Founded in 1997, the first vegetarian Mediterranean restaurant in Singapore has been winning awards every year. The al fresco area, with its mosaic-tiled tables, exudes a lovely, relaxing, calming ambience, suitable for groups, while the restaurant itself has plush red chairs, conducive for dates.
Falafel Salad ($18)
Out of the three starters we had, the falafel salad, popular with expats, was the least likely I’d order again. It wasn’t bad but after all, it was just still crumbled falafel, mesclun and other vegetables in citrus lemon dressing, with a dollop of tzatziki, a Greek/Turkish yogurt. I’d prefer food to showcase some form of cooking, not tossing.
Mezze Platter (starter $22, Main $30)
A Middle-Eastern platter of falafel and pita bread, the four dips–hummus, pumpkin-and-carrot, eggplant and tzatziki–provided four different depths and textures: nutty, sweet, earthly and sourish respectively. The bread was equally good, soft inside, toasty outside.
Magic Mushroom ($18)
Another favorite at Original Sin, the portobello mushroom, huge as a face, was topped with ricotta cheese, tomato basil sauce and mozzarella and baked so that it remained moist but without the fungi-y taste.
Vegetable Tandoori ($26)
Good as the starters were, I’d actually skip the starters and order more mains because the mains were fantastic. The vegetable tandoori was a surprise win. Assuming that this is a “Western” restaurant and the curry would be restrained was a huge mistake on my part. The curry had kick but not so fiery that it would burn and numb your tastebuds. Each vegetable on the skewer was coated evenly with the curry and had a nice smokey taste. The accompanying mango chutney was another pleasant surprise, adding sweetness to the dish, if you want to dip your vegetables. My only complaint is: Y U NO give more vegetables? Another skewer or two would be perfect.
Bosco Misto ($26)
Looking like two beef patties, they were actually patties made from spinach, feta and tofu, coated with crushed almonds and sesame seeds, drenched in a plum sauce. Without a doubt, this was the star of the restaurant. The complexity of the flavors made each bite different from the next, making it suspenseful and fun eating it.
The risotto of the day was a tomato risotto with dollops of cream and mozzarella in a bed of arugula. This was creamy without being excessive, and the arugula added a bitter dimension to the dish. Very satisfying.
Out of the two desserts, the tiramisu was the better one. The apple crumble felt thin but the tiramisu had an intense caffeine flavor, counterpoised with its creaminess. A pity the ladyfingers were a little dry.
Apple Crumble ($12)
Verdict: The food was often complex and delicious. The ingredients came together in original and unexpected ways. A line that we repeated at each dish: “This isn’t what we expected of vegetarian food.” Like Queen Elizabeth, the grand dame of vegetarian restaurants lives on, thrives and still shines brightly, not losing out to more modish eats of newfangled restaurants. Definitely a good place to bring friends, lovers and vegetarian business partners.
Blk 43 Jalan Merah Saga #01-62 Chip Bee Gardens Singapore 278115
T: 6475 5605
Rating: 3.388/5 stars
PS: Thanks, Er Han, for the invite and hosting.