joie restaurant by dozo, orchard central

really, surprisingly, good vegetarian fine dining atop orchard central. I’m a big fan of vegetables, not so much of vegetarian eating – the latter with its not-always-positive connotations of overt ingredient manipulation, and the unhealthiness you often see in the Asian understanding of the cuisine (i.e. deep-frying and excessive use of gluten products).

I came here with absolutely no expectations – no review-reading, no foodie-asking – and they delivered a quite remarkable meal full of fresh ingredients and many surprises. and whilst the plates belie a care expected of the fine-dining standard they aspire to, the prices don’t (in other words, great for dates and impressing without being hard on the pocket).

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gourmet greens week, or how to get your 5 a day

or, the most hip (hippest?) string of restaurants I’ve been to all year: humpback, oso ristorante, burlamacco, sugarhall and pepenero (and more!).

if you have an aversion to greens, can I suggest you grow up?, there’s a spate of restaurants out to change your mind with a slew of dishes that are so beautiful (and delicious!) as to defy any accusation of boringness.

on the week of 23 november, gourmet greens week opens at an amazing range of restaurants offering menus centered around beautiful vegetal produce. keep an open mind – because what they’re doing is plenty tasty:


like this brand new, hip-and-yuppie australian-feeling restaurant that’s drawing crowds for their delicious oysters and sides – they’ve taken the sunchoke, a rare tuber to see in singapore, and dished it up three ways: fried, pureed and raw .

one for the carb lovers, the freshness of the raw shavings plays up the heartiness of the other two preparations (and I love the trendy kale chip that came with it!).

oso ristorante

I didn’t have a great time at this italian place at bukit pasoh when I last visited for restaurant week a couple years ago, but the simple homeliness of the classic eggplant parmigiana was very (pleasantly) surprising here.

tender slices of eggplant baked with an intense tomato sauce and interspersed with cheese (BEST part of the dish), it’s a simple appetiser that exemplifies the best of italian home cooking. watch out for that sprout garnish though – it’s spicy (and more than a kick to the senses!)

also, a shoutout to that foccacia topped with perfectly caramelised onions – SO GOOD.

burlamacco ristorante

I’ve been here before, and ordered this very dish – eggs cooked in spicy marinara.

there’s something ridiculously easy about eggs in tomato sauce – the first brings richness (AND WHO DOESN’T LOVE EGGS), the second a bright tang – and I enjoyed it just as much now as I did before. scoop it up with the soft, fluffy rolls they serve here – italian eating is all about carb-overloading.


there’s plenty positive being said about this dark, fashionable restaurant, but I have to say that this was my least favorite dish. essentially cubes of tender beetroot atop mascarpone cheese on a dish of puff pastry, that last component overshadows the delicate flavors of the purple root.

if you choose, as I did, to eat the beets, cheese, and candied pecans, it’s a pretty decent dish – but I prefer the first few dishes. it’s all a matter of taste though, as each component was executed quite well (just that I didn’t like the finished product).


this restaurant is ON my list, and this last dessert is only more incentive to visit for a full meal. zabaglione ice cream frozen with crumbled amaretti biscuits and served with a caramel drizzle, it escapes the too-sweetness you’d expect given the components, and hey – vegetarian dishes can be plenty rich too!

to finish (what was a fantastic meal), these dishes are available on the set menus offered by the various restaurants for gourmet greens week – and at $30++ for lunch and $45++ for dinner (where do you even see such prices anymore!), it makes a great deal for an innovative meal.

you’ll want to hop onto to make your bookings for the #gourmetgreensweek meals – and I forgot to mention that because of their collaboration with FIJI water, you’ll get a bottle of what is probably the most delicious bottled mineral water with your meal (but also, do what I did, and get a glass of white to go with the dishes – you won’t regret it).

Gourmet Greens Week
instagram: #gourmetgreensweek (did you know I’m on instagram?!)

thanks to chope and FIJI water for the lovely trail around town!

the lawn salad & grill, tanjong pagar

just a quick reminder that I’m doing a london vegfest giveaway here!

great salads – and – more at this new branch in the central business district – a grown-up version of their first at the biopolis building. I’ve written about this place before – they do a mean grill atop fresh salads, in huge portions both gastronomically and conscience-satiating – but where the first branch was laid back (university-type is likely the best description), this is its shinier sister – sparkling in nordic white and wood and a beautiful felt-lined platform.

it’s great returning to a place to find standards have been kept up amidst expansion, portions are just as fantastic – and finding appealing additions to the menu: dessert and coffee for the hipsters.

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a giveaway: london vegfest 2013 tickets

london vegfest 2013

I shared an avocado loaf recipe with you yesterday – and today I bring you a pair of tickets to london’s greatest veggie food show! I miss living in london, and sometimes I miss it even more – and this is one of those times. 160 food stores, cooking lessons, comedians and loads of people talking about and eating food – this just sounds like an incredible amount of fun.

and we all know that food festivals mean free food – and what’s better than that?

so since I can’t go (did you think I’d share otherwise?) – I have a pair of tickets to give away for each day of the festival!

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of breakfasts, and a hot whole-grain cereal porridge

it’s coming to nearly ten months now that I’ve left london – and I try very hard not to think about it: there were fantastic memories during fantastic years, with people who’ve made a big difference in my life. I came across this photo – below – in my archives, taken during one of my visits to le pain quotidien (my absolute favourite breakfast hangout in london) and it made me think very hard.

breakfast is my favourite meal – it dictates how the rest of the day is going to go – and though I head out to brunch regularly with friends, it’s my day-to-day breakfast of hot grain that helps remind me of the times in that glorious city. I’ve had this same breakfast every day since coming back, with variations in grain and stir-ins, but the recipe, and the idea is built upon mornings – and anytime, really – of hot oatmeal in gloomy (but so lovely) london.

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thai layered coconut jelly dessert (ta ko)

ta ko is a thai dessert that used to be pretty popular in singapore – we used to get it all the time in restaurants, but now it seems like its popularity is waning in the light of sweets like red ruby and mango-sticky-rice. this is still one of my favourites though – the slightly salty coconut layer and crisp kernels of corn in a soft jelly.

it’s not too difficult to make, but I find that as with other asian desserts, much of the recipe is about approximations such as how long you should cook a mixture for, and what result you have to get – not so great for an obsessive a detail-oriented chef.

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lime curd

an easy lime curd recipe using the fruit harvested from a tiny pot in our garden – my dad’s pride and joy. we haven’t had the need to buy lime for a long time now, and these are the local calamansi variant, which go very well on fried fish, seafood, and with chilli as a dip-with-a-kick.

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traditional vietnamese rice paper, mekong delta

I still have a few posts on vietnam to go – this is the result of having a backlog so dense you can barely see the wood for the trees (does anyone watch QI?). but they’re still pretty cool and share-worthy.

this one is about that traditional vietnamese rice paper that we mostly see wrapped around salad leaves and prawns to make a summer roll – or goi cuon. the ones that you see here are made in the same manner as those translucent wrappings, just these are more opaque from the addition of coconut milk.

the lady competently ladles on batter of coconut milk and flour onto a cloth for it to be steamed, before lifting the thin and now-cooked sheet onto the edge of a rattan basket for it to dry slightly, before drying completely on vented rattan mats. some of them have sesame seeds or coconut shreds added to them.

you can buy these large dried rice sheets, and bring them home to toast into crisp shards of mildly sweet cracker, fragrant with the coconut milk and textural with the sesame sheets. they were a little large for us to carry, but I highly recommend them if you’ve got the space.

that last photo is of a rice mill, from which you can get the ever-useful rice flour.

lingzhi vegetarian, novena

incredibly fantastic chinese vegetarian at novena square. my dad’s been talking about this place for the longest time – and we’ve walked past it for years – and I’m so glad we finally came. chinese vegetarian food can be a bit of an unknown beast, no matter how often you eat it, because some places rely heavily on gluten and flour/bean-based mockeries of meat; a huge travesty since there is so much beauty in well-cooked vegetables and fungi. this place falls squarely in the celebrate-the-best-of-vegetables category, and is my recommendation for a vegetarian chinese-new-year-or-not dinner, if you’re so inclined.

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