Café 308

Type of Institution: Non-Vegetarian

Address: 308 Tanglin Road, Phoenix Park
Tel: +65 6443 0560

Overall: 7.5/10

Cafe 308 is a hidden find – it is part of Verita Advanced Wellness, which is the largest integrated health and wellness centre in Singapore situated within a colonial building in Phoenix Park. It is quite a casual setting, much more of a lunch rather than a dinner place. When my friends and I went for dinner on a Friday night, there were only three other tables that were occupied the whole night. It would be a good idea to couple a visit to the Cafe with one of Verita’s therapies (here).

In line with Verita’s mission to promote holistic wellness, Cafe 308 aims to serve nutritious, natural foods with an emphasis on healthier cooking methods and organic and wholesome ingredients with no artificial additives, colourings, flavourings, preservatives and trans fat. A significant portion of its menu comprised of vegetarian food, though it did not have that many vegan options. Prices were reasonable and portions were quite generous. I was a bit disappointed that the Cafe only offered one-meal salads and smoothies as raw options, because the menu stated that raw cuisine was one of the Cafe’s main dietary focuses (the other two being Superfoods and Low Carb). The vegetarian items were clearly marked out, though more detailed labelling was not available. For my fellow vegans: Please avoid the panini, it is made with egg.

Cafe 308 has different menus for All Day Dining and Sunday Brunch; I only sampled two items on the All Day Dining menu. Also, the Cafe purportedly houses Singapore’s first “Superfoods Smoothie & Juice” bar, though I didn’t any of those juices or smoothies.

On a side note, I found an uncanny resemblance between Cafe 308 and Onaka @ Rochester Park (as reviewed here) – both are hidden from the hustle and bustle of city life, both have an emphasis on serving nutritious and wholesome food using all-natural and organic ingredients, and both menus specifically state that more than 50% of the menu is comprised of vegetarian food. Interesting… So if you like one, you’ll probably like the other. Though I am partial to Onaka – the food is more creative and there are more vegan options there.

Quinoa Salad

Cafe 308

Fresh and crunchy baby romaine and walnuts, with roasted pumpkin, sweet dehydrated grapes, and cucumber sitting atop a bed of organic quinoa. I absolutely love quinoa (I would say it is my second favourite grain after freekeh – click here to find out more if you’re still missing out on the amazingly healthy, high-fiber, high-protein, and smoky Middle Eastern grain that can be bought at Ion’s 360 supermarket – except that quinoa is not actually a grain, it is a seed but it can substitute for nearly any grain in cooking), but the quinoa in this salad was overcooked and had already lost the slightly crunchy and firm texture of perfectly cooked quinoa. I liked the accompanying lemon-olive oil vinaigrette but it could have been better if it had less lemon – it was a bit too acidic. Served with an option of multi-grain toast or rice cake – the multi-grain toast was ordinary. ($15)

Vietnamese Bun with Tempeh & Tofu

Cafe 308

Rice vermicelli with grilled tempeh and tofu cubes accompanied with beancurd skin and shredded vegetables such as carrots and mushrooms. As mentioned above, the servings were really quite generous. The rice vermicelli was dry and clumpy, but it was saved by the amazing “homemade special sauce”, which was a sweet peanut sauce that my friends and I loved and could have eaten on its own. The sauce could have been better if it had a nuttier flavour though.

Conclusion: I like the location (peaceful and seemingly secluded but in reality just minutes away from Orchard Road) and the fact that the food was very healthy, but the food wasn’t exceptional. I would probably go back again to try the other salads and the smoothies though.

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