Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Living Cafe: A Yen for Raw

Inspired by my vegan chef-friend Adeline, I called Miss X along for some healthy food at The Living Cafe located in Bukit Timah. 

At the heart of TLC menu is RAW Food or RAW-Fusion Food. It uses no red meat, no cow dairy, no white sugar, no preservatives, no additives, no artificial colorings and include gluten free alternatives. So if you are quick to spot the (loop)holes, this place is not entirely vegan, as it serves things like salmon and goat cheese.
But I was all game to try RAW Food even though I was little skeptical about the flavours. Yes, I was tempted to order my favourite salmon burger but I thought, what is the point to travel all the way here for meat which you can easily find elsewhere? 
Starters were the hand-cut Sweet Potato Wedges ($4) that were earthy and good. Lightly baked with olive oil, it did not had the tempting smell of fries from fast food outlets but an alluring scent of coriander seeds. 
Some might find it rather firm but these were perfect for napping in the home-made mayonnaise (made of cashew nut milk, lemon juice, water, olive oil and salt) --->no egg yolks
Follow that up with TLC cheese burger ($15): a dehydrated patty of portobello mushrooms, almonds and sunflower seeds, topped with tomatoes, sprouts and romaine lettuce. I stared in disbelief at the bun-less burger as those burgers from the opposite tables had buns and cheese.
Though the mushroom patty had a robust aroma, it was tough and dry, not aided by an unidentified bland orange sauce Wished it was a simple grilled Portobello mushroom with garlicky herbs. 
But there were good things like the Mexican-inspired Raw Taco Boats ($12). My trepidations of greasy wheat glutens dissipated when the two large sized mock meat turned out to be made of dehydrated walnuts
The light guacamole and mango salsa sauce had a touch of Indian flavors, probably because this dish used similar spices such as cumin. 

While the savoury food were wholesome, it was the RAW desserts that blown us away. Each had their own merits and everyone declared our own favourite item. 
I love the Raw Dark German Chocolate Cake ($8.50) made with Dates, Zucchini, Coconut oil, Cacao Powder, Irish Moss Honey and Macadamia. It was compact and chocolatey, not too sweet despite a toffee-lookalike honey layer on top. The shards of fragrant toasted coconuts were a bonus.
Miss X's pick was the Raw Blueberry Cheesecake($8.50)made with coconut oil, agave, cashew and lemon juice. We could not be bothered by the alien-sounding ingredients such as psyllium husk, soy lecithin, Irish moss, as we dived straight into the delicate mousse and crunchy base. A bit of sweet and a bit of summer fruity flavours, we did not miss the sharp tang of cream cheese.
As for Adeline, she was the most enchanted by the Tiramisu (actually we all did) which was made of natural coffee extract and sitted on chalky and fragile almond-flour cake base. This is literally an authentic tiramisu sans the fats from Mascarpone Cheese and Raw Egg Yolks (Yes, tiramiusu is made of raw eggs too). And who says tiramisu must have the alcohol to taste good? 
Honestly, I left the place feeling more satisfied than I had expected (perhaps it's due to eating "Real Food" ). However, the fact that nearly every dish were full of (grinded) NUTS, drove me nuts a little. Perhaps I would still pick Indian/Chinese style vegetarian food from Raj Restaurant over TLC.  
That said, don't leave without trying TLC's desserts which had not been compromised on flavours. Hoping that they can satisfy my sweet tooth while bring less harm to my health, I happily dabao (takeaway) more items home (details in next post).  

For a vegan's review of the food at TLC, check out Chef Adeline's blog! (It also features many great vegan recipes like Vegan Tau Sar Piah) 

For other vegan/healthy food restaurants in Singapore, read Onaka or The Green Room.

For similar concept places in Tokyo, read Chaya Macrobiotics. 

The Living Cafe 
779 Bukit Timah Road 269758
Mon 11am-7pm Tues-Fri: 11am-10pm
Sat 9am-10pm
Sun 9am-7pm
Tel: 6762 8029
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