Singapore has active community clubs in almost every area of the country. They conduct courses and recreational activities and occasionally have coffee shops or juice machines for light bites. But I have never visited a sprawling space in the form of a restaurant in a community club. Hence I was pleasantly surprised to see the lovely ambiance of Bliss Restaurant situated on the side of Cheng San Community Club which is around a 5 minute walk from Ang Mo Kio MRT. They have spacious indoor seating in the form of long community tables and four seater tables and the alfresco area consists of white furniture and a bar. The space is well-lit and has a vibrant atmosphere in the evening. Bliss restaurant is a social enterprise that offers employment opportunities to all without discrimination, even those with immutable traits. We went there for dinner and the place was abuzz with people indicating that it was clear favourite among people who stayed in and around the area.
The menu is quite exhaustive, but in terms of vegetarian options there are starters, juices, pastas and desserts. I wished they had 1 or 2 more vegetarian options in their mains section.
To begin the meal, we tried the ‘Cheesy Garlic Loaf’ which was substantial for 2 pax. The bread had been baked to garlicky perfection with the cheese nicely melting into the crevices and made it a good starter option. Its the pull apart bread that allows you to enjoy the strings of cheese as you grab a bite.
For the mushroom lovers, you have the ‘Mushroom Soup’ or the ‘Fried Mushroom’ dishes as starter options. At the onset, let me tell you that I am not a mushroom fan but I don’t mind trying it sometimes depending on the type of cuisine. Both the mushroom dishes lacked seasoning and I found the soup to be better than the mushroom fritters. The soup could do with a little more richness and was bland and hence the garlic bread on the side helped to lend more balance to the dish.
Cheesy garlic loaf at $7
Fried mushroom at $6
For light bites, we took a break from the usual potatoes and ordered the ‘Sweet Potato Fries’. One word that I would use for these fries is addictive. The fries were crunchy, a perfect mix of salt and sweet in taste and were well-seasoned. Highly recommended.
Wild mushroom soup at $6
It was heartening to see ‘Sugarcane Juice’ made using the actual sugarcane machine and that makes all the difference. Apart from that, the addition of chia seeds was a good way to pack some nutritional punch in the juice. I was thankful there were no artificial sweeteners or sugar added in the juice to make it extremely sweet. This was quite refreshing as a thirst quencher.
Sweet potato fries at $6
In the mains, for vegetarians, there are only pastas. The pastas can be made in 3 cooking styles – rich cream, aglio olio and marinara. And for toppings, you can choose from garden vegetables, plain pasta or mushroom. We tried the ‘Garden vegetables Pasta’ in aglio olio and marinara cooking styles. I was so glad to see that there was no dearth of veggies in the pasta and it has broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers and long beans. Both the pastas were top-notch and made with correct seasoning and doneness. In terms of the sauce, the Aglio Olio pasta has the cleaner flavour with the veggies taking center stage. On the other hand, the tomato sauce is well made, has the right consistency and complements the veggies. You can’t go wrong with either choice. I can safely say that for now, it features in my ‘Top 3 Vegetarian Pastas’ in Singapore. Highly recommended.
Sugarcane juice with chia seeds at $4
Aglio Olio with garden vegetables at $10
To end the meal, we tried the ‘Chocolate Cheesecake’. This turned out to be a small, but sinful dessert. I would have liked the texture to be a little looser and lighter. It was a touch too dense and rich. I’d recommend sharing it.
Marinara with garden vegetables at $10
Overall there were many hits and few misses in terms of the dishes. Its a good place to hangout with friends and families and eat quality food at affordable prices. If you are in the area, its definitely worth a visit.
Chocolate cheesecake at $6
As you explore a neighborhood, it’s always fun to find eating places that you haven’t visited before. And if that happens to be a fully vegetarian joint, then as a foodie, it adds to the joy of a food hunt for me. The Bukit Panjang area has developed quite a bit and the Hillion Mall is a new hangout place for people staying in and around the area. Further down from this mall, towards Phoneix LRT, is Green on Earth whose well-lit green signage cannot be missed from the road. The entrance to the restaurant is through a winding set of stairs that lead upward and take you to a white patio which seats the diners. Its a cozy little place serving simple Chinese vegetarian food.
Green on Earth cafe
Green on Earth seating area
We went there for dinner, so be prepared that all items mentioned on the menu need not necessarily be available. So it is better to enquire in advance if you are headed there for a specific dish. They do have daily, weekend and festive specials as part of their menu variations.
When I visit a place serving Chinese veg food, I’m always happy if the menu has ‘Vegetarian Laksa’ listed as one of the options. A good bowl of laksa with generous use of ingredients is always a welcome sight and their version was really good. The gravy was rich, not too spicy and does not disappoint. The tofu and noodles had embraced all the flavours of the gravy and it made for a delicious bowl of laksa. It is definitely one of the must-try items on their menu.
On the owner’s recommendation, we ordered the ‘Rendang Curry’ as we wanted a rice dish. The Rendang curry was a little too spicy for my liking and was made with mushrooms, vegetable oil and spices. I wished for the curry to have bit more gravy since that would have helped in eating it with the rice.
Since the owner is quite friendly, she insisted that we try the ‘Shirley Temple’ which she gets from Australia. The drink tasted like a mix of lemonade and grenadine and was quite refreshing. The contrast of the sparkle and acid of the lemonade base blended well with the sweetness of grenadine.
Overall, the service was friendly and the food is average with some hits and misses. It is a decent eating option if you are in area and are looking for vegetarian food.
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Chinese vegetarian
|Nearest MRT: Bukit Panjang / Phoneix LRT
|Address: 2 Phoenix Road, Singapore 668156
|Timings: Mon-Sun: 11am – 10pm
It’s always fun to spot a new cafe while exploring your neighborhood. Nestled in The Hillford on Jalan Jurong Kechil is the warmly-lit cafe called CATfeine that exudes a relaxed vibe when you see it from the road. The interiors exhibit a liking for cats, right from the decor, to plush toys, to the ordering counter. The owners clearly have an affinity towards the feline creatures. Though pets are not allowed inside the cafe, there are some seats outside which are are pet-friendly.
Other than specialty tea and coffee, CATFeine offers sweet and savoury bites like waffles, pies, sandwiches, bagels and cakes on their menu.
A good croissant pairs best with a cup of coffee. CATfeine’s ‘Croissant’ was buttery and flavorful and not at all greasy. Served warm, the thin and light layers were beautifully flaky and had a lovely aroma.
When we visited the cafe, we observed that was a waffle order on almost every table. So we decided to try the ‘Honey B ‘ which is the most basic version of the other tempting homemade buttermilk waffles on their menu. When the waffle was served, it was so appealing that one can just admire it for some time. It was served with honey, butter, biscuit crunch and tasty sea-salt caramel ice cream which was quite indulgent. Everything about their waffles is top-notch – from the texture to the overall doneness. The sea-salt ice cream lent the right balance and was just perfect in taste. It can easily be shared by 2 people. For me, it easily made it to the Top 5 Waffles in Singapore – so quite highly recommended.
Croissant at $3
If you are not looking for a quick caffeine fix, then try the ‘Spiced Hot Chocolate’. They have kept it simple and that makes it a delectable cup of hot cocoa.
Homemade Buttermilk Waffles at $11
Overall, CATfeine is a must-visit if you are fan of coffee, waffles or desserts. Additionally their friendly service deserves some brownie points.
Spiced Hot Chocolate at $6.5
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Cafe
|Nearest MRT: Beauty World
|Address: 182 Jalan Jurong Kechil, #01-50 The Hillford, Singapore 596152
|Timings: Wed-Fri: 8am – 8.30pm ; Sat: 9am – 9.30pm ; Sun: 9am – 7pm ; Mon: 8am – 8.30pm
In the sheltered space of CHIJMES on Victoria Street, I heard soothing music waft through the air and my search for the music led me to Dimbulah Coffee. This Australian coffee chain has a bistro in CHIJMES located around a spacious corner. It has indoor and outdoor seating which is quite appealing. The warm-lit interiors with tall glass panels coupled with a laid back vibe make it an ideal place for catching up with friends. In terms of their main course offerings, there are very few options for vegetarians (especially if you don’t eat eggs). However, we were there for desserts, hence the focus in this post is mainly on satiating your sweet tooth.
Dimbulah Coffee at CHIJMES
After dinner, one generally craves desserts, so we were happy to see the sweet offerings that Dimbulah Coffee had on their menu.
Some desserts are worth the extra calories just for the experience. We ordered the ‘Sticky Date Pudding’ as were in the mood for a rich dessert. The warm pudding was rightly moist and rested on top of a smooth date sauce. The generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on top definitely served the purpose of bringing the whole dessert together by adding to the dense sweetness. For now, I can safely say that it is the best sticky date pudding that I have had in Singapore. Highly recommended.
Dimbulah is popular for its signature coffees crafted with Arabica beans which offer caramel notes and a lingering taste on the palate. The ‘Affogato Plain’ ended up being a nice selection since it served the dual purpose of having ice cream from a coffee cup. The slight bitter note of the coffee did not overpower the scoop of vanilla ice cream and brought out the contrast in taste distinctly.
Sticky Date Pudding at $12
We also ordered the ‘Crème brûlée’ which had a rich custard base topped with a layer of perfectly burnt caramel. The crispy, burnt sugar layer along with the slight hint of vanilla in every mouthful made it a deliciously decadent sweet dish.
Affogato plain at $8
Overall, Dimbulah Coffee is a must-visit if you are fan of coffee or desserts.
Creme brulee at $9
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Cafe, Australian coffee chain
|Nearest MRT: City Hall
|Address: 30 Victoria Street, #01-17 CHIJMES, Singapore 187996
|Timings: Mon-Fri: 4pm – 11pm ; Sat-Sun: 8am – midnight
Built in the 19th century, CHIJMES on Victoria Street is one of the most majestic structures in Singapore. From a foodie’s perspective, it has authentic Asian restaurants, bars and coffee houses. Hence its a favourite destination for people who want to unwind after work as well as tourists who are looking to explore Singapore. The latest addition to the refurbished CHIJMES is Anglo Indian Cafe and Bar, a restaurant showcasing Indian food from the British Raj period. They have a precedence of serving good food from their successfully operating outlet at Shenton Way which has a loyal clientele. Their new outlet at CHIJMES positions them to attract tourists who want to taste Indian food due to their liking for the cuisine and ease of location. They have both indoor and alfresco seating which helps to soak in the ambiance.
Their menu mainly has North Indian food and some Indian Chinese dishes. Personally, I prefer their North Indian dishes in terms of authentic taste and consistency in preparation. Since they serve Indian cuisine, the place has a significant variety of vegetarian dishes.
In the starters section, you cannot miss their delicious ‘Paneer Tikka’. These are large size cottage cheese cubes marinated to perfection with yogurt and spices and served with mint chutney. They are grilled in tandoor style which gave them a discernible flavour. For the price, I wish there were more paneer pieces but otherwise this dish is highly recommended.
Among North Indian curries, our favourite curry to try at a restaurant is generally the ‘Chole’. Prepared in Lahori style, the chickpeas are gently simmered in a gravy base and have a soft texture. The spices used were well-balanced and had been well absorbed by the chickpeas. This will serve as an apt accompaniment to your naans and rotis.
Paneer Tikka at $16
When okra is cooked to perfection with minimal ingredients, it will shine through in a curry. We decided to try the ‘Bhindi Masala’ as its a vegetable that pairs well with rotis. The okra was cooked with tomatoes, green chillies and spices and tasted decent. Basically, this curry lacked the perfection to taste like an authentic dish. The gravy coating on all the okra pieces was not uniform and hence the consistency in taste was not the same with every bite.
Lahori Chole at $11
Dals are common as a side dish in an Indian restaurant. Anglo Indian has a nice assortment of dals to choose from and we ordered the ‘Dal Bukhara’. This dish is made using black lentils cooked on slow fire with tomatoes, ginger, garlic and spices. The soft and creamy lentils will melt in your mouth and the spices slowly unfold creating a memorable experience on your tastebuds. Highly recommended, do not miss this!
Bhindi Masala at $14
They do not have a bread basket on their menu. Individual orders have to be placed for rotis and naans. All their naan varieties are good as is the Laccha Paratha.
Dal Bukhara at $14
For quality Indian food in the central location of CHIJMES and a nice ambiance, Anglo Indian Cafe and Bar is worth a visit.
Poha is a very popular breakfast or tea-time dish in India. Due to the diversity in Indian cuisine, there are different variants of poha. Poha is basically a flattened rice flake and is available in different grades of thickness. Having grown up in Maharashtra, I have had the ‘Kande Pohe’ (uses medium poha) which is pretty awesome. This time I tried the ‘Indori Poha’ from the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. So, the first difference I noticed in the preparation method is that for this dish, I had to use thick poha. The second difference is in the ingredients used as the garnish. The presence of fennel seeds and a hint of sweetness in the form of sugar and pomegranate seeds are the prime differences in the two styles of poha. When you add all the flavorful components in this colorful dish, I can assure you that you won’t stop eating it. This dish is also perfect for a teatime party as poha with chai is a divine combination. For those staying in Singapore, I picked the nylon sev from Mustafa and thick poha from Sri Murugan stores.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 3 pax
Time: 20 mins
- 2 cups thick poha / flattened rice flakes
- 1 big potato cut in cubes
- 1 big onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (without skin)
- 10-12 cashews
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp freshly grated coconut (optional)
- 5-6 curry leaves
- A handful of pomegranate seeds
- 2 green chillies, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp nylon sev (for garnish)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp sugar (optional)
- 1 lemon
- Some cilantro leaves for garnish
- Soak the poha in water for 5 mins. Drain using a strainer and keep aside.
- Cut the veggies on the side so that the prep work is done.
Poha veggie preparation
- Heat oil in a pan on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves and wait till they splutter.
- Once you get the pronounced aroma of fennel seeds, add 75% of the chopped onions and some salt. If you don’t like raw onions as garnish, then add all the chopped onions at this stage.
- Once the onions turn translucent, add the peanuts, green chillies, cashews and saute them for around 2-3 mins.
- Next, add the potatoes along with salt and turmeric powder. Cover the pan with a lid so that the steam cooks the potatoes quickly.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, add the soaked poha and mix it well – such that all the rice flakes are coated with the yellow turmeric powder.
- Check the salt level at this stage and adjust only if required. If you like a bit of sugar, add at this time.
- Switch off the flame and keep the pan covered for around 7 mins so that the poha can cook a bit more in the steam.
- Finally garnish it rest of the chopped onions, cilantro leaves and grated coconut before serving. You can also add the pomegranate seeds and nylon sev (I forgot to take the pic with these toppings)
- Lemon goes great with poha, so squeeze it just before serving. Serve this dish hot / warm only!
- Do not over-soak the poha. If you do that, the flakes will not separate and the dish will become mushy.
Breaking the clutter in what is known as Little Thailand or Golden Mile Tower is an Italian joint called PocoLoco Pizzeria. It is situated right in front of the escalator that goes down from the Rex Cinemas entrance. They have a long counter which enables you to see the chefs busy at work and the dining seats are spread out in the open. This fuss-free outlet serves quality Italian food at affordable prices. At a place that spoils you for choice in terms of Thai food, PocoLoco Pizzeria was a pleasant find. This Golden Mile Tower outlet essentially specializes in pizzas. They have other outlets in Ang Mo Kio and Jurong. Since this outlet has a limited number of seats, it is better to reserve in advance in case of a slightly larger group (more than 4 pax).
The menu has the standard offerings but I missed the ‘V’ symbol clearly demarcating the vegetarian dishes. Having said that, there are quite a few options for vegetarians and they are open to a reasonable customization of pizza toppings which was nice. Apart from the standard menu, they also have daily specials mentioned on the blackboard placed at the front of the restaurant.
To begin the meal on a warm note, we tried the ‘Mushroom Soup’. It had an earthy flavour and was well-seasoned. It was a decent and simple dish.
Since we were informed that the main courses would take some time, we decided to try the ‘Garlic Bread Pomodoro’. The thing to note here is that this is served in the form of a pizza and is placed under the ‘Pizzas’ section on their menu. So you have to imagine this as bread that can be consumed with soup or a bruschetta serving that can be shared. It works as an appetizer and not as a pizza since it does not have toppings or cheese.
Mushroom Soup at $4
The vegetarian pizza that we ordered was the ‘Ortolana Pizza’. I was able to customize the mixed vegetable toppings with some standard options like onions, bell peppers, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. When the pizza arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see a colored pizza dough base. We got a red color base which was from the usage of beetroot. Upon inquiring, I got to know that they serve different colors on other days of the week and that was quite whimsical. The quality of mozzarella cheese used was very good and the toppings were top-notch. The 10-inch pizza had a crisp crust and is worth ordering.
Garlic Bread Pomodoro at $5
If you are a cheese lover, try the ‘Bella Italian’ pizza. This pizza will tease you with a dual combination of melted mascarpone and mozzarella cheese. The easy to spread tomato sauce on the base was good and enhanced the overall taste of the pizza. The quality of cheese used in their pizzas is really good. For the fresh burrata cheese lovers, do not miss on the ‘Caprese’ pizza which is rightly marked as the chef’s recommendation on the menu.
Ortolana Pizza at $12
For the pasta dish, we tried the ‘Pesto Pasta’. The pasta was cooked al dente and the pesto was smooth and coated the pasta perfectly. Personally, I think the dish needed a touch more seasoning.
Bella Italian at $13
It’s very tough for me not to order the ‘Tiramisu’ at a Italian joint. This Tiramisu had a smooth and soft texture and came garnished with cacao powder. The presence of Italian sweet liqueur in the bottom-most layer was distinct and the dessert was delicious on the whole.
Pesto at $9
The ‘Crème brûlée’ had a layer of burnt caramel on the top that could be cut into easily. The egg custard was creamy and red vanilla beans were used for a fragrant taste. If you are not a fan of a strong taste of eggs when used in desserts, then it’s better not to order this dessert.
Tiramisu at $6
For quality Italian food that is value for money, for friendly service and for their rainbow dough pizzas, PocoLoco Pizzeria is absolutely worth a visit.
Crème brûlée at $5
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Italian
|Nearest MRT: Nicoll Highway
|Address: 6001 Beach Road, #B1-65/66 Golden Mile Tower, Singapore 199589
|Timings: Mon-Sun: 12pm – 3pm , 6pm – 10pm