Tuesday, 2 August 2011


(Note: This is not a 100% vegetarian restaurant.)

Close to three months have passed since I visited NEX Shopping Mall for my post on Prata Wala. During this period of time, no new pure vegetarian eatery has opened. With the closure of Vege Sensation, a nearby pure vegetarian restaurant, the vegetarian scene of this part of Singapore only gets bleaker. Just when the cloud gets darker, I manage to spot a 1px silver lining in the form of Barcelos.

Famous for their peri peri marinated flame grilled chicken (The real fowl, not the gluten copy of one), Barecelos has recently opened an outlet at NEX. In case you don't know, peri peri, or rather piri piri in Portuguese, is a tiny and extremely spicy chili pepper used in Portuguese and African cuisines. Normally a flexitarian who doesn't take spicy food like me would have given this restaurant a miss. However the “Vegetarian Special” on their “Meal Deals” menu forced my legs to a halt. At Bugis, our local vegetarian haven, a discovery as such doesn't mean much, but it means a pretty big deal to vegetarians (The less strict ones I mean) at NEX and its surrounding area.

Not only does Barcelos respect the vegetarians by offering veggie options (On average of one item per category of the main course), they also cater to customers who do not take spicy food (Tangy lemon as an alternative to the peri peri sauce). The “Vegetarian Special” that caught my attention allowed me to choose one of the three vegetarian main courses. Stir fry sounded like something I could easily find in hawker centres or coffee shops. Veggie burgers was likely to use soy protein patty, which was not something I felt like having on that day. Pita became an obvious choice then.

The Food

Vegetarian Special: Veggie Pitta As Main, S $10.95

Inside of Veggie Pitta

Hawaiian pizza from Pizza Hut was the first thought that crossed my mind when I sampled my first bite of veggie pitta pocket. Maybe this was the end result of baking sweet pineapples with sour ingredients, in this case, tomatoes and the lemon juice found in the marinating sauce. Rest assured that one would not find hams or cheese or even their substitutes lurking in the tropical tasting fillings. Instead the pitta pocket had diced zuchinni to complete the list of "mixed fresh vegetables" as stated by the menu. Since I enjoyed Hawaiian pizza, which I had not touched since the dawn of my plant based diet, this dish brought to me an additional nostalgia.

Another pleasing factor was the huge pile of fresh and crisp lettuce that made up the side salad, that also contained cherry tomatoes and croutons. Although the mildly peppery dressing tasted decent enough, it was pretty much the standard fare you had at any other restaurants, vegetarian or not. Coupled with the fact that this was not a vegetarian restaurant, I suspected that the creamy dressing was not suitable for all categories of vegetarians (Definitely not the vegans since standard dressing, like the one I had, contained eggs and sometimes dairy products). As far as I was concerned, so long that it was not mayonnaise, I was all right with it.

I would very much like to end this section here with a simple "Overall, I liked this dish", but the steep price and 10% service charge made me nitpicked a little more. Apart from the price, it seemed like I got a discount on the portion size of my vegetarian set meal. Perhaps I was too used to being served both halves of the pitta breads, therefore getting only one just seemed too little to satiate my appetite. To make things worse, the corn cob shrivelled upon grilling. In short I could have filled my stomach at a much lower price if I dined somewhere else.


NEX and its surrounding area may be deprived of vegetarian eateries, but I do not see myself returning again to even try its other vegetarian dishes. Even though the tropical "Hawaiian" flavor does win me over, its price and the lukewarm attitude of the service crews deter me from stepping into Barcelos in future. At NEX, it's either Prata Wala or even Subway for me.

Opening Hours:-
Bus Service:-
MRT Station:Serangoon

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