Naïve @ East Coast Road

06 MAR 2009 – [INVITED SESSION]

Thanks to the invite by the dudes from HGW, we made a trip down towards the Eastern side of the island… to a restaurant with an interesting name: Naïve. This place is not too hard to find if you know the area. It has an address relatively easy to remember: 99, East Coast Road. There are ample parking spots (IF you know where), and it is more accessible via Bus compared to MRT. To make our life easier, we took a Cab from Eunos MRT (cab fare was less then $6.00 at peak hour).

NAÏVE @ 99, East Coast Road

NAÏVE @ 99, East Coast Road

The name of the restaurant is indeed intruiging… Naïve. It made more sense after Restaurant owner & host for the night Phyllis explained the concept behind the name: Simplicity of nature // absence of artificality… which is very well reflected by the decor of Naïve, as well as the plant-based ingredients (no meat, no seafood, no eggs, no onion, no garlic & no MSG). Initially, I thought the name “Naïve” was created as a cheeky jest – ‘Don’t be naive! vegetarian food can be good too! ‘

We started off with a couple of refreshing carbonated drinks, before digging into soups and a string of appetisers.

SOUPS

Tom Yam Soup

Tom Yam Soup

First came the soup… Wifey went for her favourite Tom Yam Soup and she thought it was nice. I had a mouthful and it  was tasty, with just the right level of spice in it for me.

Organic Mushroom Miso Soup

Organic Mushroom Miso Soup

I went for the Organic Mushroom Miso Soup, which was presented as a semi-clear broth. The soup was rather nice though it tasted pretty strong compared to the blander miso soup I preferred. Also, I thought it would’ve been nice to have a few more slices of mushroom swimming in the soup.

APPETISERS

Black and White?

Black and White?

Hmmm was this dish “Black and White” or “Penang Rendang“…? I can’t recall, but unless I am missing something, the buns did seem out of place. Perhaps this dish was meant to be eaten like -braised pork belly in bun-? Frankly, I thought the bun would’ve gone really well with their curry (see below)!! Anyway, I was so busy enjoying the other appetisers that I actually missed this one.

Golden Oats

Golden Oats

Nicely done! Their Golden Oats is basically the repackaging of cereal prawns using deep-fried tofu to replace the prawns. I liked it very much!

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood

Another great dish!! Red Riding Hood is the vegetarian version of sweet and sour pork. Their tangy sweet sauce is a real winner here.

Mango Tofu Cake?

Mango Tofu Cake?

Hmmm… Mango Tofu Cake? Can’t really comment on it as it was another dish I missd out on…

Battered Organic Oyster Mushroom

Battered Organic Oyster Mushroom

Whoa… the lightly Battered Organic Oyster Mushroom is very delectable!! Anything deep-fried great-tasting, but without the oily after-taste is a winner by me. I can see myself crunching through a truck load of the mushrooms like beer snack!!

Mega Mini Mushroom

Mega Mini Mushroom

Next up, the Mega Mini Mushroom… It has a catchy ring to it: Mini on size, but mega on taste! Indeed, the crispy mini Lingzhi mushrooms were spiced up nicely by the spicy szechuan sauce!

Curry - This is a beauty!!

Curry - This is a beauty!!

This dish was not much of a looker, but never judge a Curry by its look!! Firstly I must apologise for hogging the Curry… then again, BLAME the waiter for putting it in front of me… heheh… But seriously It was THAT good… To me, Naïve’s curry packed complexity through the usage of various herbs/spices. I find myself getting that one more sip trying to figure out what made it so addictive… Those steam bun would’ve been perfect here!

MAINS
Next, each of us was served our choice of “Monkeyhead Mushrooms” main dish together with a serving of “Oliver Twist

Spice of Life

Spice of Life

Wifey got a “Spice of Life“, she found it to be all right, but the taste here was similar to that of the Mega Mini Mushroom we had earlier.

Heartwarmer

Heartwarmer

I opted for the “Heartwarmer“. Here, the monkeyhead mushrooms were braised for hours and I liked how the mushrooms took up the flavours of the clear broth. However, I am a little concerned with the size of the serve.

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest

The “Enchanted Forest” looked really appealing which I didn’t nip… I did get a taste of another main “We ‘Em-BRACE’” and the broth was excellent!!

Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist, a unique ‘Naïve’ fragrant rice infused with olives and oriental spices actually went through several incarnations before reaching its current form… It is actually one of the better olive rice I tried. It went down very well with the brothy mains.

To end the night, we were served “Organic Pu-Er“, which I cannot differentiate between organic or not… It was a ‘no dessert’ night as the dessert selection is still under construction. Hmmm won’t it be hard to find desserts fitting to the overall theme of ‘Naïve’?

To sum this place up, I think ‘Naïve’ provides a great alternative for meat-eaters with vegetarian friends!! I can picture faces of disbeliefs coming from people… wondering ‘How did they achieve this without the use of garlic, onion, and MSG!’ On another note, looking at the price of the mains, I feel that an adjustment may be needed in terms of the serving size. For people aiming to come here just ordering a main and olive rice, it will not be enough unless you are a small very small eater… unless of course, multiple soup & appetisers are ordered which will balloon the price beyond $30 per pax.

 

My Final Rating: 7/10

Address:
99 East Coast Road, Singapore

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