Louise Miller and Monica Tindall
Once in a while, we stumble across a place that ticks so many boxes on our culinary wish list that it feels like a genie has materialised to do our bidding. Organica Lifestyle is one such place. An urban sanctuary of clean and delicious food run by a team who are so passionately committed to what they do, Organica Lifestyle presented us with the conflict between selfishly wanting to keep its discovery to ourselves and magnanimously spreading the joy by singing its praises from the rooftops (or at least, gushing profusely on The Yum List). Since altruism won this moral battle, here goes…
Like a speakeasy of healthy living, Organica’s location is so unlikely that you may find yourself wondering (like we did) if Waze led you astray. Number 15 on Jalan Tempinis 1 appears to be a residential home like all its neighbouring properties but the house is in fact a holistic healthy haven offering a one-stop shop for health and wellbeing. Once through the gate and over the threshold of number 15, you will be met with light and airy open spaces, a stairway leading up to an exercise studio for yoga and pilates classes, and one leading down to a cosy reading corner with a stock of books on all aspects of healthy living for perusal and purchase, a couple of shelving units stocked with an array of nutraceutical products for sale, a breakfast bar and a big wooden dining table to sit, eat and drink to your heart’s content with a guilt free conscience!
Our host was one of the co-founders of Organica Lifestyle, Shantini Ingkaran, a former lawyer and now qualified nutritionist whose personal journey led her to return from Melbourne to her native Malaysia and to abandon the law in favour of what has become a true passion. Both she and her best friend and business partner, Anjana Arunachalam, by opening this haven of healthy living, are pursuing their vision to create an urban sanctuary that will inspire and support its patrons in their quest for a holistic and balanced lifestyle.
We were welcomed with an Indian Masala Chai: the combination of anise, cardamom, carom seeds, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, ginger, mace, rooibos and roses, created a complex and deliciously warming flavour. And, if you can’t wait until your next visit to Organica to sip some more, this blend created by Chai Walli is for sale in their shop.
Next, we sampled a range of Organica’s cold pressed juices. Based on the chakra system, these drinks are designed with specific health benefits in mind. First up was the Solar Plexus, a deep yellow concoction of turmeric, coconut water, pineapple, ginger and bee pollen flavours layered with a predominance of fresh pineapple. The bright green Heart Chakra was composed of honeydew melon, pear, cucumber, spinach and kaffir lime and was also tasty but more delicate in a flavour characterised by cucumber freshness. Beetroot, carrot, ginger, sea salt and lime made up the blood red Root Chakra, which was more earthy due to the root vegetables and the heat of the ginger. The unanimous favourite of the four was the vivid pink Throat Chakra: composed of blueberries, dragon fruit, ginger, lemon and pear, this lemony fresh and tangy drink was the one that we just couldn’t stop sipping.
The delivery of Veggie Goodness (RM 29) to our table had us smiling approval as we spotted the generous mound of smashed avocado and feta atop zucchini and carrot fritters accompanied by fresh beetroot and salad. This combination was heaven on a plate and if the Organica Lifestyle team ever decide to sell that scrumptious creamy avocado and feta mash as a separate takeaway item, I will be amongst the first to order it by the bucket load!
The Quinoa Lemak was, as the name suggests, a healthy spin on Malaysia’s staple nasi lemak and was made with cubes of tofu and tempeh in a super spicy vegetarian sambal sauce with soft-boiled egg, crunchy cucumber, green beans and nutty pine kernels on the side.
We were delighted to see the return of the delicious smashed avo and feta in the next dish. In the Big Brunch (RM32) it crowns a slice of the hearty Life-Changing Loaf topped with thyme infused mushrooms, and is juxtaposed by scrambled eggs, and an arugula and cherry tomato salad. Here, the meaty, herby mushrooms and the nutty loaf fiercely competed with the smashed avocado for star component status – they were all so delicious!
In addition to the regular menu, Organica Lifestyle offers a ‘Daily Goodness’ or dish of the day. On the day of our visit, this was a Japanese Noodle Bowl (RM28.50): a vibrant dish of soba noodles with crisp crunchy vegetables, tofu, tempeh and cashews in a toasty sesame dressing and a generous sprinkling of fresh chilli slices.
|Japanese Noodle Bowl|
We continued our feast by sampling what is proving to be one of Organica Lifestyle’s most popular dishes, the Choc-Maca Pancakes (RM28.50). These gluten-free beauties are made with raw cacao, maca and dark chocolate chips, and topped with caramelised banana, honey ricotta and fresh berries. Easily the most indulgent dish on the menu, this would make a wonderful treat after an exercise class upstairs, a gruelling shopping trip in Bangsar or, well, under any circumstances at all really!
Curious about the Life-Changing Loaf from the brunch dish, we asked Shantini about its inspiration and ingredients, which of course gave us an excuse to sample it a second time. Since discovering the recipe online, Shantini and her team have been making this fabulous gluten free alternative to bread, including it in the Big Brunch dish, serving it separately spread with a layer of delicious turmeric and honey paste (yum!), and selling it by the loaf (RM30). Made from so many different seeds, nuts and oats, this was densely textured, seriously flavourful and very moreish.
|Life-Changing Loaf with Tumeric, Honey and Tahini Spread|
Forcing ourselves to find a little space for the Banana, Chocolate and Walnut cake that arrived soon after, we were rewarded with another of the meal’s highlights. Monica and I clearly experienced the delicious surprise of biting into a gooey melted chocolate nugget at the exact same time as we shared that ‘OMG’ wide-eyed and smiles moment. We highly recommend indulging in a slice of this with a cup of Proud Mary’s roasted coffee, which is sourced from Melbourne and would delight any aficionado, filtered and beautifully served up in glass with a mini jar of milk.
|Banana Chocolate and Walnut Gluten-Free Bread|
|Proud Mary Drip Coffee|
At this point, although we’d finished eating and drinking our way through the menu, we were far from ready to leave. Shantini is so knowledgeable about all things related to healthy living and is so dedicated to her vision and her plans for community projects that we could have chatted for so much longer. Shantini’s deep understanding of nutrition means that Organica Lifestyle can cater for many dietary requirements: not only is the entire menu gluten free and vegetarian but many dishes can be adapted for vegans on request.
The café is currently open from 10:00am until 5:00pm every day except Monday. Although currently not open in the evenings, dinner can be arranged if requested and booked in advance.
|Cold Pressed Juice|
For anyone wishing to earn the tasty treats on offer at Organica Lifestyle with some preliminary exercise, the schedule of exercise classes and details of personal training and lifestyle coaching programmes are posted on the website.
Reasons to visit: chilled and friendly ambience; Smashed Avo and Feta; Veggie Goodness; Throat Chakra; Big Brunch; Life-Changing Bread; … and at the risk of repeating absolutely everything we tried, I’ll stop right there.
15 Jalan Tempinis 1
Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
+012 704 8565
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