I stumbled upon The Singapore Vegetarian meet up group just 2 days ago and found out that they were holding a dinner hang out at Onaka at ARC shopping center at Alexander Road. As many as 45 people RSVP for the event and I wrote in to ask if we could be in the waiting list and the next day we got a prompt email reply from Lai Chow to say we’re in! Yeah, we’re so psyched to finally meet fellow like minded vegetarian diners.
We spoke to the owner Rosalind who told us Onaka comes from an acronym for Optimum Nutrition and Kitchen Arts and it also means “stomach” in Japanese.
Before reaching the restaurant, I googled and found out that they also sold meat dishes and conducts healthy cooking courses. I was intrigued and wondered why this mix and upon reaching the shopping mall, the restaurant was easy to spot especially when they have a vending machine selling healthy snacks right at their door step. We spotted apple chips, soya chocolate milk to health bars.
We were early and got our seats after making our payment of $29 each as there was a special set dinner menu prepared for the evening. We looked through their ala carte selection and found out that they serve brunch as well! We will definitely be back to try that and invite our Carnivore friends along. We loved that for each dish there were labels beside stating if it’s gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, diary free etc! How awesome if more restaurants and cafes can follow suit.
Our amouse bouche/taster was watermelon sashimi: Agar Wasabi Tobiko, Daikon- Tamari Dressing. When it was plated, we all went WOW! Simply because the colour and they way it was sliced and presented looked just like tuna! Of course the taste and the texture was just like our good old watermelon friend. But the concept and technique that went into this was simply innovative. Chef Jason told us how they have to compress the watermelon with a chamber vacuum sealer! We found it so cool we even googled how to make it here!
Next I had Curried Tomato Soup with roasted tomatoes, curry mix, dehydrated tempeh crostini while Hubby Ro had Stuffed Tofu with brown rice and mushroom stuffings, edamame and shimeji stirfry with sesame tamari sauce. My soup was tangy spicy with each gulp and the tempeh was an interesting texture and flavour to the soup unlike the usual bread offerings you get. The stuffed tofu on the other hand tasted really yummy. All the flavours came together really well especially the mushroom and the crunchy edamame.
For our mains, I had Gratin of Portobello with roasted veggie stuffings, quiona salad, chipotle ketchup and I requested to have the cheese omitted which they did gladly. But I read a hungrygowhere review that they could substitute it with soy cheese if you request. Again being a mushroom lover, this dish was right up my alley. I wished it came in bigger portion or another mushroom or more quinoa as I felt really unsatisfied and wanting more because it was so darn good.
He on the other hand had Baked Pineapple Rice with Soy skewers in Banana leaf cooked with organic quinoa, carrot, onion, spices, organic extra virgin coconut oil and the skewers came with shallot and chilli salas in kecap manis. The rice to me was fragrant but was starchy and lacked the sweet and sour pineapple taste. But for him he enjoyed the rice very much as he like the combination between the skewers and the spices that came along and he found the sticky rice good to chew on.
I took a sneak shot my neighbour Sarik’s Caesar salad goes vegan. It came with grilled romaine, eggless aioli, eggplant bacon, raw-mesan, tabasco and croutons. The eggplant bacon looked so real and I could her her crunch on them and exclaiming how good it was! We also got an option to choose a healing tea or organic coffee to end the evening and I went for peppermint Purity tea and he chose Chamomile tea.
For dessert, I forgot he ordered Banana Pastillas so we had 2 instead.It’s made of Phyllo pastry, cinnamon toasted bananas, berries, maple syrup, walnuts, banana and cardamon ice cream. The dessert tasted like Goreng Pisang a local fried banana dish found in my street snack stores. We loved the rich caramel taste of the banana pastry with the walnuts and ice cream. Within seconds, we literally licked the whole dish off.
We didnt get to try this other dessert called Mini Avo Choco Emotions made of avocado and chocolate mousse with banana chips. All around the table we kept hearing everyone saying this is the first time they tasted a sweet avocado and how awesome it tasted.
The food was stunningly brilliant but nothing beats good company. We’re so thrilled to meet so many like minded vegetarians and we can’t wait to attend more workshops or dinner meet ups to catch up again.
460 Alexandra Road
#01-32 Alexandra Retail Centre
Tel: 62702012Fax: 62702098
Mon – Fri: 11:30 – 22:30
Sat: 10:00 – 22:30
Sun: 10:00 – 22:30
PH: 10:00 – 22:30