Barbecue sauce, buona vista, clarke quay, Fast food, Greenzilla, One-North, Patty, Real Food, Singapore, star vista, the central, Tiong Bahru Bakery, vegan burger, Veganburg, vegetarian, Veggie burger
The last time I had a vegan burger I honestly didn’t think I’d particularly have one any time soon. I’m not a burger person precisely because I’m not a fast food kinda person. Well looks like I’m wrong, since there aren’t many vegan options to begin with outside, I’d be damn fortunate to find any decent nom at all. So happens I’ve had three burgers this week on consecutive days! I really do surprise myself.
First stop was Star Vista for a dinner date with a pal at Greenzilla. I’d actually just got to know of them when I spotted one of their vans parked Westside where I live. Greenzilla seems to place themselves alongside Veganburg, both of which are pretty much burger places though Greenzilla’s offerings do seem to differ considerably in variety with seemingly more healthy, interesting and non-conventional ingredients used.
I checked with the staff that day and Greenzilla has switched their all dressings to 100% plant-based ingredients compared to previously when a few of the sauces contained dairy.
Being the only other plant-based burger joint side from Veganburg, I’ll be comparing my experience to dining at Veganburg.
First thing to note, Greenzilla isn’t an eatery with seating space. It is a kiosk and features limited seating room at the counter which looks pretty squeezy. We chose to da-pao our stuff and eat among the large steps where there was plenty of room. All burgers come with very small side of coleslaw and are priced $5.90, except the mini-burgers called Minizillas that come in a set of three of their best selling varieties and cost $6.90.
I ordered the Tofu Fusion Burger which was VOLUPTUOUS. In fact, the size of the patty was almost overwhelming. Definitely thicker than Veganburg’s. Everything was right flavor-wise, standard BBQ sauce and the patty didn’t disappoint. It had a nice amount of give and appeared not too chewy nor too soft, meatiness is an important factor for veggie burgers and this burger delivered it alright. Btw, if you’re wondering why the bun is black, its a Charcoal bun which is a healthfood fad as charcoal is supposed to help purify the body of toxins.
Although all was right flavor and texture-wise with the individual components, I have to say that the presentation and attention to packaging the burger was quite disappointing, may I say sloppy. I hadn’t shook the bag of contents much so I know it wasn’t my handling at fault, but when I unwrapped the paper, sauce somehow seemed to be oozing out to a ridiculous extent, so much so that the paper actually tore and more sauce leaked out staining my hands and jeans! >< Not a good sign!
If that wasn’t enough, given all that sauce escaping and the thickness of the patty, the burger actually turned out a tad plain as a result without necessary flavor from the sauce. Also I’m not sure how it was put together but I wonder why more than half of the lettuce leaf had to be left dangling outside of the bun which made it even more difficult to eat considering the sauce drenched paper and uber huge patty. Something is definitely not right with the proportion somewhere and its these little kinks that really need to be ironed out to improve the dining experience.
No complaints about the coleslaw which was sweet, creamy, tart and tasted fresh. My friend commented that it definitely tastes better than KFC’s though a little too tart for her liking. The portion may be a little tiny but considering it comes as a free side to the burger I really wouldn’t make a fuss about it.
Greenzilla, like Veganburg, also makes ‘green advocacy’ a part of its image and message. The reduction to one’s carbon footprint is calculated and shown on a laptop when one keys in the number of meals one has had at Greenzilla so far. Notably, Greenzilla also makes it a point to use biodegradable paper-based packaging rather than plastic bags. These are even sturdy enough to be re-used for packed lunches.
All in all, I appreciate the effort Greenzilla has taken to establish itself in the local vegetarian/vegan cuisine which has a comparatively small customer base. I support their eco-friendly message and their earnestness at delivering quality food and offering interesting plant-based options. Though my qualms still remain regarding presentation, considering that Greenzilla is still pretty green within the market (pun not intentional!!), given a bit of time to get their act together I do believe they have a good and reasonably priced product to sell.
Next, Tiong Bahru Bakery.
Amidst the sea of obviously non-vegan pastries and light burger offerings available, I was pleasantly surprised that they do have at least one vegan option on the menu. Perhaps its nothing to leap for joy – a salad burger jammed full of mostly leafy greens and a smattering of mashed avocado spread, but I was happy to accept this rather than oily, greasy and inexcusable vegan/vegetarian fare elsewhere. Yep, beggers can’t be choosers.
This was an Arugula, cucumber and avocado burger, if I remember the name correctly. And its exactly what you get. No surprises is sometimes a good thing. Pretty much full of leaves, this doesn’t have any sort of dressing though the thin smattering of avocado mash at the bottom was seasoned with black pepper which was just slightly too pungent for my liking. A little dry, but perhaps that might be a ploy to make you order something off their drinks menu – detox juice, coffee or tea, you take your pick.
At $8+, definitely pricey just for greens even for a large, delightfully nut-encrusted bun but perhaps one pays more for the ambience and quaint atmosphere, not to mention decor when one dines here. Whilst I certainly wouldn’t make a special trip here for a meal, its also not completely a no-go place for vegans considering the plant-based beverage offerings (juice and soymilk base coffees). Given the trendy vibe about this place, I may not mind chilling out here again with the right company.
Last but not least, Real Food Cafe.
Real Food is a cafe with a homey feel and a very strong organic, health food/ macrobiotics inclination. My friends and I patronised the outlet at The Central (Clarke Quay) which had racks of healthfood – healthy sweeteners, organic tea, seasonings and snacks as well as organic produce for sale.
I noticed their dessert display stating the use of soaked and dehydrated nuts which shows their awareness and updatedness to recent health trends and findings pertaining to nutrition. Soaking nuts is essential to remove anti-nutrients, rendering them more digestible and healthful. The nuts are dehydrated for use in dessert applications where you want dry rather than soggy nuts.
I ordered the Beet Millet Burger which came with a side of sweet potato wedges and a few leaves of dressed lettuce.This is quite peculiar burger, or should I say mash because the patties weren’t firm veggie patties at all but a thick mash made of beets, millet and tomatos that held its shape. The beets aren’t discernible as I’d expect not many people willl take to the earthy flavor of beets too well. They tasted more of tomatos (the tinned or pureed variety)/ tomato base pasta sauce and had more of a mild taste rather than intense, well seasoned flavors.Also hidden under the mash were some grilled veg and miscellanous veggies — onion and pumpkin. The burger buns, definitely wholemeal from the looks and feel of it, are properly made good quality hearty burger buns. They are very very filling, perhaps too filling to be accompanied with a carb-containing veggie mash. The sides were delicious as well. The sweet potato wedges are firm so don’t expect mushiness. Again, these were yet more carbs as if wholemeal buns and millet weren’t already enough, making this entire dish too obviously carb-heavy and not very well balanced. Overall, I honestly wanted to like this dish as it was hearty and had a real homemade taste that wasn’t too intense yet not bland but the overuse of carbs throughout left me heavy without truly satisfying my appetite. I will definitely not order such a carb heavy dish from Real Food Cafe in the future but look forward to trying out other options on their menu in the future as everyone including me liked the flavors in general.