BeReal Cafe, Kepong

October 15, 2020

Fresh ingredients from responsible producers, fermented seasonings, fantastic flavours: BeReal is the real deal. Tucked on a shop-house's first floor, converted from a residential space, BeReal lives up to its promise of being a natural kitchen, a remarkable destination not only for the neighbourhood but for everyone who craves honestly sourced, imaginatively conceived and lovingly crafted food.

House-baked sourdough has become a regular sight across the Klang Valley, but BeReal goes a leap further with its own-blended condiments. The bread is respectable, made with organic unbleached, wholemeal and rye flours, raw cane sugar and kefir milk, but the spreads make it shine - umami-rich miso butter, mellow-sweet pumpkin kaya, grainy ricotta in oil with lime zest, and luscious pineapple chilli jam. At RM6.90 per serving with a choice of three condiments, this is a terrific toast board. 

Big Breakfasts are also overhauled with a wholesome flourish, served like a stew in a cast-iron skillet, sizzling with a soft kampung egg, chunky house-made bacon (of hormone-free Sanbanto pork) and fleshy-textured pork sausage (with natural hog casing), steamy in a gravy of biodynamic vegetables, including tomatoes, carrots, roast pumpkins and pea shoots, rounded out with lacto-fermented onions and garlic, rich in beneficial bacteria for a healthy gut. Big Breakfasts are too often indulgent calories of processed fare, but BeReal kicks off the day with genuinely nourishing sustenance (RM30.90).

Asian noodle recipes prove soulful and comforting here. Organic brown rice bee hoon is available as the Kerabu Mihoen (RM9.90; packed with local herbs, toasted nuts, dried shrimp, shredded omelette, and a dressing of lime and lemon) and the Siam Laksa (RM13.90; an absolute should-try, with a rustically textured kuah of mackerel fish with budu and fish stock, plus pineapple salsa and vegetables).

Also of note: BeReal seasons its dishes with its own from-scratch shio koji (made with cultured steamed rice) that's meant to marinate, salt and tenderise. The cafe's menu lists its entire roster of suppliers, ranging from certified livestock farms to sustainable vegetable growers to wild-caught fisheries, stressing its cooking is free of pesticides, antibiotics and chemicals.

Desserts and drinks are also intriguingly irresistible, especially at these prices. Nangka butter cake, infused with nangka syrup and topped with Kuala Pilah nangka (RM7.50)? Apple and cabbage cake (RM10.50)? Red yeast chocolate cookies (RM4)? Acacia honey lemon sparkling quenchers (RM9.50? Kefir water with seasonal fruits (RM7.50)? Wheatgrass latte (RM12.50)? An impressive start to a place with immense potential.

BeReal Cafe

44-1, Jalan Burung Pucung, Taman Bukit Maluri, 52100 Kuala Lumpur. Currently open Friday-Wednesday, 9am-5pm. Will open for dinner eventually.

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