Healthy Bites

Healthy Bites

Raw, vegan and everything healthy including salads. Tasty food for the health-conscious!
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Seen quite a fair bit about Bamboo Bowls on social media and all, but didn’t manage to head down when they were still new-new back then since their operating hours are rather limited. Having the chance to be in the area these days, decided to just head down to see what they have to offer. Super clean aesthetics aside, Bamboo Bowls is an interesting concept when it comes to both the food, and the experience. The ordering process is a little cumbersome for first-timers; orders are made through a dedicated app so it does take some time to input the required details (such as card details since they only accept cashless forms of payment) — all that with the rather slow network speed whilst I was there. Once the order has been placed and payment is successfully made, a “pod” will be assigned to the order, where one would need to collect the order from the assigned pod. A notification will prompt on the phone to inform the patron that their order is ready for collection, and one would have to click on the phone to “open” the pod to collect the order. Pretty much aligned to its super minimalistic interior decor, Bamboo Bowls serves up healthy, yet gastronomic grain bowls — each bowl offered is named after a country, and features elements that is tied to the cuisine served in the said country. The menu is co-developed with several chefs from all around; take for example Chef Bjorn Shen of Artichoke/Small’s, Chef Mano Thevar of Thevar, and Chef Nicholas Phillip of Barbacoa in Bali.

It wasn’t too easy making a choice with regard to which grain bowl we wanted to go for, but the Singaporean in us probably felt like we do resonate to the “Singapore” bowl best given the description on the menu. The Singapore, which is created in collaboration with Chefs Eugene Chan (of Panamerica) and Keith Wan (of Quay House) comprises of sugar-free coconut curry, fresh vegetables, and smokey bean sprouts topped with crispy laksa leaves — patrons do have the option to either opt for an entirely plant-based bowl, or choose to add a pre-selected protein; in this case, the house-made prawn cake. Another choice that patrons are able to make a choice would be in their carb preferences — again, patrons can pick between the default whole grain selection (brown rice laksa noodles in this case), and a low-carb option (Shiratake Yam Noodles in this case). It is noted that the option to go for protein and the low-carb option is a chargeable “upgrade” — both of which we didn’t go for.

Opening up the biodegradable container, one would notice how the grain bowl is beautifully plated — mixing up all the elements to coat them up with that rich sugar-free coconut curry, it is of particular note that the gravy is especially creamy and lemak without being cloying or heavy; carried quite a good punchiness despite not being overwhelmingly spicy — just right for those who are able to tolerate low levels of spiciness. To make the entire bowl more wholesome, they did add some crispy laksa leaves (almost similar to that of dehydrated kale) for a light crispness, whilst the addition of peanuts (though I wished they did stated it clearly in the menu) provided a nutty note with more crunch and bite that went surprisingly well with the sugar-free coconut curry. Amidst all of that, the smoky bean sprouts pretty much replicates that sort of texture one would usually expect out of nicely-cooked beansprouts served with the usual bowl of laksa, while the julienned cucumbers provided a refreshing crunch; a fusion of various textures all in one bowl. As with some Laksas out there, they do provide a half of a boiled egg which was good to have, while the brown rice laksa noodles were slurpy and springy; done just about right so it doesn’t become too soft — also came with a very light hue of maroon since it was also made from brown rice. The home-made prawn cake also made an impression; it is almost like a slab of Otah with a consistency of steamed egg; soft and easy to chew through, yet containing chunks of prawn within for that slightly sweet touch amidst the light notes of the rempah spices — pretty enticing. The entire package came across as wholesome and hearty, yet light and easy to finish without clouding the tastebuds with an onslaught of flavours.

It is without a doubt that a lot has indeed went into the concept behind Bamboo Bowls — from its super clean aesthetic, to the entire dining experience and the food available in their menu; there is a lot to be said about the thought and effort which has went into the entire concept. Whilst the basic bowls (i.e. plant-based bowl with whole grain carbs) are pretty reasonably priced at $10, opting for the various choices available does bring the bill up significantly that makes it less appealing as a daily dining option for some. Still, Bamboo Bowls is certainly worth a go once a in a blue moon; an establishment that not only serves up gastronomic grain bowls that distinguishes them from the typical salad/grain bowl joints, but also one that seems to be all big on environmental sustainability where even effort is being placed to separate the different types of waste and reusing placards that comes together with every bowl. Looking forward to be back some other time to give their other bowls a try!

2 Likes

Visited the East Coast Road outlet of the favourite place over the weekend instead of the Guillemard Road one since we were wanting to check out another spot around Marine Parade — pretty much a coincidence given how the folks behind Brawn & Brains had also introduced yet another new item on the menu; the Crispy Cauliflower Drumlets.

Being part of the “Munchies” section of the menu, the Crispy Cauliflower Drumlets is one of those items that could be shared at the table. A great vegetarian alternative to the Crispy Karaage Chicken with Side of Sriracha Dip, the Crispy Cauliflower Drumlets is pretty much almost the same here — cauliflower florets with a golden brown, deep-fried batter that is sprinkled with chili powder for a subtle hint of spiciness that lingers at the taste buds. Whilst the batter for the Crispy Cauliflower Drumlets doesn’t come with the bits of quinoa that gives their Crispy Karaage Chicken with Side of Sriracha Dip that extra crunch, we liked how crisp the batter was without being particularly greasy, while the cauliflower gives a soft crunch. Just like the Crispy Karaage Chicken with Side of Sriracha Dip though, they do offer a wedge of lime for a zesty touch if you do prefer it that way, though rather than to come with a sriracha dip, the Crispy Cauliflower Drumlets came with a creamy and light aioli that matches the more neutral flavours of the cauliflower here — a pretty thoughtful touch!

1 Like

One of the establishments that I was looking forward to check out — Madass had just opened its doors recently at Change Alley; the concept being one that is brought by the same folks behind Mad About Sucre. Unlike its more upscale sister at Teo Hong Road that serves up more gourmet-style plates alongside their intricate entremets, Mad Ass is a concept that is poised more towards the average office worker — conveniently located at Change Alley just right beside the 6 Oz Espresso Bar outlet there, Mad Ass is a destination that is suited as a lunch option for a hearty meal, as much as it is a spot for sweet treats in the mid-afternoon and a bar to wind-down after a work day with a menu of dinner plates and alcohol to go along.

Visited them during the afternoon for their lunch service — the menu comprises of lunch bowls which is somewhat similar to the concept of grain bowls; though more of an elevated experience overall. Patrons can pick between the various proteins offered; our choice being the Grilled Fresh Wild-Caught Prawn, while patrons also get the flexibility to choose between Quinoa, Cauli Rice and Brown Rice (i.e. Wild Rice) for no additional costs, or go for the Soba for an additional dollar. Going for the Wild Rice option (also listed in the menu as Brown Rice), this was a tasty mix of white, brown and black rice that is being executed in various style (think steamed, poached and puffed) for a variance of texture — there is this slightly savoury hint of flavours with a bit of crunch going on which makes it extremely easy to finish as it barely felt monotonous; pretty addictive to have on their own. The grilled wild-caught prawns were certainly fresh as they deemed them in its namesake; loved how easy it was to de-shell the prawns, and how the prawns were plump, succulent and naturally sweet on their own — all that, with a hint of smokiness from being grilled which adds on further to the entire dish. The greens included, such as the broccoli, carrot and cauliflower adds to the wholesomeness of the dish; providing a crunch and neutral note amidst the carbs and protein.

Being an extension of the Mad About Sucre branding, Madass is an attempt to bring Mad About Sucre to the masses — the menu offers something that is less over-the-top and more relatable, whilst catering to the office worker and without compromise to the execution and quality of the produce that they source. The result is something different from the Mad About Sucre experience; not exactly cheap, but quality dishes that suits the demographics of the locality amidst the more casual setting that works as a dining option for lunch for those willing to splurge a little for lunch. Operating hours are currently only from Monday to Friday; though they do intend to serve breakfast some time soon. That being said, I am looking forward to return for their dinner menu that features sharing plates — seems to be great to have with the cocktails that they offer. All the best to the folks at Madass/Mad About Sucre for their new venture and all that has to come!

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Hadn’t really heard much about Necessary Provisions ever since they had re-opened their doors within SmartFit Pilates at Tanglin Shopping Centre — whilst I had been there once and had their Croque Kinoko, I had been quite intrigued by their Quinoa Ulam; and so a revisit was going to happen just for that.

The Quinoa Ulam is their very unique rendition of the Nasi Ulam — a dish that is sometimes found in Peranakan restaurants being a somewhat of a rice salad dish featuring shredded mixed herbs that is known for being especially aromatic and refreshing. Being an establishment that is all about healthy eating, Necessary Provisions had switched up the usual rice grains with quinoa instead — also feature elements such as shallot, chili, lettuce, fresh herbs and lime juice. For one who does not quite enjoy salad usually, the Quinoa Ulam was actually a dish that I found to be really easy to finish and pretty appetising — just like the typical Nasi Ulam, there is just so much going on in the rice — the freshness of the herbs carrying not just a burst of umami, but also a slight crunch, while the chili provides an extra punch that tickles the taste buds; all that while the quinoa comes soft and fluffy. Served chilled, the Quinoa Ulam is nothing short of zippy yet refreshing — never a moment where it felt monotonous because there is always something different in terms of flavour and texture with every spoonful.

The Quinoa Ulam is probably the dish that embodies the character of Necessary Provisions the best — a comforting take on something familiar to our local taste buds with just a slight twist; not something too different that reinvents the wheel, but just a minor switch up but executed in a style that is so homely, simple and satisfying. I still do miss their rendition of the Luncheon Meat Fried Rice during their days at Eng Kong Terrace; but I guess that will never make it to the menu here at Tanglin Shopping Centre. Nonetheless, it’s great to have them back in the F&B scene — looking forward to the next visit so that I can enjoy a slice of their signature Pandan Chiffon Cake over a leisurely cuppa!

Have heard about Runes’ latest outlet at Biopolis Street — the cafe takes up a shop space located in one of the lobbies of the headquarters of Wilmar International Limited, and is open to the public. While Runes’ first outpost at Lau Pa Sat does not serve hot food, their latest outlet here do serve up proteins, sandwiches and salad bowls that seem to be intended more for takeaway operations (despite having quite a well-sized dine-in space). For those who may not be in the know, Runes is a concept from the same folks behind Glyph Supply Co. and Dough (yes, the “Korean-inspired” bakery at CHIJMES).

Opting for the Salmon, the proteins for the day were listed on the menu to come with broccoli and potatoes usually — they had replaced broccoli with pumpkin on the day of my visit as they had run out of broccoli when I had visited them for late lunch (around 2pm plus). Served in disposable ware, I actually found the portion of salmon to be pretty generous — considering how this bowl costs $14, at least we were not served a slab as measly as other places may do. Also particularly enjoyed how the salmon does carry its distinct flavour here that is pretty undisturbed by the other elements, even though it does come with a slightly-charred slice of lemon for a citrus-y tang. I am also a sucker for salmon served with skin-on that comes crisp — the one here certainly ticked that off the check list without any dispute. The roasted potatoes were decent; pretty clean-tasting without being overly seasoned in salt, whilst being chunky yet soft — carried a soft bite. The same can be said about the pumpkins, which also added a natural sweetness to the protein bowl.

Unlike Runes at Lau Pa Sat which seems more to be like a coffee stand rather than an actual cafe, their latest outlet at Biopolis does present itself like a full-fledged cafe intended for the office folks around Biopolis who are looking for clean, healthy meals in a comfortable environment away from the crowds — especially given its location which is more in the outskirts of one-north. A spot for a conducive environment to get some work done, or just to soak in those idyllic vibes around.

1 Like

Remembered visiting Rollie Ollie back in the day when they had first opened at The Star Vista — their very first outlet taking over the former premises of now-defunct Sweet Musings, and serves up sushi rolls and even poké fish on sticks; now they are an established brand with multiple outlets, including a new one at Woods Square which is pretty convenient for me.

I hadn’t been back to Rollie Ollie for a while, but they had since expanded their menu to include Poké Bowls, Rice Bowls, Açai Bowls, Salads and Japnese Tapas — all whilst also serving up specialty coffee, milkshakes and tea; pretty surprised that they also do special concoctions of coffee such as an Iced Earl Grey Coffee and Iced Yuzu Tonic Coffee. There is option for a set at an additional charge of $6 — adds a Japanese Tapas item and Soup/Iced Lemon Tea on top of the chosen Rice Bowl/Sushi Roll/Poké Bowl/Salad Bowl option which is a decent deal

K-Pop is a sushi roll that features elements such as spicy crab meat, kimchi, avocado, jicama, cucumber, fish roe, chives & spicy mayo — the naming possibly being derived from the use of kimchi in the roll. This particular item stood out whilst skimming through the menu given my love for sushi that comes with spicy mayo in general. The sushi roll came reasonably firm; it’s well-wrapped considering the “looser” elements that this particular roll comes with as compared to the other roll that we have had — but the individual slices do hold up against the weight of the fillings pretty well without disintegrating into a mess easily. First taste of the sushi and the spicy crab meat that is marinated in the spicy mayo hits immediately — it’s mildly spicy; suitable for those with lower tolerance to spiciness, whilst carrying with just a very slight hint of peppery savouriness, and the sushi rice comes just lightly sweetened. All that goes along well with the crunch of the kimchi that provides a contrasting hint of spiciness that matches that of the spicy mayo, along with a slight tanginess typical of kimchi, while the cucumber gives a further crunch with a neutral flavour to cuts off the tang and spiciness nicely.

Rollie Ollie is a welcome addition the neighbourhood considering how Woodlands is a place that somehow lacks healthy food options such as salad bowls and poké bowls — somewhere that I probably would not mind heading to for the convenience of getting a decent sushi roll without heading to a Japanese chain such as Ichiban Sushi or Sakae Sushi for a more fuss-free experience. Really glad how Woods Square has seemingly brought in some interesting dining options that residents are happy to have in their backyard now!

From Beriwell along East Coast Road; the shop takes over the former space of Kitchenette opposite Katong V, serving up healthy treats such as Acai and smoothies.

Went for the Superswirl which is available in three variants; essentially a soft-serve, one is able to pick between the Acai, Coconut Majik or The Twist which is the best of both worlds. The Acai seems to be the main character of the show here with its deep berry-like tones being seemingly more evident than the light hint of refreshing coconut flavour that runs in the Coconut Majik when put together as The Twist. Opted for the granola and banana as my two toppings for the small option (the large option entitles one to four toppings) — always found banana to go well with Acai while the granola helps to add a bit of crunch to the soft-serve.

6 Likes

From Hey Sugar, a new ice-cream parlour that had recently opened at Keat Hong Mirage just situated opposite Keat Hong LRT Station. Hey Sugar serves up a decent selection of ice-creams displayed in the display freezer, while offering patrons an option of either waffle, brownie or lava cake to go with their ice-cream apart from the usual cup or cone option. Beverage options include hot tea, coffee, frappe, smoothie and iced brewed shaken tea.

Went for the set menu where I could get a Single Waffle with a single scoop of ice-cream with their any Iced Brewed Shaken Tea at $9.90. I opted for the Rock Melon ice-cream after trying a couple of other flavours — smooth ice-cream that resembles the fruit pretty well (yes, it does somewhat carry the odd aftertaste that rock melons are known to carry), being adequately sweet. Despite how it looks, the waffles were actually quite decent surprisingly (it's not out of this world, but I wouldn't have expected such quality)— crisp and fluffy within and wafts of buttermilk fragrance within. If anything, I would probably hope that they do get to improve on the presentation over time — the place is decked out in a dainty pastel pink and rather well decorated; the presentation of the waffle could have looked better to suit the image of the cafe.

(PS: another flavour i liked amongst their range when I was trying the different flavours available was the Lychee Rose Sorbet; very light, slightly floral yet refreshing)

6 Likes

From Harvest, a new salad-cum-protein bowl bar along East Coast Road just opposite i12 Katong — the menu offers fully customizable bowls where patrons pick their choice of protein, base, sides, topping and dressing. They also serve bottled cold press juices for those looking for beverages to go along with their salad.

For the choice of protein, I went for the Norwegian Salmon Fillet (add $3), while going for the Red Quinoa for my choice of base (add $2). My toppings included the Onsen Egg (add $1), Broccoli and Shimeiji Mushrooms while I opted for the Mentaiko (add $1.50) for topping and opted for the Roasted Sesame dressing. Overall it's pretty decent; the Red Quinoa was prepared pretty well without any hard or sandy bits, while the Norwegian Salmon Fillet was pretty decent; flaky, not dry and smoky for it was being dressed with the umami mentaiko dressing and blown torched. Shimeiji mushrooms were bouncy and broccoli carried a crunch; pretty decent as well, while the onsen did deliver that oozy, molten egg yolk everyone would expect.

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From Randy Indulgence at Tanjong Pagar, which serves Cereal Bowls and Acai Bowls alongside Fruit Ice-Cream — the stall is just a takeaway space beside Lamb Cupcakery but there is always the communal dining area beside Guzman Y Gomez within Tanjong Pagar Centre itself for those who prefer to sit down and have their Acai Bowls.

Available in two sizes, I opted for the larger Acai Bowl which they name the Happy Size; a smaller portion is also available, which is also known as the Diet Size. The Protein Bowl comes with Acai, Granola, Bananas, Almond, Walnut, Almond Slices, Chia Seed Pudding and Honey — I liked how there is plenty of things and even an ample portion of granola and nuts to crunch on while the Acai smoothie is pretty smooth without being icy or bland. The honey helps to add just the right amount of sweetness into the Acai Bowl, allowing the Acai Bowl to shine on its own without over-sweetening it.

6 Likes

From Parallel which opens today at One Raffles Place serving up coffee and acai bowls.

The Superstar Bowl consists of banana, blueberries, granola, sunflower seeds and chia seeds. The entire bowl did not feel overly sweet here, possibly due to the lack of nut butter by default (though patrons are able to add nut butter at $1 extra from their small variety of nut butter available). The blended acai smoothie was smooth without any icy bits and carried a mellow flavour at the end, while the other elements added a contrast of flavour and textures to the entire bowl. Pretty decent for the health-conscious CBD crowd.

9 Likes

From Nom Nom at MacPherson Lane, a newly-opened cafe situated beside Pasta King (or near Alfero Gelato if you prefer) that serves mix-and-match plates for mains — patrons choose a base, select a free topping, pick their proteins and select their greens and then opt if they wish to go for extra toppings.

The Cauliflower Rice is a great option for those that are looking for a healthier option; it is distinctively cauliflower taste-wise but carries a texture similar to quinoa; pairs pretty well with proteins for something light. The smoked and spiced Norwegian salmon was flavourful on its own, though the scales could have been removed more throughly and would be better overall if they could retain its juices by being more moist. While being pretty pedestrian, the spicy Hungarian Mangalican Sausage would appeal to those who just like cured meat in general; it's carries the texture of processed cured meats but the spiciness does come through being pretty mildly so. Lotus Root Salted Egg was another crowd pleaser; the salted egg pulls through nicely without being overly creamy — done the "dry" way, it was not overwhelming and came with crisp curry leaves while the lotus root chips do come reasonably crisp. Overall, a plate that is of reasonable quality.

8 Likes

Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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