The Prep Room @ Sri Hartamas

November 6, 2015

The Prep Room is ready for its close-up - this new cafe lives up to its name, showcasing the hard work of a kitchen crew that prepares everything from patties & yoghurts to soups & sauces from scratch. For a start, the Big Bear all-day brekkie (available even at 9:30pm) boasts a rustic sausage & hash brown made right here at The Prep Room - the former with minced beef or chicken marinated with basil, rosemary, coriander & paprika; the latter with shredded potatoes sprinkled with sea salt. Combined with scrambled Omega-3 eggs, a chunky potato salad, chicken ham, bread, sauteed shiitake mushrooms & baked beans, it's a heavyweight platter that two can share for RM20.50. There's a reason for the lower-than-expected prices here - The Prep Room is helmed by the founders of Penang's Coffee Elements, & they want to maintain identical prices in both cafes.

 If there's one item to order, it's the soaked-oats bircher muesli (RM12-RM13), offered in varieties like Orange Goji Berry (creamy wholesomeness, flaunting a luscious fruitiness, laced with The Prep Room's own marmalade), Jackfruit Gula Melaka, Apricot Banana or Apple Berry Walnut. The portion is enough for a meal, complemented by a white caffe mocha (RM8.50; espresso with melted white chocolate) or one of the other beverages tinged with the cafe's own-made toffee or caramel sauce.

The Prep Room's repertoire is far-reaching. Its Thai seafood spaghetti (RM18.50) is robustly flavourful but explosively spicy, inspired by The Prep Room founder Akmal Zaki's two-year working stint in Bangkok & his liking for 'pad kee mao.' The Spanish Pan (RM19.50) is a super-thick omelette packed with potatoes, onions, capsicum & cheese, meant to be consumed together with a chicken-&-tomato stew. The pulled chicken burger features tender, slow-cooked breast meat with jalapenos, onions, herbs & spices, but our favourite part of this humongous serving (a real bargain for RM17.50) is the very chunky wedges (made with both potatoes & sweet potatoes), hot & fluffy with a lightly crisp exterior. Some flavours & textures could still be tweaked to be more effective, but these recipes have clearly been created with the customer's satisfaction in mind - we like the thoughtful touches like having a free flow of bread to accompany The Prep Room's broccoli, pumpkin or wild mushroom soups (RM8-RM12; house-made, not canned). Bonus trivia: The Prep Room's main chef is 21 years old but he still looks 16.

We love The Prep Room's table menu booklets, filled with pages of illustrations that are charming & whimsical, overflowing with character & heart. The menu also tells the deeply personal story of how Akmal started both Coffee Elements & The Prep Room - this place is quite the labour of love, & it has the potential to become a genuine stand-out in this neighbourhood.

The Prep Room
Jalan Sri Hartamas 7, Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. Mon-Fri: 1130am-10 pm; Sat-Sun: 930am-10pm

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