|Review by VegVibe|
Review extracted from VegVibe [http://vegvibemagazine.blogspot.com/2010/01/preparing-whole-earth-review_15.html]
If you are looking for a hip,classy joint with impeccable service and delectable vegetarian food, one has to look no further than Whole Earth, and the VegVibe team recently had the privilege of checking out some of its spread for the reunion dinner packages on offer come February. We were also highly impressed by the establishment's mission and the operational processes it has put in place to achieve those goals.
Situated at a corner unit, Whole Earth's quirky designs permeates to the exterior of the building, with large silhouettes of people and dogs. Once inside, the calming white interior and tasteful designs are pleasing and welcoming. Taking our seats next to a large window panel overlooking the street, we were greeted by Ms Phyllis Ong, one of the partners who run Whole Earth. After the initial pleasantries, we were soon engaged in animated conversation peppered by hearty laughs.
A vegetarian of nine years herself, Phyllis' vision for Whole Earth was to create a dining establishment that vegetarians could easily bring their meat-eating friends to. True to this intention, there is no indication that the restaurant only serves vegetarian food. The focus was thus to ensure that the food tasted good which would bring in the customers - be it vegetarian or meat-eater. In fact, Phyllis was happy to share that several customers only realise (in disbelief) that the food is vegetarian on subsequent visits!
Also, in a unique approach, Whole Earth prefers to work with a team of chefs who create each tantalising dish from scratch without the use of MSG or mock meat. Famed for being the only Pernakan Thai vegetarian restaurant in Singapore, it serves traditional cuisine such as Thai Green Curry and Peranakan Assam Pedas dishes by recreating the flavours without the meat.
On this particular visit, we were treated to their special Chinese New Year menu which features an assortment of dishes, and to begin the sampling, we were first served the ubiquitous Yusheng - but with a twist. Comprising 28 ingredients such as candied beetroot, pomelo, purple cabbage, apricot and green papaya, this colourful dish is served with a fruit enzyme dressing made from tomatoes and green apples instead of the traditional plum sauce. Also, for a Thai twist, bits of lime leaves are added which makes for a piquant and appetising fare.
Next up, was the Nonya Homemade Tofu Fish with Thai Dill Leaves. One of our favourites, we felt slightly guilty about sinking our teeth into the crispy tofu fish. Made with three types of tofu and requiring several hours of preparation, Phyllis explained that due to the manpower required Whole Earth serves about only 20 plates a day. Nevertheless, not only was the tofu free of the usual MSG found in other mock meats, its texture was uncannily similar to the real deal. The clincher was the unique savoury sauce though, a delectable combination of spiciness and sourness yet with the familiar flavour of galangal - typically found in Peranakan cooking.
Instead of longevity noodles that is served during Chinese New Year, Whole Earth remains true to its Thai cuisine by serving Thai Vermicilli Tang Hoon instead. Though milder in flavour than the other dishes, the vermicilli was nonetheless equally delicious, and came studded with winged beans and generously sprinkled with lime leaves. Phyllis, though, was quick to apologise and assured us that the dish would be made more savoury for Chinese New Year.
Though we were filling up quickly, we were still delighted by the Bamboo Pith and Wolfberry with Chinese Spinach, which did not disappoint. Soaked in the rich broth, the sponge-like pith bursts in the mouth with every bite, releasing the essence of the dish. The soft smooth spinach meanwhile was a delight to munch on and despite our bulging tummies, we finished up the entire dish - with some help from Phyllis.
And when we thought we were done for the session, some refreshing lemongrass jelly with longans suddenly appeared! This chilled dessert tantalises the tastebuds with a mild lemongrass aroma and is just lightly sweetened.
Complementing the great food, it was great experience chatting with Ms Phyllis Ong. An obviously fiesty personality, Phyllis shared her guiding philosophy that, as vegetarians living in a non-vegetarian environment, it is important to create an environment that is palatable for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike to enjoy meals together. Once a high-flying regional executive at a cosmetic company, she revealed that she took a big pay cut to follow her convictions.
She shared that she sees money as positive energy and believes that by following her heart, she will be able to achieve success. She hopes to be an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs in the vegetarian community and rightfully pointed out that the more outlets there are, the more the community benefits.
We cannot agree more and Whole Earth is at the forefront with its novel and scrumptious cuisine.
Whole Earth is located at 76 Peck Seah Street (Tel: 63233308) and is open daily from 11.30am to 3.00pm and from 5.30pm to 9.30pm, and will remain open through the Lunar New Year celebrations.
Find us at:
76 Peck Seah St
Tel: 65 6323 3308