Ever Since Jamie Oliver started his Meat-free meals series I have been waiting for some of that plant-based deliciousness to make its way to Singapore, and it finally has! In the spirit of first World Vegan Day and then Singapore Vegan Festival, in November, Jamie’s Italian has concocted a special meat-free (read: fully vegan) fare made with the choicest of ingredients. These specials will run till Nov 29th in the restaurant. I got in on the action early and am going to break it down for you, bite by bite!
When you walk into Jamie’s Italian, you immediately get that warm, comfort food vibe that the restaurant is known for. And for those who prefer to eat plant based, JI’s fresh, hearty salads or their Pasta Arrabiatta make for great options. While the vegan dishes currently on their menu are phenomenal, we could all use some fresh, new options which is why I was really excited to try the World Vegan Day specials.
We started off our meal with the Classic Superfood Salad which is an eclectic mix of lentils, grains, chickpeas, roasted beetroot and broccolini. Though not on the special menu, this is a crowd favourite and my friend (who is a regular at Jamie’s) confirmed that it was just as good as always. The roasted beets are cooked to perfection and the salad comes topped with half an avocado and a small dollop of harissa. There are so many fresh ingredients and textures in the salad that stand for themselves that you don’t really need the spicy harissa. Pro tip: The regular version of the salad comes with cottage cheese, remember to ask for it to be omitted to make the salad vegan.
Now, let’s get to the vegan specials. With vegan special menus, one tends to expect the usual – a no-brainer vegan cheese and meat replacement which, while amazing in its own right, has been done to death. Chef Edica however, pulled a real treat out of his chef’s hat and surprised us with an innovative and incredibly fresh tasting menu with ZERO processed alternatives. You can enjoy the specials a-la-carte or opt for a three-course set meal at S$49.95 (pick your choice of a starter, a main and the sweet treat dessert), which is what my friend and I did.
We started out with the Crispy Quinoa Cakes (S$12.95) that are topped with a tomato chickpea salad and drizzled with balsamic. Made with organic quinoa, they held their integrity surprisingly well, given that they contain no other binding agent like potato or another starch The flavours are subtle and delicate but what really stands out is the texture which lends the cakes an amazing springy bite throughout.
My favourite dish from the vegan specials was easily the Jerk Jackfruit Burger (S$28.95). I loved the punchiness of the jerk seasoning which reminded me of slow cooked Indian jackfruit curry. The burger is slathered with a simple homemade mayo that is delicious and doesn’t overpower the flavour of the jackfruit. It must also be noted that while the burger was meaty enough for me, it was also very enjoyable for my friend who abhors the taste and texture of meat. Win-win! The Burger is served with a side of the best Sweet Potato Fries that I have had in Singpaore, making the combo absolutely marvelous.
For a sweet ending to the vegan meal, we had the Tahini Bombs (S$9.95) which are fresh dates stuffed with tahini, coated with chocolate and served with a scoop of fresh coconut ice cream. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical about this dish as I don’t like eating whole dates but I ended up really enjoying this dessert! The flavour of the dates is partly masked by the dark chocolate and the buttery tahini that also balances out the sweetness of the dish. I started out with small suspicious bites but by the end of it, I was popping the dates like candy!
As part of World Vegan Day, other special vegan dishes on offer are Corn & Avocado Salad – Roasted corn with avocado tossed with mixed greens & soy cream dressing, and Ultimate Vegan Wellington – Portobello mushroom, kale, nuts and black rice baked in puff pastry with mushroom sauce. And if you need more variety, you can still opt for some of the vegan dishes off their regular menu.
The effort and innovation that has gone into the vegan menu certainly deserves praise. What really stood out for me was the quality of ingredients and the diverse flavour profile I was presented with. I left feeling satisfied and full without the literal “gut wrenching” feeling of a carb and fat overload.
Jamie’s Italian: 583 Orchard Road, #01-01/04 Forum, 238884 | Website