(THE NEW PAPER) - When I stepped into Ganglamedo, the loudest thing in the restaurant was my ragged breathing because I was recovering from a cold.
The serenity of this Tibetan-inspired vegetarian restaurant envelopes you immediately and, if you have not had time to settle in, it gets uncomfortable.
I was a bull and this china shop had too many breakables.
But once you settle down, you will appreciate what this beautifully curated space offers.
Owner Anita Yuan wanted a place for people to take it easy, eat healthy and appreciate the principles of vegetarianism. She is passionate and eloquent, so engage her if you want to know more.
For someone who cannot imagine embracing a vegetarian lifestyle, this place is a good introduction. The food does not scare and most of it is actually tasty. I did not miss meat as much as I thought I would.
And by the end of the meal, I actually felt like the last of my cold had left.
My favourite item is perhaps the plainest looking and it is best eaten plain too. I love how crispy the spinach pancake ($12) is and with just the right amount of savouriness too, so there is no need for the mala dip.
I really like the Nagqu Cordyceps Double-Boiled Soup ($68) too. The cordyceps are from Tibet, which add to the exoticism. The comforting feeling when you drink this nourishing soup makes it a winner, with the subtle fragrance and woodiness.
In the Pan-Fried Morel ($20), all the components work. Everything is delicate in flavour and texture, with the asparagus bringing a little crunch.
The Seasonal Fruit mix is gorgeous and really addictive, although a child could have assembled this. It is part of the Pure Vegetarian 5-Course set ($49.90). Maybe it is because of where we are, but this feels decadent.
The vegetarian hotpots ($35) are a key part of the menu.
You choose from four bases - mushroom, white pea, hot and sour or tomato - and you will be given an assortment of vegetables to go with it.
I chose tomato, which is punchy and full-bodied, and had sips of the other bases. I found this to be lacking as it feels like a precursor to something instead of an actual meal.
It was the one item on the menu that was a sore reminder that I was having vegetarian food.
Where: 40 Craig Road, tel: 6423-9788; open: 11.30am to 3pm, 6 to 9.30pm