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.
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.
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.
Tomato Soup at $5
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.
Classic Grilled Cheese Toasties at $10
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.
Taco Mexx Grain Bowl at $14
| 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
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.
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.
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.
Hummus with Lebanese bread at $8
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.
Pepperonata at $12
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.
Fettucine 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.
Winestone Pizza at $25
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
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.
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.
Fresh Garlic Bread at $4.80
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.
Penne with marinara sauce at $10.80
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.
Pasta with white sauce at $12.80
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Italian
|Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar
|Address: 43 Craig Road, Singapore 089681
|Timings: Mon-Sun: 10am – 10pm
In Singapore’s burgeoning food scene, it is heartening to see the newly opened Hans Im Glück German Burgergrill on the busy Orchard Road. This international German chain has chosen Singapore to be its first outlet in Asia and its 50th outpost in the world. The cushy and green ambiance – in the form of a rainforest promptly catches your attention if you are walking past the Royal Thai Embassy in Orchard. Named after the famous German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, Hans Im Glück has a sprawling space that seats 180 covers and extends in a narrow and linear passage perpendicular to Orchard road.
Hans Im Glück
Their menu is modeled after a storybook and is well-made with great visual appeal. By practice, I opened the second last page of the menu hoping to find some vegetarian options mentioned there. To my pleasant surprise, vegetarian and vegan burgers lead the menu. Apart from that, there are a total of 11 vegetarian and vegan burgers on the menu that boasts of a variety that will make you squeal in delight. Kudos to that as the menu shows that it not only Portobello that can go into making a vegetarian burger.
To begin with, we ordered the ‘Beer-battered Onion Rings’ to start our meal. Cooked in a light and airy batter, these golden onion rings are perfect as a simple snack. An appetizer that’s ideal for rustling up and sharing with friends. It disappeared in no time and I wished for more rings for that price point. They have four sauces on every table: Sweet Chilli, Orange Mustard, BBQ Sauce and Vegan Mayo. The Orange Mustard and BBQ are a must-try and go very well with the onion rings. Highly recommended.
Hans Im Gluck vegetarian and vegan menu
Next on the side, we tried the ‘Sweet Potato Fries’ which were well-seasoned. These fries are loaded with salt, crispy on the exterior and quite addictive. A tasty nibble that goes well as a side along with the burgers.
Beer-battered Onion Rings at $10
After staring at their menu for 10 minutes and being spoiled for choice, we ordered the ‘Wolpertinger’ Burger. This contains a spicy corn patty with aged cheddar cheese and avocado cream. They offer 3 options for the burgers – Sourdough, Multigrain in buns and the Naked version – without a bun. We tried the Sourdough bun which is specially flown in from Germany and went well with this patty. Add in the BBQ sauce to elevate this combination on the whole. They also offer an option to double up your patty at an additional price of $4 as mentioned on their menu. But when I inquired, the option to double up on a vegetarian patty comes at an additional price of $8 which is not mentioned on the menu. I wish they sort this out soon and keep the price at $4 which is the same as the other burgers.
Sweet Potato fries at $6
The other burger we tried was the ‘KÄSEBOR’ which has a spinach and cheese patty, parmesan and pesto. The pesto is on the salty side and you’ll need to take one or two bites to get used to the overall taste. This burger was top-notch in its overall rendition – packed with flavor and texture. It paired very well with the multi-grain bun. Their burgers give the wholesome meal experience because of the quality ingredients used in their preparation. For those who work or are roaming in the Orchard area, their daily lunch set is available from 11am to 5pm.
Wolpertinger at $15
Apart from this, in their drinks, we tried the ‘Still Lemonade’ in the mango-ginger flavour. An apt thirst-quencher to to get your taste buds to a fruity fresh feel. I’m sure I’ll head back to this place soon to try the other vegetarian burgers and the desserts.
For their lush and green environment and a convenient location, for their ample options for vegetarians and vegans and for offering quality ingredients at a good price point, Hans Im Glück German Burgergrill is a must-visit.
KÄSEBOR at $16
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Burgers
|Nearest MRT: Orchard
|Address: 362 Orchard Road, Singapore 238887
|Timings: Mon-Thu: 11am – midnight ; Fri-Sun: 11am – 1am
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