Acapulco Mexican Bistro and Bar – Telok Ayer

After office hours, the busy Robinson Road turns into a convenient spot to relax and unwind. Filled with watering holes and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, people have umpteen options to head to for a nice meal and drinks. In this stretch is Acapulco Bistro and Bar, a restaurant which specializes in authentic Mexican cuisine. The restaurant is small but has a festive atmosphere and an awesome live band that plays on Fridays. If you like good food along with classic English songs, head here right away!

The Orders
The menu is filled with handcrafted, traditional dishes from Mexico and the whole vibe of the restaurant lends itself to make it feel like a home-cooked meal. All the main Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos and quesadillas have vegetarian options, hence there is no hassle while placing the order. First, we ordered the ‘Burrito Bowl’ and directly sprung into the main course. Burritos are all well and good but sometimes you just don’t want to deal with the messy and tearing sides of the tortilla wraps. This burrito bowl was served with Mexican rice accompanied by capsicum, tomato, onions, pico de gallo and melted cheddar cheese. This flavoursome bowl with well spiced veggies has you covered for a delicious meal.

Burrito bowl

Burrito bowl at $12.50


If you want to simplify your ordering process and not think too much, then most of the times you can rely on ‘Veg Fajitas’ for a quick and easy meal. They offer the Norteno Fajitas which is nothing but Tex-Mex, a blend of styles born from the Norteno border of Mexico and Southwestern border of the US. In this version, the veggies were seasoned to perfection and served along with a flour tortilla. The guacamole and sour cream on the side brought the whole dish together making it tasty mouthfuls of goodness for me.
Veg Fajitas

Veg Fajitas at $12.50


Since I was not in the mood for cocktails, I went for the ‘Apple Juice’. Refreshing, crisp, and light – a glass to enjoy while soaking in the music.
Apple Juice

Apple Juice at $6


I have tasted many veg quesadillas in Singapore at various restaurants. Most of them have stringy cheese oozing out of them along with some veggies as fillings. All you can taste in these is the cheese. In Acapulco’s ‘Veg Quesadillas’, you can actually taste the (generously filled) veggies which is such a welcome change for a vegetarian like me. The melted cheese, chopped jalapeno, sour cream, pico de gallo and guacamole made for perfect dipping for these absolutely well-made quesadillas. Highly recommended.
Veg Quesadillas

Veg Quesadillas at $12


A special mention to the live band – https://www.facebook.com/Clique-The-Groovy-People-369261880123695/ who were absolutely fabulous. For their authentic Mexican taste, use of loads of veggies in their dishes and friendly vibe, Acapulco Mexican Bistro and Bar is a must-visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Mexican ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer / Tanjong Pagar
Address: 138 Robinson Road, #01-03 Oxley Tower, Singapore 068906
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11am – 11pm
Website: https://www.acapulco.com.sg/
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Soul ALife – Vegan Cafe at Changi City Point

The Expo area is synonymous with exhibitions and events that happen in the huge halls near the MRT. During a recent visit to one such event, I spotted Soul ALife, a 100% vegan cafe situated at Changi City Point. This is a welcome addition to the area where vegetarian options in restaurants are a bit limited. Pretty decor with plants and a green theme added a nice vibe to the cafe. I have always maintained that a healthy and nutritious meal can be tasty and satisfying and its nice to see such cafes implementing that in their mission to serve good food.

Soul ALife

Soul ALife

The Orders
The menu has a variety of options. They have burgers, pastas and salads along with smoothies and desserts. The intention that is clearly driven across is their desire is to serve you wholesome food. It was a refreshing change to see dumplings mentioned in the starters section of the menu and we ordered the ‘Japanese Gyoza’. Gyoza is a popular appetizer at ramen noodle shops. Here, they served the Gyoza with ponzu sauce (a classic Japanese citrus sauce). They had a thin skin and slightly crisp texture. Overall, an above average offering but the flavours could have been more enhanced.

Japanese Gyoza

Japanese Gyoza at $4.90


To keep yourself hydrated in the Singapore weather, cold pressed juices generally come to the rescue. I got the ‘Beet It’ juice to pack some nutrients in my meal along with the refreshing feel that it provides. It is nothing but the ABC (Apple, Beetroot Carrot) juice and was really good with the proportions of the ingredients in right balance. Highly recommended.
Beet It

Beet It at $4.90


If you have been reading my blog regularly, you would know that I appreciate a good vegetarian burger made with ingredients other than the standard portobello mushroom. At Soul ALife, they have the ‘Potato and Lentil Burger’ which is a crisp patty housed in a bed of greens. The texture of the patty is good and it is well-seasoned. The only gripe is that the portion size was small for this burger to act as a standalone meal. The sweet potato wedges served on the side are just nice with a slight sprinkling of salt.
Potato and Lentil Burger

Potato and Lentil Burger at $10.90


At this cafe, you should not miss the ‘Buddha Bowl’ which is correctly indicated to be their recommended dish. The origin of the name “Buddha Bowl” comes more from being in state of bliss once you eat it. Well, the myriad colours from the variety of ingredients that pop out from the bowl makes it extremely appealing. It was full of vegetables, healthy grains and lean proteins that made for a perfectly balanced and a nourishing meal. The chickpeas, curried cauliflower and beetroot hummus were my favourites among the ingredients.
Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowl at $9.90


They have 2 outlets in Singapore – one at Pickering Street and the other at Changi City Point. For the fitness freaks and the healthy eaters, this cafe is absolutely recommended. This cafe would be an ideal place to visit for tourists who are looking for a 100% vegan or vegetarian joint near Changi airport since this is just one station away. Overall for their healthy menu, quality ingredients and affordable prices, Soul ALife is absolutely worth a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Vegan ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Expo
Address: 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Changi City Point #02-40, Singapore 486038
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11.30am – 9.30pm
Website: https://www.soulalifesg.com/

Noodle Thai Thai Kitchen – Beach Road

During restaurant hunting, I have observed that unassuming restaurants with a simple vibe actually turn out to be hidden gems. Recently, one such find was Noodle Thai Thai Kitchen on Beach Road. From the exterior, it appeared to be a place serving communal-style Thai food at affordable rates. One glance at the menu made me apprehensive since there weren’t many vegetarian dishes. Since Thai cuisine can easily be customized, I asked the staff if they could make their curries vegetarian and without shrimp paste. They readily agreed and that’s how my meal experience began at this Thai joint.

The Orders
When you crave Thai food, ‘Spring Rolls’ become a default option to start the meal. The spring rolls here made the best appetizers as the vegetables were thinly sliced and were wrapped up well and had the perfect golden colour for the outer coating. They were crispy and went well with the chilli dip on the side.

Spring roll

Spring roll at $5.5


The ‘Thai Green Curry’ finds its place in the vegetarian palate because of its refreshing flavours. Loaded with the trimmings of lemongrass, galangal and coconut milk, this curry was tasty. It had less variety of vegetables in the broth but the taste was authentic. As mentioned earlier, they cooked it from scratch when I told them of my dietary requirements, hence it takes some time to be prepared. The portion size was significant enough to be shared by two pax.
Thai Veg Green Curry

Thai Veg Green Curry at $10


We also tried the ‘Thai Bandung’ as it was a warm evening. The drink was cold, not overly sweet and a good accompaniment to the food. You can also opt for some fresh coconut water if you don’t like Bandung.
Thai Bandung

Thai Bandung at $3.80


The quintessential Thai main dish would be the ‘Pad Thai’ with the aromas of fresh Thai ingredients and spices. The noodles were light and chewy and served with well seasoned veggies. It comes with with the standard toppings of peanuts, lime and chili flakes.
Pad Thai

Pad Thai at $7.90


I would suggest, if you are going as a large group with vegetarian requirements, then its better to give them a call and check in advance. But otherwise, on the whole, if you are in the area and are looking for a no-frills Thai dining experience with authentic taste, then Noodle Thai – Thai Kitchen is worth a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Thai ★★★
Nearest MRT: Bugis / Nicoll Highway
Address: 327 Beach Road, Singapore 199560
Timings: Tue-Sun: 11.30am – 10.30pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/thaithainoodle/

KARA Cafe and Dessert Bar – Bukit Timah Road

Bukit Timah road has shophouses situated at frequent intervals along its length. One such pretty cafe is KARA Cafe and Dessert Bar, tucked away in the cluster near Coronation Plaza. The team behind Sogurt have opened this cafe and its all-day dining menu will appeal to visitors instantly. The warm hues of the interiors, wooden furniture, and long mirrors on the walls add to the aesthetic appeal of this quaint cafe. The cafe is perfect for a weekend brunch or a quick catch-up with a small group of friends. If you are alone and looking to grab some grub, you can settle in a cozy corner of the cafe with a novel and watch passers-by.

Kara Cafe

Kara Cafe


Kara Cafe

Kara Cafe

The Orders
The menu consists of grain bowls, toasties and snacks along with some desserts. The menu is focused on being health conscious with no compromise on taste. We ordered the Tomato Soup to begin our brunch. In a twist on the classic comforting soup, the tomatoes are smoked before being puréed. The soup has a thicker consistency and pairs well with cheese toasties. The Kara version was well-flavored and a befitting start to the meal.

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup at $5


As recommended by the staff, the signature Kara dish for vegetarians would be the ‘Classic Grilled Cheese Toasties’. The cheese blend and zesty sweet pickle relish are sandwiched in sourdough and grilled to perfection. The caramelized top with gooey cheese will pull the strings of your heart with ease. Dab the toast gently into your bowl of soup and you are bound to relish this combination. Highly recommended.
Grilled Cheese Toasties

Classic Grilled Cheese Toasties at $10


To have a substantial meal, we ordered the ‘Taco Mexx’ grain bowl. For the vegetarians, this offering can be made without chicken. For the choice of grain base, we opted for the garlic Japanese rice which is the default version. For a healthy recharge, you can go for the fluffy quinoa salad. The grain bowl comes with the creamy avocado, chipotle salsa, crema, jalapeno and crisp corn tortilla chips. The freshness of the ingredients came to the forefront in this Mexican-inspired grain bowl. Do not miss this if you like these flavours.
Taco Mexx

Taco Mexx Grain Bowl at $14


The service can be improved since the meal came in dribs and drabs even when the cafe was not crowded. We received our dishes with at least a lag of 25 mins between both the dishes and the sandwich was served much before the soup. On the whole, if you are looking for a relaxed outing along with healthy and simple food, head to KARA Cafe and Dessert bar if you are in the area.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: All-day dining ★★★
Nearest MRT: Tan Kah Kee
Address: 617 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 269718
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11am – 10pm
Website: https://www.karacafeanddessertbar.com/

Winestone – For a dose of good Mediterranean food at Stevens

The new cluster of restaurants owned and managed by Oxley Holdings on Stevens Road houses quite a few interesting places to grab a bite. One of them is Winestone, a restaurant with a strong focus on wines and Mediterranean platters. It serves as a late night bar/eatery with an attempt to retain quality at affordable prices. They also have a retail section that’s slightly separated from the dining area. The warm lighting in the evening sets the tone for business groups and special occasion dinners. There is also bar seating for a quick and casual drink. Strategically located near the Mercure and Novotel hotels on Stevens Road, this restaurant caters to locals, tourists and expats in the neighborhood.

Winestone decor

Winestone decor


Winestone decor

Winestone decor

The Orders
The menu is comprehensive with a fair number of vegetarian options. We ordered the ‘Hummus with Lebanese bread’ which is a classic Mediterranean starter. The long Lebanese flatbread was nicely puffed up and quite substantial. The softness of the bread paired well with the protein packed hummus and we enjoyed it. The fresh parsley sprinkled on the top enhanced the taste of the dish.

Hummus with Lebanese bread

Hummus with Lebanese bread at $8


Since we are fans of good cheese offerings, we decided to try the ‘Pepperonata’. The two adjectives I would use for this dish are – simple and authentic. The dish had straightforward ingredients in the form of goat cheese, truffle and pistachios and was delicious. I was surprised how good the combination tasted together as the sweet notes of honey cut through the salt of the cheese and pistachios effectively.
Pepperonata

Pepperonata at $12


If there’s a vegetarian pasta, giving it variety in vegetables is of the essence. We tried the ‘Fettucine from the Farm’ from the Winestone menu. After seeing the portion size, I can definitely say that it one of the most substantial pastas I’ve eaten in Singapore. It had artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, grilled zucchini and eggplants along with generous cheese shavings. It had the look of a timeless summer pasta dish – right from the taste to the crockery on which it was served. If you do not like any of the veggies, the restaurant is open to customizing the dish to your liking.
Fettucine

Fettucine at $25


Next, we tried the ‘Winestone Pizza’. As with the pasta, the restaurant is open to customizing this dish to your liking. We removed the pumpkin and added on olives and roasted bell peppers. The pizza was superb – a good sauce, generous amounts of cheese and delicious veggies. Bear in mind that it’s quite filling. This is definitely a shareable main.
Winestone Pizza

Winestone Pizza at $25


On the whole, Winestone is so much more than a bar because of its high quality food. For its neat ambiance, convenient location and good food, Winestone is highly recommended for a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Mediterrranean ★★★★
Nearest MRT: Stevens
Address: 28 Stevens Road, #01-01, Singapore 257878
Timings: Tue-Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – midnight
Website: http://www.novotel-singapore-stevens.com/restaurants-bars/winestone/

Tapas Club – Orchard Central

In the Singapore culinary context, there is always some interest in Spanish cuisine. Tapas Club, situated in Orchard Central is a restaurant set up with a focus on serving authentic Spanish cuisine at an affordable price. The space lends itself to a casual tapas dining concept. The decor has glazed wall tiles, wrought iron grills and wine barrels. The celebratory music adds to the upbeat vibe of the restaurant.

Tapas Club decor

Tapas Club decor


Tapas Club decor

Tapas Club decor

The Orders
Since the restaurant aims at serving tapas, the plates are perfect for sharing. The menu hits the right spot in its simplicity and attempts to showcase Spanish dishes by keeping it minimal in terms of ingredients. Bar snacks in a Spanish restaurant are incomplete without ordering a plate of ‘Patatas Bravas’ . The crisp and deep-fried potatoes blanketed in spicy brava and alioli sauce were a good start to the meal.

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas at $9.90


Next, we ordered what turned out to be my favourite dish of the meal – the ‘Croquetas De Setas’ which are basically Mushroom Croquettes. These were deep-friend, made wonderfully creamy using Bechamel and turned out to be extremely tasty tidbits of Spanish goodness. I know quite a few people who are not a fan of mushrooms – but this dish is highly recommended.
Mushroom croquettes

Croquetas De Setas at $10.90


A unique dish to try here is the ‘Padron Peppers’ which originate from the region of Padron in the northwest of Spain. These tiny peppers are cooked with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. They are usually mild in taste. The Tapas Club version had a certain amount of juiciness to it and tasted better with a squeeze of lemon.
Padron Peppers

Padron Peppers at $13.90


We also tried the ‘Spanish Omelette’ which is a fritata made up of potatoes and eggs in an open-faced style. The omelette was well seasoned, dense and rich. It can be easily shared and can be considered a “main”.
Spanish Omelette

Spanish Omelette at $9.90


For a more filling option, we ordered the ‘Vegetable Paella’ which was loaded with greens. The rice was cooked with the right amount of smoky and charred flavour and the vegetables were cooked al dente that added to the texture and colour. On the whole, a good dish but it was lacking in salt.
Vegetables Paella

Vegetables Paella at $20


For an overall reasonable and authentic Spanish tapas casual dining experience, Tapas Club is worth a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Spanish ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Somerset
Address: 181 Orchard Road, #02-13 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896
Timings: Mon-Thu: 12pm – 3pm, 5pm – 11pm ; Fri-Sun: 12pm – midnight
Website: http://www.tapasclub.com/

Pastaria Abate – Craig Road

The food scene in Craig Road is changing and the newest kid on the block here is Pastaria Abate, a casual Italian restaurant serving affordable food. It is a restaurant started by a couple who serve traditional pasta made in-house and want to serve authentic Italian food that is easy on the wallet. The space furnished in a modern chic manner has tables laid out in a linear manner. The decor is neat and minimalist. The arrangement of tomato sauce cans piqued my interest since it boasted of San Marzano tomatoes which are known for their natural sweetness.

San Marzano tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes

The Orders
Pastaria Abate has a self-service counter where you have to go and place your orders. The placement of orders is on the lines of creating a DIY pasta – select your type of pasta, sauce base and additional toppings, if required. In pastas, they have plain pasta, egg pasta and specialty pasta. In the sauce base they have options as red sauce, cream sauce and white sauce. They also have affordable Italian wines which act as a good accompaniment to your meals.

To start our meal, we ordered the ‘Fresh Garlic Bread’ which is one of those Italian appetizers that will never go out of fashion. The fresh and chewy baguette bread with garlic butter is guaranteed to whet everyone’s appetite with its good taste.

Fresh Garlic Bread

Fresh Garlic Bread at $4.80


As I mentioned earlier, I got impressed with the tomato sauce cans and decided to try the ‘Penne with Marinara Sauce’ combination. As additional toppings, I asked for broccoli which they were kind enough to accommodate and that was priced at $2. The pasta could have cooked a little longer but my main gripe was the tomato sauce. It needed to cook longer for the raw taste to be removed and the fact that it was under-seasoned did not help its case. Overall, this pasta dish left a lot to be desired.
Penne with marinara sauce

Penne with marinara sauce at $10.80


Next, we tried the ‘Linguine with White Sauce’ which was the Mixed Mushroom dish. This pasta dish consisted of four varieties of mushrooms in a cream sauce. This was one of the better seasoned dishes and the combination of mushrooms worked perfectly. The pasta was al dente and the dish came together very well.
Pasta with white sauce

Pasta with white sauce at $12.80


Overall, they have to iron out their teething issues in the kitchen, especially the ones related with seasoning of food. There are a few vegetarian options in terms of the menu and since they mainly serve only pastas, I expected better in terms of taste. For their friendly prices, warm ambiance and a central location, visit them if you are in the area.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Italian ★★★
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar
Address: 43 Craig Road, Singapore 089681
Timings: Mon-Sun: 10am – 10pm
Website: http://pastariaabate.com/