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
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
It’s not a revelation that Fortune Centre is a vegetarian and vegan food paradise. Located in the bustling Rochor area, it acts as a dining hot spot for both locals and tourists. One of my favourite cafes in this building is Create Healthy Lifestyle , a nondescript cafe serving healthy and tasty vegetarian food with less oil and salt and no MSG. It is mostly filled with customers at any time of the day and it is likely that you will have to share your table if you plan to eat here. The cafe also sells organic produce and packaged organic goods in their retail section.
Create Healthy Lifestyle
Orders are placed at the counter and their menu, written on the big white board helps you make your choices quickly. Apart from the daily specials, there are other extra items on their menu (placed at your table). There are also a lot of vegan options on the menu. For the quantity and the quality of items served, the prices are friendly on the wallet.
One of my standard orders at this place is the ‘Vegetable Pancake’ which is made in the Korean style. It’s actually an appetizer but for me its filling enough to be called a meal. It resembles a flattened pizza and is filled with vegetables like carrots, bell peppers and spinach. It is extremely savory and delicious along with the sauce to dip on the side. Highly recommended.
Create Healthy Lifestyle menu
We also ordered the ‘Tom Yum Soup’ which, for me, is happiness in a bowl. A delicious, savory spicy-sour soup is perfectly complemented by the earthy vegetables. To complete the dish, I opted for thin noodles – but they have other noodle options as well. Highly recommended.
Vegetable Pancake at $5
A simple and satisfying dish to order would be the ‘Vegetable Fried Brown Rice’ which is filled with a variety of veggies. Each component of the dish is cooked well and the rice is not mushy. Some could find the dish to be under salted but this cafe believes in doing their cooking in the healthy way.
Tom Yum Soup
There will always be a need for refreshing drinks in the Singapore weather. One of the popular drinks in the juice stalls is the ‘ABC’ juice. Made from the nutritious combination of apple, beetroot and carrot, this juice is healthy for the mind and body. Definitely give this juice a try!
Vegetable fried brown rice at $5
For their significant efforts to make healthy food with no compromise on taste, for their affordable prices and for their old-world charm, Create Healthy Lifestyle Cafe is a must-visit.
ABC (Apple, Beetroot and Carrot) Juice
Bussorah Street is filled with restaurants offering a variety of cuisines and that’s the best part about the culturally rich Kampong Glam District. As you walk on the street, it is difficult to miss the Flying Monkey restaurant which exudes a happy vibe with its bright interiors and vibrant colors. As soon as I entered the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was the extremely fascinating Kathakali painting on the wall. Kathakali is one of the major forms of classical dance from the state of Kerala and is based on the ‘story play’ genre of art. This is a full-fledged restaurant serving pan-Indian tapas and creative cocktails that are unique and with a twist. The fact that it is a sister concern of Pizza Fabbrica which is next door also guarantees a certain assurance of quality in the dishes.
Flying Monkey decor
The food can be enjoyed in both small and big plates and has quite a few vegetarian options. The basic idea is to pair the food with an interesting cocktail from the bar and set the mood of the meal. The portion sizes of the items are just right for one person, hence it is better to go with a larger group of friends so that you get to taste more dishes in tapas style.
Regional food in India has been seeing its own renaissance. The most popular food from the Awadh region in India is the kebab. Over the years, this dish has undergone innovation and interpretation in myriad ways and hence we were eager to try the ‘Papaya Kebabs’ from the menu. Though papaya might be a questionable choice for some, it is a fruit that has seen usage in the Kakori style of kebabs with meat. Flying Monkey presents the vegetarian version with both style and taste. These kebabs were papaya fritters served with plum chutney and were delicately flavored with spices. This unique combination makes it a must-try.
Flying Monkey menu
Next we ordered the ‘Chilli Poppers’ which are derived from the Mirchi Vada popular in the state of Rajasthan in India. They are chilli peppers stuffed with a spicy potato filling, then dipped in gram flour batter and deep-fried. The Flying Monkey version is not extremely spicy and makes you relish the poppers. I wished they were more hot in terms of the serving temperature and also that there were more pieces of the poppers.
Papaya Kebabs at $12
We also tried the ‘Paneer Shashlik’ which is usually served on a sizzler plate on skewers. The grilled paneer pieces were served with onions, tomatoes and capsicum and tasted good. The paneer was evenly marinated with the spices. Grab a bite with the chutney and salad served on the side to enjoy the combination.
Chilli Poppers at $10
In the big plates section, we tried the ‘Lasooni Saag’ which is comfort food for most Indians. The green spinach mash with burnt garlic had a nice creamy texture and went well with the Tandoori Roti. The presentation reminded me of pita bread served with a dip. The thickness in the saag was impressive and I was able to experience the richness of the spinach.
Paneer Shashlik at $10
‘Baingan Salan’ pairs well with vegetable biryani but it also works as a great curry along with plain rice. This is a dish in which whole eggplants are braised in a cashew and peanut curry. The nuts add to the texture of the gravy but on the whole I would have preferred better balance and seasoning in this dish.
Lasooni Saag at $16
The service staff were attentive and friendly and that’s always a bonus for a relatively newly opened restaurant. For their interesting cocktails, an evening out with friends or to experience unique Indian tapas in a relaxed atmosphere, Flying Monkey is worth a visit.
Baingan Salan at $16
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Indian Tapas
|Nearest MRT: Bugis
|Address: 67/68 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199480
|Timings: Tue-Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm , 5.30pm – 11pm
During summers, you crave cool and refreshing drinks. If that craving is satisfied with a feel-good ingredient combination like dates and coffee, it gives you an upbeat mood. The best part is that you can spin off a milkshake in less than 15 mins, and it does not feel like a lot of work. During one of my visits to Mustafa, I stopped at the dates section and was amazed at the variety they had in stock. I decided instantly that I wanted to use them in some form of drink or dessert. For this Dates and Coffee milkshake, I have used Khudary dates from Mustafa. They ended up being a perfect pick for this aromatic and amazingly refreshing drink.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 2 pax
Time: 15 mins
- 12 de-seeded dates (6 dates per glass)
- 1.5 tsp instant coffee powder
- 6 cardamom pods
- 4 ice cubes
- 330 ml milk
Dates and coffee milkshake
- Split the cardamom pods and powder the seeds using a mortar and pestle. Freshly pounded cardamom is better since that imparts a pleasant aroma in the drink.
- Put the cardamom seeds, de-seeded dates, coffee powder, milk and ice cubes into the blender and blend it till the dates and ice have broken down into a smooth drinkable texture. The blending process should take maximum 2 minutes.
Dates and coffee milkshake
- Serve immediately. This drink can also be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. In that case, before serving, stir the drink well to redistribute the dates.
- For those who don’t like caffeine, you can substitute coffee powder with hot chocolate powder. I have tried a version of this drink using Hershey’s Hot Chocolate and its equally amazing and refreshing.
- You can also soak your dates in warm milk before you put them in the blender for 10-15 mins. This is an optional step in case you want a very soft texture.