Whether you’re working late on an upcoming proposal, need a quick bite before catching a movie, or simply don’t have a kitchen to cook in (seriously landlords, what’s the deal?), there’s an endless number of excuses one can make to rationalise flocking to the golden arches for a feed. A fast meal doesn’t need to equate to greasy burgers and fried potatoes – and, similarly, eating clean doesn’t mean your plate need only consist of leafy greens. With burgeoning options available that give fake food the boot, while serving up nutritious grub that doesn’t compromise on taste, you can happily cut out the excuses from your diet. Here are our top picks that’ll please even the fussiest of eaters.
Inspired by Hawaiian raw fish salad appetisers, or poké, Aloha Poké’s flavourful bowls can be likened to ceviche and chirashizushi combined. With fresh fish flown in every day and a list of exceptional ingredients, a single bowl packs all the protein, green and carbs to square up your stomach for a night on the town. While the Standard Nalu Tuna or Salmon bowls ($15.90) are ideal for diners who can’t make up their minds, the Spicy Ahi Tuna and Wasabi Mayo Salmon (from $11.90 to $19.90) pack plenty of heat, mellowed by hearty additions of brown rice, quail’s egg, and fresh greens.
92 Amoy Street, tel: 6221-6165 and 8A Marina Boulevard, #B2-46, tel: 6634-0730.
Grain Traders’ open kitchen and wholesome menu makes it a natural choice for comfort food in the CBD’s. Reconnecting people to the origins of what they eat, the ingredients on the eatery’s marketplace-style counter present an abundance of choice. From $16 a bowl, diners may opt to construct their own meal of grains, proteins, greens and sauces, or go with tried-and-tested formulas like the El Hibaro – a rich medley of striploin beef, salsa verde, charred vegetables, wafu tomato and bean sprout salad on white sushi rice – or The Beebop – a tongue-in-cheek combination of braised pork shoulder, furikake corn, crudités slaw and mixed bean pico de Gallo on brown rice.
138 Market Street, #01-01/02/03 CapitaGreen and 100 Tras Street, #01-03/04 100AM Mall.
Committed to offering alternatives to salads in the realm of healthy eating, the restaurant’s namesake reflects its philosophy of eating to the fullest. Dividing its menu based on specific fitness goals – including ‘Shape Up’ to get your beach-bod ambitions back on track, and ‘Build’ to bulk up and inspire envy at the gym – YOLO’s extensive and diverse menu has something for everybody. Where the Cauliflower “Fried Rice” ($9.90) with chicken and Asian veggies is a light and invigorating substitute for rice dishes, Arnie’s Meatballs ($13.50) with pasta, olives and eggplant presents the same tantalising comfort food without any nasty preservatives.
12 Gopeng Street, tel: 6221-3029.
You’d be foolish to underestimate how far a salad can go, and Snatch lets you go all out if you choose to. Nestled in the heart of the CBD, the grab-and-go salad bar caters to lean-and-clean and muscly-and-mean eaters alike, with sizes ranging from Rogue ($12 for one protein) to Hero ($18 for three proteins). With hefty portions of proteins like chicken, sirloin and Ahi tuna on offer – atop garden greens, wholesome carbs and nutritious supplements like sundried tomatoes and sous-vide egg for texture – dressings like the sweet and tangy Yuzu Goma and aromatic Basil Pesto add subtle yet exciting flavours to a dish that’s often mistaken as dull.
#01-06 1 Shenton Way, tel: 6509-4513.
Whether it’s grains, poké or Japanese don, bowls are all the rage – and Ninja Bowl takes a stab at the culinary trend with aplomb. The Tsukiji ($16) pays homage to its namesake in combining the star of the dish, pan-seared tuna tataki, with crunchy asparagus, edamame, in-house pickled cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, topped off with an oozing onsen egg. The Genki ($16) serves up a generous portion of unagi atop melting roasted pumpkin, crunchy Korean mung bean sprouts and pickled beets to round off the eel’s distinctive taste and sweet sauce, while the Noka ($14) brings us back on land with roasted baby corn, mixed nuts, semi-dried tomatoes, and 24-hour braised beef cheek.
15 Duxton Road, tel: 6222-8055.
The Green Bucket
The Green Bucket is a secret garden within an industrial building worth keeping a lookout for. Serving up boxes packed with mouthwatering proteins and wholesome veggies, the joint will have your salad-shunning friends quickly eating their words (and their greens). Sizes range from small ($6.90) to large ($9.90) with a number of customisable bases, proteins and toppings that may be to suit your appetite. The purple sweet potato and brown rice both serve as hearty options to lay the groundwork for your meal, while tantalising proteins include a well-marinated but not-overpowering Korean BBQ Chicken, and tender slices of lightly seasoned Rib Eye Steak (+$1.50) that gets salivation working in overdrive.
114 Lavender Street, #01-01 CT Hub 2, tel: 9383-8131.
Text Trent Davis
Images Various Sources