Just a few years ago, there were really limited options when it comes to vegetarian or vegan meals; the choices were always a salad, or sandwich or the oriental fried vermicelli noodles. Today, there are endless options available in almost all corners of the country and I was surprised to find a fully vegetarian Korean restaurant during my search for interesting dining options for vegetarians. As a Korean food lover, I was greatly pleased to be able to satisfy my craving for something Korean and yet still maintain my vegetarian diet.
Nestled amongst many factory and office buildings in Tai Seng, Boneless Kitchen’s first outlet is quite distinctively Korean with a large decal “Han’ meaning Korean at the front entrance.
The outlet itself at Tai Seng is not very huge with approximately seating for 20-30 persons only. The decor is also simple with wooden tables and chairs which are commonly found in Korean restaurants. For those who prefer traditional Korean seating on the floor will still be able to with 2 – 3 of the floor seating at the entrance of the restaurant.
The menu is very substantial with almost the usual choices you will find in a generic Korean restaurant. Usual favourites include the kimchi pancake, bibimbap, ramen, Tteok-bokki and more. All their ingredients are sourced from Korean to ensure the authentic flavours of Korean cuisine.
The ordering system is very special as it is placed via their website. You will find this QR code on your table where you can scan and be directed to their ordering menu on their site. There is also the number tag for your table for you to bring to the cashier for payment after the meal. Everything is very easy to operate and if you do have questions, there are still staff around who can render assistance to you. Something worth mentioning is that the restaurant hires staff with special needs as an initiative to give back to our community so all guests are asked to be more supportive and understanding to their staff.
The serving speed is one of the fastest I have ever experienced in all the restaurants I have visited. In a matter of 2 mins after placing our order on the site, the server served our drinks and it is freshly prepared. As it was so fast, I was half expecting the drinks with melted ice from being left on the counter from pre-preparation but the drinks had fresh ice and the drink was cold and non-diluted. We had the cold barley tea which was nice and refreshing
Complimentary side dishes were also served although we had to pay for the kimchi. Some of the complementary sides included potato salad, seaweed and radish kimchi. The side dishes were tasty but nothing too mind-blowing
Our next dish was the mixed vegetables and vermicelli known as Japchae, the dish has lots of mushroom and carrots but generally, I found the dish slightly flat and it could be better with more soy flavours.
The kimchi pancakes were extremely good as they were crispy and well fried but yet not oily. There are many kimchi pancakes which are soggy and oily but this particular one has very good texture and has the savoury flavour of chopped kimchi. In case you are wondering what is the difference between normal kimchi pancake and vegetarian pancake; the main difference is the shrimp paste extract in the kimchi. Therefore the vegetarian kimchi does not have the seafood savoury taste and can taste very flat. This kimchi pancake is surprisingly good and I can’t tell the difference from the normal ones.
We had the fried dumplings which were perfectly fried till golden brown and the fillings were also quite juicy. Although there is no meat in the dumplings, the mushrooms and vegetables inside gave the dumplings sufficient juices and flavours.
I was craving quite badly for black bean noodles and I was glad to be able to find the vegetarian version here. The serving itself is quite big and more than sufficient for 1 person. The noodles came with a bunch of fresh cucumber shavings topping and the black bean sauce had potatoes, onions and other vegetables. The consistency and taste of the sauce itself is quite legit and it is a considerably less oily option compared to the meat version.
The hot stone bibimbap is also a beautiful sight with colourful ingredients arranged like a blooming daisy with the sunny side up placed right in the middle. This vegetarian version has purple cabbage which is not common in the usual dolsot bibimbap. This is one dish which is probably not going to taste very different from the general version with meat since fresh vegetables are the main highlight of bibimbap.
The fried kimchi rice, lovingly known as bokkeum-bap is rice fried with kimchi and Korean spicy hot paste usually with pork or beef and topped with a sunny side up. This version had additional vegetables like broccoli, carrots and beansprouts. Unlike the kimchi pancake, the rice was quite general in taste and I feel it is because the rice is a bit too oily and the kimchi taste is missing from the rice.
Overall, the food at Boneless Kitchen is quite general although there are certain dishes which are fantastic because they tasted just like the normal ones with meat. There are also some dishes which taste quite mediocre. However, being the only Korean vegetarian restaurant offering the full menu of Korean dishes, this is still a good restaurant to visit for customers hoping to get a taste of Korean cuisine not offered at other vegetarian restaurants. They recently opened their 2nd outlet in the West at One North so customers staying at the West do not have to travel all the way to Tai Seng to satisfy their Korean cravings.
Address: 1 Irving Pl, #01-31 Commerze @ Irving, Singapore 369546
Operating hours: 12 pm to 9 pm