Sunday, January 14, 2007

Red White & Pure, VivoCity

Sole a la Meuniere

This was a bit of a unique place. Located along the back of VivoCity's second floor where a bunch of restaurants are lined up against the water (1 Harbourfront Walk #02-141, 6827-0088), this place looks like a brightly lit skin care product store or something at a quick glance. Only upon digging a bit further does one find dining tables in the back. What kind of food were they serving? Well, "spa food," for lack of a better description (and yes, they had a spa upstairs). This place is apparently owned by the Eu Yan Sang chain of traditional Chinese medicine shops, and surely enough, certain Chinese medicine products like wolfberries are used in the the food...even though the dishes are generally European in nature. This didn't sound terribly appetizing to me, but the presence of filet mignon and gazpacho soup on the menu reassured me that it couldn't possibly be that bad.

The menu was coded with all of these symbols to indicate what health benefits they produced, such as de-toxifying and de-stressing. That just complicated things though, so I went straight for what I felt might taste at least half-decent, starting with the "Spinach Bowl" soup and moving to the Sole a la Meuniere, all washed down with a beer. is considered healthy? Yes, this place did have some interesting interpretations here. See, the beer was organic, thus supposedly lending more weight to its purity, even if it wasn't necessarily "de-toxifying" (drink enough though and I guess it could be "de-stressing"). One could also order a side of Camembert Gratin; the menu did go ahead to point out that potatoes had some health benefits, but it failed to mention anything about the cheese.

Camembert GratinSo how did it taste? By and large, it was rather bland. My spinach soup had cheese floating on top but really could have used a pinch more salt at the very least. The Sole a la Meuniere was light, but again with bland (not to mention undercooked) potatoes (at least the fish was actually meuniered here). And the Camembert Gratin encouragingly came out with a nicely browned rim, but there was still very little taste despite the presence of cheese...and hardly a potato could be found inside this thing. You might think that one could simply sprinkle some salt on it at the table, but no shakers were to be found (is salt considered a toxin?). In some ways, the food here reminded me of some of the bland stuff I've had at Pierside.

Well, if eating blandly meant eating healthily, then we could at least take consolation in that. But the final blow came with the bill: two of us broke through the triple digit mark here, which in the end forced us to sigh and concede defeat. Even if it were healthy (again, questionable in and of itself given some of the items mentioned above), it sure was bland enough and expensive enough for us not to want to return (and come to think of it, I really don't think I had many Chinese herbs in my dishes after all). Well, this definitely was a unique concept with some laudable intentions, but if eating chi-chi healthy food is the goal, then Original Sin would definitely be my preferred choice instead.


Zen said...

that place is a restaurant? I've walked past it, and have always thought that it was a cosmetics shop!

raphael said...

Dear discouraged visitor to Taste;
Foremost thank you for coming to our little restaurant in Vivo City. Indeed, it was great fun reading one of the earliest "critique" about our new venture, although you make understood that your experience was rather disapointing.
Like most new ideas translated into reality, our concept will invite many such responses and surely entice alot of visitors to query "what is red white & pure all about..."
We are simply inviting everyone to discover a better living every day. This requires to understand that our old familiar habbits and actions in todays busy and modern lifes need in balance a healthy and openminded aproach to wellbeing in general. We encourage positivity on all levels, from all quality products presented in our house, to the "plain menus" offered... we will surely be attractive to anyone with the wise forsight that our bodily health needs to be in balance with a happy mind.
TCM ingredients are often not as expected "herbal" nor classical medical ingredients. Simply the yin yang harmony of products and eating in company can be a health rewarding experience. All our recipes incorporate a well studied ingredient that has over the last few thousand years shown to be beneficial to many people.
We are wishing you lots of fun on your future travels and I will enjoy reading your future blogs.
Chef Raphael Gamon and Team