May 29, 2023

Find creative plant

The LaGula Whopper and See-Food Platter (All photos: Emily Yap/ The Edge Malaysia)

The number of vegan eateries in town has grown these past few years, proving that the demand for plant-based meals is increasing. The latest addition to the scene is LaGula, the brekkie outpost of 2020 breakout star The Hungry Tapir, whose iconic pink walls and tropical decals have no doubt popped up on every foodie’s Instagram feed.

LaGula is stationed a stone’s throw from its mothership in Chinatown, occupying the lofty ground floor of Four Points by Sheraton. Glass doors open to a similar all-pink interior, furnished with rattan fittings and potted plants, which elicit a cheerful mood and a relaxed vibe. The venue is much more spacious than that of its forerunner, with long tables on the second floor for bigger groups and intimate nooks on the tiered seating for a quiet conversation or photo-op.

Here, patrons are presented with copious options, made up of mostly breakfast and brunch items. Friendly attendants were happy to offer suggestions and the See-Food Platter (RM22) turned out to be a good one. In place of your usual calamari, LaGula deep fries konjac strips battered in spiced breadcrumbs. To be completely honest, the texture does not fully mimic the real thing, but it was darn close and a commendable effort. The sharing platter was served alongside a housemade tartare sauce that was unfortunately lacklustre. So, call for the barbecue dip, which was much more sapid.

Hungry eaters can opt for the LaGula Whopper (RM36), the restaurant’s take on the classic hamburger. The portion was huge, with a thick coconut and chickpea patty topped with vegan cheddar cheese, carrot bacon (delicious!), avocado slices and jalapenos. The towering assemblage was accompanied by shoestring sweet potato fries with vegan mayo and the aforementioned barbecue dip. The only gripe was the untoasted bun and a strange limp crepe — made of rice flour and coconut milk, as we were informed — sandwiched between toppings that were discordant with the overall flavours.

That said, it is nice to see a vegan establishment injecting creativity into its offerings, boldly playing with textures and tastes. If you want to turn your brunch into a boozy one, LaGula’s cocktails are worth a shot. The Peach Collins (RM36), a potent mix of vodka, orange, peach, lemon and mint, was refreshing on a hot day. Since it was late afternoon, however, the best-selling vegan pastries — croissants, pain au chocolat, you name it — were unfortunately sold out. Second time’s the charm, eh?

LaGula By The Hungry Tapir, G-02, Ground Floor, Four Points Hotel by Sheraton, 2 Jalan Balai Polis, KL. Daily, 11am to 10pm. Call 011 6096 7726 for reservations.

This article first appeared on July 17, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.