Type of Institution: Vegan
Address: 1 Lorong Telok, Singapore 049014 (at the intersection of Lorong Telok and Circular Rd)
Tel: +65 6438 7118
Website: http://www.genesishealthfood.blogspot.sg/ (not updated)
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 8am – 8pm, Fri 8 am – 3pm, Sun 8 am – 3pm
Previously known as Genesis Vegetarian Health Food Restaurant, Genesis Vegan Restaurant is one of the most well-established proponents of healthy vegan fare in Singapore. Ingredients are selected for their healing and preventive properties, whole grains are used when it comes to carbohydrates, organic ingredients are often though not always used, processed food is not found in the menu with the possible exception of some soy-based mock meat, etc.
I love the selection on the menu – It seems to me that each item on the menu has been carefully selected, so that unlike other restaurants, there is no necessity of overwhelming the customer with a ridiculously extensive menu crowded with commonplace dishes. Genesis’ menu is of a manageable length yet of an impressive variety, and the description of each item is sufficiently enticing for me to go back till I sample every item (as you’ll soon realise, I have already been back a couple of times). Expect to find a couple of appetizers/side dishes, a wide range of rice dishes and noodle dishes, a slightly smaller selection of Western dishes, and a couple of desserts. Soups are prominently absent from the menu (discounting the Dumpling Noodle Soup), but light yet flavourful Chinese herbal soups often come with the main courses. Despite its central location and the quality of its food, prices are unsurprisingly cheap – none of the mains cost no more than $8 (with the exception of the Brazil Nut Cilantro Pasta, which costs $8.90). Unfortunately, portion sizes for the mains tend to be rather small.
Original Dumplings (Big Wantons)
Purportedly one of Genesis’ best dishes, the Big Wantons (I find this expression cuter than “Original Dumplings”) were hearty balls of soy-based mock meat, mushrooms and carrot, encased in thin, silky, translucent skins. On its own, the flavour was dominated by soy, and wasn’t particularly interesting, but the accompanying red pepper sauce lent a great flavour. On a side note, I would certainly have enjoyed them more if they were served warm. ($5.00)
Yuba Rolls (Taukee Rolls)
I loved the Yuba Rolls, which were basically fresh, juicy and chewy beancurd sheets filled mostly with even fresher and juicier spinach and a small amount of mushroom and carrots. This also came with their signature red pepper sauce. Recommended. ($4.50)
The cabbage, turnips, carrots, tofu and almonds in this popiah made for a sweet and crunchy appetizer. The seaweed used for the popiah skin was soft and soggy. Overall, it was pleasant but not outstanding. ($4.00)
My favourite main dish on the menu stimulates with its skilful fusion of flavours and textures – sweet raisins, juicy mango and melon cubes, shredded carrot and refreshing cucumber slices serve as an uplifting contrast to the savoury, well-cooked organic brown rice flavoured with Japanese seasoning and the crunchy bed of seaweed. This came with their daily herbal soup. Highly recommended. ($6.90)
The Claypot Rice came with various ingredients – crunchy broccoli, raw cashews, yam, shitake mushrooms, and mushroom-based mock meat – but its stand-out element was the savoury and well-cooked dark soy sauce brown rice. Everything else was run-of-the-mill. This dish also came with their daily herbal soup, which happened to be a light yet satisfying lotus root soup. Interestingly, my friend preferred the soup to the main dish itself. ($6.90)
Lotus Leaf Rice
Organic brown rice mixed with green peas, tiny carrot cubes, lotus seeds and mushroom, and topped with raw cashews, was wrapped in lotus leaf and then steamed. I would have preferred a higher ingredient : rice ratio. The brown rice seemed to have been lightly marinated in soy sauce, which lent a nice flavour, but it was a tad overcooked. The dish also came with fresh steamed greens on the side. Overall, it was nice but not particularly exciting. ($7.90)
As you can see, the lasagna arrived looking particularly unappealing with its dry top layer. Fortunately, it fared much better in terms of flavour and texture. The tomato sauce was satisfying and the cashew sauce gave the lasagna a slightly indulgent and creamy texture. I particularly enjoyed the protein-rich filling for the lasagna, which was firm and well-cooked brown lentils that held their shape very well. It’s a pity it looked so ugly, but this is easily curable (personally I would slather the top of the lasagna with more of the tomato sauce and cashew sauce). Also, the lasagna stands out as having the largest portion size out of all the mains that I’ve tried.
Health freaks would probably like to be warned of the fact that the lasagna was prepared beforehand and probably microwaved before serving, because it arrived only a couple of minutes after I ordered it. But if you were a genuine health freak, you would probably be laughing whenever someone raises the common misconception that microwaves are unhealthy. And if you’re not – click here for a short and sweet article on why “microwaves are a convenient and healthy way to cook food… and may even result in less vitamin destruction than conventional cooking methods.” ($7.90)
This is a non-spicy, low-fat yet satisfying version of the Singaporean favourite that will warm your insides. The laksa came with al dente wholegrain and organic noodles, topped with bean sprouts, cucumber strips, beancurd skin and tofu slices resembling mock fish. To be fair, the broth tasted more like curry rather than laksa, but I had no complaints since it tasted great. It’s a plus that unlike normal laksa, the broth had a very light quality so you would not easily tire of it. ($6.90)
Dumpling Noodles (Soup)
As you might have guessed, the dumplings used in the Dumpling Noodles were identical to the Big Wantons. Although the greens were fresh and the wholewheat lo mein noodles were cooked to al dente perfection, the soup was rather bland and the dumplings’ lack of flavour was accentuated. You’re better off just ordering the Big Wantons with its accompanying red pepper sauce instead. ($6.90)
One point to note before we get into the specifics: the portion sizes for both desserts were small.
Tofu Cheese Pie
I loved the tofu cheese pie for its thin and slightly crunchy crust, which held together a melt-in-your-mouth tofu cheese filling that invigorated with tangy, tart lime and had just the right amount of cheese flavour. This was the best dish I tried on one of my visits. Recommended. ($4)
The apple pie consisted of slices of apple topped with a lacklustre gelatinous substance, sitting upon a mixed nuts crust. I was highly disappointed because the star of an apple pie didn’t taste particularly fresh or sweet in this case. Also, the mixed nuts crust was not sufficiently grounded up to constitute a pie crust. Generally I was highly confused when eating the apple pie because it just didn’t work for me at all. ($4)
Conclusion: Taste-wise, the quality of the food at Genesis generally ranges from average to above average. It really depends on what you order. But overall, Genesis’ nutrition-promoting aspects, its well-balanced menu, its location and its cheap prices make the restaurant a winner for me. The rest of the menu definitely tempts me to go back again… and again.