Friday, March 11, 2016

Restaurant review: GreenDot, Singapore

"Eat Green, Feel Good"

That's the catchy motto behind GreenDot, a chain of vegetarian restaurants in Singapore that offers affordable vegetarian fare. GreenDot was born out of the desire to change the world one green meal at a time. Believing that eating has a greater purpose, GreenDot aims to improve personal health, family well-being and to promote care for the environment.

The vegetarian dining scene in Singapore has a strong enough presence to dispel the myth that vegetarian food is lacklustre. I have been to most of the Indian vegetarian restaurants in Singapore but outside of Indian cuisine, I am not privy to the restaurants that embrace a plant-based diet with open arms. Original Sin and Whole Earth are two good ones that I've been to that offer Mediterranean and Thai-Peranakan cuisine respectively. There are many others that I have been meaning to check out for the longest time so if veggie food is your thing, watch this space!

I have several vegetarian pals in Singapore but I don't always get to share a meal tête-à-tête with them. I do however meet one of them more often not only because we used to work in the same University but also because she lives quite close to me and we have similar preferences in food. We have mutually decided to probe the vegetarian dining scene in Singapore so whenever we meet up, we try to frequent exclusively vegetarian establishments. 

This time, we decided to catch up at GreenDot located at Westgate. It was a Thursday evening and when we reached the location, we were a bit surprised by the serpentine queue leading up to the restaurant. On the bright side, time flies when you are in good company so as we were engrossed in deep meaningful conversation about life (NOT!), the line got shorter and shorter and we were shown to our table within 25 minutes. 

The restaurant is really small but the interiors are fresh, bright and inviting. The ambience is casual and it is perfect to grab a quick lunch or dinner. The process of ordering and payment is by self-service, although staff do bring your orders to the table.

Green Dot specialises in Asian fusion cuisines, offering healthy, well-balanced meals which are aesthetically appealing. There are a range of interesting drinks, salads, rice bowl, soup, noodles, mushroom pot and customized bento sets. The food apparently does not contain any flour and gluten as well as MSG. Soya, mushrooms and konnyaku feature extensively in the menu.

I have to confess that I had absolutely no idea what konnyaku was up until that point! 

This is what our order looked like,

Strawberry Black Tea ($5)

Small chunks of apple and strawberry floating in a deliciously sweet black tea. This drink looked stunning and tasted lovely! I would order it again. 

Lime Green Tea with Chia Seeds ($5)

Another refreshing drink that was pleasing to the eye. The chia seeds added a nice texture to the drink.

Strawberry Konnyaku Salad ($11.50)

This gargantuan salad came with lettuce, konnyaku prawn, cherry tomatoes, fresh strawberries, dried cranberries, raisins, almonds, sunflower seeds & olive oil. It was served alongside a savoury creamy dressing. I enjoyed the medley of salad leaves with the strawberries, cherry tomatoes, dried fruit and nuts but wasn't a fan of the konnyaku prawn. Also, there was way too much lettuce in the salad so even though we went halfsies, we didn't come close to finishing the portion. 

Tom Yum Noodles ($6.50)

I love anything with the prefix Tom Yum. There is something about the sweetness, tartness and mild spicy kick that comforts and rejuvenates at the same time.

This dish arrived with slippery noodles, konnyaku prawn, konnyaku slice, tau pok, radish, carrot and lettuce served in a soup with kaffir lime leaves, pink ginger buds and lemon grass. I tossed the lettuce aside (I had enough with the salad!) and dove heartily into the noodles. Again, not a fan of anything konnyaku but the broth and the noodles had enough flavour to make a lasting impression on my tastebuds. 


Customised Bento ($7.90)

How this works is - you can select one type of rice (beauty rice, emperor rice, five treasure rice, fragrance rice or sesame rice), add one main (cereal konnyaku,  sweet & sour soya nuggets, gong bao fresh mushroom or lion mane mushroom rendang) and finish with two greens (choose two types of vegetables from the bento counter). 

This was what my friend opted for. The soup was meh (watery and hardly any flavour). The quality of rice was good. The sweet and sour soya nuggets had great texture were delicious (highly recommended) and the vegetable sides were alright. A decent variety on a platter but what you choose can make-or-break this dish. 

As our green dinner came to a close, the crowd thinned out considerably and the dining atmosphere became more pleasant. We were full by the end of our meal but not uncomfortably so. We stopped by a gelato place located just a stone's throw away and indulged our sweet tooth (the perks of eating clean & green!). 

My concluding remarks
I like what GreenDot stands for. The positives from my dining experience were the freshness of the food, great drinks, adequate portion size, quick service and affordable prices ($10-$18 per head). On the flipside, this is a tiny establishment with limited seating so it can get quite crowded. I understand that reservations are possible only at the One Raffles Place branch so be prepared to get in line (which can be quite long as we experienced!). Also, the Westgate branch didn't have an extensive menu. I would have liked to sample the burgers which are not offered at this branch. The food is good but it doesn't blow you away. Having said that, it was an agreeable dining experience and I may consider visiting again. 

A decent place for those who would like to embrace a green diet. I would recommend this restaurant for couples, families and small groups of friends. 

My rating for this restaurant is

3 Gateway Drive
Singapore 4608532
+65 67105567

60 Paya Lebar Road
Paya Lebar Square
Singapore 409051
+65 67022221

311 New Upper Changi Road
Bedok Mall #B2-27
+65 67024139

One Raffles Place
+65 62034923


This is not a sponsored review. The opinions and comments in this post are solely my own

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