Friday, April 26, 2013

Veggie Cottage - Little India

I am eternally indebted to Heng Mui, one of my facebook followers, who suggested I check out this new 100% vegan eatery, located just behind The Verge.  This establishment opened its doors in April 2013, and it brings to Singapore a completely unique approach to vegan dining and food.  All the staff at this establishment are completely vegan.  For Buddhists, take note of dishes that contain onion.  Most of the local dishes are without onion, but the more continental dishes often include this pungent spice.


Veggie Cottage
Location: 13 Dalhousie Lane
Contact: 67856771
Opening Hours: Tue-Fri 10am-8.45pm, Saturday 9am-9pm, Sunday 10am-4pm. Closed Monday and last Sunday of every month

The ambiance of this eatery is unquestionably the nicest I have ever seen in Singapore.  Upon opening the door, you feel a peaceful and relaxing energy flow through your body.  It also gave me distinct flashbacks to the times when I ate in small little cafes in England and Australia.  What a wonderful and rare feeling this is, in such a bustling society like Singapore.  This eatery is small and cosy, with a bookshelf and a small children's table.  The signboards, menu signs and other design features were all handmade by the owners, and you can really feel the love that was put into creating this setting.

I started this particular stomach-filling session with the Mini Cottage Pie.  The menu at Veggie Cottage is currently a work in progress, with a series of new dishes planned to be introduced in the future.  As of right now, the menu changes depending on the day, so it is best to check their Facebook page or give them a call, in order to find out what is available that day.  Upon consuming this cottage pie, it gave me a nostalgic flashback of old pie shops that are on every street corner of my old country (England) - Minus the freezing cold conditions of that country.  This pie is filled with chiefly potatoes and carrots.  These ingredients are encased in a delectably flaky pastry.  The top of this pastry was cooked until golden brown, which added extra flavour to this moreish snack.  Leave the fork on the table for this one, it is much better eaten with hands.

Price: $2.00.     8/10


During my second visit to Veggie Cottage, the snack available was the Cinnamon Roll.  This was another well done snack, which had the right amount of sweetness, and a lovely cinnamon flavour shimmering throughout the entire bread.  It was not too sweet, with a lot of the sweetness coming from raisins, which is definitely healthier than white sugar.

Price: $1.00.     7/10

Veggie Cottage also has a number of eyebrow raising drinks on offer.  One of those is the Soy Latte.  Once again, all hot drinks are entirely vegan, with soy being used as a replacement to cow's milk.  The owners of this establishment painstakingly sampled numerous soy-to-coffee combinations, in order to find the perfect quality desired for these drinks. The result of this hard work is a great tasting, mild and creamy hot drink, which is a perfect accompaniment to the ambiance of the cafe.

Price: $4.00.     8/10
Before we move onto the solid food, I decided to test out one more of the drinks, which was the Plum Lime Drink.  This homemade concoction was a pleasing blend of sweetness, saltiness and sourness - But thankfully none of these were too overpowering.  Really great value also.

Price: $1.50.     7/10
Moving on to the main meals, I started with the Spaghetti Bolognese.  Over my many years of food reviewing, I have learnt a painful lesson - It is practically impossible to find good Italian food in Singapore.  Due to this, I have simply stopped ordering Italian food in Singapore.  Having said that, this spaghetti is one of the best I have ever tasted in Singapore.  I have finally found a chef in Singapore that knows how long spaghetti needs to be cooked for - Finally!  Thus, the texture of the pasta was ideal.  The tomato sauce was also packed with flavour.  The TVP used inside added even more desirable texture and flavour.  A couple of sprigs of coriander were placed on topped, which enhanced the freshness of the dish.  This dish contains onions.

Price: $6.50.     9/10 

The dish I was looking forward to trying the most from Veggie Cottage was the fish and chips (just seems like a perfect dish for the ambiance of the eatery).  But alas, the two times I visited it was not on the menu.  Therefore, I settled with the Hamburger with Fries.  The fries were average, personally I am not a big fan of the crinkled variety.  The burger was highly enjoyable, though.  The mock meat patty was packed with flavour and matched well with the tomato, lettuce and pickle that were also sandwiched inside.  It is certainly a relief being able to order a burger without the worry that cheese will be inside, or the mayo has egg.  Good dish overall.

Price: $6.50.     7/10

I also sampled one of Veggie Hub's local offerings, which was the Nasi Lemak.  Many aspects of this dish differ from the conventional nasi lemak.  The rice is subtly infused with lemongrass, which gives an unusually refreshing feel to the rice.  The other components of the dish all worked in harmony together.  In particular, the stir-fried carrots and cauliflower were packed with flavour.  One criticism I have is the chilli, which had a maliciously high spice level to it.  If the spice level of the chilli was reduced, then I would have to say this dish was practically faultless.

Price: $5.00.     8/10

I finished this highly satisfying meal off with the Pandan Cupcake.  One difficulty that vegan desserts (especially cakes) seem to have is replicating the texture and moisture of non-vegan desserts.  Even vegan dessert guru Delcie - As brilliant as she is - Can struggle with this issue.  This pandan cupcake, is indeed, a little too dry and crumbly and doesn't quite capture the texture of a non-vegan cake.  Nevertheless, the infusion of pandan works very well, and the sugar level of this cupcake was perfect.

Price: $1.00.     7/10


Conclusion - Once the Veggie Cottage menu fully matures, I believe wholeheartedly that Veggie Cottage will be one of the best vegetarian/vegan eateries in the entire country.  I intend to do a second review of this establishment in a few months, once the menu has been finalized.  One small problem is the waiting time for the food, which is too long.  However, considering this place is only a few weeks old, all I can say is this place is incredible.  A breath of fresh air for the veggie scene in Singapore.  I can't wait to see this eatery fully blossom. 

SEE MY SECOND REVIEW OF VEGGIE COTTAGE HERE!

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

23 comments:

  1. Hi Ang Mo,

    You do excellent reviews for Veggie eateries in Singapore that has often helped us.
    Much thanks for the very timely and helpful review of Veggie Cottage (which we had planned to frequent this weekend).
    Keep up the good work! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Joywalker,

      It is my pleasure, I am pleased to be able to introduce this place to you, and I hope that you enjoy it when you visit this weekend!

      Luke

      Delete
  2. Hi luke,

    thanks for the above review. we are looking fwd to visit this place soonest.

    do u know if margarine are used in their making of mini cottage pie, cinnammon roll, pandan cup cakes or any of their meals?
    if yes, do u get to know the brand of margarine been used?
    i hv been told only nuttelex magarine, sold in local major supermarts, are suitable for vegans.

    warmest regards,
    vegan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Vegan,

      Veggie Cottage uses Vita-Lite Canola, which is 100% vegan.

      I can understand the frustration with margarine, as a lot of them contain some kind of dairy product. I do know of a few brands that are completely vegan though.

      Luke

      Delete
  3. Hi luke,

    thanks to your sharing on Vegan margarine.

    do u know where we can buy the 100% Vegan Vita-Lite Canola margarine that Veggie Cottage uses?

    Can u also share with us those few brand of 100% vegan margarine u are aware of n where can we buy them too?

    Nuttelex margarine, a small tub of 500grams is selling at S$8.30 in Cold Storage supermarts. expensive for us for daily consumption.

    Vegan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Vegan,

      Not sure where to buy this Vita-Lite Canola, I've never bought or used it myself personally. I'll will keep my eyes open for it when in supermarkets.

      The one I use at home is Olive-Gold, which is the one I enjoy the most. I buy that from Cold Storage - I believe the price is around $4/5 dollars (500 grams), which I find quite reasonable.

      Luke

      Delete
  4. Hi, regarding vegan spread, i bought this from NTUC (most likely in Finest outlets), which is vegan and most of its ingredients are organic. there is palm oil though, if you do not like palm oil:
    i remember the price is like in the range of $5 for 375g.
    http://www.apfoods.com.au/product-harvest-award-organic-spread.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey anonymous,

      This one seems pretty good (minus the palm oil). I will look for it next time I am in NTUC! :)

      Luke

      Delete
  5. Thank you very much, Luke, for taking the efforts to visit and write the reviews for almost all the veg outlets here. This is one of the websites / blogs i visit whenever i am looking for new eateries or going to new places in Singapore (to make sure there is veg outlets nearby).
    Really very much appreciated! :) Cheers! :)
    / GratefulVegan :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey there,

      Really makes my day to receive comments like yours, and fills me with inspiration to continue with my work on hungryangmo.com. I am delighted that my blog has been useful to you! :)

      Thanks so much for your kind words.

      Luke

      Delete
  6. Hi Luke!
    Thanks so much for your reviews as it is very useful for me!
    By the way, does Veggie Cottage state in their menu whether the dishes contain onion?
    Thanks!! :)

    Your Admirer,
    Tash

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, and 1 more, is it possible to make the onion excluded from the dish?
      Many thanks!!

      Delete
    2. Hey Tash,

      Firstly, thank you so much for the kind words about my reviews. It always makes me happy to know that people are enjoying them!

      Ok, lets get to your questions.

      Firstly, yes whether the dish has onions or not IS stated on the menu. Veggie Cottage doesn't have a 菜单 type menu, the foods are just written on the wall for customers to see. But onion or no onion is definitely stated!

      Second question (excluding onion) I really did not know, so I contacted the Veggie Cottage staff, this is their reply:-

      "Sorry no, not at the present moment since our chef already works non-stop preparing food. Maybe in future when we have hired additional staff/cooks to help prepare a separate batch."

      Hope that helps, Tash!

      Luke

      Delete
  7. Hi, Tash, Luke,
    i was at Veggie Cottage this evening for my dinner and the menu today includes Nasi Lemak and yes, you can ask for non onion chili, as it is only the chili that has onion.
    However, for the spaghetti, the sauce is made with onion and it is not possible to make a non-onion sauce at present.
    Hope this helps. :)
    / GratefulVegan :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Grateful Vegan,

      This is definitely very useful. It is good to know that the nasi lemak can easily be made onion-free.

      By the way, how did you find Veggie Cottage overall?

      Luke

      Delete
  8. Hi, Luke,
    yes! the food is really good!
    i packed two spaghetti on Monday evening, and was eating the last pack just now for my (Tuesday) dinner (after heating it up). The noodle which was already with the sauce in it, is still very "al-dente", to my surprise!:)
    i have tried its nasi lemak and the sambal vegan fish rice set, all are well pleasing to my taste! the portion of the tofu claypot might be a little too small, esp. for guys :). As for the waiting time, i think they are trying to improve. suggest we call to order in advance if we are limited by time. otherwise, it is really a relaxing place for an afternoon coffee / tea break!
    I missed the cake and cinnamon bread which i will try next time. :)
    overall, this is the place i will give 5 stars out of 5! :)
    glad and grateful to see more vegan outlets coming up, despite lots of hard work, high costs, etc, in the F&B line.
    /Grateful Vegan :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Grateful Vegan,

      Really appreciate your detailed feedback on this place. The Veggie Cottage staff know of my blog and review, so I am sure they will read your feedback. :)

      I really want the mini cottage pie again, next time I see them, I am going to buy the entire lot!

      Thanks so much! :)

      Luke

      Delete
  9. Hi luke,

    We visited Veggie Cottage this wednesday n started our meals with the homemade concoction of Prune Lime juice while enjoying the relaxing ambience of the café.

    The deep fried mini samosa though not hand make by the chef but was prepared with care and deep fried to perfection, placed beautifully in a small basket.

    As for the vegan chips with avocado dip, could have some lemon juice, salt n pepper added to the avocado dip.

    We enjoyed the vegan hamburger set and were delighted to savour the vegan fish & chips with hand make patties.

    The nasi lemak rice is a bit plain as we are used to the conventional type of nasi lemak with lots of coconut milk in them but the homemake spicy chillis paste is simply delicious!

    The vegan claypot tofu was great and the veggies well cooked but crunchy, much to our liking. this dish was served in a small and delicate oval shaped claypot that enchanced the presentation of this simple yet tasty dish.

    I fell in love with the 2 paintings of Veggie Cottage painted by the chef herself..... No wonder every effort is put in to ensure that every detail of each dish is taken care of; like an artist does with her paintings.

    Thank you, Veggie Cottage, cook & staff for all your Love n Effort in creating this little Peaceful café, a memorable place where we can look fwd to relax and dine in again.

    ym & family / Vegan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey YM & Family,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave your detailed feedback on your experience at Veggie Cottage.

      Agree with you on many points. I find it amazing that the bosses of this place painted all these signs and pictures - Really shows how much care and love they have put into this place!

      Luke

      Delete
  10. Hi luke,

    we visited veggie cottage today for lunch again n love the in-house coffee muffins which are light in texture n full of coffee aroma.
    cinammon rolls are full of sweetness from the raisins indeed.
    Laksa is the best vegan laksa we had so far as it is full of flavour from the herbs n spices used.
    today nasi lemak rice has fuller n stronger smell n taste of lemongrass to our liking beside the spicy chilli paste.
    the dumpling soup - dumpling skin thick n chewy but the soup is tasty n veggies well cooked.
    vegan fish & chips, deep fried samosa, deep fried spring rolls n plum lime juice remained our favourites.

    warmest regards,
    ym/vegan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey YM/Vegan,

      I am jealous, I haven't tried the coffee muffins or fish and chips yet. But they both sound very delicious. I am planning to do a follow up review in a couple of weeks, so I am keeping my fingers crossed those items are available then!

      Thanks for your comment!

      Luke

      Delete
  11. Halo luke,

    taking your advise, we placed our order over the phone 1hr before arriving at the cafe. upon our arrival, we only hv to wait 10mins for our 5 main dishes & 2 sides dishes to be served and each dish arrives within 5mins to 10mins time.
    we are looking forward to my friends highly recommended vegan chicken rice & sambal fish set which are on their friday menu.

    cheers!
    vegan truly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Vegan Truly,

      Definitely a good idea that you called in advance. The waiting time for food is quite long at Veggie Cottage. I don't mind waiting and sipping on a hot drink with French music in the background, though. Nice to find somewhere so peaceful.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Luke

      Delete

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