The Covid-19 pandemic and the fear it has ignited has had one positive side-effect: it has caused a seismic shift in consumption patterns among many Malaysians, who are now actively looking for healthy, immunity-boosting meals.
Which makes Hey Peach, a first-of-its kind fruit-focused vegan eatery in REX KL, a perfect new addition to the Klang Valley’s ‘new normal’ F&B landscape.
“I think it is very timely, because people are looking for healthier options and our target audience is younger people that we think will be shifting towards a more plant-based diet. This is the future of food,” says co-founder Ewen Lim.
The eatery is the brainchild of Lim, the co-founder of popular salad-centred eatery Parklife and Stephanie Purwantoro, who is Parklife’s social media manager.
The outlet is also something of a pioneer in that it defies culinary common stance by putting fruits on a pedestal and making it the highlight of every single item on the menu – and yes, that includes main meals!
“It is quite rare to see people insisting on putting fruits in food, but fruits add natural sweetness to a meal. And healthy staples like quinoa are often quite tasteless, but when you add a couple of fruits, it makes it very flavourful, so we thought why not put all types of fruits in our menu?” reasons Lim.
The two decided to make Hey Peach a grab-and-go outlet to keep their capital outlay low, as they didn’t see the sense in opening a dine-in eatery at this particular time.
“We have a lower-set up cost, so the savings we made on that could be put towards marketing, research and development. Because of the uncertainties during the pandemic, we didn’t want to spend unwisely in the beginning on a dine-in outlet,” explains Purwantoro.
In putting together the menu, Lim and Purwantoro had to do a lot of research to discover the best ways to make fruits shine in a dish, as they had no point of comparison and no competitors in the market to study. Eventually, they discovered that a combination of tropical fruits and imported fruits were crucial to enlivening each meal.
The menu is eclectic and oh-so colourful, as Lim says most of the meals are devised based on Instagram appeal i.e. colour and composition.
The Peach Fruit Roll for example, is made up of Vietnamese paper roll stuffed with cucumber, carrots and fleshy slices of sweet peach, garnished with sesame seeds.
This delicate little concoction looks like a wondrous piece of art and thankfully, tastes as good as it looks. The roll is whisper thin yet successfully holds the weight of the ingredients inside it, without becoming a leaden mess. The addition of the peaches is an ingenious stroke as the plump, luscious fruit gives this vegetal concoction a much-needed sweet boost.
Other options for the fruit rolls (priced at RM 20 for a set of three rolls) include mango, strawberry, kiwi and orange, to name a few.
You could also opt to try the Eat My Peach Toast (RM20), which is essentially a thick plank of sourdough toast smattered with peach jam and topped with ornately cut slices of peaches, green apples and strawberries. It’s the sort of thing you ought to be having for breakfast but probably aren’t.
The bread is wonderfully soft in the middle and this helps soak up the sweet flavours of the jam. Both these components are then further accentuated by the crunch apples and tenderly yielding peaches. This meal is akin to one of those harmonious yet healthy marriages people dream of having.
For something a little more filling, try the Rice Peach Bowl (RM20), a wholesome meal that features quinoa, tempeh, pomegranate, peaches, chickpeas, beetroot and roasted pumpkin. This nutritionally dense concoction serves up plenty of textural contrast but would be a little one-dimensional if not for the peaches, which save it from veering into completely bland territory.
Perhaps the most addictive offering on the menu is the Magic Mushrooms (RM15), which are essentially deep-fried oyster mushrooms.
Inspired by KFC’s perfectly fried chicken, Lim set about making a version of fried mushrooms so good that it would effectively do the job of luring fried chicken lovers over to the green side. And her tactic has certainly worked wonders, because these mushrooms certainly have some kind of supernatural quality!
Each piece features perfectly battered mushrooms that elicit ASMR-worthy crunch. This crispiness segues into pillowy fungi that still has a voluptuous, juicy bite. In many ways, these mushrooms are the culinary equivalent of Meryl Streep – basically a powerhouse.
Round off your fruit-astic meal with a chia seed pudding in the form of the Berry Beet (RM15), which has a chia seed pudding base interspersed with fresh strawberry, blueberry and beetroot juice. This is a soft, cloudy mixture with a pronounced bite from the spongy chia seeds. It’s also a very successful dessert in that it is as likely to appeal to those who don’t necessarily like sweet treats as it is to those who do.
Hey Peach may be new in the market, but Lim and Purwantoro are convinced that they are on to something and already have plans to open more outlets.
“We hope to open outlets in LRT stations, so people looking for healthy meals on their way to work or their homes can grab our meals,” says Lim.
Order online from Hey Peach here.