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 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.
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.
Japanese Gyoza 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.
Beet It at $4.90
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.
Potato and Lentil Burger at $10.90
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.
Buddha Bowl at $9.90
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Vegan
|Nearest MRT: Expo
|Address: 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Changi City Point #02-40, Singapore 486038
|Timings: Mon-Sun: 11.30am – 9.30pm
During restaurant hunting, I have observed that unassuming restaurants with a simple vibe actually turn out to be hidden gems. Recently, one such find was Noodle Thai Thai Kitchen on Beach Road. From the exterior, it appeared to be a place serving communal-style Thai food at affordable rates. One glance at the menu made me apprehensive since there weren’t many vegetarian dishes. Since Thai cuisine can easily be customized, I asked the staff if they could make their curries vegetarian and without shrimp paste. They readily agreed and that’s how my meal experience began at this Thai joint.
When you crave Thai food, ‘Spring Rolls’ become a default option to start the meal. The spring rolls here made the best appetizers as the vegetables were thinly sliced and were wrapped up well and had the perfect golden colour for the outer coating. They were crispy and went well with the chilli dip on the side.
The ‘Thai Green Curry’ finds its place in the vegetarian palate because of its refreshing flavours. Loaded with the trimmings of lemongrass, galangal and coconut milk, this curry was tasty. It had less variety of vegetables in the broth but the taste was authentic. As mentioned earlier, they cooked it from scratch when I told them of my dietary requirements, hence it takes some time to be prepared. The portion size was significant enough to be shared by two pax.
Spring roll at $5.5
We also tried the ‘Thai Bandung’ as it was a warm evening. The drink was cold, not overly sweet and a good accompaniment to the food. You can also opt for some fresh coconut water if you don’t like Bandung.
Thai Veg Green Curry at $10
The quintessential Thai main dish would be the ‘Pad Thai’ with the aromas of fresh Thai ingredients and spices. The noodles were light and chewy and served with well seasoned veggies. It comes with with the standard toppings of peanuts, lime and chili flakes.
Thai Bandung at $3.80
I would suggest, if you are going as a large group with vegetarian requirements, then its better to give them a call and check in advance. But otherwise, on the whole, if you are in the area and are looking for a no-frills Thai dining experience with authentic taste, then Noodle Thai – Thai Kitchen is worth a visit.
Pad Thai at $7.90
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Thai
|Nearest MRT: Bugis / Nicoll Highway
|Address: 327 Beach Road, Singapore 199560
|Timings: Tue-Sun: 11.30am – 10.30pm
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.