Monday, February 06, 2012

Kechara "New Age" Vegetarian

Kechara is a Tsem Tulku Buddhist organization. I know very little about this religious group. You can read about it from the links that I have provided. Their network appears to be very extensive and impressive - running soup kitchen, animal sanctuary, shops, publications, travel agency, peace centers, care centers, shops, restaurants, etc... The Kechara Oasis New Age Vegetarian Cuisine is part of their very large operations.

They have 2 outlets of this restaurant. One is in Jalan Loke Yew in KL. The place we visited is in Jaya One, Jalan Universiti, PJ. Jaya One is an odd shopping centre. There are hardly any shops. Most of them are makan places. Even then, there are not many. We walked around the  complex and it was mostly dark and deserted. They did not even switch on the lights in the common areas. How to attract people? Kechara Oasis is located in the lower ground car park of the shopping centre. It's main entrance is from the car park. So are a number of other eating outlets. Kind of strange - having restaurants in the car park.

The restaurant is quite small. But it is very nicely furnished. The decor is contemporary. And it has the soft ambiance for a quiet relaxing meal.

They have a cozy corner with a sofa set surrounded by some nice artifacts and Buddhist publications. There were more artifacts around the entrance. I found them very intriguing. I think they were brought in from Tibet or somewhere around that part of the world.

We were attended to by a grumpy man who apparently was the honcho there. He was barking at his staff. He did not sound too friendly initially, but as the evening went on, he turned out to be quite helpful. We asked him for recommendations from the menu. But he wasn't much of a help. In the end, I don't think we made very good choices.

Our first dish was the butter mushroom. It was deep fried mushrooms cooked in a butter sauce. It was very delicious. I liked it. The mushrooms were crispy and the butter flavor was distinct and very pleasant.

This was the Momos - the Tibetan version of the gyoza. It was pan fried and served with a chili sauce. It did not taste very different from the normal gyoza. I guess gyozas around the world are all the same - whatever names they call it.

And the Kechara Treasure Pot. It was a potpourri of round momos (gyoza), mushrooms, carrot, baby corns, lettuce and other stuffs in a Tibetan miso soup. It came out piping hot in a clay pot. The taste was so-so. We shouldn't had ordered 2 momo dishes. Like I mentioned, our selection could had been better.

The curry fish was not nice. It was actually a vegetable curry, with a few slices of white pseudo fish on top. The curry flavor was quite crude. It was like curry powder stirred into a soup. We should had ordered something else.

This plate of vegetarian char siew was also a lousy choice. It was an added-on. The previous few dishes were not quite enough. We were at a loss on what to further order. Mr Grumpy was again not much of a help. So we hastily asked for the char siew. It was served with some fresh zucchini. The dish was very ordinary. I have tasted better char siew in some coffee-shop vegetarian stalls.

We shared 2 desserts. The first was the banana red bean roll. The 2 ingredients were rolled in small crepes and over them were caramel and pistachios. They were not nice. The combinations were rather odd. Biting onto the banana with red beans was a strange sensation.

The second dessert was more conventional and tasted much better. It was cold longan and sea coconut.

While we were having the desserts, they served the Tibetan butter tea. I ordered it totally out of curiosity. I have seen this on television but this was my first time. There are some food or drinks that do not taste good at first try but we acquire the taste and start to enjoy them; like beer or other alcohols to some people. To me, this was the total opposite. At the first few sips, I liked it. The tea was smooth and had a strong and distinct butter taste. It was not sweet. Instead, salt was used for flavor. After one small cup, the strong butter flavor started to get on me. It began to taste surfeiting. I could not finish my second cup. My wife too did not like it. Neither did Crystal. The tea was served in a small thermos. In the end, I think we drank less than half of it.

Dinner at the Kechara was not a great experience. I wonder if it would had made a difference if Mr Grumpy was more helpful on our menu selection. The service was also not great. The dishes arrived too far apart. They served us the first 2 dishes and then time stood still. We waited and waited, nibbling at and conserving our rice for the other dishes. But we did not have to complain. Mr Grumpy saw our unease and barked at his staff to check on the kitchen. That and the not so modest bill make it hard for us to want to return.

No comments:

Post a Comment