Speaking of vegetarian cuisine in Singapore, one would probably associate it with dishes made from starch or beancurds trying to replicate the look, smell and taste of meat. elemen元素™, a meat-free restaurant, tries to separate itself from the above mentioned phenomenon and advocates a wholesome dining experience for you with only the most fundamental ingredients from nature – vegetables. Even so, that doesn’t mean your meal consist only of raw carrots and lettuce. Instead, expect hearty, hefty, protein-packed options from the menu that can stand in for the need for meat.
The new restaurant at Millenia Walk is operated as a subsidiary of the Koufu Management and they pride themselves in using minimal seasoning and marinating to preserve the original taste of each selected ingredients. Even with their seasoning and marinating, they use carefully sourced ingredients such as sea salt from South Africa, olive oil, and even alkaline water.
The 5 or 8 course meal on their menu ventures into fusion cuisine with inspirations drawn from Chinese, Western and Japanese dishes. If you’re stricter in your diet, great news for you is that elemen元素™ serves dishes that are entirely free of onion and garlic.
With an order of the 5 or 8 course meal, they’d first serve the elemen Appetiser consisting of 3 different dishes to kickstart your degustation experience – Cucumber with Mashed Green Bean, Black Sesame Tofu and Cherry Tomato in Plum Sauce. Each appetiser is delicately concocted and presented, and unfortunately finished in just a mouthful. Next up on your order is the Rosemary Breadsticks, served hot and with a special raspberry yogurt dip. Of course, from the dip to the dough of the breadsticks, everything is made from scratch in their kitchen.
With 4 choices of salads on the menu, Tropical Fruits Salad is indeed the simplest and refreshing of all. Served with raspberry yogurt sauce, this is certainly the choice for you if you prefer something that wouldn’t affect your tastebuds or stomach space. Quinoa Salad is an array of bright colors – paired with the first of spring’s green offerings, this makes a great wheat-free alternative to starchy grains. Fresh cubes of chilled avocado lying on a bed of greens with a savory sesame sauce drizzled over, the colorful Avocado Salad is perfectly palate-pleasing. The Mushroom Salad uses succulent mushrooms, and then infusing them with characters by sautéing them with garlic and flavorful sauce.
Out of the 4 soups on their menu, two of them are Cantonese-style brewed soup, namely Fresh Burdock Roots with Monk Fruits Soup and the other, Maca Soup. Cantonese are known to have soup accompanying their meals, and these soups are often traditional concoctions that are filled with nutrients. There’s nothing quite like a proper soup that has been brewed for almost 6 hours to go with your meal especially with healthy ingredients such as luo han guo, burdock root, and maca (Peruvian ginseng). The other two soups, Wild Mushroom Cream Soup with Truffle Oil and Cream of Pumpkin Soup, might seem unchallenging, but a mouthful of these would change your mind in an instant. A firm favorite of many, the mushroom soup is reinvented with a touch of soymilk instead of entirely cream. Silky yet textured, the pumpkin soup is wonderfully soft, sweet and rich.
After the soups, a tiny cup of Apple Cider will be served to wash down the flavors before proceeding to the main dishes.
Moving on to their main dishes, first up is the Homemade Chinese Tea Tofu with Wheat Noodles with broth made from the essence of tomatoes and no additional seasoning was added. Ginger smacked some sass into the piece of winter melon atop the smooth noodles, adding some needed flavors to it. Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the soft brown beancurd sitting beside the winter melon, it is actually tofu that was infused with fried Chinese Pu-er tea, giving it its color.
Another noodle main dish would be the Chilled Japanese Wheat Noodles that resembles a noodle salad. The noodles are mixed together with a sesame salad sauce and would be best for you if you prefer something light.
The pleasantly deceiving thin-crusted Wild Mushroom and White Truffle Pizza features a variations of mushrooms and a generous amount of truffle, judging from the aroma that floats to you even before tasting it. Not to mention the crust that was kneaded and baked in their kitchen. Truly a handmade pizza.
Another golden combination of mushroom and truffle dish is the Mushroom Risotto with Black Truffle. With each bite of the smooth-textured risotto delivers a garlicky, pungent ramp and makes it the foundation of this rich wild rice dish.
For something more suitable to the Chinese tastebuds, the chef makes another mean rice dish – Braised Golden-brown Pumpkin with Glutinous Rice in Hot Stone. The glutinous rice absorbs the sweetness of the pumpkin as it cooks and thickens the rice to a lip-smacking consistency. You’d be amazed at this luscious, totally meat-free dish and it further proves that meat is not necessary for flavor or substance.
Don’t be surprised by their range of desserts such as Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream, Osmanthus Flower with Grass Jelly, Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce, and Chilled Coconut Puree. Each of them are characterized by their own unique blend of ingredients. For example, Chilled Coconut Puree uses peach gum, a natural collagen supplement, to enhance the goodness of this dessert, so even when you have your dessert, your body will still benefit from it.
Lastly, their signature drinks – Sea Salt Coffee and Iced Lemongrass Tea – are sugar-free and further demonstrate their adamance to a healthier, earthier diet. If you can’t accept salted coffee, you can request for sugar, but they might not give it to you. Nonetheless, no harm trying the Sea Salt Coffee that is notably refreshing and perhaps a little addictive.
Also, when you order the 8 course meal, you’ll receive a complimentary takeaway dessert that is entirely handmade for you to takeaway.
The decision to a meatless week, or your future diet, is possible and the dishes at elemen元素™ will help pave the way. Cooking vegetarian food is not rocket science; it’s the sincerity that matters to bring out the best of the simplest ingredients and elemen元素™ has proven that they are doing their best. Give your stomach and tongue a break with a satisfying meal – no meat required.
Millenia Walk, #01-75A/76
9 Raffles Boulevard
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 4pm, 5.30pm – 10pm (daily)