Seeking to spearhead a 'real food' revolution, Ashley's bloomed in Bangsar on Easter weekend, the first spin-off of Menara Tan & Tan's Living Food Bistro, with two more outposts possible at KLCC (or rather, the Petronas Twin Towers) & Mont Kiara this year.
Living Food's Telawi chapter has style to spare; it looks terrific, a beautiful balance of easygoing & elegant.
The restaurant's name is a nod to its chef; paper placemats proclaim the prodigious powers of Ashley, while other members of the Yiin clan, including health consultant patriarch Philip & his daughter Phoebe, comprise the other crucial components of this family-run eatery's engine.
Ashley's cuisine is tricky to categorise _ not exactly health food, but more of fare that's constructed with meaningful, mindfully sourced ingredients with true ties to farms, the land & the sea. Nourishment to restore both body & spirit, underscored by recipes like raw strawberry gazpacho with cucumber, tomato, herbs & chia, topped with strawberry confit (RM16 before taxes).
Wild-caught prawn ceviche in a zesty marinade with hot chili oil (RM22). The menu here is a natural progression from the more casual cooking at Living Food Bistro; there's overlap in both outlets, but Ashley's is like eating at Living Food during dinnertime, when slightly more ambitious arrangements are sometimes showcased.
Flavour isn't sacrificed at Ashley's: The braised quail stew with currants & a tarragon-infused red wine sauce (RM38) would fit in easily at even a finicky French establishment. Note: This is a dinner-only dish.
Crossing borders & leaping over boundaries, the menu also features Hakka 'lei cha' made mainly with quinoa for a better bite, served with hot genmai-cha tea, accompanied by tofu parcels with a tamari soy sauce reduction (RM38).
Quinoa resurfaces in the patty for this burger, combined with beets & sweet potato for warm hues in a high-protein red yeast bun (RM24). Three times the price of a Big Mac, but more than multiple times more salubrious.
But perhaps we'd skip these final two in future: The vegan-friendly nasi kerabu with Bario rice & palm heart rendang (RM35) was a little less satisfying than full-blown traditional versions ...
... while the Wagyu ribs were a tad too tough or stringy in parts & somewhat fatty in others, served however with an interesting buttery-textured pumpkin spinach mash (RM78). Plus point: Beef served at Ashley's is all grass-fed.
The selection will expand in the weeks ahead; expect an organic dim sum set & saffron-spiced quinoa 'paella' with shrimp, scallops & pearl snapper.
Organic red & white wines, RM24 by the glass (Monastrell, Familia Castano; Corazon Loco Iniesta; Cuattro Rayas).
Mountain Goat organic craft beer (RM27), alongside a decent cup of coffee.
All in all, a welcome addition to Bangsar, worth visiting for a leisurely lunch or peaceful dinner when you're looking for thoughtfully imaginative cooking.
Ashley's By Living Food
11, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur
Mon-Fri, 11am-11pm; Sat-Sun, 8am-11:45pm. Tel: 03-2202-2778
2017 Update: Ashley's is now one of 12 restaurants in Bangsar participating in the ‘Dine, Earn & Redeem with your mobile number’ initiative by AirAsia BIG, AirAsia’s loyalty programme. Earn and/or redeem your AirAsia BIG Points here! For more details, see: https://goo.gl/EVsBGH