Imagine a meal at a restaurant with a strict ‘No white bread, no white rice and no white sugar’ policy and a menu that’s about 50% vegetarian. Sounds boring and tasteless? The meal we had at ONAKA was anything but that!
I was rather dismayed when someone mentioned before our meal that ONAKA’s menu was about 50% vegetarian because I really do like my meat. The appetisers seemed to confirm my worst fears because 3 out of the 4 were vegetarian! But once I had my first bite, my hesitations evaporated and I was more than game to try the rest of the food.
The Asian Hummus is made from organic tahini, organic chickpeas and chilli-marinated olives served with whole meal pita crisps. It sounds ridiculously healthy but was surprisingly tasty! When the server tried to clear away the plate that had just a tiny bit of hummus left so she could bring us more food, we were like, “Nooo… we’re not done yet!”
The Watermelon Sashimi was quite intriguing! We thought it was tuna sashimi at first and couldn’t figure out what it was made of. The watermelon has the texture and feel of sashimi but reveals itself with a refreshing crunchiness once you bite into it. The ‘tobiko’ is wasabi-flavoured agar!
The Nicoise Paper Roll is comprises fresh tuna, cucumber, French beans, herbed egg-salad, dehydrated olives and aioli. I know aioli is not really to everyone’s taste (e.g. my husband) but this is similar to a Vietnamese paper roll and very pleasant.
The Tofu Avocado Salad has soy brined tofu, avocado, mesclun, walnut, sprouts, hazelnut and tamari dressing. It is a tasty, wholesome and satisfying salad with the tofu approximating the texture of feta cheese.
After the appetisers, we tried 4 different carb dishes. The Roasted Mushroom Soba is buckwheat soba with roasted mushroom ragu, mushroom dashi and truffle aroma. There is an earthy aroma that I find very alluring.
The Pineapple Rice is made from organic brown rice! I was quite quite amazed because I completely could not tell that it was brown rice. It also has organic quinoa, roasted pineapple, carrots, spices, coconut oil and Asian herbs.
Hot & Sour Prawn Rice Noodles has queen prawns in a spicy shrimp broth with shitake, Asian herbs and chili lime. The broth is yummy but I would have preferred the dish with pasta instead for the al dente texture.
I loved the Maritime Barley Risotto! Instead of risotto rice, barley grains are cooked with mussels, prawns and conpoy in a crustacean broth and dressed with lime foam. The barley grains were a perfect replacement for the usual risotto rice and gave a hearty texture. This is coming from someone who doesn’t ever eat the barley grains at the bottom of a homemade barley drink!
We were nicely full after the carbs but they brought us more food! I was a bit too stuffed to try everything so I can only really comment on the ones I ate. There was Pear & Salmon with seared 47°C Norwegian salmon, Asian pear julienne, soft-boiled egg, spring onions, pine nuts, and sesame and soy dressing. The other fish dish was the Pumpkin Sea Bass which was roasted pumpkin seed crusted sea bass, haricot vert salad with smoked tomato puree.
The Duck Pancake was so yummy! Reminiscent of Peking Duck but it is actually duck confit served on tumeric crepes with five spice and orange caramel. Loved how crispy the skin of the duck was. We also tried Portobello Mushrooms with quinoa and grilled vegetables topped with cheese.
I am such a red meat person so my favourites were the Miso Lamb and the Beef. The Miso Lamb had shimeiji mushrooms and carrots and was so tender! There was also no gamey taste so those who avoid lamb for that reason can definitely try this. The Beef was…wow. Cooked for 48 hours and served with pumpkin and sweet potato mash, this was utterly melt-in-the-mouth goodness. I think I had more than my fair share of beef because it was so irresistible.
Although I was so stuffed, I couldn’t leave without trying some dessert. The chocolate brownie with homemade banana ice-cream was a sweet ending to a really good meal! I must admit that I was sceptical initially but I’m so glad ONAKA proved me wrong.
ONAKA caters to special dietary needs and some items on the menu are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, and/or vegetarian. These are all words that make the husband run in the opposite direction so I really need to find a way to convince him to go to ONAKA with me because he will definitely enjoy the food there!
ONAKA is at 460 Alexandra Road, #01-32 PSA Building, Singapore 119963. Operating hours are 11:30am to 10pm from Mon to Fri. On Sat & Sun, brunch is served from 10am – 4pm and dinner from 6pm onwards.
Disclaimer: This review is written based on food review session I was invited to. All opinions are my own.