Being someone who puts quite a bit of thought into the things I feed my body with (even though I still choose to eat junk fairly often), you can imagine how glad I was to find a restaurant in Singapore that serves ‘conscious cuisine’!
It may seem strange, as ‘conscious’ is not quite a type or style of food, but if you think about it further, it could very well be (and in my opinion, ought to be) a new category.
The people behind Onaka (short for Optimum Nutrition and Kitchen Arts) believe in ‘nutritionally balanced and delicious wholesome food in the world that has gone artificial and highly processed’. It seems that everything in their menu has a lot of thought put into it, in the design, balance of nutrients, taste and more.
I absolutely love that they use only all-natural ingredients, without artificial additives, chemicals, colourings, flavorings, MSG, preservatives and trans-fats. About 50% of the menu is vegetarian with special focus on Low Glycemic and Gluten-Free options. Another plus is their use of only whole grains, and their “No White Bread, No White Rice and No White Sugar” policy.
So one day I finally visited Onaka (which actually happens to be near my office) for lunch with some friends. They offer a set lunch for just S$18++ (2 courses) or S$25 (3 courses), which includes a starter, a main, and a choice of coffee or tea.
We all opted for the 2 course lunch and chose items that did not have a supplement (there is an extra cost for certain choices), as we wanted to keep it light on our stomachs and wallets. This came up to about S$22 per pax.
For appetizers, my friends had the interesting Watermelon Sashimi and Soy Melange, and I had a regular Tofu and Avocado Salad. The Watermelon Sashimi was certainly quite unusual, and probably quite unheard of.
Onaka managed to make it resemble the usual raw sliced fish, in not only looks but texture even. Dipping the meltingly soft sheet of watermelon into a mild soy sauce gave one the experience of sashimi eating, but with a hint of a fruity after taste.
The Soy Melange was a dish of skewered mix of tofu and tempeh cubes. Not bad, but a tad dry – could have done with more tenderness and juice. Still yummy though, especially when paired with the sweet black sauce. The Tofu and Avocado Salad was nice and balanced, but pretty normal.
I felt the portions for the mains were a tad small, but that said, mine was really quite delicious.
The 47 degree seared salmon was soft, tasty and melted in my mouth, and went very well with the gooey soft boiled egg and fresh, juicy pear slices. The sesame seeds and pine nuts also provided a nice clean kind of crunch to the dish, which was enjoyable.
My friends’ mains, the Pumpkin Seabass and the Omega 3 Salmon Rice pictured above seemed to be fairly nice as well.
I had a bite of each – the pumpkin puree was smooth and sweet, the seabass okay but not as tender and juicy as my salmon, and the salmon rice tasted clean and healthy, which was good – though I’m not sure if my friend thought so too.
Overall, I found Onaka to be a decent place to have a fairly healthy meal with less guilt!
Not too expensive as well, and service was quite alright.
Onaka Restaurant & Wine Bar
460 Alexandra Road, #01-32
Alexandra Retail Centre (ARC)
Tel: +65 6270 2012