I don’t get to eat vegetarian food as much as I would like. Well, that’s because most times when I dine with family and even friends, vegetarian cuisine doesn’t seem to be at the top of their list. I like vegetarian dishes. So, it’s a rare occasion that I can gather a few friends who would ALL want to go for a vegetarian meal. One of those rare occasions was when I met up with a couple of ex-colleagues, not too long ago, who happen to be fans of vegetarian food and so… hooray, that’s how I ended up going to try out this “new age vegetarian” restaurant in Jaya One.
I like the simple and stylish decor as I stepped into this restaurant. The ambience is relaxing and as I looked around, I could see decorative items of Tibetan influences arranged in the fuss-free modernistic restaurant. Kechara Oasis is inspired by H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche who wishes to encourage vegetariansm and making vegetarian cuisine delicious, appealing and readily available to people. The chefs in Kechara Oasis believe in using the freshest of natural ingredients to create contemporary distinctive dishes with a balance of colors and flavours and contrasting textures.
The menu here is certainly very extensive! Glancing through it, I could see their range of dishes all had touches and influences of Chinese, Tibetan, Vietnamese, Nepali and Western cuisines. Since there were only 3 of us, it made our choices pretty hard. We wanted to eat everything on the menu!
Kechara Salad (RM16.80)
To whet our appetites, we had their signature Kechara Salad – a delightful riot of colours served on a plate! Julienned purple cabbage, carrots, lettuce, seaweed, tossed with crunchy chopped peanuts and topped with whole cashews and drizzled with a sweetish tangy limey dressing – a good start to any meal!
Mushrooms are widely featured in their menu. We chose one of their chef’s recommendations, the Butter Mushrooms. Coated in a light batter, deep-fried, the fresh earthy flavours of the mushrooms were still intact and they blended very well with the thick buttery slightly spicy sauce (with a subtle whiff of curry leaves) coating them.
Butter Mushrooms (RM16.80)
I was a bit sceptic about ordering petai, especially since we were not having rice but at my dining companions’ insistence, we decided to try their Petai Tofu. The dish came with chopped petai cooked in a thick sambal-like sauce and steamed over smooth white tofu. I found the gravy to be on the mild side – this is a Malaysian-inspired dish and personally, I would prefer to have the petai cooked whole and not chopped up. The joy of eating petai is to chomp down on the whole bean and savour the burst of nutty wholesome flavours, stinky and all!
Petai Tofu (RM12.80)
I love vegetarian fish – which is actually mashed tofu flavoured and wrapped with seaweed and I never fail to order this when I dine in any vegetarian restaurant. The Kechara Oasis version is pretty much the same as you would find in any other vegetarian place… deep-fried “fish” cooked with chunks of tomatoes and ladies fingers in a sourish spicy assam gravy.
Assam Fish (RM16.80)
Brinjals and bittergourds are two of my favourite vegetables and these are always must-order items. I like the spicy beanpaste used in the brinjals dish with the aromatic curry leaves giving it an uplifting note. It was quite a struggle eating this sans rice as the flavourful beanpaste coating was screaming for rice!
Jin Xiang Eggplants (RM12.80)
Puffy beancurd skin (“dao bao”) goes tremendously well with bittergourds, especially when flavoured with a blackbean paste. This, again, is a dish that should be eaten with white rice and in the end, we did order a small bowl of that just to mop up the delicious blackbean sauce!
Bitter Gourd Dao Bao (RM9.80)
Momos are the Tibetan version of the Gyoza (dumplings) and the filling is made from potatoes, vegetables, herbs and cheese. They have both the deep-fried and steamed versions.
Deep-fried Momos (RM10.80)
With very full tummies, we still wanted to try their desserts, for what is a meal without desserts, right? Besides, my 2 dining companions were real dessert fans. I like the butterscotch topping and crunchy pistachios of the Redbean Banana Rolls. The Black Rice Pudding didn’t impress much – I’m not convinced icecream is a good choice as an accompaniment in this “thong sui” dessert. I always feel a good black rice “bubur” should be served with just some coconut cream to enhance its natural flavour.
Redbean Banana Rolls (RM8.80)
Black Rice Pudding (RM5.80)
Kechara Oasis’ extensive menu certainly beckons a revisit and I’d love to go back again to check out some of their other dishes, especially those with Tibetan, Thai and Indo-Chine influences. I’ll just have to round up some vegetarian fans first
Lot D19, B1, Block D, Jaya One
72A Jalan Universiti
46200 Petaling Jaya
Opens daily: Lunch 11.30am-3.00pm / Dinner: 6.00pm-10.00pm