TURN OVER A NEW LEAF
THERE are plenty of reasons to go meatless every day as vegetables gain favour among chefs and diners.
Here are some vegetable-centric options that will tempt even the most hardened meat lovers.
1 Fullerton Road #02-02B,
Saint Pierre moved from Sentosa to One Fullerton earlier this year and, as with previous incarnations of his flagship restaurant, vegetarian chef Emmanuel Stroobant insists on meatless tasting menus.
There is the six-course Nature menu at $148 or the $178 10-course Grand Nature.
While items vary based on seasons, current highlights include coal-grilled Hokkaido corn, served on braised Japanese eggplant with dashi stock.
Humble local vegetables like kang kong and bang kuang (turnip) make cameo appearances, with the latter pickled and served with organic avocado mille feuille, young coconut shavings, quinoa tuile and kombu gel.
Level 70, Equinox Complex, Swissotel The Stamford,
2 Stamford Road
Chef Kirk Westaway was vegetarian till his early teens, in a household where meals comprised fresh, often local vegetables or those plucked from their own gardens.
He continues that devotion with the Jardin Gourmand menu. He considers the Tomato Collection a signature dish - a tomato from the Loire Valley stuffed with its semi-dried Oxheart cousins, with three to four other varieties around it, plated with tomato syrup, foam and basil sorbet.
Other dishes feature seasonal produce such as Pertuis asparagus with morels and champagne sabayon.
The meals are priced at $118 for a five-course lunch and $168 and $198 for a five- and seven-course dinner respectively.
38 Tanjong Pagar Road
Chef Ryan Clift is crazy about vegetables from Gunma, Japan and works with small, local farmers there.
That's not just because the Japanese fruit tomatoes come in wooden boxes, individually wrapped and adorned with little bows. These are intensely flavoured because they are grown near estuaries where the salinity is high, which makes them even sweeter.
Apart from the tomatoes, look out for the False Risotto, with finely-chopped potatoes and artichokes replacing grains, topped with confit egg yolk and olive oil caviar.
The Parsley Root - a spin on French leek and potato soup - makes a good starter too.
Prices start at $150 for a six-course classic menu, or $245 for the gourmand 12-course.
Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt
The Arts House,
1 Old Parliament Lane #02-02
While OCF has stopped offering a vegetarian menu, many of executive chef Jonathan Koh's vegetable-centric creations are still available.
La Tomate features tomatoes done seven ways.
L'Asperge Verte showcases asparagus from Domaine Saint Vincent. It is blanched quickly and topped with crispy quail egg and caviar as well as watercress coulis.
Meaty mains are amped up with burnt vegetables - his current obsession - in dishes like La Seriole Japonaise, which uses the smokiness of burnt aubergine emulsion and roasted lemon puree to cut through the fattiness of Japanese Kampachi fish.
Prices range from $38 to $68 for lunch and $88 to $158 for dinner.
The Kitchen at Bacchanalia
39 Hong Kong Street
Chef Ivan Brehm has a love affair with carrots.
The depths of his obsession play out in the "Carrot" dish, which serves up the root done different ways: fermented, pureed, dehydrated, sous-vide, in a sponge, in a jam, and plated with hummus, dukka and fresh cream cheese.
While he does not offer a dedicated vegetarian menu, signature dishes such as "Cauliflower" - an aligot of white truffle and cheese with herb gremolata - or the coconut risotto with aged carnaroli rice and fermented coconut, will please diners who prefer to go light on the protein.
Prices start from $75 for a three-course lunch, or $125 to $165 for a five- and seven-course meal respectively.
Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant
80 Raffles Place #60-01
UOB Plaza 1
Forget the street food of Shilin Night Market - Si Chuan Dou Hua's recent collaboration with chef Sean Xue of Yangming Spring Green Kitchen showcases Chinese ingredients like the abalone mushroom with Chinese yam ($20), or double-boiled bird's nest ($58), which is heated to serve in a pear vessel.
181 Orchard Road #12-01,
It is a huge risk running an all-vegetarian fine dining restaurant. However, owner Huang Yen Kun believes the right price points, inventive dishes and stylish plating will convince foodies that a meatless night out should be part of their dining calendar.
That is why his highly ornamental offerings are priced at only $38.80 for six-course lunch, and $68.80 for a seven-course meal.
Expect some Asian influences and modern cooking techniques. Dishes like the grilled monkey head mushroom on pu-ye and hot stone are subtly marinated with a blend of Chinese and European herbs.
The star of the vegetable "sashimi" platter is the quail egg shooter, flavoured with sake.
THE BUSINESS TIMES