great grill-and-salad in biopolis – at the nanos building, which really is respite from what has been a long drought of appetizing food options in the area. the denotation of salad café raises connotations of maniacally sparse eating – but I think it’s more accurate to say that this place does a mean grill, and serves up a great selection of salads on the side (or beneath, to be completely pedantic).
we were spoiled for choice by the many options – and then bowled over by the quality of the food, before leaving literally bursting at the bits. the portion sizes are large, the prices reasonable for what is really good cooking – which showcases the quality of produce used here – and that makes for good eating well worth visiting, especially in a gastronomically-barren area such as this one.
it’s a smallish cafe at the corner of the building, which initially raised apprehensions about the food – surely we are all too familiar with that breed of convenient-but-really-mediocre-cafe that somehow proliferate near workplaces. this place differs from that pre-prepared-cold-cuts sort of place though – the open kitchen shows you the chefs cooking up the meats from fresh, and the salad options are still crisp (I have a fear of wilted and browned salad leaves from being left out too long).
you start off with a bowl of salad – it comes with a standard base of arugula and micro-leaves, as well as either cos or romaine – that you pile on with your choice of toppings. interestingly, there aren’t suggested mixes or anything like that – probably good, since I always end up throwing out things like olives – and the choice veers from the standard diced vegetables like peppers and cucumbers, to an assortment of nuts and fruit, to heavier options like pasta and new potatoes. I’m partial to sweet – so I got mine with grapes, walnuts and an egg for good measure – whereas my gluttonous friend had hers with potatoes, pasta, cheese and an egg.
but really, let’s talk meat. the menu spans poultry, fish, seafood and proper red meat – as well as a few grilled vegetable options, which we didn’t try this time. these are a far cry from the processed bits of so-called meat you get at many lunch joints – which do have their place in this world, but not a gastronomic one – and would not be misplaced within a good restaurant. they were well-marinated, highly savoury and came with a good sear – stars in their own right and almost incongrous to the idea of a salad bar. our favourites were the salmon – a special of the month – and dory, which were flakey and moist; the prawns, which were crunchy and lots of maillard goodness; the mojo chicken and the balsamico beef, both tender and really flavourful.
you can get your salads dressed – and we particularly liked the wasabi-honey, the citrus and the spicy dressings. I also found myself dipping into the maple peanut far too often, which you might appreciate if you’re as manic about peanut butter as I am. there are also rice options if you’re so inclined, and the cajun rice we tasted – which I think might be a special – was well-flavoured and went well with the seafood and poultry options.
I find myself writing as though I expected the food to be mediocre, even though I do love salads – and I did. salad bars in singapore are a paltry affair, with wilted vegetables and meat that’s seen far better days. but this place was an epiphany – I wouldn’t class it as a salad bar nearly so much as a good casual bistro serving up great grilled food, with well-matched flavours and quality produce, and which so happens to serve up a mean salad. service is young and quick, the prices reasonable – and there aren’t many places you can say the same of these days. well-worth a trip down if you haven’t already!
The Lawn Grill & Salad Café
31 Biopolis Way,
thank you, jonathan, for this much-appreciated invite.
p.s. I’m trying something new – how do you like the text on photos, and the photo-interspersed text?