bright lights of Singapore in 2004 to hone his skills, has worked his way up the kitchen ladder in many big-name establishments like St Regis, Swissotel The Stamford, Raffles Plaza. More impressively and probably accounts for his culinary flair, he has worked with Bruno Menard, the 3-star Michelin Chef who is permanently based in Singapore.

Initially, after he opened Morel with his wife Siau Hooi when patrons like me were clamouring for mushrooms, Kah Meng ‘foraged’ in Malaysia, looking for suppliers who were able to deliver some of these rarities. He began with dried ones, offering Morel (finally!) and Porcini (Cep); then frozen (porcini) and now he has a source of fresh porcini and fresh black truffles.

Buonissimo I say and let the mushroom banquet begin!

I covered all the delectable dishes on the Morel menu in my review dated July 16, 2018 (issue 285), and today I am adding new menu items which I found delectable.

First off, it’s worthwhile to note that all of Morel’s pasta is homemade and cooked to al dente perfection. So is their bread. The dilemma for you, dear diner, is to decide whether you want tagliatelle, spaghetti or fusilli or whatever is on offer for the day and in what combination.

Here are their new offerings:

Porchini Bruschetta
Porchini Bruschetta @ RM29.90

Bruschetta, homemade apple-wood-smoked ricotta cheese on home-baked sourdough bread topped with fresh French porcini mushrooms. There are four slices in one order so do share; RM29.90.

Pork Belly Salad in Morel Italian Fusion Ipoh
Pork Belly Salad

Next, we had Mesclun Salad with balsamic dressing, runny yolk egg, quinoa, bread croutons, parmesan cheese with slices of tender pork belly contrasting well with the crispy greens; RM28.90.

Mussel and clam soup
Mussel and clam soup @ RM24.90

Mussel and Clam Soup was umami, tinged with white wine and a spicy tomato sauce, the bivalves tender and fresh, served with bread; RM24.90.

Lamb Spaghetti
Lamb Spaghetti @ RM56.90

The homemade spaghetti cooked in tomato sauce, topped with shredded lamb shank, arugula and morel mushrooms, dotted with pine nuts and finished with grated parmesan cheese was a sumptuous meal (we shared) at RM56.90.

Fork-tender Angus Beef Cheek
Fork-tender Angus Beef Cheek @ RM65.90

This was followed by my favourite meat dish here at Morel’s, the Black Angus Beef Cheek with asparagus and mashed potatoes. I have had beef cheek before but Morel’s version comes on the top of my list; coated in a velvety smooth sauce – a reduction from bones (not your out-of-a-bottle spoonful of store-bought gravy stock), the cheeks so soft and tender that you can cut with a fork and when eaten with the ultra-creamy mashed potatoes you have a mouthful of heaven; RM65.90.

Porcini Mushroom Risotto
Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Follow this with the Porcini Mushroom Risotto and I found myself almost rolling off the table from surfeit! Arborio rice cooked à la minute with porcini mushrooms and if that wasn’t fragrant enough, I also detected more than a hint of truffle oil. Add a square of gold leaf, shaved parmesan and you have a risotto fit for a king; RM37.90.

Truffle Coconut Parina Cotta
Truffle Coconut Parina Cotta @ RM16.90

As for desserts, my dear readers know that I am not known to have a sweet tooth but when you put a Truffle Coconut Pannacotta in front of me, a wobbly eggless coconut pudding topped with mangoes, fresh berries and truffle honey, my sweet tooth emerges and I tuck in with gusto; RM16.90. On top of this, you add the Morel’s own Tiramisu (one of the best in Ipoh) and you have the perfect end to a gourmet meal.

If Alex Castaldi, GM of Banjaran Hotsprings and Resort and as Italian as they come, finds in Morel some of the best Italian food he’s eaten in Malaysia, then we can surely take his word for it. In Alex’s words, “I like Morel and am happy to see such a young talented chef cooking and serving with such passion and authenticity. Whenever I visit, I get a taste of home. Go try Morel – definitely worth a visit!”

If you haven’t been, it’s high time you did! And you don’t have to blow the budget to get a taste. They have a daily changing 3-course Lunch Menu for RM19.90.

MOREL RESTAURANT

A-G-12A Soho Ipoh,
Jalan Sultan Iskandar,
30000 Ipoh.

Tel: 010 9287291 or 011 242 02450

Business hours:
Tuesdays-Sunday & Public Holidays : 11am-3pm; 6pm-10pm
Closed:  Mondays