Words: Aisling Cullen Photos: Monica Tindall
It took me all year to discover, but finally I have found my personal favourite café of 2016. The best thing about it – it’s healthy, vegetarian and the food is so satisfyingly tasty. Plus there are lots of decadent treats to choose from. Healthy and decadent, I hear you say? Absolutely, and it’s called Raisin’ the Roof located in Bukit Damansara.
On arrival we were greeted by café owner and advocate for healthy eating, Serina Singhsachathet. Serina hails from Bangkok and has been passionate about clean plant-based eating for a long time. She’s gone through a significant weight loss journey and since changing her diet to a healthy plant-based one, Serina has improved her health and never looked back.
The drink creations at Raisin’ the Roof were innovative and thirst quenching. We had a Melon Lemon Blitz Smoothie (RM14.90), which has rockmelon, lemon, coconut water, agave and a hint of mint. So refreshing! We too tried the Skin Glow Cold Pressed Juice (RM14.90), a healthy green juice including wheatgrass, spinach and guava as well as many other green goodies. I could almost feel its health-giving properties as it glid down my throat.
There are also a wide variety of different flavoured nut milks on the menu (I’m going back for the Pistachio Rose soon!) and the coffee menu is being developed too for more interesting flavours. We tried a cold Coffee Cashew Milk (RM14.90), which was deliciously creamy and smooth – easily a delicious replacement for the daily coffee fix.
If you are a big brunch fan like me, you will love this menu. First up was the Shakshuka (RM18.90) consisting of a baked egg in a spicy tomato and red pepper sauce served with a gluten-free bread (fabulously tasty!), made from almond meal, flaxseed and coconut flour. The flavour combination was a burst of sweet and spicy in my mouth.
The Big Brunch Plate (RM25.90) will certainly keep me filled. Two poached eggs come on sourdough toast with a chickpea and tofu sausage, baked tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms and a corn salsa. I bet my meat-loving partner will not even notice the switch of protein sources. For vegan eaters, eggs can be replaced by seared tempeh for either of these dishes.
One of the most popular dishes on the menu (and Serina’s favourite) is the Pistachio Falafel Wrap (RM22.90). This dish is made up of homemade baked (not fried) pistachio and herb falafels with various veggies and hummus. Just delicious! We also had a side of Home Made Chilli Sauce (RM2), which I highly recommend – the chillis and dates make an unusually tasty combo – we hope that they’ll consider jarring this as a take home option in the future.
I do enjoy many Malaysian dishes, but as a vegetarian myself, so many of them contain meat that I rarely get to try them. I was very happy to sample the Rendang Bowl (RM14.90) with its spicy hit smoothed over with a coconutty sweetness, which gifted this bowl a delicious balance. Served with fluffy quinoa and a boiled egg, this was another firm favourite of both Monica and me.
For a sweeter brunch, we tried the Pandan Coconut Pancake (RM22.90) served with fresh fruits, chopped almonds, gula Melaka and toasted buckwheat. The pancakes are dense but fluffy, and the fresh pandan lingers nicely on the palate. This is yet another gluten-free dish so there are a lot of options here for those with wheat intolerances.
Saving the best brunch (or for me really any-time-of-day) dish for last, we tried the Peanut Butter Chia Seed Bowl (RM16.90). The wonderfully velvety base was contrasted with a crunchy buckwheat granola (also made in house). Usually I don’t go for sweet brunch dishes, however both Monica and I universally agreed that this dish topped the bill.
Also worth trying are the raw (mostly) vegan cakes. We had the Snickers bar, the Ferrero (not vegan) and the Nutella raw cake. All have complex layers of nuts and chocolate that melt in your mouth and are gluten-free.
At this stage, we were so full that we thought we couldn’t eat another bite but Serina brought out the homemade Nice Cream (RM6.90 per scoop). I was so glad that she did – this is some of the best ice cream I’ve tasted. Making dairy-free ice cream is no easy task, but they seem to have found the magic recipe at Raisin’ The Roof. Banana and vanilla were the flavours of the day, with options varying daily with seasonal fruits and whims of the chef.
After such a pleasant experience, I was convinced that this menu would convince even my staunch carnivore other half, that meat-free dining could be quite satisfying. And, despite his grumbled request of “adding a side of steak to the dishes,” of my take home orders of the Rendang and Falafel Wrap, he enthusiastically wolfed both items down and has agreed to visit Raisin’ The Roof with me on my next return – that’s a big deal in our home.
Reasons to visit: a stack of delicious healthy and gluten-free options; vegan ‘nice-cream’; value for money; must orders are the Pistachio Falafel Wrap, Peanut Butter Chia Seed Bowl and the raw ‘Snickers’ bar.
Raisin’ The Roof Cafe
61, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Plaza Damansara,
Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur
Tues-Fri. 7am-8 pm; Sat-Sun. 8am-6 pm. Closed Mondays.