Type of Institution: Vegetarian
Address: 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, The Central, #B1-52
Tel: +65 6224 4492
I like the concept behind Real Food, which combines a cafe with a grocer and a mini bookstore. When you’re done having your organic foods and/or juices, you can explore the range of organic groceries which range from fresh vegetables to toiletries – I bought a bar of Conscious Chocolate, which is a brand of raw, organic, handmade chocolate imported from Australia ($10.50 at Real Food). Or you could have a cup of organic tea and flip through titles relating to holistic wellness, vegetarian cuisine, etc. from the mini bookstore. I’ve never actually seen anyone flipping through the books on sale, which is a pity, because I found the raw veganism books quite interesting. It is only possible to chill out at Real Food in the late afternoon and during dinner time though. Real Food was not crowded and food was served quite efficiently the two times I went for dinner but I had to wait more than 20 minutes when I went during lunch (the place was packed with the office crowd).
As mentioned previously, I think it reflects very well on an eatery if the menu has clear labelling. To Real Food’s credit, the pretty extensive menu states clearly whether each dish is vegan, contains onion and garlic, and whether it is gluten-free.
However, a common gripe about all the dishes was that the portions were unsubstantial – don’t expect to be full by just buying one main dish. In that sense, Real Food is not really value-for-money.
Fresh and Grilled Veg Salad
Grilled peppers and eggplant with leafy greens, herbs, olives, cherry tomatoes and creamy avocado slices. Topped off with crunchy roasted nuts dressed in balsamic vinegar and oil. All the ingredients were very fresh and organic. ($8.80)
Organic Fried Rice
The organic stir-fried brown rice was quite tasty with the addition of garlic, pineapple, capsicum, French beans, carrots, mushrooms, black pepper and fresh corn. However, it was a bit too oily and the rice was not fried properly – the texture was a bit mushy and the rice grains were not individually separated. Also, the chilli on the side was not very spicy and did not add anything to the dish. ($6.80)
The wheat and gluten-free organic brown rice vermicelli was rather bland, even with the addition of organic Tamari and roasted sesame oil. Moreover, the vermicelli was quite dry and very clumpy. The assorted stir-fried vegetables were rather tasteless as well. And again, the chilli did not add anything to the dish. Not recommended. ($6.80)
Dumpling Soup (with Ramen)
The dumpling soup was the only dish I really enjoyed. The silky-smooth skin of the dumplings gave way to a satisfying filling made of extremely fresh ingredients, including carrots, mushrooms, bean curd, French beans and chestnuts. However, I would not recommend adding $1 for the wholegrain organic ramen noodles because the portion of noodles was very small and the texture of the noodles was too soft. You might be better off with the brown rice if you need some carbs ($6.80, add $1 for noodles or brown rice).
Fried Spring Roll
Handmade spring rolls with carrots, mushrooms, turnip and black fungus, fried in olive oil. Unfortunately, these were not very flavourful and the skin wasn’t crispy as I would have liked it. Definitely not worth the price. ($4 for 2 pieces)
Brownice Ice Cream
I was pretty excited to find out that Singapore had a vegan ice cream option in the form of Brownice, which makes dairy-free, egg-free ice cream from organic brown rice milk, fruits and nuts. I’ve tried the French Chocolate, Hazelnut Chocolate and Avocado flavours. They were satisfactory but ordinary; the flavours could have been much richer. But the plus-point is that the texture was quite creamy. Brownice has a whole host of other interesting flavours like Mulberry and Passionfruit Mango (see the whole list here), but Real Food doesn’t carry most of them (flavours vary weekly), so you may have to order the flavour you want for home delivery on Brownice’s webpage.
More importantly, another reason as to why you would not want to order Brownice at Real Food is that the servings are tragically minuscule. It’s $3.80 for 2 scoops and $4.50 for 3 scoops, and each scoop is measured out by what must be the tiniest ice-cream scooper in the world. As my friend illustrates with her beautiful (and quite small) hand:
Conclusion: Nice setting and the food ranges from slightly below average to slightly above average, but it is generally not value-for-money.