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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

GreenDot - Paya Lebar

It was around 18 months ago that I posted my first review of GreenDot's original outlet (excluding their school outlets) at the newly opened (at that time) Bedok Mall.  Well, fast-forward 12 months and GreenDot have struck again at another brand new mall.  It must be said, GreenDot choose their locations very intelligently, which allows them to thrive.  Paya Lebar Square is still not running at 100% yet, but it is sure to be a mall with high traffic in the future.  Another big difference is the size.  GreenDot at Bedok Mall may rank as the smallest (per square feet) vegetarian eatery in Singapore - So it seems they have over-compensated for this by opening a large establishment this time around.

Location: #02-15/16/17, 60 Paya Lebar Road, Paya Lebar Square

Contact: 67022221
Opening Hours: Daily 8.00am-10.00pm  

Things have not changed that much in terms of the menu, compared with the Bedok Mall outlet.  The dishes are all fundamentally the same, with a few new additions finding their way onto the menu.
A look at more food options on the screen.
The GreenDot menu is clean and simple, but once again they have neglected to highlight which dishes are vegan (or even contain eggs) - This is a problem I already highlighted back in my 2013 review.  Apart from this, the menu reads well.  Foolishly, many restaurant owners will say 'I'm not targeting 'vegans', so why should I label for them?' - Such misguided owners need to understand that firstly, egg is considered strictly non-vegetarian to many who are living in Singapore; and secondly, it is surely best to avoid the amount of potential conflict and frustration amongst customers and be transparent about the contents of the dishes you are selling.

*Update - GreenDot have now changed their menus to include icons that display egg/dairy in the dishes.  However, since my post almost all vegan dishes have been removed, and thus the menu is almost entirely non-vegan.

At the main counter of the restaurant one can find all the pots of food for the bento set.  I was pleased to see that some labeling was done, highlighting which dishes contain egg, milk etc.  But still, it is the menu which needs this labeling so crucially.
The Customized Bento is what GreenDot are featuring most heavily on their menu, but customers are definitely going to complain about pricing here.  For what is essentially a shrunken version of economic rice, the price is way too high, especially as the food can barely fill a mouse on a diet - The plating doesn't help (the black container actually looks like it is designed for sauces, not food), as it highlights just how meager the portions are.  On the positive side, the dishes have improved from when I tried them at Bedok Mall (I still vividly remember the raw eggplant they sold to me at Bedok).  The quality of their brown rice was good, but overall I am really not attracted to the idea of spending $8 for small portions of economic rice.  It could be improved by having it in the form of a real bento, with fruits, salad and other various goodies in all the compartments.

Price: $7.90.     4/10

Ordering burgers at GreenDot is walking through a minefield of egg, cheese and milk, but I eventually figured out that ordering the Black Pepper Burger (asking for no cheese and mayo) was safe for vegan consumption.  Starting with the positives, the mock meat patty was good, and I found this meal to be far better value than the bento set.  I would, however, like to see ingredients with more character added into the burger - Instead of cucumber and decaying lettuce, which adds nothing, something like diced gherkin would add another layer of flavour.  The black pepper sauce was also quite bland and flavourless - I like my black pepper sauce to have more of a kick.

Price: $6.90.     5/10

Conclusion - GreenDot is a second generation F&B establishment (the father is the owner of Lotus Vegetarian), so I am sure plenty of help has been given to ensure GreenDot flourishes.  I like the branding and concept behind GreenDot, and it is encouraging to see a vegetarian eatery expand.  However, talking strictly in terms of the food, I haven't eaten anything that impressed me in the slightest from GreenDot.   If you're looking for more affordable vegetarian cuisine, the famous Xuan Miao Vegan stall has recently shifted from Circuit Rd to B1-51 of Paya Lebar Square, so there are now two vegetarian options within this shopping centre.

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