One of Pavilion’s most interesting new restaurants this year, this is the first Malaysian offshoot of the Element Fresh brand that first started as a Shanghai gym-based cafe in 2002 and has since multiplied in Beijing, Guangzhou and other cities with over 40 restaurants. True to its name, Element Fresh tackles wholesome, reviving nourishment, with border-leaping inspirations that span Morocco to Mexico, Rome to Ho Chi Minh City.
Fruits play a pivotal role in many of Element Fresh’s most distinctive recipes.
You’ll sense a subtle tropical tinge of coconut in the batter for the oysters, juicy and punchy, not as greasy-tasting as many deep-fried dishes, drizzled with a sweet-and-soothing mango sauce and dished out with a thick-and-tangy caper tartar sauce (RM32, a fair price for a substantial serving of fresh oysters).
The tang of oranges is more pronounced in the Cointreau liquor-laced fish broth for the sauteed black mussels – this could be an acquired taste, since mussels with oranges might not be the most conventional preparation, but the fleshy mussels remain entirely enjoyable in their own right, their gentle brininess contrasting clearly with the broth’s sweet citrus dynamics (RM30).
Naturally, salads are a solid choice here. Grilled apples lay the foundation for marinated chicken that channels the flavours of Marrakesh with a warmingly earthy ras el hanout spice blend, rounded out with bulgur wheat, plus plenty of red peppers, turmeric carrot, mint, almond and various veggies in yogurt dressing (RM36; a hearty meal on its own, no side salad for sure).
Lots of other temptations to try on the menu, from quesadillas made with whole-wheat tortillas to Vietnamese steamed shrimp spring rolls with papaya sauce to penne with yellow squash and zucchini.
Can cocktails be a guilt-free indulgence? Beefeater is the base for two beverages here that taste as uplifting as the food, the Amaroni (RM42; with Benedictine herbal liqueur, Jagermeister digestif and orange peel) and Garden Gin and Tonic (RM36; with pink grapefruit, rose liqueurs, tonic, strawberry and rosemary).
Both the setting and service at Element Fresh KL sparkle, with several very cheerfully enthusiastic members of the crew.
Element Fresh Malaysia
Lot C3.03, Level 3, Pavilion KL, 55100 Kuala Lumpur.