Sunday, August 6, 2017

Get Your Green On @ Lotus Kitchen, Singapore

[MEDIA INVITE]

So, judging by the type of restaurants I review on the blog, you must realize by now that a brand-new vegetarian restaurant in Singapore's dining scene will make me sit up and take notice. And all the more if it is a non-Indian restaurant! Not to diss my own culinary roots or anything but it is public knowledge that most Indian restaurants have no dearth of vegetarian options. However when you look outside the cuisine, the choices aren't always plentiful. 

Embracing vegetarianism, Lotus Kitchen is a spinoff of the famous Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant which is a leading Chinese vegetarian restaurant based out of Taiwan. Lotus Vegetarian is the brainchild of Ms Lee and boasts of delicious and hearty meat-free dishes prepared by a professional team of chefs. Much like a lotus flower that embodies love, purity and devotion, Lotus Vegetarian aims to uphold these qualities in their conviction. Greendot, another chain of fast-casual vegetarian F&B establishments in Singapore also comes under the same management. I had heard a lot about Lotus Vegetarian but had never been there so when I received a kind invitation for a food tasting at the sister establishment, I was more than happy to oblige! 

Image Courtesy: Lotus Kitchen
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The 80-seater Lotus Kitchen brings to Singaporeans over 50 contemporary vegetarian cuisines from made-to-order dim sum to unique handmade noodles and stir-fried dishes. The menu at Lotus Kitchen comprises of signature dishes from its predecessor, as well as new creations by owner Ms Lee who has a penchant for mixing different herbs to create new aromatic blends as well as using homemade sauces and spices to whip up authentic local and Taiwanese vegetarian dishes. All dishes are made with natural premium ingredients known to boost constitution such as lion’s mane mushrooms, agaricus blazei mushroom, tian ma, cordyceps flower, burdock and sugarcane sprouts from Taiwan. 

Located in the bustling heart of Chinatown at Chinatown Point, Lotus Kitchen boasts of a prime and accessible location. Just step outside the Chinatown MRT from the New Bridge Road exit and you will literally fall into the lap of the restaurant!




First impressions: Spacious, bright, inviting and spick and span.

The restaurant showcases a modern minimalist interior design, and its cosy and relaxed ambience makes it an ideal space for foodies to celebrate the delights of the plant kingdom.


I loved this particular nook of the restaurant. It was more private, eye-catching and had a cheery vibe. I was pleased to note that we were dining there. 

Image Courtesy: Lotus Kitchen



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As I flipped through the menu, I was impressed by the variety the restaurant has to offer. There is something in there for everyone. Meat-lovers will not be disappointed I'm sure! 

I was privileged to enjoy an elaborate 10-course dinner and here are some of my thoughts on it,

Chilled Tea with Osmanthus Jelly ($4.80)

Cold, sweet and refreshing with bits of delightful jelly in every sip. It was a fitting beverage to the feast that followed. The sweetness was slightly more than what I would have preferred but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 


Taro Mee Sua Cake ($6.80)

This dish lets you enjoy the best of two worlds: pan-fried taro and mee sua cake. The Taro mee Sua Cake was absolutely sumptuous. Crispy on the outside and soft inside with subtle flavour. It was not oily and did not feel heavy at all. 

One of my favourites of the night! 


Signature Lion’s Mane Mushroom Pan-Fried Dumpling ($8.80)

This dish looked so appetizing that I wanted to dig in as soon as I laid my eyes on it! The handcrafted dumplings were pan-fried to perfection with a filling comprised of minced mushrooms which had a meaty texture and an added crunch from water chestnuts. 

Recommended!

Image Courtesy: Lotus Kitchen


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Signature Double-boiled Herbal Tian Ma Soup ($8.80)

Always one to order a soup at a restaurant, I am used to the western-style heavy, creamy kinds. So when I was presented with this herbal soup, it was a refreshing change. This nourishing soup is steamed and brewed with over 10 herbs and premium-quality pearl mushrooms. The tian ma herb apparently has liver-calming and neuroprotective benefits. 

Salty, a bit sour with a distinct herbal flavour. Not that appealing to my non-Chinese palate but since it was a small portion I finished it with ease. 



Signature Crispy Summer Wrap With Passion Fruit ($35.80)

This dish touted to be a vegetarian take on the "peking duck" was definitely the show-stopper!  Featuring a medley of pleasantly crisp soya slices coated in special batter paired with vibrant passion fruit soaked turnip, carrot and cucumber strips and served alongside a homemade sweet bean paste sauce. Thin rice pancakes are served to encompass all the individual components.

I got to watch a short demonstration on how to put it together which was rather helpful. 

Distinctive flavours and interesting textures made this dish noteworthy. For me it was the turnip strips soaked in sweet passion fruit that made this dish moreish. It was so good that I could even make do without the soya slices! 

This dish is perfect for sharing and you will have a fun time assembling it together!




Spicy Grilled Oat Slices in Hotplate ($18.80)

When this dish arrived at the table, it looked so much like fish that I did a double-take! I had to ask my hosts to confirm it was not!

This dish is made using natural ingredients such as oats and soya. Heaped upon the slab of oat slices, Ms Lee’s specially blended chilli punctuates the dish with a fiery kick. 

I loved the texture of the dish and the red chilli tickled my taste buds but I would think that it could be too much for people who are intolerant/less tolerant of spice.



Braised Mushroom in Hot Pot ($18.80)

Like most others, this dish also appeared appetizing and intriguing to me. This was described to be a new recipe. It features lion's mane and shiitake mushroom, which along with bamboo shoots are stir-fried with chilli and ginger. The ingredients interact with basil leaves on the stone pot which helps bring out the fragrance of the basil leaves. 

I absolutely loved this dish. I could have finished all of it in a single sitting with a side of rice. The flavour and textures were spot on. The best of the lot!



Signature Homemade Satay ($15.80)

This creative rendition of local cuisine showcases soya slices marinated with more than 10 fragrant spices. Served alongside a sweet homemade satay sauce and a refreshing side salad of fresh pineapple and cucumbers, this dish gets full marks on presentation but falls slightly short in terms of taste. A bit one-dimensional I would say. 




Signature Stir Fried Laksa ($9.80)

Lotus Kitchen has also put a modern spin on a national favourite — the Signature Stir Fried Laksa. Stir-fried gently with in-house Laksa gravy and fresh spices to bring out its tantalizing aroma, traditional soup-based Laksa has taken on a modern twist at Lotus Kitchen. 

I liked the overall spicy kick, the flavour of the noodles and the crunch from the beansprouts. Wasn't a big fan of the seaweed though. Having said that, I see this dish being a crowd pleaser and it will make for a hearty and enjoyable meal.

Image Courtesy: Lotus Kitchen


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Lotus Yam Paste with Purple Rice ($6.80)

In this warm dessert, the yam paste is cooked with the purple rice together with red beans, red dates, dried raisins and wolfberries. The yam paste is beautifully piped onto the plate, and then topped with the purple rice mixture. Gingko nuts add a nice finishing touch. 

I loved the presentation of the dish and the fact that it wasn't too sweet. Initially I felt like I liked the other cold dessert better but eventually I realized that this one was indeed better. I think it grew on me! 




Pumpkin Paste with Purple Rice ($6.80)

This dessert didn't look as attractive as the first one. It consisted of a light pumpkin puree topped with purple rice and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was much sweeter than the other dessert but it didn't have much textural elements. Everything on the plate was soft and mushy so I feel a little tweaking of the components could make it better. 




My Verdict:

At Lotus Kitchen you can embrace a vegetarian diet with an impressive selection of flavourful meat-free creations ranging from traditional to contemporary. At this conceptual restaurant, vegans, vegetarians and even the carnivores can forge an unforgettable dining experience together. From my experience, I would recommend the Taro Mee Sua Cake, Signature Lion’s Mane Mushroom Pan-Fried Dumpling, Spicy Grilled Oat Slices in Hotplate (if you can handle the spice!), Braised Mushroom in Hot Pot, Signature Stir Fried Laksa and Lotus Yam Paste with Purple Rice. 

A good location, casual and inviting ambience, friendly service, innovative menu and affordable prices makes this restaurant a good dining option for couples, groups of friends, business lunches and families. 

So get your green on and prepare to go on an epicurean journey with your near and dear ones!



Lotus Kitchen
#01-01/02
Chinatown Point
133 New Bridge Road
Singapore 059413














Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday
11:30am – 3pm
5:30pm – 10pm

Ph No: (65) 65381068 

  

Cheers,
Megha


Disclaimer: This was an invited tasting. I have not received any compensation in return for a positive review. All views and opinions in this post are my own. 

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