Saturday, August 27, 2005

Grazing in Green Pasture

Sushi without the rice? Organic vegetables? No meat in sight?

A health-conscious colleague had been raving about this organic vegetarian cafe in Fortune Centre, and insisted that I expand my dining horizon to include healthier alternatives. I like vegetables but am generally wary of places touting healthy-organic style dining as they invariably end up serving bland food with reduced salt, fat/oil and sugar, omitting every other sinful but tasty ingredient. I did not have high hopes for a satisfying lunch when I saw New Green Pasture Cafe, its decor was nondescript, and it had no more than 10 tables (though half were filled with customers). The only spark of hope was when I met Sophia, the owner and chef, who sported a really bright pink beret. Ah-hah...there should be some creativity at work here!

Fruit-Rojak The first dish arrived - the healthy version of fruit 'rojak'. The normal 'Rojak' is a popular local dish of sliced jicama, cucumber, green mango and pineapple mixed, made unhealthy by the sweet sauce which is a mixture of sugar, chilli sauce and black prawn paste (har-cheong). Sophia's rojak was a mixture of sliced turnip (jicama), pineapple, carrots, green apples, starfruit and really good crunchy beetroot, all held together by a light sweet, spicy and slightly tart sauce, and topped with chopped peanuts. The flavors of molasses and apple cider vinegar in the 'rojak' sauce gave the latter a lovely refreshing taste - not a bad start...

Soba-SaladThe sushi roll was next, and as you can see from the top picture, instead of Japanese sticky rice, the roll was essentially julienned/shredded jicama, carrot, beetroot, lettuce, red cabbage etc. wrapped in seaweed. This is easily one of the most delicious 'vege-crunchy' sushi I've ever had, as the julienned vegetables had been mixed in a tasty mayonnaise-like sauce. If I am ever reincarnated as a cow, this has gotta be my main chow.

Soba-Salad2 Soba salad came topped with loads of shredded lettuce, red cabbage, seaweed, diced tomatoes, mungbeans and watercress. After thoroughly mixing the entire bowl of soba noodles with the shredded vegetables and sauce which had flavors of sesame oil, mirin(?) and what I was told to be liquid aminase (in place of soya sauce), it was slurp-slurp-slurp until the bowl was clean.

Sophia tries to use organic produce as much as possible in her dishes and she also sells organic vegetables, grains and flour and other health-food products at her shop for the converted.

Mushroom-SoupMy colleague called this the 'bak-kut teh' soup without the 'bak-kut' (pork ribs). Mushrooms and compacted chopped mushroom-stems (a Chinese vegetarian product - a slice is shown in picture being picked up by chopsticks) are used as a meaty substitute for the pork ribs, and the soup is brewed with traditional chinese herbs including medlar seeds (kei-chi). Steaming hot, no MSG, with all the goodness of the ingredients developing in the soup.

Nasi-Briyani Being greedy, we couldn't resist this vegetarian nasi briyani. Brown rice was cooked with turmeric for the color, and sides included potato/vegetable curry, pumpkin chutney, and more of the delicious fresh organic vegetables cooked and as a salad. I'm a fan of fluffy white Thai jasmine rice, so brown rice is really not my thing though my colleagues were quite happy to give the thumbs up for this dish as well.

Bubur-Cha-Cha Finally, dessert was bubur-cha-cha with the usual sinful coconut milk being replaced with oat milk and almond powder. Apart from the usual sweet potato cubes, Sophia had added red kidney beans, gingko nuts and lilybulbs (pak-he). A most unusual combination.

Prices range between $4 to $7 generally per dish, and a good healthy and tasty meal can be had for less than $10 per person (fulfilling the Health Promotion Board's recommended intake of at least 2 cups of vegetables daily).

New Green Pasture Cafe
190 Middle Road #04-22
Fortune Centre
Singapore 188979
Tel: 6336 8755
Open: 11.30 am to 7.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)


Blogger boo_licious said...

I love organic food and the restaurants here don't serve such innovative stuff that you have featured. They all look good! The sushi is so multi-coloured that it looks so yummy (no carbs!), soba noodles are my fav and that bubur chacha with oat milk sounds way so interesting.

Where is Fortune Centre? I have not heard about it before.

8/27/2005 03:10:00 AM  
Blogger dave said...

This all sounded good to me a confirmed meat eatter.

8/27/2005 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger J said...

fortune centre is just round the corner from where i stay - must go check it out! thanks for the tip off...cheers,j

8/28/2005 04:42:00 AM  
Anonymous suze said...

mmm the sushi looks interesting and the soba salad looks so yummy!

8/28/2005 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

hi boo, Fortune Centre is this quite run-down building in the vicinity of Sunshine Plaza at Bencoolen Street.

hi dave - nice to hear from you again!

hi J - you're lucky, living right in the centre of town! hope you enjoy Green Pasture.

hi suze - welcome and thanks for the comment :)

8/29/2005 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Clare Eats said...

looks good and interesting :) I would love to try it!
So different to what you get in a health restaurant here.

In Australia they reccomend at least 5 serves of veggies a day WOW!

8/29/2005 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

hi clare = that sounds like a whole of lot veggies....

8/30/2005 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Clare Eats said...


9/02/2005 04:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just tried the place last weekend, this place seriously is yummy. Vegetables never tasted so nice had the soba salad and sushi roll. Would have had a bubur cha cha but was too full.

10/11/2005 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

Dear anonymous - I'm so glad that you like the recommendation, my favourites are also the soba salad and sushi roll.

10/12/2005 09:26:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home