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Heart Bistro (closed)

Heart Bistro (closed)
390 Orchard Road,
+65 6737 2148

The stigma attached to “health food” is similar to how runway models are perceived: lacking in character and way too skinny. Since the food at Heart Bistro at Palais Renaissance is anything but those things, owner William Tan has declared that “wellness food” is a better way to describe what his restaurant serves.

If you’re expecting salads piled sky-high, you may be initially disappointed, yet all will be forgiven once you’ve experienced Heart’s warm mushroom and fennel version ($14), with its great depth of flavour (thank you, shallots).

I was highly intrigued by the trilogy of tofu ($12), made onsite daily. It’s a bit like small portions of Japanese egg custard, and just as nice; I tried the mushroom, pumpkin and spinach flavours.

Next came Hawaiian-inspired marinated sashimi po-keh ($14). Forget about soy and wasabi: here’s a new way to enjoy your salmon – tangy, slightly salty and delicious. My dining partner, meanwhile, had a handmade beef burger ($18) that arrived with a salad featuring baby radish. William says chips are available for the traditionalists, too.

When I heard about Heart Bistro’s legendary braised beef cheeks ($34), I imagined incredibly tender beef falling apart at the touch of my fork. And that’s what I got. This dish lives up to its cult status, and comes with mash to mop up all the rich gravy.

Roasted black cod with ginger broth ($28) is highly recommended, too. Though it sounds like a dish that could perhaps be, well, too healthy, it looks satisfying and soul-warming.

Just because of the bistro serves food that’s good for you doesn’t mean it skimps on desserts. William sends over his famous carrot cake as well as a winning sticky date pudding and a tiramisu slice. Too much dessert? As the meal portions aren’t daunting, you’re left with ample space for a sugar fix.

When it comes to beverages, Heart Bistro makes my mum sound cool. Like her, William is a keen advocate of fresh juices. His juice bar offers delicious combinations of fruit, vegetables and herbs served in tall glasses. The apple, grape, coriander and lime concoction ($7) gets my vote. For a warmer treat, order from a comprehensive tea menu featuring tea infusions such as clove, cinnamon and orange zest ($7) – Christmas in a cup!

Apart from the regular menu, there’s an all-day brunch on weekends (from $30 for two courses). Set menus are also available for lunch and dinner, with the list of dishes changing regularly.

Heart Bistro is a great concept that’s been well executed. It’s friendly all round, too. Free hugs, anyone?