Location: 733 Geylang Road
Opening Hours: Tue–Sun: 11:30am to 3:00pm & 5:30pm to 10:00pm. Closed Monday.
CLOSED DOWN AS OF 12/12/2011 (Owner will be opening a new stall in Yishun in the future)
With so much competition in the vegetarian restaurant world these days, it is important to find a unique niche market. One way to go about doing this is a creative interior design. Vegelicious certainly ticks this box. It has an captivating and colourful artsy theme. All of which has a new and fresh feel to it.
Another way to create a niche market for yourself is to have a unique and exciting menu. Although the menu at Vegelicious is not very vast, it does have unique dishes, which are native to Taiwan. As well as Taiwanese dishes, there is a variety of soup pots (pictured) to choose from. Customers firstly are able to choose the ingredients, followed by the soup type, and then whether they would like noodles or rice to accompany it. Western dishes are also on offer, which I will explore later in this review.
The highlight of my dining experience at Vegelicious surprisingly came within the first few seconds of taking my seat. One of the signature ingredients used in this restaurants cooking is Xiang Chun. This is also commonly known as Chinese toon. This paste (pictured) is given complimentary at the start of the meal. The main ingredient of the paste is derived from the toona sinensis tree, which is a synonymous tree in Chinese culture, used for medicinal uses also. The flavour of this paste is simply outstanding. It is difficult to capture how it tastes in words, so I can only urge you to pay a visit and try for yourself!
This signature paste is also conglomerated into many of the dishes at Vegelicious. For example, here we have the 'Xiang Chun' Tofu. Inevitably, the hero of this side dish was the xiang chun paste, which was dolloped on top of each block of soft tofu. Although soft tofu is not something I usually order, this dish did provide a cool and refreshing addition to the meal. Although tofu is often labelled as bland and tasteless - This dish did help to prove that adding other components to tofu can make it exceedingly enjoyable.
Price: $2.00. 7/10
Immediately after seeing this Minced Meat Rice on the menu, my eyes opened brightly and a wide smile became etched on my face. Those that are reading this and have been to Taiwan, will be vividly familiar with this dish already. It can be found in practically every Taiwanese restaurant, however, in Singapore, unearthing this dish can be difficult. I was even more pleased when I tasted this dish and found the authenticity to be high. The mock minced meat (derived from mushrooms) was moist, yet dry enough not to render the rice soggy. While the texture and consistency was a success, what I thought it was lacking was a prominent basil flavour, which the traditional Taiwan dish is renowned for.
Price: $3.00. 8/10
As Vegelicious places so much emphasis on the soup pots, I certainly had to order one. The pot I opted for was the Mock Meat Pot. I chose the kelp soup and noodles. Starting with the soup ingredients, I found that the black fungus and leafy vegetables were welcome additions to the dish. The mock meat consisted of prawns, fish balls, ham etc. For me, it was too gluten heavy, and preferably I'd would have liked to have seen a variation of different styles of mock meat (such as soy/seaweed mock fish). The soup base didn't have a very strong kelp flavour, but the noodles were cooked superbly and were seasoned well.
Price: $5.80. 6/10
To add variety to this review, I thought it fitting to sample one of the handful of Western dishes that Vegelicious is offering. This is the Chicken Chop Rice. The most attractive aspect of this dish is certainly the price, which represents incredible value. Quality wise, the mock chicken chop was not as dry as I was expecting it to be, which was a relief. The batter also tasted great. A surprise inclusion was a small portion of cubed potato salad. As a Westerner, potatoes always warm my heart, so I was pleased to see this on the plate. Moreover, it is good to see restaurant try to add something new to the typical trite Singapore Western dish.
Price: $4.00. 7/10
Conclusion - I am certainly pleased that we have a restaurant like Vegelicious now in Singapore. I can foresee that I will be regularly visiting this restaurant, to order the dishes that I miss so dearly from Taiwan. I just hope that word gets around about this new vegetarian restaurant, so that more people can visit and enjoy. The food quality is very good, but what really caught my eye was how affordable it was. Considering the fact that this is an air conditioned restaurant, I found the pricing really good value.
Food - 7/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 9/10