Thursday, August 04, 2005

Original Sin, Chip Bee Gardens, Singapore


This place is quite unique - a gourmet Mediterranean vegetarian restaurant. I would have never thought that I liked a vegetarian restaurant. (Cue Anthony Bourdain: "Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.")

That's why I'm so amazed by this place: it is darned good. My favorite is the Capri: "char-grilled vegetable skewers with Portobello mushroom, eggplant, Spanish onion and zucchini, served with a tomato basil sauce and garlic infused potato puree." I truly believe that one of the only ways to naturally enjoy vegetables is to cook them on an open flame - or a raw salad, anyway. Awesome (I think they spread some pesto on it to add to the great taste). Interestingly, I noticed a couple lines of balsamic vinegar suspiciously conveniently located in places where grill marks would be - but rest assured that there were real grill marks too. I'll come back here just for this dish alone - although at S$24 (US$13) for just mere vegetables, it is obvious this place is "fine dining." (Cue Mr. Bourdain again: "Oh, I'll accomodate [vegetarians], I'll rummage around for something to feed them, for a vegetarian plate, if called on to do so. Fourteen dollars for a few slices of grilled eggplant and zucchini suits my food cost fine.")


The rocket salad was pretty good ("an ensemble of goat cheese croutons, arugula, fresh tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted Spanish onion and parmesan shavings") - gotta love those goat cheese croutons on the side. And the tiramisu was moist and light too. Wine lovers will get excited at the amazingly long wine list here too - it's practically as thick as a phone book. I have no idea where they have the space to keep all these wines.


This place may be hit or miss though. I once had their risotto, which was only OK (but certainly not bad considering it is vegetarian). The vegetarian lasagne didn't look great either. The eggplant moussaka I recall was pretty good though. It doesn't matter anyway - I'll come back here for the Capri alone, even if it's S$24. Just be careful of your tab adding up quickly if you feel veggies aren't filling enough.

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