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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chennai Dosa Vegetarian - Little India

Returning back to the sizzling smells of the side streets of Little India. I came across a new eatery, which specializes in the Indian fermented crepe dosa/dosai. With it being one of my favourite snack dishes, I gave into temptation and had a gander inside. This is a South Indian eatery, therefore for those looking for creamy curry's or crusty naan's, other eateries in the area can cator for your needs. Here you can find the typical South Indian snacks, such as dosa, vadai, rava and uttapam.

Chennai Dosa Vegetarian
Location: 5 Hindoo Rd #01-01
Contact: 63417552
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 8:30am-11:30pm

CLOSED DOWN - Both Chennai Dosa outlets in Singapore have now closed down, 21/1/2015

First up I tried the Masala Uttapam. There can be many resemblances between uttapam and dosa. However, uttapam is much thicker, and therefore is not crispy. This uttapam was not bad. The masala used in this dish, and in later dishes was of a decent quality. Although the softer and thicker Indian snacks are not really my thing, I still thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

Price: $2.00. 7/10

Of course, a main reason for going to Chennai Dosa would be to try their dosa, and I was certainly not disappointed. Starting off with the Masala Dosa. The dosa's that I tried would probably rank among the best that I have tried so far in Singapore. The texture was just perfect. The dosa was thin, but not too thin, mostly crispy, yet with a ever so slight softness to it - Ideal. The masala from this eatery is also of a high standard, with it not being too salty, nor too heavily spiced. For $2 also, this is a real bargain.

Price: $2.00. 9/10

My dosa haven continued, this time with the Cheese Dosa. Again the actual dosa utterly faultless, as you can see by the picture, they really cooked it until golden/dark brown. This is exactly how it should be done. The golden brown colour really packs a lot of flavour, which really improves the whole dish overall. Inside the cheese unfortunately was merely cream cheese, mozzarella is a much better cheese to use, but of course it is very costly. A slight disappointment, but nothing could dampen the overall quality of the dosa from here.

Price: $2.80. 8/10

Conclusion - Variety wise, this eatery is quite limited, and those looking for a large and extravagant meal will feel underwhelmed at Chennai Dosa. However, those looking for great tasting South Indian delights, this is a place that should certainly be on the top of your list. Naming your restaurant after dosa, you certainly must live up to the expectation and I am delighted to say that it definitely does.

Overall Rating
Food - 8/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 8/10

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Roma's Deli Vegetarian - Bugis

First of all, before I begin the review, you will notice that the quality of some of the pictures for this review are not very good. Unfortunately during the two visits to Roma's Deli, on the first visit my camera was out of battery, so had to resort to using my camera phone, apologies! So, a predominantly Italian themed Western vegetarian restaurant located in the glorious food paradise, which is Bugis. My expectations were high, as I heard many laudable reviews about this place. This place is located in the Shaw Towers, around a 10 minute walk from Bugis MRT. This eatery doesn't cook with onions or garlic.

Roma's Deli Vegetarian
Location: #01-23, 100 Beach Road, Shaw Towers
Contact: 62934585

Opening Hours: Daily 11:30am-9pm

A unique starter dish, the Mushroom Soup Bun was quite pleasing, but for the price probably not worth it. I like the look and design of this dish a lot. But I found that the mushroom soup was a tad too starchy. The bread I would have preferred to be more crispy on the outside, so that it could truly contrast the soup. These are minor quibbles, in what was overall an OK dish. Price wise is a more grander problem though.

Price: $5.50. 6/10

Here is how the regular Mushroom Soup looks. The content is exactly the same as the soup in a bun, so same thing to mention, the soup was too starchy. An additional note about this dish is the 'garlic' bread that comes with it. This is an absolutely horrid bread, that has a texture of being 2-3 weeks out of date. It is very stale, and really lets down the whole dish, unforgivable.

Price: $3.20. 4/10

The first of two baked dishes that I sampled trying my trips to Roma. This one is the Baked Bacon Mushroom Rice. This was certainly the more disappoint of the two. The mock bacon that is inside is merely cubes of mock meat, which don't really have a bacon taste at all. Overall the dish didn't have enough white sauce, which detracted from the texture and flavour of the dish. It wasn't disastrous, but at the same time, no impressive either, i've had much better baked rice from other eateries.

Price: $5.50. 5/10

I would say this BBQ Chicken Spaghetti is quite possibly the worst dish I have ever sampled in Singapore. This is essentially a Chinese dish, with Chinese ingredients, Chinese sauces, and really there is no attempt at all to make this even remotely Western or BBQed for that matter. The spaghetti is cooked well, but it's overshadowed by the sheer hypocrisy of this dish. It's almost as laughable as ordering hor fun and the chef cooking you laksa. Under no circumstances should this be purchased. It's the closest i've ever come to returning a dish.

Price: $5.50. 1/10

During my second visit, I opted to try the Baked Potato Curry. This was quite a delicious dish overall. It was very creamy and was spiced just enough. The potatoes were cooked well, and coupled with the layer of cheese on top, it made a quite delightful marriage. The spice level of the dish was just perfect, Western dishes should never be assaulted with spice, as it would simply be out of place. Instead, the spice should be noticeable, but not dominant. One of the more superior dishes from Roma, which I would urge you to try!

Price: $5.50. 8/10

Next up we have the Cheese Spicy Spaghetti. Portion size it was quite good. With the spaghetti swimming in a slightly watery cheese sauce, with vegetables such as carrots also swimming inside. The sauce is the main thing that I hold dispute with. It is very bland and almost flavorless, maybe this is to cater more to an Asian market. But for me, a stronger and more cream cheese sauce would have hit the spot. Spaghetti cooked well again, but overall it was a forgettable dish.

Price: $5.90. 4/10

Conclusion - Perhaps being an ang mo I am naturally more picky when it comes to my own cuisine. But for authentic Western/Italian food what is on offer at Roma's Deli is certainly not credible at all. Most dishes were disappointing, with the baked curry potato being the only one I really enjoyed. The ambiance, staff and location is all great, but when I go to Bugis, I don't foresee that I would be choosing to go to this place again. Value wise though, this place is quite affordable.

Overall Rating
Food - 4/10
Ambiance- 6/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 7/10

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ubi Vegetarian - Macpherson

With my second office being located along Ubi Avenue 2, it was about time that started to sniff out some vegetarian eateries in that area. With this area largely being offices and industrial buildings, it means that it can be tricky to find these coffee shops and hawker centres that are hidden inside buildings sometimes. Nevertheless, I am working on it, and this nameless vegetarian stall is the first one I found!

Ubi Vegetarian
Location: Ubi Avenue 2, Blk 3014B
Contact: Unknown

Opening Hours: Unknown

First up, I tried the Fried Kwey Tiao. A decent portion size and nice flavour were the two main attributes of this dish. The kwey tiao/guo tiao noodles were soft, yet springy, and quite delightful to consume. The vegetables were cooked to a decent standard, and the mock meat that was inside was also commendable. A minor issue was the lack of 'wok hei' flavour in the dish, but other than that I had little complaints.

Price: $3.50. 7/10

Next up was the Chicken Rice. This was their special for today. These specials vary depending on the day of the week. The chicken rice was good. A slightly different presentation, compared to how typical chicken rice looks. The rice was enjoyable, but perhaps a little too dry. The spicy mixed vegetables (achar) were nice, along with the biting red chili. Overall not too bad.

Price: $2.50. 6/10

Conclusion - As mentioned above, this eatery has specials available on different days, originally I wanted to order the nasi lemak, but sadly this was the special for the following day. The food overall is not bad, and it seems like this eatery is quite popular with those that work in the area. It can be tricky to find, as it is actually located at the back of block 3021, so good luck trying to locate it!

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 6/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 7/10

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ranggung Vegetarian - Ranggung

A gentleman named Chewy Low suggested a try this place, so here we go. Located quite close to where I'm located, Ranggung is along the LRT line that stems from Sengkang, it is only one stop away. As soon as you walk down from the LRT station this place is a stones throw away. It's a very quiet coffee shop, with only a few stalls there. Nevertheless, some of the best places can be found where you least expect. So let's take a look...

Ranggung Vegetarian
Location: Ranggung LRT, Blk 267
Contact: Unknown

Opening Hours: Coffee shop is 24 hours, however I am not sure if this place is.

As recommended, I promptly ordered the Fried Hor Fun first and foremost. Although presentation wise this dish leaves a lot to be desired, don't be fooled! The quality of this hor fun is actually quite high. The delightful wok hei flavour wafts throughout this whole dish, the vegetables are cooked well, and I was pleased to see it was not overly oily. I did find that it was slightly too salty for my liking though. Overall an agreeable dish though.

Price: $3.00. 7/10

It's been a long time since I have had Nasi Lemak, so this made a welcome change. It consisted of mock fish, luncheon meat, peanuts, ikan beans, cucumber and rice. The rice was flavourful, but a little too mushy. The ikan beans were slightly over fried. But overall this was a good tasting nasi lemak!

Price: $2.50. 7/10

Conclusion - This is a vegan eatery, so those not wanting eggs and such like can safely eat here. As far as the food is concerned, the menu and quality of the food strongly resembles that of the Koufu vegetarian located in Sengkang Sculpture Park. The quality of both dishes we tried was good. The Chinese lady serving us was very friendly, and even apologised for a mix up when ordering the hor fun.

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 8/10

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Create Healthy Vegetarian - Bugis

We return to the wonderful vegetarian paradise, which is Fortune Centre. This time this place is opposite Pine Tree, which I have previously reviewed! It's a small, quaint little place that has a pretty small menu, but also sells all sorts of vegetarian foods, as you can see from the outside.

Create Healthy Vegetarian
Location: 190 Middle Road, #02 Fortune Centre
Contact: UnknownOpening Hours: Unknown

I was intrigued by this Enzyme Drink, and just had to try. To my horror though, this is the size of it! It's very very small. A few sips and it would be gone. Nevertheless it does taste unusually nice, somewhat like cough syrup, a touch fruity, and a little sugary. Not too bad overall, but for the price compared to size, I wouldn't be selecting it again.

Price: $3.50. 6/10

To begin the meal I got the Vegetable Sushi. I found this sushi was well done, but probably not quite to the standards of the sushi that you can find on level 3 of the Fortune Centre (the name of the place escapes me). It can be considered a little on the bland side, and lacking in ingredients. Personally, I found it had too much lettuce inside, I'd have preferred more abundant ingredients. Overall it certainly wasn't terrible though, and a nice way to begin the meal.

Price: $3.50. 6/10

On to the main courses - First up was the Mushroom Char Siew Noodle. The char siew in this meal is much different to the kind you will typically come across in vegetarian stalls and coffee shops. The texture and taste is much better. The noodles, however, were the real highlight of the dish. They were bouncy and springy, and almost gave me the impression they were hand made (although I am still not sure if they are). The flavour of the meal overall was above average, I would consider getting again.

Price: $4.50. 7/10

The Pigs Trotter in vinegar came with a serving of brown rice and blanched bak choy. The main dish in particular consists of two cubes of 'meat', pieces of tofu, black fungus, beans and huge chunks of ginger. It was spicy, mildly sweetened and flavourful. Making it comparable to the one we had at Nature Vegetarian, however, the quality and quantity of meat made this dish a let down. The meat was mushy and even the well made sauce was unable to rescue it.

Price: $6.00. 5/10

Conclusion - The ambiance of this place was very nice, and felt like going back in time to olden style Singapore eateries. The aunties that run this establishment are very friendly, and its small and laid back feel may entice me to return in the future. However, the food was not exceptional, in particular the pig's trotter, if you want a much better version of that dish then Natural Delights in Serangoon is where to go. Lot's of wonderful places to eat can be found in the Fortune Centre, and although this place is not one of the best, it's not terrible either.

Overall Rating
Food - 6/10
Ambiance- 8/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 7/10
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