Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Nature's Harvest Cafe

Quite a while back before I started this blog, I read about Yogi House, a vegetarian organic eatery, in Chic Vegetarian's blog. By the time I had the opportunity to check it out, it was no longer around. Reading about that particular location again in Sunny's blog confirmed my suspicion that Yogi House has closed down. All isn't lost since the new tenant, Nature's Harvest Cafe, deals with the same kind of business.

Like several organic eateries in Singapore, Nature's Harvest Cafe operated under the cafe cum retail shop model. If you are into cooking, you can purchase some of the ingredients they used in their cafes from the retail area. They even conduct classes to teach you how to cook organic dishes, but there is no mention if the recipes of the items in their cafe menu are revealed in the process. I have no doubt that Nature's Harvest is suitable for vegetarians, but vegans might want to take note that dairy is inclusive in their menu in the form of yogurt.

The Food

Healthy Rice Set, S$ 7.00

Brown rice, particularly the one I ate at Harvest, reminded me of a colleague who cringed with disgust whenever she saw me ordering brown rice for lunch. Just like how I never understood what was wrong with brown rice, she failed to comprehend how I could tolerate its awful aftertaste. Healthy Rice of Harvest successfully explained my colleagues' hatred for it though. Despite being a seasoned consumer of brown rice these days, I had to admit the brown rice I had here took quite a while to get used to. For once, I detected the musty aftertaste. I could not say I like it, then again it was not exactly a nightmare either. Besides I managed to mask the taste by drizzling some soup on it.

Unlike most brown rice sets I had taken so far, which was accompanied by clear Chinese soup, minestrone soup was served instead. The lack of variety of ingredients was adequately compensated by the generous quantity of the few available, mainly carrots and black-eyed peas. Its characteristic tangyness was a great way to kickstart the meal. Equally as appetizing was the colorful salad made up of beetroots, carrots, turnips and pea shoots. Again the chef here tried to be different by dressing it up with plum sauce instead of the usual Thousand Island or mayo.

In order to live up to its name of “Healthy Rice Set”, the rest of the sides were either blanched or steamed. At least this was what I speculated since there was no sign of grease at all. These methods of cooking worked well with the fungi and cabbage dishes, which were inherently tasty so little seasoning was required. On the other hand, the bitterness of bok choy was sadly retained, and it seemed like the dark brown sauce did nothing to enhance its taste. Personally I was alright about it but I was certain that the bok choy would disagree with the tastebuds of the greens haters. Overall I was extremely satisfied with this healthy and homely tasting rice set, which was hard to come by when one dined outside.

Sesame Paste Noodles (Cold), S$ 6.00

Cold noodles is largely an Oriental dish, with the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans each concocting a recipe to call their own. Putting aside the differences, it is basically a noodle dish that is served chilled, like it is just taken out of the refrigerator. The version I am most familiar with is Cha Soba, which comprises of green tea flavored buckwheat noodle eaten with a soy sauce like dip. My regular trips to organic eateries these days introduces me to a different kind of cold noodles dish. Instead of soy sauce (with fish sauce added), sesame paste is used.

To be honest, before the food arrived, I was worried about the sauce turning out to be some generic condiment with Chinese sesame oil added to it. I may like Chinese sesame oil, but its price of S$ 6.00 heightened my expectation a little. Upon sampling the dish, the nutty flavor of the paste which coupled well with the bouncy ramen rendered my initial apprehension needless. Although the raw julienne vegetables did offset the richness of the gravy a little, they helped to prevent the noodles from drying up too much. Besides they contributed a good amount of crunchiness to the dish. Then there's more crispiness from the rice puffs bits and the sweetness they exuded was a bonus addition to the overall flavor.

Due to my inability to distinguish between peanut butter and sesame paste, I could not vouch for the integrity of this dish. I was aware of the unscrupulous act by some Chinese vendor to substitute sesame paste with the cheaper peanut butter. Regardless, I had enjoyed sesame paste cold noodles by Harvest, hence I couldn't care less.


Browsing through the posts in my archive, I realize my tendency to conclude the ones about organic eateries with a complaint about the price. My recent experience with Barcelos, a slightly more upmarket kind of restaurant that serve mostly non-vegetarian food, taught me that elsewhere is charging more. After going on a plant-based diet for a period of time, I lose touch with the market price of dining in high end areas. Despite calling myself a flexitarian, I keep forgetting that a little meat is allowed in my diet, leading me to subconsciously excluding them totally from my meals.

Anyway, at a typical organic eateries like Harvest, one can easily have a meal at less than S$10. Apart from being served healthier and chemical free food, you get to enjoy a somewhat restaurant like ambiance. Even the service has a more personal touch. So when I am in a generous mood next time, I would head down to these organic cafes instead of the so-called posh restaurants.

Address:149 Rochor Road #02-08/09 Fu Lu Shou Complex S(188425)
Opening Hours:Mon - Sun
Bus Service:-
MRT Station:Bugis

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    I used Pure Vegan B12 spray.There is also a cheaper version that does not advertise vegan but says so on the label called Pure Advantage B12. The ingredients are identical.