Savor Plant-based Restaurant – Desa Sri Hartamas
Words: Monica Tindall
Photos: Rich Callahan
Savor, a plant-based restaurant in Desa Sri Hartamas, has opened to resounding success. It fills a gap in the area for healthy, wholesome and, most importantly, tasty recipes served in a charming café setting.
Husband and wife team David Ng and Beverly Thien co-founded Savor with fellow business partner Peter Lee. Enjoying the benefits of meat-free living themselves, they wanted to make it easy, accessible and above all, desirable for others to also find joy and health in this style of eating. The trio breathe positivity and wholesomeness, glowing with a twinkle in their eyes as they speak of the project. Their manner and appearance are perfect advertisements for the establishment. If plant-based living can gift their aura of calm and appearance of good health, I want in, too!
Savor Restaurant – Plant-based Dining KL
Beverly styled the interior herself with a casual, tropical and colonial vibe. Rattan coops with large leaves group together to form alternative lampshades. Large white peacock chairs, Peranakan porcelain, an antique cabinet and potted plants create a welcoming entryway and the perfect spot for selfies. Mosaic tiling, an emerald green kitchen bar with a white marble countertop and the semi-open kitchen complete the look.
There’s something for everyone on Savor’s menu. I’ve chosen the healthier options, as my reasons for eating plant-based are for health and sustainability. However, others will find plenty of more indulgent choices, too. The majority of dishes are based on wholesome, fresh ingredients, while others utilise the vegan cultivated plant protein Quorn to provide “meatier” options. Local farms are the source of most produce, with some even coming from another project of the founders, a non-profit school for refugee children, who grow herbs and edible flowers.
I love sweet corn, and the Corn Ribs (RM 18) are even better with nice char on the edges and a sprinkling of savoury, smoked paprika and chives seasoning. They’re sliced into manageable pieces, ideal for picking up our hands. They’re a great sharing plate (or not, if you want them all to yourself).
A vibrant collection of salads and bowls is guaranteed to keep lighter eaters interested for days on end. We find it challenging to narrow it down just to one and, in the end, close our eyes and point, diving in with the confidence that everything sounds delicious. Zesty Yuzu Watercress (RM 25) is where our finger lands, and we’re not disappointed. It’s a garden bowl of freshness with pineapple cubes, finely sliced jicama and watercress in a tangy citrus dressing.
Merry Mango Smoothie Bowl (RM 25) is perfect on a hot afternoon. Icy cold, it’s filled with blended coconut milk and mango, given texture with fruit chunks, and topped with coconut flakes, house-made granola and almond slices. Breakfast, snack, dessert – it can tick several boxes.
The Red Monarch Gourmet Burger (RM 32) both looks and tastes satisfying. The team make the plant-based patty in-house with beetroot, walnuts, brown rice and edamame. A “cheese” sauce of cashews, carrots and pumpkin is fabulous, and the whole thing is hugged by a soft wholemeal bun. The Aussies in our group can’t resist the add-on of torched pineapple (RM 30) – beetroot and pineapple are much-loved burger companions Down Under – and we make quick work of the mound of sweet potato fries on the side, too.
I am warned that the Gnocchi Primavera (RM 28) is VERY healthy. This might deter some from ordering, but it only gives me more reason to give it a go. Potato gnocchi clouds are soft, clearly using more potato than flour, a sign of a high-quality dough, rather than the cheaper, chewier, flour-dense recipes. Leeks, sugar snap peas, radish, and lemon zest provide a fabulously light and gently citric finish, most unlike the creamy, cheesy sauce that is often flavourful but sits heavy in the tum only a few spoonfuls in.
Despite the name, the Javanese Meatball Bakso (RM 28) is actually a recreation of the founders’ love for Sabah beef ball noodles. Mushrooms give a similar density to meat, and the warm, sweet broth is slurpable (so much so that I don’t dare waste a drop and bring the leftovers home). Baby choy sum, white radish, Chinese celery and laksa noodles give bulk and texture to the soup.
My rice-loving reelographer Margarita rates the Nasi Kerabu with “Chicken” Percik (RM 26) highly (so much so that she takes the leftovers home). Butterfly pea rice makes a pretty blue centrepiece surrounded by assorted ulam with finely shredded torch ginger, lion’s mane mushrooms covered with percik sauce, sambal tumis covering yuba (tofu skin), toasted coconut, chopped long beans, and bean sprouts. It’s fun to try each component separately and then attempt to get a little of everything in one very large spoonful.
Savor is a place where you can continue your guilt-free dining all the way through to dessert. Savor’s Silky Decadence (RM 16) is reminiscent of Royce’s Champagne chocolate (indulgent little squares of chilled melt-in-the-mouth dark chocolate). A base of silken tofu is given flavour with rich dark carob, plant-based milk, brown sugar, and some fresh fruit on the side. It’s velvety smooth and intensely chocolate.
Savor Drinks Menu
Of course, drinks are all made from scratch at Savor, and also founded on wholesome, healthy ingredients. The Sunshine Smoothie (RM 16) is delivered with a smile by restaurant manager Craig, who affirms our good choice. It’s a vivacious mix of pineapple, mango and banana blended with almond milk, coconut water and ginger. For a contrasting colour and something a little thinner, Ruby Roots Cold-Pressed Juice (RM 14), a blend of beetroot, orange and carrot, is a tasty option.
Lastly, the Cocoa-nut Sweet Potato Smoothie (RM 18) could easily stand in for dessert. Coconut milk, chocolate almond milk, chilled sweet potato, rich cocoa powder, honey, and cinnamon form a dense, sweet and satisfying beverage. The sweet potato gives it body but doesn’t influence the flavour. Instead, it absorbs the chocolatey goodness, gifting thickness and an appetising chocolate finish.
Reasons to visit Savor Restaurant: fabulous, wholesome and delicious plant-based menu; a variety of western and local flavours; caffeine and alcohol-free; a pleasantly cheerful setting.
Savor Restaurant – Plant-based Dining Desa Sri Hartamas
38G, Jalan 28/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6011 5430 6870
*Parking can be found opposite in Souled Out, costing only RM 5 for the whole day. There are other parking stations around, or street parking with the Flexi Parking app, where you can pay online.
Savor Restaurant Opening Hours
Sunday to Thursday: 10 am – 10 pm
Friday 10 am – 4 pm
Closed: Saturday (They’re too busy doing community work, instead!)
Find more restaurants in with great vegan and vegetarian options here and stay up-to-date with the latest gourmet and travel recommendations for Malaysia here and here.