9 days into the Year of the Rabbit ... and how are you enjoying the New Year so far? The Chinese New Year is, without a doubt, an excellent occasion to spend quality time with family and friends, with food being the central stage. Hasn't it been one feast after another since the New Year was ushered in?
With so much rich meaty food being served since the Reunion Dinner, I think it's good to take a break and go for some healthy meatless cuisine. For the uninitiated, you would never think that a restaurant would be located in the basement of a carpark. Upon climbing down the flight of stairs from the B1 carpark, I was greeted by lush greenery - the garden that surrounds Organic Recipe - what a gem! Choose to sit al fresco, closer to the shrubs & trees... or in the cool comfort of the interior. It is located in Basement 3 of the Casa Utama Condominiums and sprang quite a few amazing dishes.
I love the colorful Popiah - a beautiful mix of crunchy refreshing greens, purples, reds and orangey hued vegetables (which came from cabbages, long beans, carrots and turnips) - served with a light sweetish sourish dip with a hint of sesame flavour.
One can never go wrong with Tofu & Angled Loofah. It's one of my favourites, whether in a regular or vegetarian restaurant. The homemade tofu here was not slippery smooth - the texture is slightly firmer but I have no issue with that. It gave a slight bite to the dish and went very well with the soft spongey loofah.
I always marvel how the Chinese can make mock meats out of flour, gluten and beancurd with the almost-real meat flavours thrown in. The so-called Spicy Mutton dish above had all the earthy meaty nuances and the added spices, lemongrass, curry leaves and chillies made this an excellent accompaniment to white rice.
The "Assam Fish" is another great dish to go with rice. Layers of soft smooth beancurd sheets encased in seaweed could almost fool one into thinking that it's a real fish fillet there. Chunks of brinjals, tomatoes and ladies' fingers have totally absorbed the flavours of chillies, shallots, daun kesum.ginger and lemongrass ... the only thing is I would have liked it to have a bit more tamarind in the gravy. If you are a fan of Petai (our Malaysian stink beans!), then go for the Petai Fish. I found this to be more exciting than the regular Assam Fish.
Still on the "sourish" trail, go for the Tomyum if you want something more soupy. Mixed vegetables and mushrooms cooked in a tomyum broth and served in a whole coconut. You get to scrape and eat the sweet coconut flesh too!
Pucuk Paku - jungle ferns is another favourite of mine. Whenever I see this on a menu, I'll always order it. I love the Organic Recipe version of this popular dish - lightly stir-fried with chillies and belacan. The young ferns retained their crunchiness and the sambal belacan used had the perfect balance of spiciness.
Bittergourd stirfried in a black bean sauce was delicious in its simplicity. I liked how the bean sauce did not overwhelm the dish, yet gave it a balanced touch to complement the bitter flavour of the gourd.
The Fruit Tea is a refreshing citrussy boost to the palate and helps digestion too, I was told. I could drink cups and cups of this tea, really.
The restaurant is modernly spacious yet cosy (I love their checquered table cloths!) and at one end of it there's a section which sells their organic foodstuff and ingredients. After your meal you can go browse through the shelves & freezers and pick out some interesting food and snacks to buy. Their wholemeal paus are good :-) Their range of tofu products is excellent too.
Google map to this place is here.
Directions: If you are coming from Centrepoint Bandar Utama, go straight after the traffic lights at the flyover above the NKVE Highway, keep left and turn into the 1st Left Turn (there is a signboard which says "Casa Utama"). Go straight in and look out for a Left Turn into the Casa Utama Condo building. Park at B1, then walk down the stairs to B3 and you will see the restaurant immediately. You have to pay RM5 at the carpark entrance (there's a attendant there to collect the fee); keep the parking receipt to present it to Organic Recipe for reimbursement when you settle your bill!
B3-09-11 Casa Utama
Lorong Lebuh Bandar Utama PJU6A
47400 Petaling Jaya
*Closed on Mondays