Cover Chicken is Safe is another signature on Origin Grill's plant-based menu (Image: Origin Grill)

From Shangri-La's Origin Grill to Pollen at Gardens by the Bay, restaurant chefs get creative with their plant-based menus

The rise of health-conscious diners has inspired many chefs across the island to jazz up their plant-based menus to offer nutritious dishes that taste as good as your usual meat dishes. Here are some offerings that have caught our palate's attention.

(Related: Impossible Foods is Now Available at Supermarkets in Singapore, Plus 5 Recipes to Try)

1. Origin Grill

“Dining trends are changing and guests are always looking for healthier food that don’t compromise on taste,” says chef Damian Piedrahita, who began concentrating on vegan cooking seven years ago. To cater to this growing demand, the plant-based culinary team at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, which Piedrahita heads up, has come up with novel offerings across its restaurants. At Origin Grill, you will find This is Nuts, an intriguing dairy-free starter that looks and tastes like camembert cheese but is actually made with cashew nuts. “Traditionally, camembert is eaten with sweet notes,” explains Piedrahita, who has topped it with a thin layer of crunchy caramel and caramelised onions. The dollop of caviar capers offers a tinge of acidity, while the toasted beetroot chip gives the dish a crunchy bite.

(Related: Review: Guilt-free Pleasures At Origin Grill)

2. Pollen

What makes a great vegetarian dish? For Pollen’s executive chef Michael Wilson, it is all about delivering the right balance of flavours and textures on a plate. For example, the lettuce gazpacho, one of his latest creations on the restaurant’s vegetarian tasting menu, was borne out of his desire to serve something refreshing to combat Singapore’s hot and humid weather. He uses fresh greens, including romaine lettuce, spinach, mint, fennel and avocado, and blends them into a fine puree to bring out the natural sweetness. The puree goes well with the creaminess of burrata, the acerbic notes of pickled cucumber, and the slightly spicy kick of Espelette pepper.

(Related: The Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants In Singapore Where Your Tatlings Can Dine Like Adults)

3. Catfish

Cure Concepts chef-owner Andrew Walsh admits that his dining habits have changed and he eats “more seafood and vegetable dishes on weekdays now”. This clean eating habit has inspired him and head chef Erik Gustafsson of Catfish— the F&B group’s new seafood restaurant—to include vegetarian dishes like salads, on the menu. “We created these options to complement most of our seafood creations,” enthuses Walsh. One of his favourites is the whole roasted cauliflower which has been cooked sous vide to give it a softer bite, before it is covered in spices and roasted for a slightly charred finish. A generous sprinkle of pomegranate seeds provides a fruity contrast to the overall dish.

Catfish | 5 Gemmill Lane, S(069261) | 6226 1395 | Book here

(Related: Chef Andrew Walsh Opens Catfish, an Asian Fusion Restaurant and Bar Grill in Singapore)

4. The Summerhouse

As a nature-inspired French restaurant, it is only natural for The Summerhouse to serve a vegetarian menu. Head chef Wendy Kuek explains that vegetarian dishes “gel well with our concept”. In fact, the restaurant has a garden where it harvests fresh herbs and garnishes used in signature dishes such as the tarte au champignon portobello et burrata. Fresh tomatoes from Cameron Highlands in Malaysia are added into the ensemble of burrata cheese and lightly sautéed mushrooms to make a perfect blend of creamy, sour and savoury taste. The palate-pleasing starter is presented on a crisp tart, and garnished with butterfly pea flowers—from the restaurant’s garden, of course.

(Related: Walk On The Wild Side At The Summerhouse—The City's Greenest Food Enclave)

The Summerhouse

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5. PizzaExpress

"At PizzaExpress, we bring a plant-based twist to our pizza while retaining taste and texture... so you don't need to compromise when choosing sustainable options," explains chef Louie Moong, and the team's Heura Pollo Forza is a good example of that. An updated version of the pizzeria's signature hot chilli chicken classic, the tomato-based pizza is topped with delectable chunks of Heura, a 100 per cent plant-based chicken substitute, as well as a medley of roasted peppers and sliced jalapenos. Finished with a drizzle of chilli oil. 

PizzaExpress | 5 Straits View, 01-20/21, Marina One The Heart, S(018935) | 6581 9283

(Related: The Smallest Pizza Bar in Singapore—Small’s—Is The Creative Outlet That Bjorn Shen Needs)


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