Saturday, May 6, 2017

Raw Vegan Food with a Modern Twist: The Living Café @ Bukit Timah, Singapore

Before this review, my plans of visiting The Living Café (TLC) had been hanging in the balance for the past 3 years 😄 Unfailingly, something or the other would come up forcing me to cancel my plans or venues would get changed unexpectedly. On one occasion, I even entered the café having scheduled dinner with a friend only to find that it was half an hour away from closing! I had no other option but to head over to another food establishment in the vicinity 😞

So when I had the opportunity to catch up with two old friends over lunch and realized that Bukit Timah was the ideal locality (being sort of equidistant for the three of us), I suggested TLC without a moment's hesitation.

This time, the stars aligned and my plans finally came through! 🙌

The brainchild of master nutritionist Dana Heather, TLC embraces raw vegan food and this is what sets it apart from other cafés. Their chefs are continually creating their own versions of raw and raw-fusion to bring a wide scale of variety to the café. Although not 100% vegan, most of the dishes are vegetarian and vegan-friendly, with many raw options. Chicken, fish and eggs make an appearance in certain starters and entrees though dairy is entirely avoided. To be more specific, TLC does not use red meat, cow dairy, white sugar, preservatives, additives, artificial colorings and includes gluten-free alternatives on the menu. The café takes pride in using specially selected and sourced organic ingredients wherever possible and thoughtfully combines them to achieve optimum flavor for their healthy raw food establishment.

It was a Saturday afternoon and rather late by the time we reached the venue but much to my surprise, the café was bursting at the seams at 2pm. There was only one table vacant all the way at the back so we had to make do with that.

The naturalistic decor of TLC reflects the "green" concept of the café. Spacious and airy, prominent features of the space include mismatched furniture, earthy colors, indoor plants, chalkboards and a lofty ceiling. 

There are two floors - the lower floor consists of the dining area and the upper floor has a retail store selling premium quality food products, health supplements, essential oils and books amidst other things. 

Something that catches one's eye almost instantly is the glass case with their amazing array of raw desserts. While you are waiting for your orders to arrive, you could keep your peepers peeled on the enticing display!
Choose wisely to end the meal on a high 😄

I really liked the look of their brunch menu (which I had checked out beforehand) and so that was why we chose that particular day and time to be at the café. The menu clearly identifies the dishes that are raw food, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and nut-free which I think is very helpful for people with special dietary requirements.

I was torn between the signature burger and the brown rice bowl so I took longer than usual to place the order. My friends had an easier time deciding what they wanted.

Even though the café was busy, the waitress attended to us courteously. All dishes we ordered were vegetarian and arrived fairly quickly.

Mediterranean Omelette ($17)
This dish was ordered by one of my friends. The omelette was made from a mixture of organic eggs, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, onion, tomatoes, sweet peas and goat cheese topped with arugula and drizzled over with balsamic reduction.

The flavours in the omelette came together well and the the portion-size was satisfactory. However the arugula was way too much for my friend's liking. 

Breakfast Burrito ($16.5)
The breakfast burrito was ordered by my other friend. The burrito contained scrambled eggs, raw eggplant bacon, spinach, mushroom ragout, cherry tomatoes, raw cashew mayo, sweet chilli sauce, and mexican sauce.

The presentation to me seemed lacklustre. My friend found the dish tasty but having a tiny appetite, the portion was a tad too much for her. 

Signature burger - Quinoa Veggie ($18)
(served with coleslaw & sweet potato wedges)

I've said this before - if I spot a vegetarian burger on a menu, anywhere, I will almost definitely order it. My quest for the best vegetarian burger in Singapore is an ongoing one.

The quinoa veggie burger was the best looking dish of the lot. The burger patty consisted of quinoa, carrot, celery, spinach, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms and basil. It was packed full of flavour and I was hooked right from the first bite. The balsamic reduction and raw cashew mayo made the burger even more moreish. The sweet potato wedges served on the side were delicious - right texture, good flavour without being oily. I didn't much care for the coleslaw through. It was too dry and bland for my liking. I found the wholemeal bun too crispy-crunchy (for lack of a better word) but that is just a minor complaint.

Overall, although not perfect this is one of the better vegetarian burgers I have had in Singapore so far.

Go for it!

Raw Ganache Tart ($9.50)
The raw ganache tart had been recommended by another good friend so I had to sample it. This dessert is made of coconut oil, cacao, coconut palm sugar, cashew and honey.

The tart was so good that I couldn't stop myself from going back for more. It was rich, smooth and indulgent. Being a lover of dairy products, I found it hard to believe that it was vegan and made from all natural ingredients. The tart might be considered sweet by some (especially the crust at the bottom) but for me it was just right. I did wish there was more of it though.

Highly recommended!

Raw Chocolate Brownie ($5.50)
We wanted to sample another dessert but didn't want a huge portion since we were quite full by then. We spotted these small brownie squares and ordered one to share. The brownies were made of almond, dessicated coconut, dates, raisins, cacao butter, cacao powder, coconut oil and coconut palm sugar.

Unlike the previous dessert, this one did taste "healthy". It tasted nothing like a usual brownie which was a surprise and frankly, a bit of a disappointment as well. The dessert was very nutty and the sweetness not enough for me.

Nice enough but nothing special to write home about.

My Concluding Remarks:
I enjoyed my dining experience at TLC and even though it took ages for me to finally visit the café, it was worth it. The ambience, service, menu options and quality of food were impressive. The menu caters to a wide range of dietary preferences so vegetarians and vegans can enjoy a meal along with their carnivorous companions. You can expect to fork out $25-$35 for a meal which I'd say is quite reasonable. However, the downside I felt was that the portion-size across dishes wasn't very uniform.

The folks at TLC are constantly striving to create and provide genuinely healthy food and drink that is tasty, affordable, and accessible to everyone. Vegetarians and vegans will have plenty to cheer about as will anyone who feels strongly about natural, organic and nutritious food. A visit to TLC will leave you leave feeling satisfied, rejuvenated, light and energetic.

My rating for this café is

The Living Café
779 Bukit Timah Rd
(Just before 6th Avenue)

Phone number:
+65 6468 4482

Opening Hours:
Monday to Thursday: 11.00am – 7pm (last order 6:30pm)
Friday: 11.00am – 10:00pm (last order 9:30pm)
Saturday: 9:00am to 10:00pm (last order 9:30pm)
Sunday: 9:00am to 8:00pm (last order 7:30pm)


Note: This is not a sponsored post. The views and opinions in this post are solely my own. 

1 comment:

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