It is extremely heartening to see that there is a generous sprouting of organic vegetarian/vegan eateries coming up across the island. With the amount of junk and fast food joints available everywhere, once in a while it is really amazing to just visit a place that helps you cleanse your palate with great, light and healthy food.
I have been itching to go to Real Food for a while now. The last time I visited the one at Clarke Quay, it was really crowded and we didn’t find a place, which was quite a put off. So when a couple of days ago hubby dearest called, “You remember that really crowded vegetarian restaurant we were wanting to go?” he asked. “The one at Central Mall in Clarke Quay?” I asked. “Yes… that’s the one. Well it seems they have opened up at Sommerset… and it is not in the mall… but on a quieter street. Want to go there for dinner tonight?” I of course didn’t need another invitation.
This just makes my all vegetarian week even more special! So we reached, Real Food outlet is situated on 110 Killiney Road next to the huge Singtel Shop at Somerset and it has a Real Big restaurant space.
Before I move on to food… I am going to spend some time on just describing this place. It’s a huge restaurant divided into 4 distinct parts.
As soon as you enter on your right you see a large grocery shop, that stacks organic ingredients and food. You can find a lot of organic variety here. Move in a little and you see the entire central portion is divided into two seating areas. One area is meant to have a meal, and the place has arrangement to accommodate large groups. The décor is predominantly wood, with large wooden tables and benches spread across. It is extremely astetically done, and the place has an immediate welcome feel to it. The “at home” feeling is accentuated by the friendly, extremely polite and smiling servers.
The other part has comfortable sofas, meant to provide you with a comfort seating where you can eat and enjoy reading a book.
Which brings me to the most important part of the décor. Real Food has huge wooden bookshelves, stacked with hundreds of interesting choice of books.
You can easily spend an entire afternoon browsing through this library or you can just kick back with your own book while enjoying coffee and some nibbles. People often ask me what is it that matters to me more, the décor and ambiance or the quality of food. It is an interesting question. I love places that have some character to it. It need not be expensively decorated. It just needs to appeal to the eye as much as it appeals the stomach. Then it can be something as simple as drawing on the wall, or a sturdy wooden table that looks unpolished. It can be the shape of the dishes or just sparkling cutlery. Something has to appeal… And good food has outdone my farthest expectations about how a eatery should be. It comes real close to how I envisioned a coffee shop I would like to start some day!
Having said that, coming back to food… Real Food has an impressive selection of vegetarian cuisine! The menu, printed on recycled paper, has a great variety, from their all day breakfast, to the choice of salads, to pasta’s and pizza’s and even Asian rice and noodle cuisine and dumplings the place is quite a heaven for healthy vegetarian diet.
This is what we picked:
 Organic Potato Wedges: I have had organic potato dish just once before, and that was quite a few years ago. Aesthetically, the dish looked luscious. The potatoes has an brilliant, shiny glaze to it, which was not from oil. What’s most heartening to know was that the potatoes have its skin on. I remember the times when mom used to leave the skin on for the potatoes. “It is the most nutritious part of the potato…” she would explain. The potatoes were minimally seasoned, allowing me to actually taste the potato itself. Organic potatoes are slightly sweeter and more juicier than normal potatoes. The extra sweetness, combined with the well-cooked juiciness and the minimalistic seasoning made it a perfect finger food to start with. A caveat… those used to the McDonald’s type of wedges or fries, will find this bland. Another noteworthy point is, while the serving size looks small, the serving is good enough for two persons.
 Dumpling soup: I have seen the look on my husband’s face whenever I have the dumpling soup, especially at food malls. “How difficult is it to make those dumplings vegetarian!” he would crib. Well, he had a feast with the vegetarian dumpling soup. The dumplings were nicely stuffed with veggies, and the vegetarian broth was amazingly flavoured. It was just the right amount of salt, that allowed you to actually taste the flavours of veggies used in the broth. It is one of the best dumpling soups I have had…
 Grilled Vegetarian Sandwich: The bread was amazingly good… perfectly toasted. The veggies included zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and had a freshly made tomato puree sauce and cheese. Lightly seasoned, it was served with rocket and lettuce salad sprinkled with sunflower seeds. It was served hot and was quite a serving size too.
 Organic Fried Noodles: The organic brown rice Udon were beautifully stir-fried with veggies, namely capsicum, mushrooms and carrots. The noodles were nicely seasoned with various sauces. The serving size was good, and the taste heavenly. One of the must try dishes…
How much will it cost: A meal for two cost us around S$ 32, without the drinks. I was good value for money, and you could taste the freshness and see the quality of food was top notch.
Before I conclude, a few noteworthy things about Real Food:
– They source organic food of good quality ‘ethically’ which probably means directly from raw-food producers. One of the reasons why they claim their food costs a little more than others. Frankly, I felt it was quite reasonable, especially for the quality of food, the ambiance of restaurant and size of the portions.
– They currently have four outlets in Singapore. (http://www.realfoodgrocer.com/outlets.html)
– A lot of people might find their food inadequately seasoned. From what I ate I realized that they stress more on the actual taste and flavour of the ingredients they use, which might often get lost in over-seasoning. Simply put, if you prefer chilli, spicy food, this place may not be to your taste.
The Verdict: I love the ambiance, the food and the overall package. They have paid attention to things like how the cutlery is kept on the table, to the colour of the décor and the sofas, even the cushions there! Further, they understand food and what it compliments well with. They understand vegan food, which makes it a great joint for people who prefer their food to be free of garlic and onions. You can request for such dishes. I would recommend this place to anyone who prefers to eat healthy, yet tasty food, as this place offers a lot of variety, in terms of the sheer selection, not just of different dishes, but cuisines as well. It all just adds up! A definite thumbs up! A great find for my vegetarian palate!