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.
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 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 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 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 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
Cuisine Type: Vegan
Nearest MRT: Expo
Address: 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Changi City Point #02-40, Singapore 486038
Its no mean feat that Changi Airport has been considered to be the best airport in the world consistently. It is the global hub for most flights passing through the SEA region and has a steady stream of travelers and tourists frequenting its space. So its imperative for it to have a wide variety of dining options that suit different cultures. Adding its flavour to the newly opened dining joints in Changi Airport Terminal 3 is Bikanervala , a fully vegetarian restaurant serving all types of Indian cuisine. Operating under new management, the restaurant has amped up its presentability aspect in terms of its huge seating space, warm lighting, a mithai (sweets) counter and a snacks corner. It has a distinguishable red sign that cannot be missed as you walk towards the corner of the viewing mall from where you can also see the flights land and take off. The fact that it is open 24*7 also makes it convenient in case you are a vegetarian and looking for eating options at Changi Airport.
Bikanervala Changi Airport T3
Mithai counter at Bikanervala
The Orders Bikarnervala is an Indian homegrown chain that has an international presence and a standardized global menu. The same menu has been launched in Singapore and it has a lot of variety in terms of subsets of Indian cuisine – North Indian, South Indian and Indian Chinese. So basically you’ll get to taste the diversity of Indian cuisine at fairly affordable prices.
Bikanervala is famous for its chaats globally and hence we tried their recommended dish, the ‘Raj Kachori’. Let me tell you that its a royal treat – both in terms of presentation and taste. Kachoris are fried cakes of refined flour stuffed with lentils and yogurt and topped with mint and dates sauce. The tangy and sweet flavours blend beautifully in this dish and is meant to be eaten hot – so eat this tasty appetizer before the outer shell starts getting soft and soggy.
Raj Kachori at $6.5
Since we are fans of North Indian food, we tried the ‘Chole Bhature’. The chole (chickpeas) were made with authentic spices and turned out to be delicious. The bhature which are the puffed and fried version of Indian bread were non-greasy and did not lose their fluffiness for the entire course of the meal and that was really good. Highly recommended.
Chhole Bhature at $9.5
For lunch and dinner, they also have thalis and combo meals on their menu. We tried their ‘Deluxe Thali’ which had so many items in the right portion sizes that it is worthy of being called a meal. The first thing that caught my attention was the plate that was used for serving. The compartmentalized plate was spot-on as it helps in segregating the dry and gravy items with great convenience and hence you don’t find yourself struggling for space on the plate. In their Deluxe Thali, they serve Paneer, Dal Makhani, Veg of the Day, Raita, Pulao, Naan, Laccha Paratha, Papad, salad, pickle and sweet. Most of the items were tasty but the notable ones were the Dal Makhani, Pulao and the Paratha. This veg thali is ideal if you want to eat a decent portion size before catching a flight.
Deluxe thali at $14.5
Ever since Ananda Bhavan closed at Changi, one does miss the availability of popular South Indian dishes like idlis and dosas at the airport. Because of the extensive options at Bikanervala, you’ll find those standard items here now. The dosa was crisp and nice and the sambhar was well-seasoned. They also have mini-utappams and vadas that are good for breakfast or as snacks. The South Indian items are definitely good but overall I preferred their North Indian items since that is their forte and they have a better grasp on the authentic taste in that genre.
Dosa idli and vada with sambhar
To combat the humidity in Singapore, a refreshing glass of ‘Mango Lassi’ never fails. The yogurt based drink acted as an effective thirst quencher and was not overly sweet. The taste of alphonso mango in the drink was authentic and we liked it.
They have a mind-boggling assortment of sweets that can be had a la carte or conveniently packaged and taken home. They also have mithai boxes that are suitable for gifting. After putting in some thought, we tried the Kaju Roll (Rose), Rasmalai and Lamba Jamun. I have to say that their Rasmalai is outstanding with its perfectly chilled badam pista sauce and great texture of the malai. Do not miss it if you are here! In the Kaju Roll, the rose with cashews was an interesting combination to taste and it also had a substantial amount of pistachios to add some more texture. And if you are fan of the jamuns in sweets, then I preferred the Lamba Jamun to the Kala Jamun here. This place is a Mecca for Indian sweet lovers!
L to R: Rose Kaju Roll, Rasmalai, Lamba Jamun
Since it’s mainly Indian cuisine, if you are a vegan, you will find some items that cater to your dietary requirements and some that can be customized. This space is quite well-done and suitable for large groups. If you work in the East, you can also head here for team lunches. Their in-house ‘Bikano’ snacks are available here and so are their specialty items. We picked up a box of ‘Achari Mathri’ which is a teatime snack and it was very good. For enticing your taste buds with authentic Indian vegetarian cuisine, for its convenience of location, for its friendly service and for its astounding variety in Indian sweets, Bikanervala at Changi airport is a must-visit. Here’s hoping that the quality of food remains consistent at this restaurant as it was during this meal.
Nestled in the calm neighborhood of Kembangan is a fun cafe called Fresh Fruits Lab, a laboratory themed joint serving Western cuisine with a fruity twist. And yes, it is as exotic as it sounds – science themed decor with burettes, pipettes, magnifying glasses to read the menu, test tubes and colorful diagrams! We went for a weekend brunch and the restaurant was full! It definitely looks like they have regular customers. They have high tea, a la carte, brunch and even supper menus. It is around a 10 min walk from the MRT but the different dining experience made the travel worthwhile. Also worth mentioning is their periodic table drawn with symbols of fruits which was very innovative and unique.
Fresh fruits lab
FFL periodic table
The Orders To begin with, they serve complimentary juices filled in test tubes. This helps you try out different flavours and then order according to your preference. Water is served in beakers and juices in conical flasks and thus they stay consistent to their theme.
For me, tomato soup is a familiar and beloved comfort food. FFL offers the ‘Roasted Roma Soup’ which is a herbed stew made with Roma tomatoes, zucchini and croutons. The colour was dark and looked like a thicker version of homemade pasta sauce but the taste was good. There was slight sweetness in the soup which was nice.
Roasted Roma soup at $8
Brunch and pancakes go hand-in-hand. The ‘Fruity Berries’ pancake was fluffy and moist made from a seasonal berry batter. It also had apple compote and strawberries drizzled with maple syrup. The fruity twist along with sizable portions made it a good order.
Fruity berries pancakes at $11
For brunch, a ‘Frittata’ works as a ready-to-go egg dish that is somewhere between a quiche and omelette. The folding and flipping technique in the dish made with eggs, potatoes and mushrooms was done in a compact manner. It was served with fruity salad and toasted multigrain buns. Highly recommended. (if you eat eggs)
Frittata at $15
For a refreshing feel, try any of the fruit juices or sodas from their beverage section. The notable ones are ‘Strawberry Soda’ and Three to Tango which were rightly marked as the Lab Bestsellers. They were bursting with flavour and topped off with real fruits.
Strawberry soda at $6
We ordered the ‘Lychee Cake’ to try a unique dessert. The layers were drenched with lychee syrup and it became a sugar overload after a few bits. The texture was almost like a marshmallow and it was a bit too sweet for my liking. They have many cakes on their display counter, so maybe I’ll try something else the next time.
Lychee cake at $6.5
For the vegetarians, there are some more soup and salad options. The staff are friendly and attend to your needs immediately. They also have ongoing lunch promotions with a menu change every fortnight. For a different dining experience, for chilling out on the weekends, for striking a chemistry with your special someone and for its good food, FFL is worth a visit.
In a Nutshell
Cuisine Type: Western
Nearest MRT: Kembangan
Address: 351 Changi Road, Lor Mazuki, Singapore 419818
Changi Coastal Walk is a beautiful place to go cycling or watch an unending sequence of planes on a landing approach. During one of my walks along this stretch, I noticed this new restaurant called Saanjha Chulah at Changi Village . Being an Indian myself, I understood the meaning of the restaurant name. It is a traditional oven over which rotis are cooked in the state of Punjab in India. From outside, the restaurant looked so casual and homely that I decided to give it a try. The ambient music consisted of nice Hindi melodies which immediately transported me back home. The restaurant serves North Indian, Mughlai, Kashmiri and Indian-Chinese delicacies. Before we placed our order we asked the owner, Amarjeet Kaur as to what she would recommend. She replied that we could order anything as all the items in the restaurant were good. I admired her confidence and I must say we were not disappointed at all.
To begin with, we went for the ‘Vegetable Momos’. Momos are basically stuffed dumplings. The filling was well-cooked and had a sharp gingery undertone. We gobbled it up in no time. The accompanying sauce was spicy and gave a necessary punch to the dish.
Vegetable momos at $7
We were craving for Indian-Chinese items and ordered the ‘Gobi Manchurian’ and I must say this is one of the best that I have tasted in my food hunts. The cauliflower was crisp, well-salted and the sauce coating was perfect. The quantity served was quite sizable at that price point and I had no qualms in placing a repeat order of this dish. Highly recommended.
Gobi manchurian at $7.5
For the mains, we ordered the ‘Veg Fried Rice’ and ‘Chili Garlic Noodles’. Both were well seasoned and not very oily. The vegetables were crisp in the fried rice and we enjoyed it.
Veg fried rice and Veg noodles at $5 each
I have a weakness for Punjabi cuisine and I knew that I wanted to try one of those items on the menu. I promptly placed an order for ‘Rajma Masala’ which is basically kidney beans cooked in gravy. The rajma was perfectly cooked and the gravy had authentic spices that I could connect with ‘dhaba’ cuisine back in India. It was not extremely creamy and tasted more of home-cooked rajma which definitely scores high on my liking. I had steamed rice as an accompaniment along with this dish.
Rajma Masala at $7
We were quite parched and had also ordered ‘Fresh Lime Soda’ and a tea named ‘Kashmiri Kahwa’. This is a special tea infused with saffron strands, cinnamon, cardamom and almonds. I must say that I absolutely loved this preparation and it was ideal to drink it towards the end of the meal. Do try it if you like these flavours.
Kashmiri kahwa and fresh lime soda at $3.5 each
For desserts, we ordered ‘Rasmalai’ and ‘Gajar ka Halwa’ which were delicious. The thing that impressed us was that it was not extremely sweet or filled with ghee that makes every bite feel so rich that you struggle to finish the dish. It was a befitting end to the overall delicious dining experience.
Rasmalai ($6) and gaajar/carrot halwa ($6.5)
For the feel of authentic Indian cuisine, for the relaxed ambiance, for a group gathering, for the price point, for quality service, Saanjha Chulah is definitely worth a visit. I am hoping that they sustain the food taste levels as they grow – wishing them all the best!