From plant to plate

Fancy a wild weed salad or a meal created with edible flowers?  

Rowan & Parsley is situated in a light industrial estate
The simple pleasure of eating homegrown ingredients flavoured by exotic herbs is the inspiration for owner, Sam Soon, a self-confessed kampung boy, when he opened Rowan & Parsley food atelier.

Step through the gates into a sanctuary of natural greenery where matured trees are carefully maintained in a landscaped garden.  A paved pathway borders one side of the building walled by glass panels that welcomes natural light into the dining hall.

Edible plants and herbs are planted on the ground along the peripheral fence and in the rear, a large trough is planted with a variety of herbs.  A wall of shelves is filled with potted herbs that I later learnt, are supplied by Soon’s parents who grows and delivers them regularly on their visits from Pekan in Pahang.

Pretty Platings

A paved garden path borders the building,
designed with walls of glass panels
Since Rowan & Parsley opened in late February, they have successfully hosted several private events with menus tailored to the customers’ requirements and received overwhelming response for their Mother’s Day celebration meals.  Regulars who have discovered their weekday set lunches priced at only RM28 nett, have been back repeatedly to try the main choices of fish, poultry and pasta.

The 3-item set lunch starts with a house-blend recipe of lemon-ginger infused drink that’s both refreshing and delicious.  Served in a stout tumbler topped with ice cubes, I try to make it last but the drink is so tasty that I finish it quickly.  I ask for a refill and the staff politely said that it will take a while and explained that the second serving may not taste the same because they are just making the next batch and for the best results, it should be infused for a few days.

Refreshing tumblers of lemon-ginger infused drinks

Starter choices that day was pumpkin soup or fish tartare salad and when they are served, I can’t help being impressed by the artistry in the plating for the fish tartare salad.  The main course of black pepper chicken turned out to be chicken roulade drizzled in black pepper sauce, decorated by a single daun pegaga or Pennywort leaf.  The use of Pennywort leaves alongside Romaine lettuce and purple cabbage in the salad dish, hints of how Rowan & Parsley is giving city slickers a fresh experience here.  And did I say how juicy and tender the chicken tastes?

Dining Concept

A serving of chicken roulade drizzled in black pepper sauce
Soon, a photography enthusiast, who used to work in the oil & gas industry in Pasir Gudang, picked a spot in nearby Kota Putri Industrial Area and created a lifestyle restaurant/cafe from an ordinary light-industry warehouse.  Designed with a wrought iron archway, Rowan & Parsley is easy to spot among the industrial lots and promises to give guests an extraordinary dining experience.

One of the most attractive features of the building must be the floor to ceiling glass wall that keeps guests in air-conditioned comfort indoors while they enjoy views of the natural greenery outside.  The building is designed with indoor and outdoor dining spaces as well as a mezzanine level where guests may choose to host private parties.  By night, subtle lighting turns Rowan & Parsley into an intimate setting for romantic meals and special events.

I spied Chef Shawn harvesting herbs in the garden!
“We want to serve fusion food using local ingredients,” said Soon who worked closely with Chef Shawn Shum to create a menu of interesting dishes with refined international flavours to give diners a meaningful connection with their food.  Soon, who grew up eating ingredients grown in their home garden, aims to introduce the concept of from plant to plate – serving own-grown or fresh local produce – in healthy, tasty meals.

As I listen to the passion in Soon’s voice, I try to hide my smile because from the corner of my eye, I spy Chef Shawn through the glass wall as he harvests herbs from the trough to use in his kitchen!

Rowan & Parsley food atelier [Non-Halal Menu]
17, Jalan Cenderai 20, Kawasan Perindustrian Kota Putri, 81750 Masai, Johor
Tel: 607 – 382 1760

Freshly baked Rosemary herb bread with a side of herb butter
Open daily 11.30am to 11.30pm; Set lunches from 11.30am to 2.30pm on weekdays.
Closed on Monday.

By road from Johor Baru city on the Pasir Gudang Highway; Exit to Jalan Kota in Kota Putri Industrial Estate.  Jalan Cenderai 20 is on your left, parallel with Jalan Kota.

Fusion food that uses local ingredients, many homegrown and served from plant to plate

Mushroom Soup and Wagyu Tenderloin with veal sauce

Sam Soon [Left] with Chef Shawn Shum
in the garden at Rowan & Parsley
No corkage charge but service charge and GST apply

Vintage lifestyle restaurant/café

Smoking area
Credit card facilities

Industrial size concrete sink and spacious toilets

Attentive service and English-speaking staff

Go give it a try

A version of this was published in The New Straits Times, Life & Times on 29 July 2015

1 comment:

  1. Hi Peggy, I enjoyed reading your this interesting posting. Learned a lot too.
    And the food dishes look delicious.
    You have a nice day.