Cameleon Vegetarian Beancurd is one of the restaurant outlets of the Ahimsa group, which makes vegetarian and vegan products, mostly mock versions of various meats made from a soy or mushroom base. I am a big fan of their stuff, so was quite keen to give this place a go. It is the type of Buddhist restaurant where they don’t use onion or garlic, though, meaning we were a little wary.
The restaurant is separated into two rooms, with a lot of big tables. When we arrived, these were mostly full, and we in fact got the last table, tucked away in a corner. There was an ethnic mix you don’t always see in vegetarian restaurants here, with Indian and Chinese families out to celebrate new year, and even less common, some of the waiters were Malay.
The walls weren’t decorated with the usual Buddhist posters. Instead there were quotes from various famous people on the benefits of vegetarianism or reducing violence. These included Lincoln, Shaw, Edison and – my personal favourite- British cyclist Robert Millar. There is also a small shop inside the restaurant, selling the Ahimsa products and other vegetarian goods.
We shared a few dishes. Fried noodles had a lot of mock meat of various types, and were flavoured quite strongly with five spice. Nice, but sometimes a bit overwhelming. Ginger mock deer (!) was strongly gingery and slightly mushroom flavoured, and could have done with a bit more balance. I liked the chewy texture, though. Mock fish head curry was our favourite overall, with a coconutty sauce that was quite rich, over a mixture of vegetables, mock fish and puffed tofu balls. I also enjoyed the lime juice with sour plum (actually salty, rather than sour).
Overall we both thought the food was good but not brilliant, and perhaps each dish could have been improved with a bit of pungency; however the level of service and general setting was quite good, so I would recommend visiting if you are in the Chow Kit area of KL.
Cameleon is open every day from 10.30-22.30, is very close to PWTC LRT station and reasonably close to Chow Kit Monorail station. Its postal address is Jalan Thamboosamy, but it has an entrance on Jalan Putra, which is a major road.
Address: 1 Jalan Thamboosamy, 50350, KL