Friday, October 2, 2009

8 Treasures Vegetarian Restaurant (八宝素食馆)

It was to celebrate the World Vegetarian Day (1st Oct) and I was very honoured to be invited by Zenna the young owner of this restaurant. Started from a family business (18 Lohan), 8 treasures has since evolved into this 2-storeys restaurant today. It was definitely a pleasant experience having to meet other vegetarian bloggers like Crystal our creative Chef, Veggiebun, Halimah and Ganga the creators of Vegvibe Magazine. Thanks to Zenna again for her kind invitation!
The 2 levels of the restaurant offers different ambience. It occupies the 2nd and 3rd Story of the shophouse. On the 2nd floor, the setting is more towards modern contemporary style while the 3rd floor has a more oriental style that displays special ceiling lights in "bird cages".
That's Zenna posing outside the restaurant. Behind her is the picture of the 1st Floor. From the signboard outside, you would need to take the stairs to reach the restaurant. I do not see any lifts, hence may not be easily accessible for some.

The really beautiful and Unique Bird Cages Ceiling Lamps that hang in the 3rd Floor Ceilings.

I was looking forward to this meal when I received the email a "special" menu has been prepared for us to try. True enough, it was not just special, we were given a 10 course meal that can be compared to a wedding dinner! Luckily Zenna explained that portions would be small, if not, I wonder if we would need to ta bao home.

~Menu of the day~

Nicely done and placed on our tables. Most of the dishes are available in the ala carte menu. These were just specially planned for us.

Mini Pot Vegetarian Sharks Fin

Tastefully done as the ingredients (comprises of mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, veg ham, crabsticks, tao kee) are finely sliced and topped with abalone and konnyaku "shark's fins" that can be brought from most suppliers. The soup was nicely brewed with mushroom base and wasn't too saltish, tasted perfect with vinegar. I would recommend this as one of the best sharks fin I've had. *Serving originally is quite big*

Honey Sauce Mock Pork/ Broccoli with Vegetarian Scallops

The Honey Sauce Mock Pork was braised in a special honey mixed sauce. This mock pork is made from pure soy protein and the "fats" portion is actually made of Konnyaku. Hence is definitely healthy and guilt-free since this is zero chorlestrol.
The dish beside was the Broccoli with vegetarian scallops where by the veg are first steamed, then served with scallops in sweet sauce. The scallops tasted normal but goes quite well with rice.

Asparagus with Monkey Head Mushrooms

I liked the way this dish was presented. Definitely gorgeous in this finely wrapped "vermicelli" which is like a "bird's nest". However, it was too hard and tasteless to bite. The monkeyhead mushrooms were chewy and cooked in sweet and sour sauce. I would love it better if it was in "gong bao" style. I thought it was quite wasteful for the "nest" as we can't chew it and it would be discarded.

Marmite Willow Mushrooms

I have never tried marmite before so this was definitely new to me. Fresh willow musrooms are fried with some batter and then cooked int marmite sauce. Marmite is made from yeast extract and it provides a very distinctive and powerful flavour, which is comparable to our chinese soya sauce. In most vegetarian dishes, we do not usually use marmite in our cooking. Hence I was amazed by how tasty it was. It is basically a love-hate relationship as some people do not really like the taste of marmite. I thought there was a little bitter after-taste. Cant really eat the mushroom as the stem was too thin. Nonetheless, this style of cooking is not available in the menu , but you may make a special request.

Vegetarian Fragrant Peking Duck

If you are into Yam, this is the dish for you. Yam is firstly steamed then wrapped with mushrooms and mock duck and then fried on the outside. You may eat this dish wrapped with fresh lettuce and the restaurant's special sauce which was quite spicy. Didn't taste like duck as the yam taste was overpowering.

Nonya Style Mock Fish

A tad too sourish and not very spicy. It is one of the chef's recommendations. I liked it with the rice. You may want to let the chef know if you do not like it too sour. The rice is something that is worth trying as it comprises of brown rice, white rice and barley, which is a healthier alternative to white rice.

Eight Treasures Beancurd

I've always loved olive and didn't know it goes well with tofu. The beancurd is pan fried, then served with cooked olive, fresh spinach and enoki mushrooms. Most importantly, it is not oily, as compared to the normal canned olive veg that we buy off shelves.

Crispy Vegetarian Chicken with Fresh Fruit Salad

I was expecting mock meat again when I saw the name, but was pleasantly surprised when it is made with potatos, seaweed and beancurd sheets, and tasted just like mock meat. The skin was crispy but not oily and potatoes is well cooked. I liked it.

Desserts - White Fungus with Papaya and Apple/ Strawberry Sago

We were given 2 choices that day. White Fungus (hot) and the Strawberry Sago (cold). The white fungus was really soft and wasn't too sweet. It is good for complexion. As for the Strawberry Sago, it comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. It is not suitable for vegans as it comprises of milk. They serve different dessert everyday.

I did not include individual prices as it was not stated in our special menu. Took a peek into the main menu and found that the price of each dish is quite reasonable, starting from $8.

The overall experience was definitely an enjoyable one as I finally managed to meet face to face with bloggers i've known online! Most of the dishes are deep fried and there are quite a lot of mock meat used. Nonetheless, there are more than 120 dishes to choose from the menu. So there are still quite a lot of choices for vegans as well. They also serve set meals, starting from $99. I guess its strategic location has also helped 8 treasures increase client patronage.

Diet: Lacto Veg, some dishes contain milk.

The floggers finally met~ Names requested to be disclosed. So make your own guess who's who!

Location: 282A South Bridge Road Singapore 058831, Right beside the tooth relic temple

Tel: 65 65347727

Opening Hrs: 11am - 10am daily