Plaza Damas’ Tiny Food Cafe is big on flavours minus the meat

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — Going meat-free isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The perception is without meat, the food will be bland and uninteresting.

I’m not a practising vegetarian. However, on occasion I do seek a meal that omits meat.

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As I’m constantly eating all kinds of food for work, that break from meat helps reset my taste buds too.

That’s how I ended up in Tiny Food Cafe, which specialises in plant-based meals that are flavour driven. A friend who is vegetarian had highly recommended it.

As it’s the month of Ramadan, they’re also running a special menu till April 12.

Refresh with the oat milk based Kurma Power Smoothie from the Ramadan menu (left). Snack on the tasty Tomato Bruschetta with its honey cherry tomatoes, homemade cream cheese, fresh basil and pesto (right).

Rice monsters can opt for a choice of Nasi Yum Masak Rendang or Nasi Yum Masak Merah. The good-for-you brown rice is tinged yellow, thanks to the use of turmeric.

Curious about the meat-free rendang, I decided to try the Nasi Yum Masak Rendang (RM23). In place of meat, monkey head mushrooms offer a similar bite with its fibrous texture. It’s mixed with soft potatoes too, offering a combination of textures.

The spice paste is quite mild but tasty. Other condiments include tempeh cut into thin strips resembling fries, whole peanuts, pickled vegetables and pappadums.

On a sweeter level, there’s Nasi Yum Masak Merah which also uses monkey head mushrooms.

If you’re avoiding rice, there’s Pecal Jawa, a combination of greens, tempeh and beancurd, paired with a creamy homemade peanut sauce.

Cauli Bites are addictive snacks one cannot stop eating.

There are two drinks to relieve your thirst, namely a Kurma Power Smoothie and Rose Bandung Latte.

My vote goes to the awesome Kurma Power Smoothie (RM18). Built from oat milk, dates and their homemade granola, it had me relishing every sip. Its consistency is also just right as it still has heft but is easy to sip through your straw.

You can also pick up cookies like Almond London and Earl Grey Pineapple Tart for the Raya celebrations. The latter is their rift on the popular pineapple tart, where it’s infused with Earl Grey tea.

On the daily menu, there’s choices for breakfast, starters, main dishes and dessert which is a Southern cornbread served with their homemade date syrup.

From the breakfast section that is peppered with granola bowls, shakshuka with an unusual addition of sweet corn and their Not So Tiny Breakfast, there’s a Tomato Bruschetta (RM18).

Char Siu Tofu Curry Pasta is sunshine yellow creamy curry pasta with that soft tofu grilled to have similar flavours of char siu.

It makes a great light meal too. Using their homemade cream cheese, it’s topped with tiny halved honey cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. Hidden underneath each leaf, there’s a dollop of pesto which gives the whole ensemble a perk of deliciousness, making you want to eat more of this bruschetta.

That’s what Tiny Food Cafe excels in, unassuming dishes that wow you and make you want to return for more.

You fully understand why their Cauli Bites (RM12) is the bestseller item on the menu, after you order it.

It looks like golden “chicken” nuggets at first glance. Well they’re just cauliflower coated in a thin, crispy golden layer.

The cafe is cosy and service is welcoming here.

You get a crunch followed by soft cauliflower inside that one cannot stop eating. I would be happy to snack on this when I am binge watching my Netflix.

There’s a choice of three sauces, namely the spicy mayo, umami sauce and BBQ. I tried the umami sauce with a very mild, creamy taste that complemented those addictive bites.

I read rave reviews about their Char Siu Tofu Curry Pasta (RM22) hence that was what I zoomed in on. Now it may not sound like much but that preparation of the overnight marinated tofu doused with a char siu sauce which is later grilled had similar sweet, caramelised flavours. It paired really well with that creamy curry too.

My only gripe was that the pasta was too soft. Maybe it was an off day but just in case, do request them to prepare the pasta al dente if you do order this.

I saw an array of desserts including a pecan pie tempting me from the counter. Maybe next time, I’ll treat myself to a sweet treat here.

Look for the cafe at Block H, which is located near the back of the shopping centre.

Tiny Food Cafe, H-0-1, Plaza Damas, Block H, 60, Jalan Hartamas 1, Kuala Lumpur. Open daily: 9am to 8pm. For Ramadan month, they’re open from 9am to 9pm, with the last order by 8.20pm. Tel: 03-58889597. Facebook: @tinyfoodmy Instagram:@tinyfoodmy

*This is an independent review where the writer paid for the meal.

*Follow us on Instagram @eatdrinkmm for more food gems.



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