As Singapore’s only vegetarian restaurant to be awarded the prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand Singapore Award in 2016 (not to be confused with a Michelin star), there were high hopes for Whole Earth, a Thai-Peranakan spot right in the heart of the city. Did it deliver? Yes, and no, but let’s get to the good stuff first.
One of their bestsellers is the Penang Rendang, a signature dish of shiitake mushrooms marinated with a delicate mix of Peranakan herbs and spices to create a delectable full-bodied dish that almost tastes like the real thing, if not better. The spicy pan-fried mushrooms have an unbelievably thick and meaty texture, and go astoundingly well with the other must-try dish, the Signature Olive Brown Rice, which hits just the right note with its savoury Chinese Teochew olive punch.
Other classic dishes include the Nyonya Curry, which is lovingly prepared and slow cooked with shiitake mushrooms and potatoes; the beautifully plated Enchanted Forest made from monkeyhead mushroom and fresh broccoli topped with an angelica root and wolfberry sauce (we’d never even heard of some of these ingredients before); Crispy Golden Oats made with perfectly deep-fried tofu – crispy on the outside, silky smooth on the inside – tossed with fragrant oats, curry leaves and chilli padi; very spicy Sambal Kangkong; and the chicken Sweet and Sour Delight which is aptly named. We’d also stick to the mains as dessert is nothing to shout about, but that wasn’t a problem for us.
While the restaurant has recently undergone a much needed revamp, it’s still short of fine dining to justify the pricey dishes (four dishes and three drinks can add up to SGD125), simple décor and restrooms (there is also a strange curtain that lines the top of the walls, perhaps for acoustic purposes, but it really was distracting for us). The fact that they charge for tap water is irksome; the rush to pay the bill was another pet peeve.
76 Peck Seah Street, Singapore 079331
+65 6221 6583
Open Monday – Sunday 11.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10pm
This article first appeared in the April 2018 issue of UNRESERVED.