Yellow Cab Pizza Co – Citylink Mall

Pizza fans can rejoice as Yellow Cab Pizza Co have opened their first outlet in Singapore. Situated in the busy Citylink Mall, this joint serves New York-style pizzas and is quite visible with a signature yellow and black colored board. The restaurant is styled in a quirky manner with metal furnishings and using black and white as the primary colors. The traffic signal wall seems to make a statement like ‘Your pizza will be worth your wait’. They have an interesting promo running on weekdays during lunch time. For 2 pax – any 10″ pizza + full pasta + 2 sodas at $25 which is steal deal.

Yellow Cab Pizza counter

Yellow Cab Pizza counter


Traffic signal decor

Traffic signal decor

The Orders
Their menu clearly states the standard vegetarian options as well as the dishes that can be customized to suit vegetarian dietary needs. I find this a good practice so that one does not need to separately inquire each time.

Yellow Cab Pizza menu

Yellow Cab Pizza menu


We were in the mood for pizza and promptly ordered the 10″ ‘Garden Special’ from the menu. The pizza is crisp and slightly charred in the bottom and with gooey cheese on the top. There are a generous amount of toppings of fresh ingredients and we really enjoyed the pizza. The Garden Special contains tomatoes, olives, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions as toppings. The pizza size is substantial, so if your ordering one 14″ pizza, it is more than sufficient for 2 pax else go for two 10″ pizzas to have some variety in the order. They have a pizza stand to place the pizza which makes it convenient for service.
Garden Special Pizza

Garden Special Pizza


In Italian food, the thrill is to get a perfect pasta. Even if it is a simple ‘Aglio Olio’. The pasta was well-done, drizzled with olive oil and topped off with basil and sundried tomatoes. To add to this, it was well-seasoned. This pasta bursts with flavor and I really enjoyed it.
Veg Aglio Olio

Veg Aglio Olio


They need to work on their service staff being more responsive and aware of the restaurant promos. If the common issues in the starting phase are smoothed and with good Italian casual dining ambiance and food in place, Yellow Cab Co. is a nice place to unwind and also works for takeaways. Wishing all the readers a very Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Italian ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Esplanade
Address: B1-01/02 CityLink Mall, 1 Raffles Link, Singapore 039393
Timings: Mon-Thu: 11am – 10pm ; Fri-Sun: 11am – 10.30pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/yellowcabpizzasg/

Noshery by Nosh – Rochester Park

The upscale restaurant Nosh has been around for years in the quiet enclave of Rochester Park. The more casual version of this restaurant is the relatively new space, Noshery which is a cafe by day and a bar by night. With this extension, Nosh has embraced the all-day dining concept. The cafe is an idyllic getaway that’s reminiscent of a cabin in a hill station. Decked out in wood, greenery seems to be the theme of this cafe – from wall motifs to the potted plants adorning the tables. I like this kind of setting for a weekend brunch as it enables an intimate dining conversation. The view from our table was this outdoor patio that gave a sense of instant calm. This space would also be perfect for small private events.

Noshery by Nosh

Noshery by Nosh

The Orders
If you go for a brunch, make the calories count! And so we ordered the ‘French Fries’ to start the meal. The portion size was huge and that was a welcome sight when the dish of fries was placed on the table. These fries were long and thin and had a crispy texture. The thick ketchup on the side went well with the fries.

French fries

French fries at $5


I love ordering salads if I can visualize them to be colorful. The description on the menu helps me to determine if my interest is sufficiently piqued to try it. I chose the ‘Pesto Salad’ in the same manner. The salad was simple just with four ingredients – tomatoes, Romaine lettuce, mozzarella and pesto. The simplicity turned out to be the best part as the generous use of pesto brought all the ingredients together and made it a very tasty dish. The quality of the ingredients was top-notch. Highly recommended.
Pesto Salad

Pesto Salad at $12


My husband ordered the ‘Shakshouka’ which is a Middle Eastern dish. Tomatoes are the backbone of shakshouka and the only common thing across variations of this dish. The peppers had a touch of crunch and the onions were soft and folded wonderfully into the sauce. The eggs were correctly soft cooked and the yolks added a touch of richness. The only disappointing parts of the dish were the eggplant fritters. Thankfully, they are served separately and don’t affect the dish itself.
Shakshouka

Shakshouka at $19


Thirst quenchers are always welcome to beat the humidity of Singapore. I found the mention of ‘Yellow Watermelon Juice’ to be intriguing. To begin with, it tastes quite different from the red watermelon. This juice was refreshing but had a bitter note at the end, maybe because of the rind. So as the juice came to room temperature, the bitterness was more pronounced. Hence I have mixed feelings about the juice – refreshing but not instantly appealing.
Yellow watermelon juice

Yellow watermelon juice


With its scenic locale and eclectic mix of delicious food, Noshery is a lovely hideout. Its ideal for midday catch-ups and a good conversation. Head there for this long weekend maybe? On that note, wishing all of you a very Happy New Year! Thank you for reading this blog filled with vegetarian rants and also patiently waiting for new posts.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Western ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Buona Vista
Address: 9 Rochester Park, Singapore 139220
Timings: Tue-Fri: 11.30am – 4pm ; Sat-Sun: 10.30am – 6pm
Website: http://www.noshery.com.sg/

Vegetarian Villas – Jurong West St 41

If you are a vegetarian staying in the West side of Singapore then Vegetarian Villas is definitely not a new name for you. It has been on my bucket list for a long time and I finally got a chance to visit this small restaurant situated in a row of HDB shophouses in Jurong West. Even though I had heard of its popularity, I was taken aback by the loyal set of customers who were pouring in on a scorching Sunday afternoon. The place has indoor and outdoor seating. The standard menu is displayed on the wall for you to decide on the options in advance as you wait in the queue to place your order. We reached by 1 pm, by which time most of their items were sold out. Hence it is advisable to reach there by 11.30 am if you are looking to taste all their specials.

Vegetarian Villas

Vegetarian Villas


Vegetarian Villas Menu

Vegetarian Villas Menu

The Orders
For fans of soup, they have a huge DIY section from which you can build you own soup along with their farm-fresh ingredients. Be prepared to find all form of healthy Chinese veggies at this counter. You will also be spoiled for choice looking at the variety of mushrooms and mock meat on this display. This is a fully vegetarian restaurant, so do not be confused with the usage of meat names in their menu.

Vegetarian Villas Soup and Salad Counter

Vegetarian Villas Soup and Salad Counter


From the appetizer section, we ordered the ‘Fried Chicken Nuggets’ which were chewy fritters that paired well with rice. The crispy coating added to the bite and the taste was quite good.
Fried Chicken Nuggets

Fried Chicken Nuggets at $4.80


Vegetarian cuisine has evolved to create successful versions of popular dishes without compromising on the taste. The ‘Veg Nasi Lemak’ served here was quite decent. Out of the served mock meat, the one made with soy was good. The peanuts were crunchy and added texture. The chilli paste served on the side brought the dish together for me.
Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak at $4


Since they had run out of Laksa, we ordered the ‘Claypot Noodles’. The noodles were cooked just tender and had a lot of flavour from the soup base. However, the base itself needed more seasoning and vegetables. A little more spice would have also helped.
Claypot Noodle

Claypot Noodle at $4.30


They have quite a few varieties of health drinks in their freezer. I found the bottled ‘Honey Drink’ to be extremely refreshing and devoid of the overdose of sugar. Worth trying.
Honey drink

Honey drink at $2


Overall I did not dislike any of their items but I will have to visit them again to try their Laksa since I have heard that it is one of their hot-selling items. For their simple food and extremely friendly prices, they are definitely worth visiting if you are in the area.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Vegetarian ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Lakeside
Address: 479 Jurong West Street 41, #01-264, Singapore 640479
Timings: Mon-Tue: 10am – 9pm ; Thu-Fri: 10pm – 9pm ; Sat-Sun: 8am – 9pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/VegetarianVillas/

Ridge gourd and Taro Leaves Curry/ Turiya Patra Sabzi

Cooking on weekends is therapeutic for me as I get the time to experiment with new dishes. Last weekend while grocery shopping, I found taro leaves at Mustafa and decided to pick them up to make Alu Vadi. Alu Vadi is an Indian snack made with stuffed and rolled taro leaves. It is usually eaten at tea time and is common in Gujarati and Maharashtrian cuisine. I, however, wanted to make something for lunch and decided to go the gravy/curry route by combining taro leaves with ridge gourd. I remember eating ‘Turiya Patra nu Shaak’ at my Gujarati neighbour’s house in India, and could place the flavour profile between spicy and tangy. As daunting as it sounded to start this preparation from scratch, I gave it a go and the result was pleasantly surprising. Patience is key to nailing this dish successfully.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4-5 pax
Time: 60 mins
Difficulty: High

Main Ingredients :

  • 1 packet of taro leaves (12-15 leaves)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp asafoetida powder (optional)
  • 2 ridge gourd, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp finely cut green chillies
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for gram flour paste:

  • 1.5 cups gram flour/besan
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp crushed jaggery
  • 2 tbsp seedless tamarind soaked in 1/4 cup of water
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander for garnish (optional)

Ridge gourd and taro leaves curry

Ridge gourd and taro leaves curry


Method:

  • Wash the taro leaves thoroughly in running water and set them aside. Ensure that the leaves are fresh. Wipe them with a cloth until they are dry. Cut off the stalks from the base of the leaves.
  • Washed taro leaves

    Washed taro leaves

  • Mix all the ingredients mentioned in the preparation of the gram flour paste in a bowl. The paste has to be slightly thick for easy application on the leaves.
  • Place the leaves with the vein side facing downwards and the tip facing towards you. Gently apply the gram flour paste all over the leaf surface. Now place a leaf with the tip in the opposite direction and create an alternate stack of leaves, applying the paste on each alternate surface. Keep a minimum of 8 leaves to make a roll.
  • Spreading of gram flour paste on taro leaves

    Spreading of gram flour paste on taro leaves

  • After the paste is applied on 8 leaves placed alternately facing on top of each other, roll the stack into a neat and tight pattern horizontally.
  • Rolling of leaves

    Rolling of leaves

  • Then cut this rolled leaf into 2 or 3 pieces depending on the length of the rolled leaf stack.
  • Now heat oil in a non-stick pan and add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the cut ridge gourd pieces to it. Add the rolled taro leaves to the pan at the same time.
  • Cut ridge gourd pieces

    Cut ridge gourd pieces

  • Do not stir too much after placing the leaves as they might tear. Shake the pan (do not use a ladle) generously to mix the ingredients.
  • Next, add ginger-garlic paste and green chillies and mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 10 mins on a medium flame.
  • If the gravy is too thick, add a bit of warm water to help cook the leaves. This also helps in not letting the ingredients stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add turmeric powder, salt, cumin and coriander powder when you add water. Keep checking the gravy consistency because gram flour has a tendency to absorb water.
  • Cooking of the curry

    Cooking of the curry

  • Keep checking in between to ensure that the taro leaves are turning tender. Try breaking the leaves with a spoon. If they break easily, add the garam masala powder and stir well. After 2 mins, switch off the pan. Cook it in pan without lid at this stage.
  • Finally add the coriander garnish and serve hot with rotis, naans or rice.

Tips:

  • Take your time while making the rolls. Work slowly but consistently – do not let the paste dry on the leaves.
  • Keep the gram flour paste on the thicker side – it’s easy to take a little in a smaller vessel and thin it as required.
  • Ensure that the taro leaves as well as the stuffing are fully cooked before serving.

Cicheti – Kandahar Street

There is no dearth of Italian restaurants in Singapore. And making the Kampong Glam area cooler with its hipster vibes and quirky decor is Cicheti located in the bustling Kandahar Street. It is a two-storey shophouse bedecked with oak tables and warm lights. For large groups, it is better to hit the second floor for privacy and it is recommended that you make advance reservations. And if you are really looking for the weekend vibes, then the rooftop patio is ideal.

The Orders
For the appetizers, we ordered the ‘Onion and Garlic Flatbread’ for a light start to the meal. The advantage of Italian flatbreads is that their surface gives room for toppings and dips to be spread on them easily. The Cicheti version was very good with the dip enhancing the taste.

Onion and garlic flatbread

Onion and garlic flatbread at $7


The menu contains a plethora of options in the form of 10 inch Napoletana pizzas lovingly made in their wood-fired ovens. For vegetarians, the restaurant was open to customization. We ordered the ‘Pollo Pizza’ without the chicken. The pizzas were nicely charred with the wood-fired spots on the crust looking perfect. The almond pesto acted as the perfect base to the greens and onions and every bite was savored with delight.
Pollo Pizza

Pollo Pizza at $25


For the cheese lovers, the ‘Quattro Formaggi’ is worth trying. The traditional four cheese pizza contained a winning combination of parmesan, gorgonzola, ricotta and fior de latte and aided in bringing a creamy lusciousness to every bite.
Quattro Formaggi

Quattro Formaggi at $22


The pastas are handmade and we tried the ‘Gnocchi’. The earthy flavour of mushrooms blended with the creaminess of ricotta cheese and was decent but not something to rave about. Personally, I missed a pasta with veggies as an option on their menu.
Gnocchi

Gnocchi at $26


One of the most interesting desserts was the ‘Panna Cotta with Rhubarb garnish’ with its perfect texture. The rhubarb gave a fresh flourish to creaminess the base and was extremely tasty.
Panna cotta with rhubarb granita

Panna cotta with rhubarb granita at $12.5


Filled with cocoa crumble and almond paste, the ‘Crack Pie’ was rich and dense. The vanilla ice cream served alongside was just nice to make this whole dessert come together.
Crack pie

Crack pie at $12.5


The ‘Warm chocolate cake’ was a safe dessert and pretty standard fare. The chocolate lovers will like it.
Warm molten chocolate cake

Warm molten chocolate cake at $12.5


You can’t go to an Italian joint and not order the ‘Tiramisu’. This version was soft and creamy with a very smooth finish.
Tiramisu

Tiramisu at $12.5


For its wood-fired pizzas, for its good service and for celebrating special occasions or just catching up with friends, Cicheti is worth a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Italian ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Bugis
Address: 52 Kandahar Street, Singapore 198901
Timings: Mon-Fri: 12pm – 2.30pm , 6.30pm – 10.30pm ; Sat: 6pm – 10.30pm
Website: http://www.cicheti.com/

Yantra Restaurant – Temple Food Festival

Food and Indian festivals go hand-in-hand. During the auspicious season of Navratri, the Indian fine-dining restaurant, Yantra has launched a ‘Temple Food Festival’. This event will continue till Oct 10th 2016 and is available only for dinner. Located in Tanglin Mall, this restaurant is a well-known name to people staying in Singapore and food festivals here always catch my attention. Helmed by Chef Hemant Oberoi, the restaurant is serving wholesome Indian plates (thalis) from four distinct regions in India during this festive season. The thalis being served are: 1) Golden Temple Thali (Punjab in North India) 2) Tirupati Balaji Temple (Andhra Pradesh in South India) 3) Jagannath Puri Temple (Orissa in East India) 4) Nathdwara Temple ( Rajasthan in West). The diversity in Indian cuisines is projected in a balanced manner via this food festival. According to Hindu tradition, temple food is termed ‘prasad’ (offerings to God) and hence this festival is fully vegetarian.

The Orders
Punjabi food is my weakness and it was a no-brainer for me to order the ‘Golden Temple Thali’ from Amritsar. But before I get started on the food items, let me just say that visiting the Golden Temple is an experience in itself. I am glad that I had the privilege to visit this Sikh temple. Many articles term it as the world’s largest free kitchen with their langars (canteen) serving almost 100,000 visitors everyday. But what amazed me during my visit was the amazing and generous spirit of the volunteers who relentlessly work to make you feel at home.

Coming back to Yantra’s thali, it had the standard items of Punjabi cuisine. Punjabi cuisine is so much about the authenticity of taste that there were many hits and few misses in the thali. Noteworthy dishes were: ‘Kali Mirch Papad’ for its slight kick of spice, ‘Pakode Waali Kadi’ for the marinated fritters to have fully absorbed the flavour of kadi, ‘Aloo aur achar waali sabzi’ for the gravy style potato dish made well and ‘Langar wali dal’ which is a treat of lentils. If you are a fan of Dahi Bhalle (Vadas soaked in yogurt), then you will like it – but this is the slightly sweeter version. What disappointed me was the ‘Chole’ as it did not hit the right notes for me. This is a spot-on thaali with bhatura, garlic naan and rotis as the breads served on the side.

Golden Temple Thali

Golden Temple Thali


The beautiful state of Rajasthan in India needs no introduction. And one of the famous temples near Udaipur is the Shrinathji Mandir. Mainly known for their saatvic tradition in terms of food at this temple, Rajasthani influence was amply evident in their cooking style.
Our next order was the ‘Nathdwara Temple Thali’ and we were quite eager to try it. Noteworthy dishes were: ‘Aloo Methi’ as the potatoes has captured the right flavour of fenugreek leaves, ‘GawarFalli’ which was long cluster beans done to perfection,’Dal Baati’ which was quite good, ‘Chokki Patta Gobi’ which was tasty cabbage cooked in Indian spices. The vegetable variety and the overall balance of sweet and savory dishes made this thali interesting for me.
Nathwara Temple Thali

Nathdwara Temple Thali


Save the best for last, especially if we are talking about Indian desserts. The ‘Kulfi’ is a part of Golden Temple Thali and is extremely delicious. Its a denser and creamier version of ice-cream and was well-flavored with cardamom.
Kulfi

Kulfi


‘Basundi’ is thick sweetened milk that is flavored with cardamom or saffron and garnished with nuts like pistachios. It was interesting to try it with Lapsi which is basically broken wheat. And also served alongside was ‘Aate Ka Halwa’ and this was a part of Nathdwara Temple Thali. The basundi was overly sweet for my liking.
Basundi and Lapsi

Basundi and Lapsi


On the whole, if you want to experience the authentic taste of vegetarian food from different states in India, this is worth it. Priced at $49++ per plate, it was good for the experience and ambience. And what better way to work out a weekend appetite!

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Indian vegetarian ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Orchard
Address: 163 Tanglin Rd, #01-28 Tanglin Mall, Singapore 247933
Timings: Till Oct 10th 2016, only for dinner
Website: http://www.yantra.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Temple-Food-Festival-2016-Menu.pdf

Bitter gourd Potato Curry / Karela Batata Sabzi

For ages, bitter gourd has been the one vegetable that does not have many takers due to its bitter taste. The health benefits of bitter gourd are numerous and it should be made in a way that appeals to kids as well as grown-ups. During my childhood in India, we had a Gujarati family in our building who were (partially) my daycare. They used to make this dish called ‘Karela Batata Nu Shaak’ quite often. It is them to whom I owe this recipe and the fond memories of this dish. The addition of a pinch of sugar helps you overcome the bitter taste of the gourd and the crunch of the cashews along with the ever-favourite potato make this an appealing dish.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 4 small sized bitter gourd, peeled, seeds removed and cut into small crescents
  • 1 big potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup crushed cashews
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Coriander for garnish (optional)

Bittergourd potato Curry

Bittergourd potato Curry


Method:

  • Sprinkle some salt on the cut bitter gourd pieces and keep them aside.
  • Cut bittergourd pieces

    Cut bittergourd pieces

  • Take oil in a non stick vessel and wait for it to warm on medium flame.
  • Add the cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter.
  • Squeeze out the water from the bitter gourd and add the pieces in the vessel. Cover the vessel with a lid and let it cook for 7-8 mins on low flame.
  • Then add the potato pieces along with a bit of salt and turmeric. Let the combination cook for a further 10 mins with the lid covered.
  • Now add the chopped coriander, white sesame seeds and crushed cashews. Mix them well and let them cook for 2 mins. Keep the vessel uncovered at this stage.
  • Spicing stage

    Spicing stage

  • Finally add in the coriander powder, red chilli powder and sugar and mix them nicely into the cooked vegetables.
  • Final stage

    Final stage

  • Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Tips:

  • Preferably pick up young bitter gourd for this recipe.
  • To remove the seeds easily, peel the bitter gourd, slice down vertically and use a spoon to remove the seeds.
  • Squeeze the bitter gourd pieces well before adding them to the pan for cooking.