Savor is not a vegan restaurant—that’s something the owners explicitly wanted us to know. The label, they said, came with a certain preconceived notion and they wanted everyone, regardless of diet and lifestyle choices, to enjoy the food that they served. Their goal, at the end of the day, was to offer healthy, plant-based food for all.
The three owners: couple Beverly Thien and David Ng alongside Peter Lee are vegans themselves, having adopted the plant-based diet for many years. The health benefits they reaped from this lifestyle was what spurred them to start Savor, with the hopes of reaching those who wish to adopt a healthier way of living. It started out during the pandemic via food delivery only, but as the brand gained momentum and a loyal customer base, the owners eventually got the confidence to establish a brick and mortar restaurant in Sri Hartamas.
Stepping into the verdant restaurant, you’d be forgiven to think that it’s yet another trendy cafe in the neighbourhood. The space is indeed welcoming, with exposed brick walls, lush tropical hanging leaves, and rattan. But of course, what deserves the most attention is the menu—which is indeed quite extensive. It goes on for pages and pages, giving you a wide option of snacks to appetisers, mains, desserts, and drinks, all within the western and local realm. In the latter category, you can also find some Bornean specialty cuisine, which is a nod to Thien’s Sabahan heritage. The extensive range of dishes on the menu is a reflection of the husband and wife’s love for travel and translating those experiences into a plant-based meal.
One thing we noticed was missing on the menu, however, was your usual selection of coffee. We later learn that not only is coffee missing, so are caffeinated beverages. The owners do not consume caffeine as part of their healthy lifestyles, and wanted to create a menu that reflected that. Instead, you’ll find a selection of rich, energy-packed smoothies and soothing fruit teas that are absolutely delightful to pair with the food. We ordered a Sunshine Smoothie comprising pineapple, mango, and banana blended with almond milk, coconut water, and ginger to start with, and perused the menu.
As the food arrives, we realise that most dishes served at Savor are incredibly flexitarian-friendly. If you’ve not ventured into the meatless world, you’ll most certainly not notice its lack thereof here. Take the Sambal Squid Nasi Lemak, for example. The “squid” is fashioned out of coconut flesh, while the “meat” in the rendang is actually made from lion’s mane mushroom, which is a popular meat substitute thanks to its similar texture and hardiness. The “anchovies” in the nasi lemak, on the other hand, are made from deep-fried mushroom stems. It was fun trying to decode what the meats are made from, but it doesn’t draw away from the fact that the food is delicious. It’s nasi lemak that’s on par with your favourite restaurant’s offering, plant-based or not.
The same lion’s mane mushroom can be found in the Javanese Meatball Bakso, which was a delightful surprise in the menu as you don’t find many places in KL selling great-tasting bakso. We are happy to report that the broth was aromatic and flavourful, the bakso every bit as believable as a meat one, and the overall noodle dish comforting. If you’re looking for something with a little more spice, try the Sarawak Laksa, which uses a recipe that Thien’s favourite eatery back home taught her before she left for her studies overseas.
Yuba, or beancurd skin, is also another prominent ingredient used at Savor. The Salted Egg Yuba is a best-seller from their pandemic days, a crisp and extremely flavourful dish seasoned with salted chickpeas and curry leaves that whets the appetite alongside a bed of brown rice. It’s also found in the Nasi Kerabu with “Chicken” Percik, an already-healthy dish made better with yuba sambal and lion’s mane mushroom percik.
Before we dwell too long on the Asian selection, we must spotlight some of Savor’s western offerings too. The Irish Shepherd’s Pie is a hearty and comforting one to order, but be sure you come hungry—it’s a generous portion. The fluffy mashed potatoes sit atop a well-cooked medley of tender peas and plant-based meat, a recipe for a good day ahead. Another hearty dish worth getting is the Red Monarch Gourmet Burger, which houses a plant-based patty made from beetroot, walnut, edamame, and oats. All these ingredients combine to create a very believable meat patty, covered in “cheese”—made from cashew nuts. Here at Savor, you won’t find commercial plant-based meats in your food; everything is made from scratch in-house, so we were assured that we would not leave feeling a little too thirsty.
By now, we were stuffed to our gills, but we had to make space for desserts. There are no “energy balls” here masquerading as desserts, and we were relieved to discover that plant-based desserts at Savor look—and taste—just like regular desserts. Savor’s Silky Decadence, which is the restaurant’s version of a flourless chocolate cake, was particularly mind-blowing. As we took a bite out of the cake, we were asked to guess what the cake was really made from. It was a hard guess, but the answer was silken tofu, something we would never have guessed from how the “chocolate cake” tasted like. Indulgent is certainly not what we would use to describe it, so have as many slices as you like. Something a little more zesty to the palate was the Mango Peach Pie with Ice Cream, a fruity and zingy dessert combining the “creaminess” of vegan ice cream alongside mangoes and peaches over a cream cracker crust, for the ultimate sweet end to our plant-based meal.
Address: 38G, Jalan 28/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Sunday — Thursday (10AM to 10PM), Friday (10AM to 4PM). Closed on Saturdays.