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Restaurant Review: Cafe 308 and Spa Botanica in Singapore

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

Sentosa

6371 1130

www.thesentosa.com

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.

 

Café 308

Verita Advanced Wellness

308 Tanglin Road, Phoenix Park

6737 2377

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)

Palais Renaissance

390 Orchard Road

6737 2148  

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.

Beate Baldry

Pssst! At $7, the Juice Bar does the cheapest Botox in Singapore – a tasty concoction of watermelon, red grapes and mint.

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