Location: #01-149, Blk 491 Jurong West Avenue 1
Contact: 90233672Opening Hours: Daily 7.00am-8.45pm
Update 19th October 2016 - Merit have now moved to a coffee shop stall at Block 491 Jurong West Avenue 1 (same block as before, but downsized to a stall). Their menu is subsequently much smaller now, and some of their famous dishes, such as prata are no longer available.
Roti Prata in a Chinese vegetarian eatery is not unheard of, in fact places like Zi Zai and Tian Yi have built quite a reputation from their roti prata. But I would have to say that Merit have produced one of the best roti prata I have eaten in a long time. The prata itself is not too oily and has several light fluffy beautiful layers - It really is a thing of beauty. Moreover, the curry sauce has a very close resemblance to the traditional Malay style prata sauce - With one key exception - Much less oil. Malay food is notoriously oil (and pretty much everything else that is bad for you) heavy - So I am glad there is now a healthier alternative. When I visited, their roti prata was selling like hotcakes, so I guess I am not the only one who was impressed. For strict vegans, I did manage to confirm there is an amount of planta used, hence you may want to avoid this.
Price: $1.00/pc. 9/10
Murtabak, but if you want to try a pretty amazing vegetarian rendition, then you must visit Gokul (Little India outlet, not Fortune Centre). Merit's version of murtabak was excellent in terms of the texture of the dough - It was soft and light. But it was a failure in terms of the filling - Leafy vegetables and cabbage were just weird inside a murtabak. But the curry sauce was great.
Price: $5.00. 6/10
Masala Dosai in Singapore, from places like Komala's, MTR and Sri Lukshmi-bala-bumpi-rahja-ding-dong-ping-pong-blah-blah. So somewhat inevitably this dosai was not going to match those standards. The dosai batter was actually done quite well (although a little lumpy and thick in areas) and the chutneys too were passable. But the masala inside needs insurmountable improvement - It has too much cabbage and too little potato and is void of all the cruicial Indian spices (no turmeric - Chef, are you mad?). I am no skilled chef, but even I could make a better potato masala blindfolded, handcuffed and with banana peels on my feet.
Price: $2.80. 5/10
Roti John. To find this dish in vegetarian form is not an easy task. I only know of Divine Realm in Hougang who produce (and having been producing for many years) an excellent (although hardly authentic) roti john. For this version, it is more authentic in appearance, compared with Divine Realm. But taste wise it comes up a clear second best. Once again, there is this confused Chinese-Indian cabbage-obsessed concoction inside, which feels highly out of place. Less said about this dish the better.
Price: $4.00. 4/10
Char Siew Rice. No serious complaints about this dish really. The char siew was good quality, the soup was surprisingly flavourful (not the typical Chinese soup that just tastes like water) and the presentation was great. I thought the chilli was a little too heavy on ginger, but other than that this is a decent dish.
Price: $3.00. 7/10
Wanton Mee - I routinely find myself barely able to contains my giggles while slurping up Chef Wai's heavenly Ipoh influenced wanton mee, which I rank as (by far) the best wanton mee in Singapore. Unfortunately, as a result of this, all other versions of this dish seem quite standard. Having said that, I did like how two varieties of wanton were used in this dish, and the noodles were fresh and bouncy. The major flaw was in the noodle sauce, which was too flat and needed a kick.
Price: $3.00. 6/10
Xiang Chun Tofu. Xiang chun is one of my all time favourite Chinese ingredients, which can be used literally countless ways in many different dishes. Unfortunately for this dish, the taste of the xiang chun was too mild, almost non-existent. The tofu was fried well and I loved the garnishing on top - But bland tofu with a tasteless sauce ultimately left the dish feeling very flat.
Price: $6.00. 6/10
Sweet & Sour Fish, once again this dish was presented very well, I love how purple cabbage is used for garnishing. The mock fish had good taste and texture, but I have certainly had better sweet & sour sauce.
Price: $6.00. 6/10
Cereal Prawn. Not as much as I hate congee, but the hatred is still substantial enough. So, having said that, this cereal prawn rendition was actually really good. The mock prawns were huge and not bad as far as mock seafood is concerned. The cereal was cooked well and had just the right amount of sweetness. This may well be the best vegetarian cereal prawn in Singapore...But still I wouldn't order it again!
Price: $6.00. 8/10
Conclusion - I spent the time sampling a lot of the dishes at Merit, and honestly they were a mix of hit and misses. But I do see a good future for this shop house vegetarian stall. They have a great mix of Chinese and Indian food and if they can make roti prata their signature and work a decent menu around it, then I see great things. Considering Merit has only been operating for a few weeks, the food produced exceeded my expectations.
Food - 6/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 8/10