Daily: 11:30 - 15:00
Daily: 18:00 - 23:00
Dining at Beets Modern Vegetarian is not just about healthy salads or vegetable options. This outlet by the people behind the Carnivore chain of restaurants offers delicious substitutions to meats such as the tofu burger, vegetable cheong fun roulade and falafel.
For pictures and the full review, click here! Otherwise, read on...
Type of Institution: Vegetarian
I was quite excited upon finding out that Dempsey finally has a vegetarian restaurant and that Singapore has a new addition to the upmarket veg dining scene. Beets Modern Vegetarian presents itself as a chic venue for simple vegetarian and vegan dishes executed in a sophisticated fashion. Unfortunately, Beets got everything right except for their food on my visit. I alternated between being unimpressed and quite horrified (skip to the Risotto if you’re intrigued) as the different courses were served. It was also disappointing that Beets chose the worst option available for their still water – I asked for tap water in lieu of Evian.
On the upside, I liked the minimalist deco, and service was helpful and seemed genuinely friendly. The only boo boo occurred when one of the waiters stated that veganism is a “diet” – I was in a good mood and decided not to unleash my caustic tongue and enter a lecture on how veganism is an ethical philosophy encompassing all aspects of a person’s life. Also, portion sizes were generally adequate though they leaned towards the small side for the mains.
As a final note for my fellow vegans: Don’t feel deterred by the surprisingly small variety of vegan dishes marked out on the menu. Most of the vegetarian dishes are vegan-izable – just ask.
The bruschetta bread was of an ordinary quality, and the topping required more olive oil and richer tomatoes. (Complimentary)
The carpaccio of beets and Roma tomatoes was ruined by the flavorless tomatoes. Beets should consider investing in quality ingredients to get the most out of their chef’s creations. The sweet raspberry vinaigrette was pleasant but rather boring. The dish also comes with chopped hazelnuts and a petite mesclun salad. ($14)
I’m a huge fan of broccoli, so I naturally went for the side of steamed broccoli. The broccoli was very lightly – barely – steamed, so it remained rather raw. I expected broccoli that was steamed longer to bring out its natural flavour, but I quite enjoy the crunchy texture of raw broccoli as well. Orange and red cherry tomatoes and Japanese sweet yam added a sweet flavour, while the baked maggots-lookalike (wild rice puffs) added a crunchy texture. This dish was topped with a light Meyer lemon dressing and was served slightly chilled. ($15)
Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto
This was possibly the worst risotto I’ve ever had in my life. I was expecting a rich and earthy wild mushroom risotto with fresh green asparagus and truffle oil. In addition to the risotto being overcooked, the use of low-quality ingredients meant the dish was bland. Also, I am completely baffled by how tasteless the risotto was when truffle oil was stated as an ingredient – they had either forgotten it or just added a teardrop. It is possible that the chef usually relies on using cheese to mask the lack of flavour in the other ingredients, since the risotto originally came with cheese but I vegan-ized it. ($23)
A juicy portobello mushroom was stuffed with caviar aubergine and covered in a crispy breaded layer. This was served with a small portion of wilted spinach and lightly sautéed Italian red and yellow capsicums. ($23)
Note: All dessert options are vegan. :)
Lemon Grass & Earl Grey Sorbet
The Lemon Grass & Earl Grey Sorbet with sour citrus jelly had a good flavour but its texture was too icy. Also, Beets’ lack of attention to the quality of their ingredients again reveals itself in the unripe strawberry and blackberries, which were unpleasantly sour. ($12)
The main feature of the dish was disappointing – The tasteless pear slices were not poached well, and were difficult to slice as they were way too hard. They sat in a soy chocolate soup which had the richness of store-bought milk chocolate, which meant it was easy to finish all the soup without getting too sick of it. This was topped with crunchy almond flakes and sweet strawberry slices. ($12)
Conclusion: Beets gets everything but their food right. If it wants to earn its credibility as an upmarket option in the veg dining scene, it needs to invest in quality ingredients and to pay more attention to the execution of their dishes.
For pictures and the full review, click here!
Possibly Singapore’s first modern vegetarian restaurant, Beets sits among rustling trees and a long cascading water feature in Oosh’s former grounds at 22 Dempsey. Housed in a sprawling multi-concept F&B complex by Starworth - the dining arm of a local construction firm – Beets offers twin dining experiences: an austere indoor space and alfresco dining on an elevated, timber-decked platform (half of which is walled by glass and brick, powered by air conditioning).
What to expect
Vegetarian options like you never knew: contemporary, fusion-style and rather haute. Crafted by meat-devouring gourmands for their vege-loving clientele, the menu tosses up gourmet options like seaweed-studded tofu burger ($20) and breaded Portobello mushroom ($23) infused with aubergine served alongside spinach and pepperonata. You may also be pleased to know that there is no mock char siew, mock duck or, for that matter, mock abalone on the menu.
Herbivores and carnivores alike will endear themselves to the potato and leek soup ($10) with a perfectly poached egg crowned with truffle faux caviar. The baked brie ($18) in filo pastry stacked on a layer of grilled pumpkin and a heap of grilled vegetables also satisfies. The roulade of cheong fan (steamed rice roll, $19) topped with petite discs of truffles in a shitake mushroom sauce perfumed with truffle oil is worth a try for the dim sum nostalgia as it is for the savoury hits.
You may not know that…
Beets is sited shoulder-to-shoulder to her Brazilian churrascaria stable mate, Carnivore. If skewered grilled beef sounds too good to pass, skip over for a protein load after Beets.