I seldom travel to Ang Mo Kio area as it is quite far from where I stay and I don’t really travel out of the hood unless there is a gathering somewhere. It so happens that we had a gathering in the area and decided to try out this place which is a vegetarian restaurant which is apparently quite popular in the neighbourhood.
The restaurant itself is not very huge and is like your typical coffee shop size. Even from outside, you can read through their menu with these huge poster menus pasted on their windows.
There are a couple of outdoor seats for the dinner crowd when it is not too hot and is just next to the carpark area.
The indoor seats are also limited with only 6 tables and only 1 round table which is able to accommodate up to 6-8 persons. The rest of the tables are all 2 seaters which can be shifted to accommodate the different group size. We were there on a regular Sat evening and the place was quite packed as a different crowd came and went within the hour that we were there. As the area is small, diners usually eat and move off without staying too long so there isn’t a real need to make bookings.
Their menu reminds you of the typical local stir fry Chinese restaurants with the usual fried rice, noodles as well as Chinese dishes where you can order to eat with plain rice. The price range is very affordable for dishes like noodles and fried rice at less than SGD 5. For individual dishes, the cost is about SGD 12 to 20.
There is a self-help condiments area near the cashier counter which provides you with sweet chilli sauce, green chilli as well as the belachan chilli. As a belachan lover, I was exhilarated to see that they provided vegetarian belachan and I was curious how it would taste since they cannot use dried shrimp as the main ingredient of the belachan. The chilli was a disappointment when I tasted it as it was flat without any fragrant layers to it and it was also hardly spicy.
The rojak came in an environmentally friendly wooden plate and the servings were good for sharing for 3-4 persons. There was also a load of peanut shavings scattered on top of the dish as a garnish as well as to enhance the taste of the dish. The ingredients were quite fresh and crunchy but the sauce was not thick enough. Comparing it to other vegetarian rojak, this version is quite mediocre.
As a belachan fan, we order the fried Kang kong with belachan which is fried morning glory with chilli. As the belachan itself was quite flat and disappointing, the vegetable was also not fragrant enough for me. However, the vegetables are quite fresh and crunchy.
When the hotplate tofu arrived, I was pretty surprised by the servings. Since there was no meat in the dish, I was expecting more vegetables like carrots or peas or cauliflower which is commonly found in the meat version of this dish. The one served had a few pathetic snow peas and many cube-sized tofu. The mock minced meat was also mixed in the gravy so the hotplate was really quite empty. The taste of the dish is in fact quite palatable but I would have given it a better rating if more vegetables were thrown in.
This next dish was the lettuce fried with fermented beancurd which is commonly found in non-vegetarian Chinese stir fry stores as well. This dish met the expectations in taste but the vegetables were a little overcooked so they were a bit limp and not crunchy.
This next dish one of the more expensive items on the menu. It is the fried yam ring with cashew nut and monkey head mushrooms. The presentation is very pretty with the fried vermicelli used as the base where the yam ring is sitting. This dish is also commonly found in other stores. Usually, you will find chicken meat chunks in the middle of the yan ring. For this version, they substituted the chicken with sweet and sour fried monkey head mushrooms which had a great texture that vaguely felt like meat. The yam was perfectly fried and the seasoned as the skin was crispy and yet creamy and savoury inside. This dish was the only winner for the night.
Overall, I would classify this restaurant as a homely neighbourhood vegetarian cafeteria with some pocket-friendly prices for vegetarians or diners who wish to go meatless occasionally. While the taste of the food is not terrible to the point of non-edible, there were certain dishes that were certainly not up to standard in my opinion since I have visited many other vegetarian restaurants serving similar dishes.
Address: 532 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, #01-2495, Singapore 560532
Operating hours: 10.30 am to 9.30 pm (Closed on Mon)