Picnic Singapore – Wisma Atria at Orchard

When a sprawling dining space that resembles an indoor garden opens on Orchard Road, it is bound to attract attention. This garden themed cafe / communal dining spot, Picnic is filled with real potted plants and an AstroTurf covered garden area that will make you feel like you are having a picnic in the park. The outdoor element of a picnic is brought in with the usage of a lighting system that undergoes changes according to the time of the day. In terms of dining, the place has food trucks serving international cuisines, an illuminated bar and a dessert counter. The food ordering will remind you of Marché with the use of buzzers and for checkout, payment is made easy with the use of self-service kiosks.

Picnic Singapore

Picnic Singapore


Picnic dessert counter

Picnic dessert counter

The Orders
Since we scouted for vegetarian options, I am sharing the stalls in which I managed to find them conveniently.

1. Basic Kneads
Basic Kneads is the stall serving soups and sandwiches. We noticed 3 vegetarian soup choices: Tomato, Mushroom, Potato and Leek. Soups act as a nice way to start a meal and we decided to try them instantly. We ordered the ‘Tomato Soup’ which was a rustic rendition of the dish. The bold red color coupled with the pulpy texture created a soup that was delicious and well-seasoned.

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup at $9


Next we ordered the ‘Mushroom Soup’ which was a visual delight. Once could stare at the contrast of the soup color with the well-drizzled cream pattern and almost feel like not spoiling the appeal. The soup was rich, indulgent and full of earthy flavours. It is a recommended dish if you are a fan of mushrooms.
Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup at $9

2. Rosti Haus
The Swiss potato dish, rosti, has an exclusive food truck serving the classic and other versions of the dish. It is an eternal favourite for most and the stall seemed to be quite popular. We ordered the ‘Plain Rosti’ which was the only vegetarian option. The shredded Idaho potato strands were nicely fried and crispy and was a good dish. But there was a clear disconnect in the quantity served to the price for this dish.

Plain Rosti

Plain Rosti at $11

3. Flour and Water
A popular stall that served classic Italian pastas and pizzas. Since we did not want to try the usual Margherita Pizza, we opted to try the pasta. We ordered the ‘Vodka Rigatoni’ which is one of the best pastas that I have eaten in Singapore.It was ridiculously flavorful – rich, spicy and delicious. For those who are apprehensive to try a bit of alcohol in their pasta can be rest assured that you can hardly taste it. It is flambéed in vodka in front of you just for the final touch. Every aspect was good about this pasta – highly recommended.

Vodka Rigatoni

Vodka Rigatoni at $16

4. Tikka Taco
You hear food trucks and you instantly think of Tacos. Tikka Taco is one such attempt at offering unique combinations combining Indian and Mexican flavours in some and Korean flavours in others. We ordered the ‘Spinach Pesto’ taco which was different and tasted good. There were pine nuts in the filling which lent the crunch to the dish.

Spinach Pesto Taco

Spinach Pesto Taco

5. Desserts
Their dessert counter offers everything from cupcakes to cheesecakes to pastries. They also have a crepe station and we tried the ‘Chocolate Crepe’ which made for a luscious dinner dessert.

Chocolate Crepe

Chocolate Crepe


Overall, Picnic is a fun themed addition to the multi-cuisine concept in Orchard. There are around 12-15 stalls, so there might be more vegetarian foods which we plan to check next time. Also to be noted is they have meal sets during lunch time and their dishes are priced lower by around $3-$4 even on an À la carte basis. They also offer sharing platters in which you can combine dishes from different trucks. Its a good place to chill along with a large group of friends. Definitely worth a visit to this picturesque place.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: International cuisine (Food trucks) ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Orchard
Address: Wisma Atria #03-15, 435 Orchard Road, Singapore 238877
Timings: Mon-Sun: 10am – 10pm
Website: http://www.picnicsg.com/#
Advertisements

Yantra Restaurant – Temple Food Festival

Food and Indian festivals go hand-in-hand. During the auspicious season of Navratri, the Indian fine-dining restaurant, Yantra has launched a ‘Temple Food Festival’. This event will continue till Oct 10th 2016 and is available only for dinner. Located in Tanglin Mall, this restaurant is a well-known name to people staying in Singapore and food festivals here always catch my attention. Helmed by Chef Hemant Oberoi, the restaurant is serving wholesome Indian plates (thalis) from four distinct regions in India during this festive season. The thalis being served are: 1) Golden Temple Thali (Punjab in North India) 2) Tirupati Balaji Temple (Andhra Pradesh in South India) 3) Jagannath Puri Temple (Orissa in East India) 4) Nathdwara Temple ( Rajasthan in West). The diversity in Indian cuisines is projected in a balanced manner via this food festival. According to Hindu tradition, temple food is termed ‘prasad’ (offerings to God) and hence this festival is fully vegetarian.

The Orders
Punjabi food is my weakness and it was a no-brainer for me to order the ‘Golden Temple Thali’ from Amritsar. But before I get started on the food items, let me just say that visiting the Golden Temple is an experience in itself. I am glad that I had the privilege to visit this Sikh temple. Many articles term it as the world’s largest free kitchen with their langars (canteen) serving almost 100,000 visitors everyday. But what amazed me during my visit was the amazing and generous spirit of the volunteers who relentlessly work to make you feel at home.

Coming back to Yantra’s thali, it had the standard items of Punjabi cuisine. Punjabi cuisine is so much about the authenticity of taste that there were many hits and few misses in the thali. Noteworthy dishes were: ‘Kali Mirch Papad’ for its slight kick of spice, ‘Pakode Waali Kadi’ for the marinated fritters to have fully absorbed the flavour of kadi, ‘Aloo aur achar waali sabzi’ for the gravy style potato dish made well and ‘Langar wali dal’ which is a treat of lentils. If you are a fan of Dahi Bhalle (Vadas soaked in yogurt), then you will like it – but this is the slightly sweeter version. What disappointed me was the ‘Chole’ as it did not hit the right notes for me. This is a spot-on thaali with bhatura, garlic naan and rotis as the breads served on the side.

Golden Temple Thali

Golden Temple Thali


The beautiful state of Rajasthan in India needs no introduction. And one of the famous temples near Udaipur is the Shrinathji Mandir. Mainly known for their saatvic tradition in terms of food at this temple, Rajasthani influence was amply evident in their cooking style.
Our next order was the ‘Nathdwara Temple Thali’ and we were quite eager to try it. Noteworthy dishes were: ‘Aloo Methi’ as the potatoes has captured the right flavour of fenugreek leaves, ‘GawarFalli’ which was long cluster beans done to perfection,’Dal Baati’ which was quite good, ‘Chokki Patta Gobi’ which was tasty cabbage cooked in Indian spices. The vegetable variety and the overall balance of sweet and savory dishes made this thali interesting for me.
Nathwara Temple Thali

Nathdwara Temple Thali


Save the best for last, especially if we are talking about Indian desserts. The ‘Kulfi’ is a part of Golden Temple Thali and is extremely delicious. Its a denser and creamier version of ice-cream and was well-flavored with cardamom.
Kulfi

Kulfi


‘Basundi’ is thick sweetened milk that is flavored with cardamom or saffron and garnished with nuts like pistachios. It was interesting to try it with Lapsi which is basically broken wheat. And also served alongside was ‘Aate Ka Halwa’ and this was a part of Nathdwara Temple Thali. The basundi was overly sweet for my liking.
Basundi and Lapsi

Basundi and Lapsi


On the whole, if you want to experience the authentic taste of vegetarian food from different states in India, this is worth it. Priced at $49++ per plate, it was good for the experience and ambience. And what better way to work out a weekend appetite!

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Indian vegetarian ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Orchard
Address: 163 Tanglin Rd, #01-28 Tanglin Mall, Singapore 247933
Timings: Till Oct 10th 2016, only for dinner
Website: http://www.yantra.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Temple-Food-Festival-2016-Menu.pdf

Nara Thai – ION Orchard

When you think of Bangkok, you think of Thai street food. When you transport those dishes to an upscale setting, you get Nara Thai. Situated in the plush and busy ION Orchard mall , the queue that lines up outside this restaurant during dinner time is mind-boggling. As I stood in the queue, I could see the restaurant was quite popular among expats and visiting tourists. Being awarded by TripAdvisor has worked to their advantage in their ability to garner tourist crowds. With a classy and contemporary setting, the atmosphere in this chic restaurant will instantly put you at ease. Nevertheless, what caught my attention was that they have a separate vegetarian menu (like Bali Thai) on display at the restaurant. I wish they had shared that information on their website as well.

The Orders
Served straight from the wok, the ‘Fried Spring Rolls’ crackled when you bit into them. The crunchy bites led to the revelation of a tasty filling. The starter was so good that the plate was empty in no time.

Fried spring rolls

Fried spring rolls at $9


Another famous Thai salad is the ‘Green Mango Salad’ that is a must try if you like the kick of spices. The salad at Nara Thai was milder with a manageable spice level, hence you might be a tad disappointed. The salt from the roasted cashews definitely helped in cutting through the tangy mango.
Green Mango salad

Green Mango salad at $10


For the mains, we went for the ‘Vegetable Hor Fun’ which came in a substantial portion. The broth was highly spicy and the chillies added more heat with every bite. This dish is not for the faint-hearted but if you enjoy spicy food, go for it!
Hor Fun

Hor Fun at $14


After having had ‘Thai Green Curry’ at a lot of places by now, the dish just looked decent. According to a friend, the dish had a slight sweet note to it. It had a decent amount of vegetables in the dish but the portion size could have been larger. For pure vegetarians, please note that the paste does contain fish sauce. Hence this dish is not part of their vegetarian menu.
Thai green curry

Thai green curry at $14


For the drinks, we ordered the ‘Thai Milk Iced Tea’ and Mango Smoothie which were very good. Refreshing and flavorful, they acted as fitting beverages to the meal.
Thai Iced tea and Mango Smoothie

Thai Iced tea and Mango Smoothie


Apart from this I also tried the ‘Veg Fried Rice’ which was decent. They also have the ‘Blue Jasmine Rice’ which was no different from white rice as such except that it has a certain flavour – and is blue in colour. Try it just for the ‘different’ element or if you are curious 🙂 For their convenient location and for their variety of offerings in Thai cuisine, Nara Thai is worth a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Thai ★★★
Nearest MRT: Orchard
Address: 2 Orchard Turn, ION Orchard #B3-21, Singapore 238801
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11.30am – 10pm
Website: http://narathai.com.sg/

Haha Thai – Ngee Ann City [Permanently Closed]

It’s nice to visit a restaurant who’s name spells laughter. When we visited Haha Thai at Ngee Ann City in Orchard, what struck me first was the (well-lit) ambiance. The industrial finish gave a hipster vibe to the trendy mall setting. The place is spacious and good for large groups. We love Thai food, so the ‘Love Thai’ bold font signage worked for us.

Haha thai decor

Haha thai decor


The moment I saw their menu page listing their mains, I wanted to know if the traditional Thai curries were available. They were ready to customize and make them vegetarian instantly. They said the food would take 20 mins to prepare it as they would cook it separately. I was happy with their understanding about food choices.
Haha Thai mains menu

Haha Thai mains menu

The Orders
For the salad, we ordered the ‘Thai Mango Salad’ to get the Thai spice kick. The mango was quite tangy but the salad was not very spicy. This was not one of the best mango salads that we have tasted. Since it’s a seasonal fruit, I would prefer not to be too critical about it.

Thai mango salad

Thai mango salad at $8.8


On the other hand, their ‘Fried Spring Rolls’ were quite good. They were crispy and a delectable mouthful of vegetables that made us wish for a larger portion. The chilli dip on the side was also well balanced.

Veg spring roll

Fried spring roll at $4.8 (3pcs)


For the mains, we ordered the ‘Veg Green Curry’ and the colour of the curry appealed to us instantly. There was a distinct Thai aroma emanating from it and it was delicious. It was creamy and filled with vegetables and tofu. Go for it and enjoy your meal.

Veg green curry

Veg green curry at $9.8


We also ordered the ‘Veg Red Curry’. Loaded with potatoes, mushrooms, and tofu, this dish offered a more hearty take on the traditional Thai curry. Spice wise, there was no difference between the green and red versions. On the whole, the green curry had a slight edge in taste over the red.

Veg red curry

Veg red curry at $12.8


We have heard a lot about their ‘Red Velvet Cake’ which we plan to try next time. Yes, by that I mean we will be visiting this place again! For their happy service staff, for their decent prices in an upscale setting and for the love of Thai food, pay them a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Thai ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Orchard
Address: 391 Orchard Road, Ngee Ann City #05-29, Singapore 238873
Timings: Mon-Thu: 11.30am – 10pm ; Fri-Sun: 11am – 10pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/HahaThaiRestaurant

Thai Festival 2015 at Orchard Road

Thailand is well known for great tourist spots and happy locals. As part of good diplomatic relations with Singapore, the food and fanfare of Thailand has come to life at Orchard Road in the form of a food festival. Thai Festival 2015 runs from 3rd Sept – 6th Sept. There are food and accessory stalls along with ongoing cultural displays of Thai traditions. It is an interesting peek into the pleasant ‘Sawadee Kha’ nation.

The Orders
To begin with, they have put up some free sampling stalls modeled after the famous floating markets of Thailand. It is fascinating to watch the desserts being made in the traditional vessels. We first tried the ‘Kanom Krok’ which are the Thai Coconut Rice Cakes steamed in a Appe kind of pan. The taste is a nice blend of savoury and sweet and definitely worth trying.

Kanom Krak

Kanom Krak


The most unique thing that I tried was the ‘Roti sai mai’ which consists of a green crepe made from pandan leaves filled with cotton candy made with spun sugar. I must say this was delicious. This was also one of the free sampling stalls.

Roti sai mai

Roti sai mai


If you are a vegetarian and looking to have a proper meal like lunch or dinner at these food stalls, then you will be disappointed. The only thing I managed to find was the ‘Mango Papaya Salad’ on the first day made in the authentic Thai way. The chilli padi and peanuts get mixed with the papaya and are whisked in a wooden bowl shaped like a big mortar and pestle. This is one helluva spicy salad!

Mango and papaya salad

Mango and papaya salad at $5


It also depends on what time of the day you are going since most of the food items had gotten over quite soon on the first day. There are a lot of food product stalls selling fried onions, fruits, dried mango, candied orange peels, and more. They offer samples as well. I bought the Green Curry, Red Curry and Tom Yum Paste bottles as they looked quite good. Sharing some of my food shopping here – Brown Rice Crackers, Candied Banana Chips and Taro Chips. The Mini Coconut Crepes also looked interesting though I am yet to taste them.
Thai food items

Thai food items (3 for $10)


There were some handbags displayed by ‘Thai Association Singapore’ for ladies to get their shopping fix. There are also other stalls selling different kinds of accessories and clothes. The spa zone has massage options and photo booths.

Thai association

Thai association Singapore


On the whole, if you would like to be transported to the street markets in Thailand with variety of food items like organic brown rice, honey with ginger, and lemongrass drinks – do visit the Thai Festival 2015.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Food festival- Thai cuisine variaitions ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Orchard
Address: Royal Thai Embassy, Orchard Road, Outside Exit E Orchard MRT
Timings: 10 am – 9 pm (3rd Sept – 6th Sept)
Website: https://www.facebook.com/RoyalThaiEmbassySingapore

Sacha & Sons

Wild Honey is well known in Singapore for its all-day breakfast offerings. The same owners have opened a New York style Deli called Sacha & Sons . Situated in the plush Mandarin Gallery , this place offers classic delicatessen selections. There’s a great ambiance with people chatting away and grabbing a quick bite that does remind you a bit of New York cafes.

Sacha and sons nameboard

Sacha and sons signboard

The Orders
As a foodie, I am always excited to go through menus and check for the different vegetarian options I can try out. To start our meal, I decided to go for the ‘Bagel and Cream Cheese’ which is a classic combination. These were sesame flavored bagels with a chewy texture and the herb infused cream cheese had a nice amount of garlic in it. I quite enjoyed this dish and forgot about the calorie count in the process.

Bagel

Bagel with herb cream cheese at $8


The most interesting dish that I found on the menu was ‘Latkes’ which I had never tried before this outing. ‘Latkes’ are basically potato pancakes deep fried in oil. It is a traditional Jewish dish made during Hanukkah. They have different toppings on this and I opted for ‘Sour Cream’ and ‘Applesauce’. It is quite filling and I would highly recommend this delicious dish.
Potato latke

Potato latke at $10


On the side, we also ordered the ‘Cold Potato Salad’ which was passable. Its more a matter of personal preference as I prefer warm potatoes to the colder version.
Cold potato salad

Cold potato salad


As a thirst quencher, we went for the ‘Ruby Grapefruit Juice’ which was refreshing and nice. It was a dark red colour that clearly glistened in the warm lights and made it one visually appealing glass.
Ruby grapefruit juice

Ruby grapefruit juice at $9


On the whole, they are slightly pricey for the serving portions. Barring that – for the introduction of a new concept, for unique food offerings and good food, Sacha and Sons deserve a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Deli ★★★
Nearest MRT: Orchard
Address: 333A Orchard Road,#03-02 Mandarin Gallery, Singapore 238897
Timings: Sun-Thu: 10am – 10pm ; Fri-Sat: 10am – 11pm
Website: http://www.sacha-deli.com.sg/

Shimbashi Soba – Paragon outlet

Last year, I had the pleasure of visiting Japan. I have to say it is one of the most beautiful countries in terms of its abundant nature , food options and the warmth of the people. That was also my first exposure to Japanese cuisine, to be more precise, vegetarian Japanese cuisine. Their broth preparations are quite delicious, especially the soy broth. I was waiting for something of that kind to hit Singapore and I happened to chance upon the exclusive Vegetarian set menu additions of Shimbashi Soba situated at Paragon mall in Orchard. I jumped upon seeing this unique offering and I knew I had to pay them a visit. They have some special vegetarian offers for January and February 2015. Generally, Japanese culture pays a lot of emphasis on punctuality, efficiency and warm hospitality. Shimbashi Soba had all those aspects – we were seated on time, promptly served and interacted with a smiling staff who made apt suggestions on the menu. While we were waiting to be seated, I spotted a neat note explaining the difference in the vegetarian menu. This place might also be suitable for some vegans.

Shimbashi Soba food note

Shimbashi Soba food note

The Orders
It is always a pleasure to taste Japanese teas. I am also a huge fan of the serving vessels they use to serve different preparations. The elegant teapot was a welcome sight. The ‘Soba Cha’ was light, mild and very refreshing.

Teas at Shimbashi Soba

Teas at Shimbashi Soba


It is a no-brainer that I had to taste soba in a restaurant which had soba in its name! Their noodles are eggless. This place is popular for its buckwheat soba which is handmade in the restaurant and freshly served. The soba strips are so finely cut that it is mindblowing! Buckwheat is healthy as it is high in antioxidants. Our first order was the ‘Vegetarian Tempura Sairo / Kake Soba’ which was assorted tempura served with soba. The whole set was so pretty. You have an option to select hot soba or cold soba in the set. I was glad my friend suggested that I try cold soba. It is served on a bamboo mat with ice beneath it. I must say it was one of the nicest sobas I have ever tried. To eat it – add the garnish (served alongside) into the tea, take the noodles, dip it in the tea set and then in the plum flavoured salt. You will get all the flavours blending in your mouth with every bite. And if you want the kick, go for the wasabi! Highly recommended.
Vegetarian Tempura Sairo / Kake Soba

Vegetarian Tempura Sairo / Kake Soba at $19.80


Next, we wanted to try the soy broth preparation since we were also nostalgic about our Japan trip. We went for the ‘Vegetarian Tonyu Nabeyaki Soba’. I loved this dish as well. The broth is rich with hints of soy sauce coming through. The vegetables and mushrooms were well seasoned. The noodles do lose some of the texture they possess when eaten cold. This is more than made up for by the texture of the dish as a whole.
Vegetarian Tonyu Nabeyaki Soba

Vegetarian Tonyu Nabeyaki Soba at $19.80


For an unique dining experience, for their amazing soba noodles, for their separate menu with a variety of vegetarian offerings and for the experience of authentic Japanese cuisine, Shimbashi Soba is totally worth a visit. Domo arigato!

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Japanese ★★★★
Nearest MRT: Orchard
Address: #B1-41 Paragon, 290 Orchard Road
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11.30 am – 10 pm
Website: http://www.sobaworld.com.sg/