Review: Lauk Pauk In REX KL Goes Plant-Based
With plant-forward dining gaining more and more traction in Malaysia, Lauk Pauk’s new dishes couldn’t have come at a better time. Situated at The Back Ground at REX KL, the brand is revamping itself and identifying as a plant-based 'urban warung'. Meaning 'a variety of dishes', Lauk Pauk celebrates Malaysia's diversity of flavours with an assortment of colourful and creative rice and noodle bowls. Visually striking and bursting with flavour, each plate is also nutritious and well-balanced; your rice or noodles come with vegetables as well as protein in the form of tofu, tempeh and a soft-boiled egg.
Go fully vegan by requesting replacements. For instance, eggs can easily be swapped for tofu, tempeh or aubergine.
The first dish I try is the Dry Laksa Ramen (RM18), the only noodle bowl among the rice bowls. Bouncy ramen noodles are served with fried tempeh, crispy tofu puffs and an Ajitama egg, a soft-boiled egg steeped in a sweet-savoury soy marinade. Slicing the egg in half reveals a perfectly cooked core; the custardy yolk oozes out, coating the noodles. This unique rendition of a local favourite is served with a thick, savoury mushroom gravy and finished with a sprinkle of bunga kantan and a squeeze of lime.
Due to the addition of a bright pink egg, the first rice bowl that catches my eye is the Rendang Rice Bowl (RM21). I am intrigued to learn that the pink dye is naturally derived from beetroot.
Coated in a nutty, aromatic gravy, an assortment of mushrooms—shiitake, shimeji, oyster and king oyster—provide great texture and a lovely bite in the Mushroom Rendang, which can also be ordered as a small plate (RM18).
Just as visually appealing, the Nasi Lemak Rice Bowl (RM18) comes with a mix of white and brown coconut rice topped with grilled eggplant. Fork tender, the eggplant pairs perfectly with the spicy sambal sitting on top, while the tempeh, tofu and peanuts are coated in a sweet-spicy sauce.
However, the stand-out rice dish is the Masala Rice Bowl (RM21) due to the spiced basmati rice. Each spoonful is perfectly seasoned and explodes with fragrance. The refreshing cucumber raita is much welcome, while the crispy papadom strips provide great texture.
The last small plate, Nenas Panggang Pajeri (RM13), is left until the end. The grilled pineapples drizzled with with a sweet-spicy gravy are sharp and sweet, and prove a lovely finish to the meal.
Nostalgic and wholesome, Lauk Pauk's dishes are perfect for sharing: the four mains and two sides fed four perfectly.
The eatery is open for delivery this MCO from Tuesday to Sunday, 11am until 7pm.
- PhotographyKatelyn Tan