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Geylang is a haven for vegetarian food, more specifically Chinese vegetarian food. As far as I know, it seems like all the vegetarian eateries in this area are owned by the Chinese. Fortunately, many of them diversify their menu by offering a few common non-Chinese cuisines, particularly those of Malay and Indian ethnicity. Speaking of Indian food, it is always just nasi briyani.
Loving Heart Cafe is an exception to the above rule. After reviewing its sweet potato porridge in April, it becomes one of the places I have lunch at on working days. Since I frequent this cafe, I get to witness the measures it implements to distinguish itself from the neighboring Kwan Im Zhai. The most significant one is the introduction of a range of Indian dishes apart from briyani (Briyani is there as well though). Loving Heart goes one step further by hiring Indian chefs to whip up these dishes. While it does not offer much varieties of Indian breads, I see quite a few flavored rice dishes, all of which I have never heard of. That gives me enough reason to do a second review on it.
Please pardon my feeble attempt at creating an Indian-Chinese fusion cuisine. The Indian and Chinese components of this dish were coriander rice and the vegetables from the economic rice section respectively. I was supposed to eat the rice with potato mock chicken (Based on my observation) curry and achar. Although I was assured by whom I suspected was the lady boss, that the curry was not spicy, the scorching hot weather deterred me from trying anyway. In the end I picked the amaranth greens and hairy gourd side dishes to go with the coriander rice.
Since the star of the dish was coriander rice, allow me to take this opportunity to share something interesting about coriander leaves which I read online. Due to genetic factor, certain people perceive the taste of this herb to be soapy. Needless to say, they hate coriander leaves to the core. On the other hand, lovers of coriander detected a more pleasant citrus overtone. In the case of this dish, I tasted neither. Apart from giving the rice a green hue and packing it with plenty of health benefits, the ground coriander leaves did not contribute much in terms of taste. Instead, the rice was dominated by the nutty and peppery flavor of cumin seed, which I found appetizing nonetheless.
Although it was not compulsory to use basmati rice, the texture of this dish could have been further enhanced if done so. The chef could also go a little easier on the oil.
Unlike the coriander rice, the lemon, or rather its juice, did impart the expected citrus taste to the rice, so that one knew he or she was indeed eating lemon rice. The mild sourness actually went very well with the Indian spices. I found it a pity that the rice was not thoroughly mixed, hence I did not get to relish this delicious blended flavor in every mouthful.
While having achar as one of the sides bestowed a more “Indian” identity to the dish, its strong sweet and sour taste eventually overpowered the savoriness of the lemon rice. Ironically, the hopelessly mismatched Chinese vegetables coriander rice combo had the relatively lighter tasting vegetables sitting at the sideline, hence allowing the flavor of the rice to stand out more.
I also preferred basmati rice to be used in this case. It would be great if all the flavored Indian rice dishes made use of this grain, but I guessed the boss wanted to save money, so he or she decided to use the same long grained rice used for the Chinese dishes.
There is certainly rooms for improvement with regards to the Indian dishes. However for people in the Geylang area who crave for Indian food but are too lazy to travel elsewhere, I would say whatever Loving Heart Cafe has is decent enough.
|Address||:||Blk 134 Geylang East Ave 1 #01-219 Singapore 380134|
|Bus Service||:||2, 13, 21, 26, 40, 51|