Type of Institution: Vegetarian
Address: 22 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249679
Tel: +65 6475 6869
Opening Hours: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm
I was quite excited upon finding out that Dempsey finally has a vegetarian restaurant and that Singapore has a new addition to the upmarket veg dining scene. Beets Modern Vegetarian presents itself as a chic venue for simple vegetarian and vegan dishes executed in a sophisticated fashion. Unfortunately, Beets got everything right except for their food on my visit. I alternated between being unimpressed and quite horrified (skip to the Risotto if you’re intrigued) as the different courses were served. It was also disappointing that Beets chose the worst option available for their still water – I asked for tap water in lieu of Evian.
On the upside, I liked the minimalist deco, and service was helpful and seemed genuinely friendly. The only boo boo occurred when one of the waiters stated that veganism is a “diet” – I was in a good mood and decided not to unleash my caustic tongue and enter a lecture on how veganism is an ethical philosophy encompassing all aspects of a person’s life. Also, portion sizes were generally adequate though they leaned towards the small side for the mains.
As a final note for my fellow vegans: Don’t feel deterred by the surprisingly small variety of vegan dishes marked out on the menu. Most of the vegetarian dishes are vegan-izable – just ask.
The bruschetta bread was of an ordinary quality, and the topping required more olive oil and richer tomatoes. (Complimentary)
The carpaccio of beets and Roma tomatoes was ruined by the flavorless tomatoes. Beets should consider investing in quality ingredients to get the most out of their chef’s creations. The sweet raspberry vinaigrette was pleasant but rather boring. The dish also comes with chopped hazelnuts and a petite mesclun salad. ($14)
I’m a huge fan of broccoli, so I naturally went for the side of steamed broccoli. The broccoli was very lightly – barely – steamed, so it remained rather raw. I expected broccoli that was steamed longer to bring out its natural flavour, but I quite enjoy the crunchy texture of raw broccoli as well. Orange and red cherry tomatoes and Japanese sweet yam added a sweet flavour, while the baked maggots-lookalike (wild rice puffs) added a crunchy texture. This dish was topped with a light Meyer lemon dressing and was served slightly chilled. ($15)
Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto
This was possibly the worst risotto I’ve ever had in my life. I was expecting a rich and earthy wild mushroom risotto with fresh green asparagus and truffle oil. In addition to the risotto being overcooked, the use of low-quality ingredients meant the dish was bland. Also, I am completely baffled by how tasteless the risotto was when truffle oil was stated as an ingredient – they had either forgotten it or just added a teardrop. It is possible that the chef usually relies on using cheese to mask the lack of flavour in the other ingredients, since the risotto originally came with cheese but I vegan-ized it. ($23)
A juicy portobello mushroom was stuffed with caviar aubergine and covered in a crispy breaded layer. This was served with a small portion of wilted spinach and lightly sautéed Italian red and yellow capsicums. ($23)
Note: All dessert options are vegan.
Lemon Grass & Earl Grey Sorbet
The Lemon Grass & Earl Grey Sorbet with sour citrus jelly had a good flavour but its texture was too icy. Also, Beets’ lack of attention to the quality of their ingredients again reveals itself in the unripe strawberry and blackberries, which were unpleasantly sour. ($12)
The main feature of the dish was disappointing – The tasteless pear slices were not poached well, and were difficult to slice as they were way too hard. They sat in a soy chocolate soup which had the richness of store-bought milk chocolate, which meant it was easy to finish all the soup without getting too sick of it. This was topped with crunchy almond flakes and sweet strawberry slices. ($12)
Conclusion: Beets gets everything but their food right. If it wants to earn its credibility as an upmarket option in the veg dining scene, it needs to invest in quality ingredients and to pay more attention to the execution of their dishes.