Friday, November 29, 2013

Vegetarian Friendly Places

I've been trying to increase my fruit and vegetable intake after going for a lecture by one of the KTPH dietitians. She asked how many of us ate our 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and the whole auditorium was filled with guilty mumblings.

I can't remember her name, but I loved it when she said that the blue colour Gardenia bread (the high fibre white bread) has the same amount of fibre as the green colour (wholemeal) one (seriously it's so white and soft I've always been a skeptic). How can this soft white bread have the same amount of fibre as the brown wholesome wholemeal bread? The answer is that it's because it's soluble fibre. Which has the additional benefits of delaying gastric emptying, slowing glucose absorption from the small intestines and decreasing LDL cholesterol (aka the bad cholesterol) - and mind you, all these benefits is on top of the benefits of fibre (soluble and insoluble in general).

This post will review some of the vegetarian cafes/health(ier) cafes that I've tried over the year (which is not many, so it's combined into one post). I quite like the taste of vegetarian food and find it really interesting how the dishes are cooked with just vegetables. However, one thing I cannot accept for vegeterain food is all the mock meats - I really dislike them alot. Perhaps it's cos I'm not vegetarian so I can always eat the real thing anytime.

Real Food (Square 2, The Central - Eu Tong Seng Street, Killiney Road, West Coast Plaza)
10 Sinaran Drive Square 2
Singarpoe 307506 Tel 63972289
 The Real Food dumplings are really impressive - it's encased in a silky smooth wanton skin, with lots of chopped veggies to give it a chewy texture. From studying the chopped bits of veggies, I can see mushrooms, carrots and tofu, and according to their website, chestnuts, french beans etc etc and each are hand made so they have limited stocks daily.
I really liked the dumpling soup, and decided to try the dumpling noodles  ($8.80) for lunch one day. I didn't particularly like the noodles and the sauce (tasted very vegetarian and a bit mushroom-ey) but the dumplings, the crisp vegetables and the lone cherry tomato were pretty good.

I think I'll get a dumpling soup and their salad the next time I'm there. Or maybe the banana strawberry pancakes. Apparently their beetroot burger is really good, and so is their signature salad.

Btw, if you takeaway, and you're intending to take away a large portion, please remember to bring a bag. Or some form of carrier. Cos they only give you the boxed food and no carrier as they are very environmentally friendly.

I'm not a fan of their cold pressed juices - and I think that $6-8 is way too much to pay for fruit juice. I usually get my daily fix of ABC juice from the juice store right outside Real food in Square 2 for $2.80.

Service is quite slow, as they make everything fresh, so it might not be the best place to grab your food from if you're in a rush. It's much better to have a slow, sit down meal here. (The place is really nice, wooden tables and chairs, and has a really relaxing vibe).

The Living Cafe (near Sixth Avenue)
779 Bukit Timah Road, Singaproe 269758 
Tel 67628039

Sadly, none of my friends shared the same enthusiasm as me for the Living Cafe's menu. Even my only friend who sort of likes to eat healthily cannot accept the food there. Perhaps we were a bit too hard core and ate the mushroom with 'cheese' and 'taco meat' (which I didn't really mind but my friend did).  Another thing I couldn't accept was the raw foods. The raw soup is really an acquired taste - obviously I don't have the palate for it. It tastes like cold savoury vegetable juice.

They used to have these really awesome salmon sashimi rice rolls with mango, capers and veggies rolled into a smooth rice paper wrap, served with balsamic vinegar and a side salad. If it was cheaper, I'd buy it alot more often. However, they have revamped the menu and this dish has been taken off.

I'm enamoured by the Revive Smoothie, which has golgi berries, dates, banana, coconut, flax seed and bee pollen. I could do without the last 2. It's very tasty, with the sweetness coming from the dates and a subtle banana taste (which makes it creamy too).

We didn't quite like the raw desserts - we tried the raspberry cheesecake which has a mousse like texture and the layers kept sliding off each other.

Novena Square, Various Outlets
I'm extremely happy that I found that one of my friends has the same sentiments as me over an impromptu breakfast at Cedele.
They do a pretty good beetroot burger ($8.50) - I think would be better if they didn't put so many chickpeas in it (I'm not partial to chickpeas). The beetroot patty has a nice intense shade of purple and it looks vaguely like a medium-rare steak. I also like the avocado that comes with it. I think it tastes best with pumpkin bread (cos the bread is round and is about the same size as the beetroot patty). In fact, I like it so much and ate it for my birthday lunch (thankfully - I would have been depressed otherwise).

Cedele also does a really good salad - they have a salad bar where you choose
1. Either romaine lettuce or spinach (+$1)
2. 2 protein - choice of sausage, grilled chicken breast, fritatta, smoked salmon, egg, various forms of pasta etc etc
3. 4 toppings including edamame, beetroot, chickpeas, quinoa, wasabi sprouts etc etc
And top it off with a dressing of your choice. I've only tried the Caesar salad dressing and honey mustard. Go for the honey mustard - it's very chunky and sweet.
They also have combo meals with the salad - $11.50 will get you a salad + hot drink, $12.50 gets you a salad + soup.

I had mine with romaine lettuce, chicken breast and pasta, corn, edamame, beetroot and wasabi sprouts. I really like the wasabi sprouts - it has a mild spicy wasabi smell and taste.

I'd suggest that you don't take the pasta cos Cedele provides free flow bread. I completely forgot about the breads and was dying for some carbs at that time. Their clam chowder is awesome.

Too bad that their service at the Square 2 branch is so excruciatingly slow during lunch time, so I'll usually give this place a miss if I'm pressed for time.

Sunny Choice (The Rail Mall)
434 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Singaproe 678060
Tel 68922383
 I have been a mountain tortoise and even though I live really nearby, and had some vague knowledge that there was a vegetarian restaurant there, I have never ventured in until a few weeks ago (after reading some positive reviews of it online). I've been kicking myself every since, cos the food there is so fresh and good - I should really have gone there sooner!
I'll do a full post on this at a later date (need to trawl out photos from my camera card) but their vege sushi rolls are really good! There's no rice inside, so you won't go into carb coma and yet it's really refreshing. Definitely don't feel like you're missing the rice.
Their noodle salad is also delicious - vibrant mixture of vegetables, nuts, with chewy noodles and crispy rice crackers. 

They also have these really addictive pumpkin cassava chips, which really tastes of pumpkin and have the texture of keropok. I really doubt that these are healthy, but I really like pumpkin so this is currently one of my favourite snacks. It's $3.80 per packet (if I'm not wrong). 

Ok - that's the end to my post. I am still going around happily eating and trying out new food places. I definitely won't be able to give up my foie gras, wanton mee and charsiewpau or bak kwa.
Some more which I'm dying to try - Pidgin (look at their kaya bread and butter pudding! and bak kua macaroni and cheese. I'm a massive fan of bak kua and mac & cheese)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sushi Mitsuya Lunch

Sushi Mitsuya is now my to-go place whenever I have the luxury of having lunch out (which is fortunately or unfortunately, not a very common occasion). I think the sushi lunch set is awesome - for $70 nett, you'll get 8 pieces of sushi, prepared right in front of you. That's in addition to 2 appetizers, a soup and a dessert. I have yet to try dinner, but after my experience at Sushi Ichi, I have decided that my tastebuds are suited to sushi meals not >$100, and I can't seem to appreciate the sushi enough to justify the cost.

I've been here for about 4 times for lunch, and it has been consistently good. The season has just changed, so here's what I had for lunch about 2 weeks back. Out of the 8 pieces of sushi, one is usually a lean tuna (can't expect otoro with that kind of lunch price), usually a 4-6 piece maki at the end. I usually get to try about 2 new and 'interesting' fishes per lunch, and the other 4 will usually be a 'mainstream' fish.

I don't eat raw prawn, so I always let the sushi chef know of my dietary restriction. (Along with not having any yuzu brushings on my sushi, or any other forms of citrus fruits).
 Starter was baby sardines with grated daikon
 Prawn and carrot salad with pumpkin sauce
Ika (Squid)
I used to dislike raw squid cos it always tastes rubbery and hard and too chewy. However, eating a good quality squid can make all the difference. It is very smooth, firm and not too chewy. I liked how they cut all the ridges on the squid too. Makes it look like a pine cone.
This was a pinfish (not sure if I got it correct) with some salt on top. It's a non-oily fish
One of my favourite sushis of the day - kawahagi, which is also known as a 'filefish'.
It is served with its own liver (the creamy thing) on top. I've never tried this fish before, and boy, was it delicious. The liver was light and creamy - imagine something like foie gras, but a lite version of that. Which made the blander tasting flesh more interesting.
Go to this link if you're interested to see what the kawahagi looks like.
Katsuo (bonito). It was so red and meaty I thought it was a akami (lean tuna) - but do note the grated ginger and sliced spring onion on the side. This version wasn't seared, and was very meaty and delicious.
Hamachi (yellow tail) sushi. It was a very thick and fatty slice of hamachi, probably one of the best I've eaten. Can't compare to those from the average sushi chain.
Akami (lean tuna)
Ikura sushi (salmon roe)
Extremely fresh, and each salty bubble of roe will pop in your mouth. Whenever I eat this sushi I think of the starting scenes from Finding Nemo.
Anago (sea eel) Osaka Boxed-style
This was the first time I've seen this style of sushi. Pretty interesting, especially since the rice isn't your usual plain sushi rice.
Soup - clear soup with tofu fishcake.
Katsuo (bonito) maki
I thought this was negitoro maki when I saw it but atlas, it wasn't! Then again, I like how the meaty bonito reminds me of tuna.
Autumn fruits - sweet and crunchy perssimon and melon sherbert.

This is the barachirashi, for those people who can't have the luxury of having a piece-by-piece sushi lunch. I would still highly recommend the sushi set. For $70 it's really a steal.

Btw, I always thought that Harada-san spoke with a queer accent (not the typical Japanese accent) but I've finally figured out why! He sounds exactly like a Hong Konger when he speaks English.

Disclaimer here: I have yet to try Shinji, which, according to all the other online reviews, is Singapore's best sushi restaurant. I shall aim to try it one day...

Sushi Mitsuya
60 Tras Street
#01-10 Singapore 078999
Tel 64382608
*Do call for reservations as seating is limited.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dury Lane

 Do you know the muffin man?
 We didn't try any muffins (I was too stuffed but they have interesting flavours like Milo and Matcha! and it's pay as you wish - most people give $2). But we did try the salted caramel and chocolate tart. Looks unassuming but it tastes much better than it looks ($4). And yes, we did eat the dishes in this order :p
The Salmon baked eggs ($12) came with spinach, home made baked beans and cheese, and a toasted piece of bread. The baked beans were firm, not like the soggy canned ones, and not so sugary sweet either. We added a side of avocado for $2. Makes you wonder why you're paying nearly $20 elsewhere for smoked salmon.
 The Chicken Avocado sandwich ($8) with yogurt mint sauce looked very unassuming, but it was my favourite dish of the day. Crusty ciabatta bread stuffed with chunks of juicy chicken (tastes vaguely like tandoori), with creamy avocado and crunchy greens.
 The Big 94 ($14) - equivalent of the biggest breakfast on brunch menus - comes with eggs, sausage, mushrooms, honey cured bacon, baked beans and toast. Note that the sausage is made of beef. I liked the tomato relish at the side. And the bacon was pretty interesting cos it was crispy and sweet. Eggs were nicely poached (seems like it's a rarity at most cafes these days).
The Cloud 9 ($10) was 2 pieces of fluffy pancakes, berry compote and poached pear. The pancakes are the thicker kind, but not too cakey so I quite liked them. Comes with honey too.

The reviews online are very very mixed - and I actually took the risk of organizing brunch here cos the prices were really attractive, plus they took reservations. I'm glad to say that the risk was worth taking, and I'd be back for more.

I really like this little cafe cos the food is cheap, taste wise it's average or slightly above average, service is warm and friendly and the whole cafe feels really cosy and down to earth.

I personally feel that brunch food can only reach a certain standard, and I feel very reluctant to part with my money especially when the mains are >$20, bordering on just below $30 or about $30 after you add in the taxes and service charge. It's not a cut of meat you're paying for.  Oh well, some of you might disagree with me, but that's my current stance for brunch food. I'll rather spend my money on a good sushi lunch.

Dury Lane
94 Tanjong Pagar Road
S 088515
Tel 62226698

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Pardon for the lack of updates - the last 2 weeks were ________ .  Finally had the time for a breather today.

So we decided to do brunch on Saturday when everyone was free - a sure sign that age is catching up with you is when you can meet your friends at 10am on a Saturday morning, even when you're not working. When I was still studying, I used to not wake up before 1230 on a Saturday and will luxuriate in my bed the whole morning.
Anyway, this Symmetry is annoyingly hard to find. I trudged up and down two cemetries before I finally realized that Jalan Kubor was sliced into two by Victoria Street! And it's on the side which has more civillization... But it was a blessing in disguise as the carpark on that part was free;)

 Hot chocolate with roasted mini marshmellows
 Happy cookie is going to be eaten
 Prawn Popcorn ($14), which were like prawn balls (with the flour and seasonings), similar texture to chicken karaage. I was hoping that the prawn would be either whole or more chunky.
 The Big Breakfast ($24)
Chicken cheese sausage with a snappy casing, lots of mushrooms, maple glaze bacon, creamy scrambled eggs, roasted tomato and brioche. Comes with their special berry butter (on the top right hand corner). It's pretty filling, so I'd recommend sharing this if you want to try their desserts.
 Sausage Ragout ($23)
Ok I can't remember the name of this dish but after poking around google images, I think it's the sausage ragout. It's lots of chopped sausage with a tomato based sauce and 2 poached eggs on top.

 Brioche Pan Perdu ($15++)
Fancy french toast - the brioche was nice and butter, with generous lashings of maple syrup, topped with poached fruit. Of course, the ice cream topping it off can't hurt either.

We had the Yakult mixer - who doesn't enjoy Yakult? I really like the taste, and here, it's jazzed up with a bit of alcohol and lime shavings (not my fave but I just left them at the side) and as an apertif after a filling brunch. I suppose that you'll be ingesting some good bacteria while you're at it (not sure if the alcohol denatures the bacteria though).

Symmetry is immensely popular - lots of people participating in Singapore's un-official sport of queueing - what's more they had to stand outside in the heat :X

Foodwise - well, it's good, but maybe not good enough to drag myself out of bed at 9am again, or to pay the same amount of money for it. I think some other brunch places do a pretty reasonable breakfast for much less. Plus it isn't fantastically near my house, and I've been feeling lazy to travel to far off places these days.

Symmetry Cafe
9 Jalan Kubor
Tel 62919901

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Another outdated post, but it's too good to not blog about. 

Savour has been opened for quite a while now and I never had the chance to try their outlet at Purvis street - cos it's very far away and I refuse to trudge all the way there and stand in a queue. I saw one of the local food shows featuring it - and their mission is to provide affordable good French food in Singapore. 

So when we were rejected by the Sushi bar (booked full, so full that they refused to take takeaway orders), we went to Savour, where they had a more reasonable queue (about 15 min). 
The mushroom cappuchino ($4.90) came with lots of froth. The portion is probably 2/3 a normal soup portion but I'm not complaining. Taste wise, it's pretty good not like the watered down thin kind.  
Garden salad ($4.90) - personally, I won't order this cos it sounds boring. There's some quail eggs, hazelnuts, olives, tomatoes and cheese on top so it's pretty worth the price, I suppose. But if you need to reach your daily quota of 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables, go ahead.
Saveur's Pasta ($4.90) - signature pasta with chilli oil, konbu, sakura ebi and minced pork sauce.
My holy grail for similar dry pasta dishes has to be Gunther's truffle konbu angelhair pasta with caviar. Absolutely to die for. But I haven't tried it for a really long time! And the other one is Iggy's sakura ebi cappellini.
This one is pretty good, but I felt that the Konbu could be a bit stronger. Otherwise, for $4.90, I'm not complaining.
 I cannot not order this Foie Gras ($9.90) - for me, pan seared foie gras is one of my all time favourite French foods. Iit's pan seared withe apple-infused port wine and vanilla bean, served with crunchy apples. It's a small portion but worth the $9.90. And it's well done with a crispy exterior and wobbly smooth innards.
 Duck leg confit ($10.90) wtih mashed potato, sauteed shitake mushroom. Not bad, with the crispy duck skin and soft meat which falls away from the bone. But I was more impressed by the fish.
Pan seared sea bass, diced saute potato with crabmeat, French beans and caper vinaigrette ($14.90)
I was particularly impressed by the fish - the skin was crispy and lightly salted, and the flesh was flakey, moist and fresh.

They also have beef short ribs ($14.90), pork belly ($10.90) as other affordable alternatives.
They do have 'premium' items such as beef tenderloin ($24.90) and cod ($24.90) which we didn't try - cheapskate in me wants to get a bigger bang for my buck.

Service is good - enthusiastic young crew but then there were a few hiccups along the way. They forgot about our orders for quite a while - but gave us a complimentary bread bowl while we waited for the food. Saveur also serves complimentary water - for a restaurant with such value for money prices, I'm impressed that they offer water too.

My two cents worth - go for the cheaper dishes - I think with such value for money dishes, there's no use going to eat a fancy steak or expensive fish. I also like their motto - quality yet affordable French food for the masses.

14 Scotts Road
Far east Plaza #01-07B Singapore 228213

Monday, November 11, 2013


This is a way outdated post - just dug it up from the recesses of my blog - and since I've already watermarked the photos, I shall just blog about it. (Not sure if they've increased the prices, but these are the prices I found online)
The Salad de Paris ($9.80++) cranberry, tomato, black olives, avocado, pine nuts in a light French dressing was not bad - well dressed, light and refreshing.
Granny's Chicken Salad ($9.80++), which isn't really a salad (in local terms) considering that it has only 4 leaves and 4 tomato halves. The shredded chicken was combined with crunchy granny smith apples, capers and mayonnaise. Taste wise it's not bad (because of the sweetness from the raisins and apples) but I doubt this whole thing has even 1 serving of vegetables.
Iberico Pork Belly ($15.80++) was not bad - very tender and soft, served with leek confit and mustard.

The Braised Duck Leg ($15.80++) - braised in a rich red wine sauce (very tasty) with cranberries and glazed onions.
Their classic poulet chicken ($15.80)  - was very underwhelming. In fact, it reminds me vaguely of the western lunch I get at work. Slightly more moist and tender, but I won't be trying it again (the other mains are much better). The creamy mushroom chardonnay sauce is a bit jelak by the end of the meal. The chicken is brined for half a day and then slow roasted to get it's caramel brown colour. Very average only. For the same price, please try the other dishes instead.
I really liked the banana bread pudding (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). If you don't like moist mushy desserts, this is definitely not for you - it's very moist, lots of soggy bananas and rather sweet. Ice cream was ok-ish, not like the awesome vanilla bean kind (like Marmalade Pantry's).

Price wise, it's quite affordable - mains are about $20 after taxes/service charge and they're pretty substantial and filling. It's getting rarer and rarer to find affordable food - the going rate for a simple dish of eggs benedict at most popular cafes is now around $20, so considering that these dishes are made from solid meat, it's a pretty good deal.

However, they do not serve water, so you'll have to buy bottled water. Thumbs down for that.

I suppose that this is a much better alternative to Nandos (which I really dont' like) if you're hankering for some chicken (though it's not Halal certified), and  price wise its comparable to Nandos. I won't mind getting the banana bread pudding again.

I tried Poulet at the Great World City outlet, but it's taking over Singapore with lots and lots of outlets.

Poulet outlets are at:
Chinatown Point
Bedok Mall
Jurong Point
Raffles City
West Gate