Sustainable Eating: Roost

When we eat in restaurants, we rarely think about where the food is from, and how the ingredients are processed to get the delicious meal sitting in front of us. Roost is driven by their motto “From Farm to Fork”, where they consciously source their organic materials from local suppliers. Through avoiding unnecessary imports, Roost recreates European food while using Malaysian ingredients.

Albert Frantzen, one of the founders of Roost, details how he gets his materials. “We carefully source from different suppliers. For example, our seafood, we get from a Chinese small family who have three boats. The dad is handling the boats, and the son is doing the delivery. So basically, he only delivers straight to people and restaurants, so they don’t put the fish on the market first.”

In doing so, Roost is able to collaborate with locals by omitting the ‘middle man’ from the process, and serve the freshest food possible.

Roost has a very welcoming and warm vibe, which is fitting, as it’s namesake is a place where birds regularly settle or congregate to rest at night. While the decor is very minimalist, the influence of Nordic styles and the open space made me feel right at home. With charging stations, a corner with couches, and a view overlooking a street filled with twinkling lights, the atmosphere was not stuffy at all.

Duck breast

Although the ingredients are locally sourced, the menu is filled with European dishes. First came the appetizer, the ‘Apple Wood Smoked Duck Breast’. It was beautifully presented, and the taste was even better. The juicy duck breast was cut precisely – not too thick that it’s a chore to chew, and not too thin that there is no taste. The pomegranates and lettuce added a crunch, while the onion purée added a hint of sweetness to the dish. My meal was already off to a great start. Soon came the second appetizer, ‘Asian Shellfish Bisque’, which had a very vibrant orange color and a rich aroma. It tasted similar to tom yam, but with a slightly stronger taste of tomato. It was very light and the seafood was so soft, and not rubbery at all. Just as I finished the bisque, my ‘Tamarind Lamb Ragout’ came. Upon the first bite, I was taken aback by it’s salty flavor – the previous dishes had been very light, and so the strong taste was a surprise to me. Nevertheless, I was not disappointed by this dish. The lamb was so delicate that it seemed to be melting in my mouth, and the lentils weren’t too soft. The portion of the ragout was very large and filling. The appetizers were smaller in comparison, but still satisfying nonetheless.

Pannacotta

Then came the highlight of my entire meal… the dessert. The ‘Fresh Jersey Milk Panna Cotta’ came first. The sweet panna cotta was flavored with coconut and complemented with passion fruit, pistachios, cocoa powder, and strawberries. The different textures and flavours made the dessert very memorable, and the panna cotta was so fresh and bouncy. Afterwards, the ‘Dark Chocolate Fondant’ arrived. Along with it came vanilla ice cream and calamansi coulis, a very bitter citrus sauce. The sauce was a sharp difference to the mellow ice cream and chocolate fondant. The chocolate fondant was very rich but light, and had a gooey center. The desserts, much like the appetizers, were very gentle, which contrasts Malaysia’s astringent cuisine.

The price of dishes in Roost ranged from RM20-40, which is quite comfortable, considering the restaurant’s dedication to delivering food from farm to fork. The concept is admirable – in a world that is driven by large corporations, it is easy to disregard quality for an attractive price. It is important to be sustainable and support local suppliers rather than these big companies, and maintain the quality of the food we eat. So if you ever find yourself in the Bangsar area, head over to Roost, just across from Bangsar village, open every day except for Mondays.