Friday, 9 July 2010

Binge – Fabulous Food at Heart Bistro

When William Tan told me last year that he was going to open a restaurant serving “healthy food”, I didn’t get over-excited. I imagined lentils, dehydrated rice, hay and birdseed – nothing with taste or temptation. But after many enthusiastic emails from William, I finally got behind the wheel of my Honda Jazz and sped down to Heart Bistro at the basement of Palais Renaissance one afternoon. (For the record, this is where Marmalade Pantry used to be.)

And you know what? Not only was Madam proven completely wrong about the hay and birdseed, lunch turned out exceedingly well indeed!

Situated in the basement atrium just outside the CYC boutique and my facial salon, Sothys, Heart Bistro is an airy, spacious and cheerful restaurant.

Firstly, William set me straight about this ‘healthy food’ business. “It’s not so much healthy food, but wholesome food,” he clarified. “The menu here is wholesome food, global cuisine.” Yes, it defies labeling, but as we SimplyFab ladies view it, there’s no need to angst and ponder – just eat!

Lots of yummy stuff on the menu. Madam started with a juice called “Botox” ($7) comprising watermelon, grapes and mint which was a little sweet, but nice. I’d rather have wine though, but his juice menu is extensive, humorous (lots of funny names like Fit and Fab, I feel good, etc) and creative so I just had to try.

From the kitchen helmed by his young and painfully shy chef from Hong Kong rolled out really good food. First up was a trilogy of tofu, homemade tofu made with vegetables blitzed into the soy, so it’s not smeared on top but integrated. Flavours change daily, but what I had included bell pepper tofu, and mushroom. I forgot the last one, I’m afraid. They were all very smooth and full flavoured. I also enjoyed the Hawaiian sashimi poke ($14), a rare find in Singapore’s menus! But what really stood out for me was the pickled tea leaves with tomato and mung bean salad ($14). Ooh, it was absolutely fabulous! Crunchy and springy, with a little pickled, tangy saltiness and lovely Oriental flavours. If you’re on a diet, this would make dieting delicious. I could have this every day! (No pretty picture though...)

For mains, the roasted black cod with baby spinach and edamame in ginger broth ($28) was very light, with largely traditional Chinese flavours. If you want a full lunch that doesn’t weigh you down, hungry but watching your weight, this is a very nice indeed. The cod was moist and flavourful, and the meat came off tenderly in its natural layers. The soup was a light consommé, but very tasty and not too salty.

My vote though goes hands down to the braised beef cheeks ($34). Two rotund cheeks (above) sitting primly in an unctuous, rich sauce, so tender it just falls away and melts in your mouth, opening up into big, robust, meaty flavours. It’s an absolute must-have, especially if you’re a meat person. One of the nicest mid-priced beef cheeks around. I believe this will be a winner for the guys (– though I must say this place continues to be dominated by ladies-who-lunch with a sprinkling of men when I was there). Other lovelies on the menu that caught my eye were the duck ragout parppadelle ($22), crabmeat and shrimp sandwich ($18) and twice-cooked short rib of beef in a merlot reduction ($38).

I had a lovely light carrot cake for dessert – good for sharing – but will also potter back one day to try the signature sticky date pudding with ice-cream (right) which comes highly recommended and chilled cream of double-boiled milk with berries ($12, below). Definitely worth checking out also is the list of ‘Nice Cakes’.


Open all day, it also serves light little tea sets from 3pm – 6pm: $9 for coffee and cake; $12 for quiche and caffeine, or $22 for a platter for two with free flow caffeine. Heart Bistro also serves brunch on weekends and holidays from 10.30 pm to 4.30pm, priced at $32++ for three-courses including caffeine. It’s perfect for those who like brunch but don’t want to gorge. For the record, there’s also a decent kid’s menu every day, so good for heaving the tots along, too.

All in all, a place I would go for a quiet, civilized and particularly yummy meal. With good value and good food, you don’t need a deep tai-tai bank account, yet it is perfect for those tai-tai immersion moments! This goes down onto my list of Little Treats.

atrium @ palais renaissance

390, Orchard Road, B1-08/09/10C
Tel : 6737-2148
- Ee Waun


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