Healthy Bites

Healthy Bites

Raw, vegan and everything healthy including salads. Tasty food for the health-conscious!
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Hadn’t really heard much about Necessary Provisions ever since they had re-opened their doors within SmartFit Pilates at Tanglin Shopping Centre — whilst I had been there once and had their Croque Kinoko, I had been quite intrigued by their Quinoa Ulam; and so a revisit was going to happen just for that.

The Quinoa Ulam is their very unique rendition of the Nasi Ulam — a dish that is sometimes found in Peranakan restaurants being a somewhat of a rice salad dish featuring shredded mixed herbs that is known for being especially aromatic and refreshing. Being an establishment that is all about healthy eating, Necessary Provisions had switched up the usual rice grains with quinoa instead — also feature elements such as shallot, chili, lettuce, fresh herbs and lime juice. For one who does not quite enjoy salad usually, the Quinoa Ulam was actually a dish that I found to be really easy to finish and pretty appetising — just like the typical Nasi Ulam, there is just so much going on in the rice — the freshness of the herbs carrying not just a burst of umami, but also a slight crunch, while the chili provides an extra punch that tickles the taste buds; all that while the quinoa comes soft and fluffy. Served chilled, the Quinoa Ulam is nothing short of zippy yet refreshing — never a moment where it felt monotonous because there is always something different in terms of flavour and texture with every spoonful.

The Quinoa Ulam is probably the dish that embodies the character of Necessary Provisions the best — a comforting take on something familiar to our local taste buds with just a slight twist; not something too different that reinvents the wheel, but just a minor switch up but executed in a style that is so homely, simple and satisfying. I still do miss their rendition of the Luncheon Meat Fried Rice during their days at Eng Kong Terrace; but I guess that will never make it to the menu here at Tanglin Shopping Centre. Nonetheless, it’s great to have them back in the F&B scene — looking forward to the next visit so that I can enjoy a slice of their signature Pandan Chiffon Cake over a leisurely cuppa!

Have heard about Runes’ latest outlet at Biopolis Street — the cafe takes up a shop space located in one of the lobbies of the headquarters of Wilmar International Limited, and is open to the public. While Runes’ first outpost at Lau Pa Sat does not serve hot food, their latest outlet here do serve up proteins, sandwiches and salad bowls that seem to be intended more for takeaway operations (despite having quite a well-sized dine-in space). For those who may not be in the know, Runes is a concept from the same folks behind Glyph Supply Co. and Dough (yes, the “Korean-inspired” bakery at CHIJMES).

Opting for the Salmon, the proteins for the day were listed on the menu to come with broccoli and potatoes usually — they had replaced broccoli with pumpkin on the day of my visit as they had run out of broccoli when I had visited them for late lunch (around 2pm plus). Served in disposable ware, I actually found the portion of salmon to be pretty generous — considering how this bowl costs $14, at least we were not served a slab as measly as other places may do. Also particularly enjoyed how the salmon does carry its distinct flavour here that is pretty undisturbed by the other elements, even though it does come with a slightly-charred slice of lemon for a citrus-y tang. I am also a sucker for salmon served with skin-on that comes crisp — the one here certainly ticked that off the check list without any dispute. The roasted potatoes were decent; pretty clean-tasting without being overly seasoned in salt, whilst being chunky yet soft — carried a soft bite. The same can be said about the pumpkins, which also added a natural sweetness to the protein bowl.

Unlike Runes at Lau Pa Sat which seems more to be like a coffee stand rather than an actual cafe, their latest outlet at Biopolis does present itself like a full-fledged cafe intended for the office folks around Biopolis who are looking for clean, healthy meals in a comfortable environment away from the crowds — especially given its location which is more in the outskirts of one-north. A spot for a conducive environment to get some work done, or just to soak in those idyllic vibes around.

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Remembered visiting Rollie Ollie back in the day when they had first opened at The Star Vista — their very first outlet taking over the former premises of now-defunct Sweet Musings, and serves up sushi rolls and even poké fish on sticks; now they are an established brand with multiple outlets, including a new one at Woods Square which is pretty convenient for me.

I hadn’t been back to Rollie Ollie for a while, but they had since expanded their menu to include Poké Bowls, Rice Bowls, Açai Bowls, Salads and Japnese Tapas — all whilst also serving up specialty coffee, milkshakes and tea; pretty surprised that they also do special concoctions of coffee such as an Iced Earl Grey Coffee and Iced Yuzu Tonic Coffee. There is option for a set at an additional charge of $6 — adds a Japanese Tapas item and Soup/Iced Lemon Tea on top of the chosen Rice Bowl/Sushi Roll/Poké Bowl/Salad Bowl option which is a decent deal

K-Pop is a sushi roll that features elements such as spicy crab meat, kimchi, avocado, jicama, cucumber, fish roe, chives & spicy mayo — the naming possibly being derived from the use of kimchi in the roll. This particular item stood out whilst skimming through the menu given my love for sushi that comes with spicy mayo in general. The sushi roll came reasonably firm; it’s well-wrapped considering the “looser” elements that this particular roll comes with as compared to the other roll that we have had — but the individual slices do hold up against the weight of the fillings pretty well without disintegrating into a mess easily. First taste of the sushi and the spicy crab meat that is marinated in the spicy mayo hits immediately — it’s mildly spicy; suitable for those with lower tolerance to spiciness, whilst carrying with just a very slight hint of peppery savouriness, and the sushi rice comes just lightly sweetened. All that goes along well with the crunch of the kimchi that provides a contrasting hint of spiciness that matches that of the spicy mayo, along with a slight tanginess typical of kimchi, while the cucumber gives a further crunch with a neutral flavour to cuts off the tang and spiciness nicely.

Rollie Ollie is a welcome addition the neighbourhood considering how Woodlands is a place that somehow lacks healthy food options such as salad bowls and poké bowls — somewhere that I probably would not mind heading to for the convenience of getting a decent sushi roll without heading to a Japanese chain such as Ichiban Sushi or Sakae Sushi for a more fuss-free experience. Really glad how Woods Square has seemingly brought in some interesting dining options that residents are happy to have in their backyard now!

From Beriwell along East Coast Road; the shop takes over the former space of Kitchenette opposite Katong V, serving up healthy treats such as Acai and smoothies.

Went for the Superswirl which is available in three variants; essentially a soft-serve, one is able to pick between the Acai, Coconut Majik or The Twist which is the best of both worlds. The Acai seems to be the main character of the show here with its deep berry-like tones being seemingly more evident than the light hint of refreshing coconut flavour that runs in the Coconut Majik when put together as The Twist. Opted for the granola and banana as my two toppings for the small option (the large option entitles one to four toppings) — always found banana to go well with Acai while the granola helps to add a bit of crunch to the soft-serve.

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From Hey Sugar, a new ice-cream parlour that had recently opened at Keat Hong Mirage just situated opposite Keat Hong LRT Station. Hey Sugar serves up a decent selection of ice-creams displayed in the display freezer, while offering patrons an option of either waffle, brownie or lava cake to go with their ice-cream apart from the usual cup or cone option. Beverage options include hot tea, coffee, frappe, smoothie and iced brewed shaken tea.

Went for the set menu where I could get a Single Waffle with a single scoop of ice-cream with their any Iced Brewed Shaken Tea at $9.90. I opted for the Rock Melon ice-cream after trying a couple of other flavours — smooth ice-cream that resembles the fruit pretty well (yes, it does somewhat carry the odd aftertaste that rock melons are known to carry), being adequately sweet. Despite how it looks, the waffles were actually quite decent surprisingly (it's not out of this world, but I wouldn't have expected such quality)— crisp and fluffy within and wafts of buttermilk fragrance within. If anything, I would probably hope that they do get to improve on the presentation over time — the place is decked out in a dainty pastel pink and rather well decorated; the presentation of the waffle could have looked better to suit the image of the cafe.

(PS: another flavour i liked amongst their range when I was trying the different flavours available was the Lychee Rose Sorbet; very light, slightly floral yet refreshing)

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From Harvest, a new salad-cum-protein bowl bar along East Coast Road just opposite i12 Katong — the menu offers fully customizable bowls where patrons pick their choice of protein, base, sides, topping and dressing. They also serve bottled cold press juices for those looking for beverages to go along with their salad.

For the choice of protein, I went for the Norwegian Salmon Fillet (add $3), while going for the Red Quinoa for my choice of base (add $2). My toppings included the Onsen Egg (add $1), Broccoli and Shimeiji Mushrooms while I opted for the Mentaiko (add $1.50) for topping and opted for the Roasted Sesame dressing. Overall it's pretty decent; the Red Quinoa was prepared pretty well without any hard or sandy bits, while the Norwegian Salmon Fillet was pretty decent; flaky, not dry and smoky for it was being dressed with the umami mentaiko dressing and blown torched. Shimeiji mushrooms were bouncy and broccoli carried a crunch; pretty decent as well, while the onsen did deliver that oozy, molten egg yolk everyone would expect.

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From Randy Indulgence at Tanjong Pagar, which serves Cereal Bowls and Acai Bowls alongside Fruit Ice-Cream — the stall is just a takeaway space beside Lamb Cupcakery but there is always the communal dining area beside Guzman Y Gomez within Tanjong Pagar Centre itself for those who prefer to sit down and have their Acai Bowls.

Available in two sizes, I opted for the larger Acai Bowl which they name the Happy Size; a smaller portion is also available, which is also known as the Diet Size. The Protein Bowl comes with Acai, Granola, Bananas, Almond, Walnut, Almond Slices, Chia Seed Pudding and Honey — I liked how there is plenty of things and even an ample portion of granola and nuts to crunch on while the Acai smoothie is pretty smooth without being icy or bland. The honey helps to add just the right amount of sweetness into the Acai Bowl, allowing the Acai Bowl to shine on its own without over-sweetening it.

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From Parallel which opens today at One Raffles Place serving up coffee and acai bowls.

The Superstar Bowl consists of banana, blueberries, granola, sunflower seeds and chia seeds. The entire bowl did not feel overly sweet here, possibly due to the lack of nut butter by default (though patrons are able to add nut butter at $1 extra from their small variety of nut butter available). The blended acai smoothie was smooth without any icy bits and carried a mellow flavour at the end, while the other elements added a contrast of flavour and textures to the entire bowl. Pretty decent for the health-conscious CBD crowd.

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From Nom Nom at MacPherson Lane, a newly-opened cafe situated beside Pasta King (or near Alfero Gelato if you prefer) that serves mix-and-match plates for mains — patrons choose a base, select a free topping, pick their proteins and select their greens and then opt if they wish to go for extra toppings.

The Cauliflower Rice is a great option for those that are looking for a healthier option; it is distinctively cauliflower taste-wise but carries a texture similar to quinoa; pairs pretty well with proteins for something light. The smoked and spiced Norwegian salmon was flavourful on its own, though the scales could have been removed more throughly and would be better overall if they could retain its juices by being more moist. While being pretty pedestrian, the spicy Hungarian Mangalican Sausage would appeal to those who just like cured meat in general; it's carries the texture of processed cured meats but the spiciness does come through being pretty mildly so. Lotus Root Salted Egg was another crowd pleaser; the salted egg pulls through nicely without being overly creamy — done the "dry" way, it was not overwhelming and came with crisp curry leaves while the lotus root chips do come reasonably crisp. Overall, a plate that is of reasonable quality.

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Thought I might as well give Oliver's a try since I was already here at Millenia Walk. Went for the sushi rolls instead of the summer rolls; this was served cold. Whilst being well-packed without any loose bits coming off, the entire roll felt a little too simple — perhaps going for the healthy route but was a tad boring for me, not to mention the odd temperature of the Ebi Prawns that were still crisp but cold since everything was stored in the same display chiller. Probably the summer rolls might have been a better option to go for?

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Taking over the former space of Blue Collar Collaborative is a joint partnership between One Man Coffee and Torched; Torched being in charge of the food menu here while coffee and beverages (as well as a small variety of pastries) are by One Man Coffee. The partnership between both names work similarly to One Man Coffee's other outlets with another tenant, such as One Man Coffee & Garçons at Upper Thomson and Crust & One Man Coffee at myVillage.

Tried a couple of their Poké, such as the Kimchi, Spicy and Shoyu variants of Salmon/Tuna as well as the Tamago Mentaiko — the Poké were generally mild in marination with flavours that are rather indistinguishable from one another; would definitely appreciate the Spicy ones to pack more of a kick especially. That being said, the fish were fresh, and each Bowl comes with rice, salad, edamame and cherry tomatoes; portions are on the smaller side as compared to other places that serve similar fare. Tamago Mentaiko was pretty good however; a good balance of a light hint of sweetness from the Tamago with umami flavours from the Mentaiko drizzled.

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From Poké Lulu, a new stall serving Poké bowls at United Square replacing Nunsaram.

Went for the medium Bowl which comes with two scoops of Poké, choice of grains/salad, three addons and one superfood — each bowl also comes with a set of toppings such as greens and even pineapple chunks so the bowl is piled up pretty high; portion was pretty filling too. I went with the Rice Mix; half white rice and half brown rice mix — the white rice itself pretty appetizing since there are small bits of bonito flakes around to provide a umami flavour while the brown rice mix had sesame for a hint of roasts flavour. Opted for the Spicy Ahi Tuna and Wasabi Mayo Salmon for the two scoops of Poké — both fish were fresh and well marinated, carrying ample flavour: Spicy Ahi Tuna carrying a little kick of spiciness while the Wasabi Mayo Salmon had punchy notes of numbing wasabi without being too creamy. Opted for cucumbers and seaweed for my choice of addons, but I would never miss the Flying Fish Roe (addon) and Ikura (superfood) for a burst of umami flavour. They also provide a couple of sauces for the Poké bowls at the side around the collection area for those who need more flavour to help themselves with. Overall, pretty impressed with what they have to offer, and probably one of the most fun Poké bowl (especially the bonito flakes) I had ever come across in a while!

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Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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