Type of Institution: Vegetarian

Address: Sunshine Plaza, 91 Bencoolen Street, #01-50, Singapore 189652
Tel: +65 6337 7050
Website: N.A.

Opening Hours: Sun – Mon 11.30 am – 3 pm (last order at 2.30 pm, restaurant closes sharp at 3 pm), 5.30 pm – 10 pm (last order at 9.30 pm, restaurant closes sharp at 10 pm)

Overall: 8.3/10

Teng is a Japanese vegetarian restaurant opened last year in Sunshine Plaza that is similar in concept to Herbivore just across the road – think vegetarian / vegan replicas of mostly common Japanese dishes (along with some Singaporean Chinese dishes) and simple, pleasant deco. No eggs, onion or garlic are used but dairy is used – in particular, vegans should watch out for mayo in the sushi. Service was efficient and helpful.

Japanese Yam

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningSlices of crunchy, subtly sweet, raw Japanese yam, served with a light shoyu-based sauce and topped with seaweed, made for a light and refreshing starter. ($5)

King Mushroom

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningThe firm, chewy and meaty king oyster mushroom strips were perfectly complemented by sweet and savoury teriyaki sauce. Recommended. ($10)

Five Kind Sashimi

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningFrom top left, and moving clockwise, the Five Kind Sashimi plate is an assortment of mock tuna, salmon, shrimp, squid and abalone. The mock tuna, salmon and squid, made from mung bean powder, mostly differed in terms of their food colouring, and they were barely distinguishable in terms of taste and consistency. Like the mock shrimp, they resembled softer versions of fish cake. The mock abalone was a bit chewier and was a tad too salty. All in all, the sashimi wasn’t particularly impressive and certainly not worth the price. One could try it for the novelty but don’t expect much. ($32)

Avocado Maki

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningSushi roll with mock tuna, cucumber and mock prawn, topped with avocado. This tasted as unexceptional as it looked. It was also very disappointing that the restaurant did not bother to use sushi rice for any of its dishes. Vegans should take note that this usually comes with mayo. ($12)

Unagi Maki

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningThis fared much better than the avocado maki – avocado and cucumber rice rolls were topped with soft and slightly crispy mock unagi, and topped with sweet unagi sauce. ($12)

Mix Vege Tempura

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningTempura made with fairly fresh sweet potato, eggplant, enoki and shitake mushrooms, and – best of all – crunchy lotus root. The tempura ought to have been crispier, but it was commendable effort nonetheless. ($9)

Paper Claypot

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningThe paper claypot came with mostly soy-based products (like mock squid balls, dumpling, and mock prawn) with some lettuce, cabbage, carrot and enoki mushrooms in a vegetable broth.  ($13)

Mix Vegetables with Tofu (Hot Plate)

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningFirm tofu with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, tri-colour strips of capsicum, tomatoes and shimeji and black fungus mushroom, served in a light yet flavourful sauce. ($10)

Conclusion: I found Teng Bespoke to be superior to Herbivore. Go for the dishes made with more natural, whole foods, which were far more interesting and palatable than any of the processed faux sashimi / seafood.  

Type of Institution: Vegetarian / mostly vegan

Address: The Star Vista, #B1-43, 1 Vista Green Exchange, Singapore 138617
Tel: +65 9816 4861
Website: http://www.greenzilla.com.sg; Facebook

Opening Hours: Sun – Mon 10 am – 10 pm

Greenzilla

GreenzillaOverall: 6.5/10

Greenzilla follows on the trails of VeganBurg in joining the rising trend of veg-friendly and more health conscious fast food options. The branch at Star Vista is a small outfit with only a few seats, but I was told there is communal seating in the food court. While Greenzilla promotes itself as a vegetarian joint, from what I gathered the options were mostly vegan. Processed ingredients appeared to have been minimised as well. I avoided the salad bar, with its assortment of limp and forlorn vegetables, and went for the appetizers and burgers instead.

Broccoli Soup (Soup of the Day)

GreenzillaThe Broccoli Soup doesn’t look like much, but it was rich with the taste of fresh broccoli and was probably the best dish I tried. ($2.50)

Pumpkin Pops

GreenzillaThese round pumpkin bites, while covered with a palatable and slightly crispy coating on the outside, were missing the distinctive sweetness of fresh pumpkin on the inside. The original Pumpkin Pops come with honey soy mayonnaise, so vegans would have to get other sauces –the chilli sauce was decent, but what really stood out was the tangy tartar sauce that packed a surprisingly delightful punch. ($2.90)

Royal Mushroom Burger

GreenzillaThe Royal Mushroom Burger consisted of a mushy, mildly flavoured mushroom patty and some lifeless celery, tomato slices and sprouts, sandwiched between a green pea bun that did not seem to be anything different from a regular white burger bun aside from its name. This was accompanied by a vinegar coleslaw. ($5.90)

Tofu Fusion Burger

GreenzillaThe Tofu Fusion Burger fared better. The tender, marinated tofu patty was topped with BBQ sauce while the charcoal bun had a pleasantly light taste and was topped with seeds. ($5.90)

Conclusion: Greenzilla has a good concept, it just really needs to work on quality control with its ingredients to distinguish itself.

Here’s a shoutout to Monday Flying, a site which covers retail, the arts, and interesting events and products in Singapore. They introduced VeganAsh earlier in September last year and had some kind words to say:

“VeganAsh is written by Ashley and it showcases the growing popularity of the vegan movement in Singapore.  Apart from sharing food and restaurant options, VeganAsh is a site which also shares resources, such as other vegan blogs, events and happenings within Singapore for the vegan community. 

Support for the vegan movement aside, to ignore dishes purely because of no meat being involved is to deny yourself delicious (and healthy) options that vegan/vegetarian restaurants have in plenty.

It also helps that an eloquent and meticulous vegan blogger exists to guide you to all the best places. The reviews on VeganAsh are easy to digest (pun intended), conveniently sorted by location, and contain photos that are not suitable for viewing when you are waiting for lunchtime during work.”

The original post can be found here.

Type of Institution: Non-vegetarian (but with vegetarian menu)

Address: #02-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre (Ground Plaza), 8A Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018984
Tel: +65 6509 9308
Website: http://www.paradisegroup.com.sg/?page_id=388&mn=pp

Opening Hours:
Mon – Fri 11.30 am – 3 pm, Sat – Sun & PH 11 am – 4 pm
Daily 6 pm – 11 pm

Overall: 4.0/10

Paradise Pavilion

Paradise PavilionThe immediately striking decor of Paradise Pavilion sets it apart from most Chinese fine dining restaurants in Singapore – think chandeliers, plush velvet chairs, dramatic floor-to-ceiling columns and a rich turquoise, blue, green, and brown colour scheme. Reserve a good spot before your visit for an excellent view of the Marina Bay landscape. Vegetarians and vegans may be pleasantly surprised to find out that the restaurant famous for its Peking duck has a page of its menu dedicated to vegetarian dishes. Service was also attentive and helpful.

Vegetarian Goose

Paradise PavilionThe Vegetarian Goose was the best dish I tried despite its uninspiring presentation – a deep-fried crispy-thin skin encloses a slightly sweet, melt-in-your-mouth beancurd skin filling vaguely reminiscent of fatty goose. ($20)

Black Pepper Stir-Fry with Macadamia Nuts

Paradise PavilionA simple stir-fry with yam and mock luncheon meat cubes, shimeji mushrooms, celery, red and green peppers and crunchy macadamia nuts. The spicy black pepper sauce could barely be detected. The macadamia nuts were also a tad too heavy to complement the other ingredients. ($20)

Bean Dough with Mushrooms

Paradise PavilionThick slices of bean dough on a bed of beancurd skin were topped with enoki mushrooms. The bean dough had a tender, slightly chewy texture that was quite pleasant at first bite, but the generic mushroom sauce could not disguise the mostly bland yet unmistakeably beany taste of the dough. I could not stomach much of this. ($20)

Conclusion: Generally a disappointing experience – I was more impressed by the décor than the food.

Hey everyone! Apologies for not having updated in ages. My diet has been kinda erratic – I went on 80/10/10 for awhile, and then I went on a juice cleanse, so I wasn’t really eating much solid food at all. Since getting off the raw diet, I’ve been meaning to blog about places I’ve been to such as Greenzilla, as well as the vegetarian menus at places like Paradise Pavilion, but work has been keeping me too busy. I’ll be overseas for a few weeks – I’m flying off tomorrow morning to Java – but I hope to get back into connecting with veg enthusiasts once I’m back. Sorry if I’m a bit slow in replying to all your emails, and thanks for your understanding!

In the meantime, do check out the new asian vegetarian website, VegeAsian.com, where I was recently interviewed on What It’s Like to be Vegan in Singapore. You’ll find interviews with other popular veg bloggers as well. 🙂

Much love
VeganAsh

Type of Institution: Non-vegetarian (with vegetarian set menu)

Address: Velocity@Novena Square, #02-11/12, 238 Thomson Road, Singapore 307683
Tel: +65 6358 4466
Website: http://www.laobeijing.com.sg

Opening Hours: Lunch (weekdays) 11.30 am – 3pm (weekends) 11 am – 3pm, Daily High-tea 3 pm – 5pm, Daily Dinner 6 pm – 10 pm

Overall: 6.3/10

Lao Beijing
Yet another non-vegetarian restaurant catering for vegetarians is Lao Beijing, a fairly casual, traditional Chinese restaurant that’s part of the TungLok group (which I’m partial to). Their Vegetarian Set Menu, priced at $28 per person, seemed like a steal considering it featured 6 dishes (without rice). I would recommend getting a bowl of rice to balance the savoury side dishes, even though I would not eat white rice under most circumstances. The review below is based on their spacious outlet at Novena Square, but the same set menu can be found at their Orchard Central and Plaza Singapura outlets. Aside from the soup and dessert, the serving sizes as depicted in the pictures below were based on serving sizes for 3 people.

For my fellow vegans and vegans-to be, note that the vegetarian set menu was definitely egg-free and seemed to be dairy-free when I looked at the menu. But to be on the safe side, just tell the waiter or waitress that you want it to be dairy-free and he / she would notify the chef. Also note my point about the dessert, to follow.

Vegetarian Set Menu

Lao Beijing
The tasting menu began with the Cordyceps Flower and Bamboo Mushroom Soup, which was easily my favourite item on the menu. While it was a simple soup with few ingredients, the orange-golden cordyceps flowers and strips of net-like bamboo mushroom gave the soup a rich mushroom flavour and a pleasant chewy texture.

Lao Beijing
Next up, we had the Crispy-fried Mini Mushroom Coated with Spiced-Salt. These were bite-sized shitakes with a delightfully thin, crispy skin, but unfortunately they were fairly tasteless (even with the spiced salt) and could definitely use with a good marinade before frying.

Lao Beijing
The dishes that followed were much less interesting and seemed like they were inserted as a lacklustre effort to populate the menu. The Braised Beancurd in Claypot, with soft beancurd braised in vegetarian oyster sauce that was served on a bed of steamed Shanghai Green, was acceptable but generic.

Lao Beijing
The same could be said of the Sauteed Black Fungus with Lily Bulbs and Celery. The fungi and vegetables were stir-fried simply with little to no seasoning, but while I love letting the natural flavours of ingredients take centre-stage in a dish, the freshness, types and combination of these ingredients did not lend themselves well to such an approach. Aside from the mildly sweet and crunchy lily bulbs, this was a boring dish that was way too oily.

Lao Beijing
Following that, we had the Steamed Vegetable Dumplings, which had their thin skins stuffed with mixed green vegetables and just a bit of tofu.

Lao Beijing
Finally, the meal was rounded off with Chilled Mango Cream with Pomelo and Sago for dessert. The cold, sweet mango soup went well with the tangy pomelo, chewy sago pearls and mango cubes. I took a few bites of this before I found out the traditional recipe usually isn’t vegan-free and got sceptical about whether this one really was dairy-free as promised, so vegans would want to watch out for that.

($28 for the set menu, without rice)

Conclusion: The individual dishes in Lao Beijing’s Vegetarian Set Menu were largely of acceptable quality but not exceptional in their own right, making it mostly a case of quantity (or variety) over quality.

Type of Institution: Non-vegetarian

Address: Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, #02-16/17/18/19, Singapore 238896
Tel: +65 6884 7560
Website: http://www.visitpact.com; Facebook

Opening Hours: Tue – Sun 11 am – 3 pm, 5.30 pm – 10 pm (only brunch menu available on Sundays)

Overall: 8.0/10

Kilo at PACTThe first time you walk into the minimalist concrete space of KILO at PACT will feel like you’ve stumbled onto one of the best-kept secrets along Orchard Road – this outpost of Kilo restaurant over by the Kallang River is housed within the super-chic multi-concept store PACT, discreetly tucked away in a corner of Orchard Central. The abundant streams of natural light and the simple, tasteful décor dramatized with cacti make for a beautiful lunch experience. The Japanese-Vietnamese-Western menu includes sandwiches, salads, sushi rolls, pasta, rice bowls and sharing plates.

Quinoa-Fig Salad

Kilo at PACTFresh figs, juicy pomegranate seeds and cherry tomatoes create the simple, pleasantly sweet flavours that dominate in the Quinoa-Fig Salad, accompanied with crunchy quinoa, roasted walnuts and fresh rocket leaves, and drizzled with a pomegranate dressing. The serving is rather small so make sure to get something else if you’re hungry. Vegans should also note that cheese might be added to the salad although it’s not stated as an ingredient on the menu, so caution the waiter before placing your order. ($19)

Rice Bowl with Tofu and Roasted Vegetables

Kilo at PACTQuality ingredients combined with attention to detail made this simple rice bowl a satisfying meal. Sticky Niigata rice was topped with freshly roasted asparagus and zucchini, sweet and juicy yellow and red peppers, sugar snap peas, salted sweet corn, cherry tomatoes topped with a savoury quinoa sauce, marinated tofu steaks, and – my favourite of all – lovely alfafa sprouts infused with a light wasabi flavour. It would have been perfect save for the slightly excessive amount of soy sauce that came with the bed of rice. ($17)

Conclusion: The vegan fusion food options here are better than average, but it’s the ambience and the beautiful setting that will keep me coming back.

[NOTE] Frunatic at Star Vista has closed and is moving to a new location. It is still operating at its other outlet at 491 River Valley, Valley Point, #01-05/06, Singapore 248371, from 10 am – 8 pm daily.

Type of Institution: Raw vegan

Address: 1 Vista Exchange Green, The Star Vista, #02-01/02, Singapore 138617
Tel: +65 66946166
Website: www.frunatic.com, Facebook

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 11am – 9 pm, Sat – Sun 10am – 10pm

Overall: 3.8/10

FrunaticFrunatic is a 100% raw vegan “fast fruit restaurant” whose bright and colourful interiors fittingly reflect values I associate with a raw vegan diet – health, vibrancy and bountiful levels of energy. Although there are cafes / restaurants in Singapore where you may find raw food being served (most notably The Living Café [as reviewed here]), Frunatic is unprecedented in being the only one that is 100% raw – so kudos to them for fuelling the raw food and wellness trend in that respect. But that is of course distinct from whether I liked the food, which I’ll get to. First, I can’t help but mention how disappointing it was that the food was served in disposable plastic bowls and paper takeaway boxes along with disposable plastic utensils, even though we were dining in. The waitress was profusely apologetic when I asked if they had non-disposable bowls and utensils (apparently not, because they’re running a fast food concept…). Management ought to look into that.

Soups

Cream of Mushroom

FrunaticThe only dish I really enjoyed at Frunatic was the creamy yet light Cream of Mushroom, rich with the earthy flavour of mushroom and topped with dehydrated, chewy white button mushrooms. Served cold. ($5.90)

Spinach Wheatgrass Chowder

FrunaticThe Spinach Wheatgrass Chowder was a misnomer. The very thin, watery liquid was more accurately described as a juice. The addition of a sweetener (what I suspect to be agave) made the juice slightly sweet and hence much more palatable than your usual spinach wheatgrass juice. But in contrast to the light and refreshing juice, the chopped walnuts topping was too heavy and seemed out of place. Also served cold. ($5.90)

Mains

Spaghetti Meatball

Frunatic

FrunaticThe spaghetti meatball came with the choice of 3 sauces – pomodoro and olive, cream and mushroom, and pesto. We decided on pesto (upon the staff’s recommendation) and pomodoro and olive to dress the thin yellow zucchini noodles. Both the pesto and pomodoro sauces were too watery and rather bland, and the pomodoro sauce in particular had the sour undertone of unripe tomatoes. The zucchini noodles were topped with chopped tomatoes and the delightful dehydrated, chewy white mushrooms. The soft, dense and nutty vegan “meatballs” on the side were more like sweet, slightly fruity dessert balls rather than savoury “meatballs”. As such, their bed of sour cream made for a terrible accompaniment. (“new launch promotion” price of $9.90 includes choice of alkaline infused water, usual price $13.90)

Olive Zucchini Lasagne

FrunaticThere were only two mains to choose from, both of which had suspiciously similar ingredients, rendering whatever choice we might have had for mains illusory. The lasagne was made with yellow zucchini sheets, rocket, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes and dehydrated mushrooms, and flavoured with pomodoro sauce, sour cream, fresh basil and fried oregano. The pomodoro sauce was similarly disappointing and there wasn’t quite enough of it. Also, the ingredients were poorly assembled – dry ingredients stacked loosely on top of one another do not make a lasagna. (“new launch promotion” price of $9.90 includes choice of alkaline infused water, usual price $13.90)

Dessert

Cakes

FrunaticFrunatic’s raw cakes fared much better than their mains. My favourites were the rich and satisfying Chocolate Torte (on the left) and the naturally sweet and nutty Chocolate Banana Cake (on the right). In contrast, the Mango Cake (top centre) and the Forest Cake (top right) suffered from a lack in mango and berry flavours respectively. ($2.80 per piece)

Drinks

Alkaline Infused Water

FrunaticThe alkaline water infused with lemonade / hibiscus was unexceptional in flavour, but I might be a poor judge of that – I’d take plain old water over fancy schmancy flavoured water any day. (complimentary with main dish)

Conclusion:  I’m loving Frunatic’s 100% raw vegan concept, but the quality of the food just doesn’t cut it –  there’s definitely still much room for improvement.

[Note] Central Park @ UTown has closed down.

Type of Institution: Non-vegetarian

Address: Central Park, No 2 College Avenue West, Stephen Riady Building #01-09, UTown (National University of Singapore), Singapore 138697
Tel: +65 6734 0298
Website: http://www.centralparkutown.com/, https://www.facebook.com/CentralParkAtUTown

Opening Hours: Mon – Thu 11.30 am – 6 pm (last order), Fri – Sat 11.30 am – 10 pm (last order)

Overall: 6.0/10

Central Park @ UTownCentral Park is a fairly new café that touts itself as the new dining destination for the health-conscious, established within the educational hub of University Town at NUS, or UTown for short. I’ve been wanting to try the food here ever since I’ve heard about its concept – “raw, vegan, vegetarian, seafood – fresh, quality food and mostly organic”. If there’s one thing that unites most vegans, it’s our invariable excitement at the opening of a new eatery that proudly proclaims an affinity with plant-based food. I visited on a Saturday afternoon, when the café was fairly empty. I was disappointed to find that they only had a few vegan selections, most of which I tried. There also were no raw food options aside from their dessert of the day. The food took a while to arrive although the café was mostly unoccupied as the chef seemed to have been working the kitchen on her own.

Heirloom Potato

Central Park @ UTownThis colourful medley of oven-roasted sweet potatoes and purple, gold and pink heirloom potatoes had wonderfully fresh and natural flavours, which would have been perfect with just a bit more salt and black pepper. But the texture of the potatoes paled greatly in comparison – the soggy skins clung to the potato flesh, which were all too soft. The addition of truffle oil did not accomplish much, though it might have successfully dressed up the simple dish if the failings mentioned previously had been addressed. ($8.90)

Chef’s Vegetable Special – Quinoa and Tempeh

Central Park @ UTownRound blackened tempeh cakes marinated in a sweet and smoky Cajun-style seasoning were served on a bed of chewy quinoa infused with mushroom flavour. Sweet cherry tomatoes helped to balance out the dish. ($13.90)

Vegan Pasta

Central Park @ UTownA scattering of cubed Portobello mushrooms and black olives could not spruce up the slightly overcooked and flavourless fusilli. ($9.90)

Juicelogy

Central Park @ UTownDrinks-wise, kudos to Central Park for bringing in Juiceology, which creates delicious, organic, all-natural juice cocktails with subtle, complex flavours (as well as teapigs, one of my favourite tea brands in the world). I loved the Coconut Water and White Guava – refreshing coconut water is softly sweetened with white guava, and rounded off with hints of lemon and cinnamon. The Lychee, Berry and Basil was an interesting blend but I personally do not enjoy dominating notes of berry. ($7 for each bottle)

Conclusion: There were only a few vegan selections at Central Park – you’d have better luck with the Chef’s Vegetable Special as the ones on the regular menu were unexceptional.

Type of Institution: Non-vegetarian

Address: 39 Arab Street, Singapore 199736
Tel: +65 6292 0979
Website: http://www.cafelecaire.com.sg

Opening Hours: Sun – Thu 10 am – 3.30 am, Fri, Sat & Eve of P.H. 10 am – 5.30 am

Overall: 4.0/10

Cafe Le CaireCafé Le Caire is a sprawling complex in Arab Street offering simple, traditional Middle Eastern fare in a very casual setting. The baba ganoush came highly recommended but was unfortunately unavailable on the day of my visit. A few of their side dishes were above average but generally the food was second-rate.

Foul with Hummus

Cafe Le CaireThe combination of foul with hummus produced a fairly satisfying, protein-rich and savoury dish. The foul was made of slow-cooked fava beans seasoned with lemon juice, garlic, onion, parsley, mixed spices and olive oil, with intermittent chunks of partially mashed beans providing a pleasant texture. This surrounded a smaller serving of smooth and creamy hummus, which was jazzed up with tahini, lemon juice and olive oil.

Cafe Le CaireThe foul was served with thin and flat Arabic bread made with flour, water and salt. I was not impressed by its lack of texture. Pita bread is also an option. ($6.50)

Adas bil Hamod

Cafe Le CaireThese slightly spicy, firm and nutty lentils flavoured with coriander, olive oil and lemon juice made for a hearty and enjoyable side dish. ($6.00)

Falafel

Cafe Le CaireAvoid these flavourless and texture-less brown balls of play dough. The tasty tahini dip did not salvage them. ($9.00)

Mushroom Platter

Cafe Le CaireThe assortment of marinated Portobello, button and abalone mushrooms did not look very appetizing but were fairly tasty, juicy and tender. ($12.00)

Vegetarian Kebab

Cafe Le CaireThe vegetarian kebab, made of skewered grilled mushrooms, zucchini, and yellow and red capsicum, was mediocre. Fresher ingredients would have helped both the kebab and the green salad on the side. The dish came with a choice of rice (with different types of rice each day), mashed potatoes, fries and wedges (which were tolerable). Vegans should check before opting for the rice (e.g. their bakhari rice is made with butter). ($12.00)

Lime Juice

Cafe Le Caire

Decently fresh lime juice. ($4.00)

Conclusion: Café Le Caire was a hit and miss experience. I wouldn’t particularly recommend it. 

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