In some ways, there’s no such thing as a “healthy restaurant”. Even a salad from a buffet can be high in fat and calories if you load your plate with ham, mayonnaise and croutons! That said, we’ve selected a couple of places where the emphasis really is on ‘being good’.
Spa Botanica at The Sentosa
2 Bukit Manis Road
Rather than you have to scour the menu for waist-friendly options while your friends order deep-fried dishes and creamy pastas, The Garden makes it easy to be good. The menu is replete with superfoods – wolfberry chutney, organic quinoa, pumpkin seed oil – and items are clearly marked vegetarian, antioxidant-heavy, immunity-boosting, heart-healthy and low-cholesterol. We were assured that butter and cream are scarce, and grape-seed and olive oils are used sparingly.
But the proof is in the pudding: I’ve had one too many cauliflower cups drowned in margarine. So, we open with a Shine salad ($20) with almond dukkha, golden California raisins and strawberries, spritzed at the table with a tahini citrus vinaigrette. The next course, citrus-cured mixed seafood tartar ($18), is the favourite of the evening. Flaxseed breadsticks are perfect for sopping up this dish’s mango wasabi and yuzu sorbet – when no one is looking, of course.
The main course is a beautifully presented plate of spicy chicken breast ($28) served with baby corn, warm tomato salsa and oven-baked potato topped with avocado. A subtly sweet soymilk panna cotta is outdone by its flavourful companion, the chocolate sorbet ($15), though both are light and enjoyable.
The Garden is a testament that eating healthy need not be bland, boring and self-sacrificial. Here, you can have your organic quark cheesecake and eat it too.
Verita Advanced Wellness
308 Tanglin Road, Phoenix Park
Eating out does not have to derail you off your healthy-eating regime. Restaurants such as Café 308 prove that nights out can be both healthy and satisfying. Café 308 has a casual-chic atmosphere where you can enjoy a guilt-free, bloat-free and (almost) fat-free meal out.
An understated menu offers an array of delicious favourites that are nevertheless fresh and nutritious, with a balanced ratio of vegetables, meat and low-fat carbs. To start, we recommend the tangy Thai tofu salad ($12) with glass noodles or the stuffed Portobello mushroom ($12), plump with ricotta cheese, baby spinach and herbs. For a light yet satisfying lunch, follow your morning yoga session with the low-fat pleasure of Thai green curry ($14) or tandoori chicken ($16), both served with ample greens and organic brown rice.
Sweet treats aren’t sacrificed on the altar of health: innocent and gluten-free indulgence comes in the form of lemon cheesecake ($8) and warm chocolate walnut cake ($8).
Just peckish, or on the go? Try a superfood smoothie or shake: quick, easy and packed with goodness. I recommend the Green Acres ($8) for a refreshing lift, or the cacao chocolate shake ($8) for the sweet of tooth.
Heart Bistro (closed)
390 Orchard Road
Taking a more flexible approach to healthy eating is Heart Bistro in Palais Renaissance, a smart place that serves food that is “good for you … that nourishes the heart”. The menu has more of a male approach to healthy eating, so it’s not all about “rabbit food” – meaning salads. And can that possibly be Nutella waffles and ice cream, albeit served with berry compote?
The $40 weekend brunch includes a glass of Prosecco or fresh juice, coffee or tea and three courses. You can choose to go all-brekkie, all-lunch or mix it up. The global menu has pan-Asian accents and where possible uses lighter cooking methods: braising, poaching and steaming.
There are plenty of salad options ($16 to $24) to keep things light, or try the tasty roasted black cod ($33) – moist and tender served with al dente vegetables in a soy and ginger broth; as well as meatier options like grilled kalua chicken burger with avocado ($20) or braised beef cheeks ($34).
Dessert, if you insist on staying with the healthy theme, has to be the fresh fruit confetti ($9) with deliciously refreshingly sorbet and an interesting lemongrass jelly; or the less healthy but very tasty sticky date pudding with ice cream ($12).
A good place for light, girly options alongside more substantial food for boys.
Pssst! At $7, the Juice Bar does the cheapest Botox in Singapore – a tasty concoction of watermelon, red grapes and mint.