Updated: Jan 8, 2020
Cedele at Wheelock Place relaunches with a game changing vegan menu
Before 2019 ends, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the founder of Cedele to chat over lunch, while indulging in the newly launched vegan dishes.
First things first, let's get the name right. Cedele is pronounced as "ce-deli" and not "ce-del" or "ce-del-lay". This 22-year-old homegrown brand is synonymous with wholesome healthy dining, and believes in serving food that impacts your body, heart and soul. Pretty good ethos to me and totally aligned with my way of living.
I ordered the Kombynation Original Komby kombucha ($7.50) to start while waiting for the appetisers to be served. I have been a fan of kombucha since I first tasted it at a friend's house earlier this year, when she served me her home brewed creations in various fruity flavours. A healthy alternative to sodas, this fizzy drink made of yeast, sugar and fermented tea is a powerhouse of anti-oxidants and probiotics that is good for gut health, and offers many potential health benefits.
I am very picky about eating salads when I am out because I like to think that I make very good salads at home. The last thing I want to eat when dining out is salad that is meh and not worthy of my calories quota. I have to say I am very impressed with this Grilled Pumpkin & Avocado Quinoa Salad (S$18) that consists of Job’s tear barley, red onion, cherry tomato, zucchini, edamame, toasted almond and oil-free cashew lime dressing. The serving is substantial and can be a meal on its own. It is defo not the usual run-of-the-mill salad bar stuff but a well thought dish, from a creative dressing to the topping of sprouts.
The other appetisers that I got to try were the Cauliflower Almond Poppers (S$12), Quinoa Cauliflower Falafel (S$12), and Furikake Tofu (S$9). They are offered separately on the menu but came in a platter for the food tasting. Even my non-vegan crew mates were raving about these deep fried veggie goodness. The cauliflower almond poppers were coated in water and ground almond before they were transformed into golden chunks that can give chicken nuggets a run for their money. The traditional falafel has been given a superfood twist with quinoa and cauliflower, and has a fluffier and lighter texture compared to when made with the usual chickpeas. The tofu is done agedashi style and sprinkled with furikake sans bonito. What made this simple tofu dish stand out was the dressing of medjool dates and apple cider vinegar. Simply genius and I am so stealing the idea for my next salad dressing!
For the main courses, we had 3 vegan dishes and 1 non-vegan dish to share among our party of 5. By this time, we were pretty stuffed from the appetisers of salad, fried veggies and tofu. That's the good thing about eating whole food plant-based dishes because the fiber from the veggies keeps you satiated and leaves little space for unhealthy indulgences. Not to mention that they are lower in calories too.
Vegan pasta dishes are not a new idea but are usually unexciting and not given much thought. This Truffle Portobello & Mushrooms linguine (S$19) has won me over with its cashew cream sauce, mixed mushrooms of portobello and shimeiji, crispy enoki and garlic flakes, and a light touch of truffle oil. In case you are wondering, the arugula and sprouts are not merely garnishes to add some colours for aesthetic purposes. Cheng explained that the arugula's bitterness is a good balance to the dish, while the alfalfa sprouts give an added boost of nutrients. I like the contrasting textures and I think the crispy enoki is a brilliant touch.
While the world obsesses over the meat analogues of Impossible and Beyond, I am not an advocate of processed food of any kind ( vegan or not). It's ok to indulge (and I say indulge because it is still processed food) in Impossible Burgers once in a while, but nothing beats a real veggie burger made with wholesome ingredients. In this case, the Beetroot Avocado Burger (S$17) patty is made with beetroot and potato, and held together with a flour base. Served with a side of sweet potato fries and salad, this is as healthy as a burger can get.
If I could only chose one dish to eat at Cedele, it would be the Portbello Pumpkin Risotto ($19). The arborio rice and Job's tear barley mix was given a Midas touch with pumpkin purée and a refreshing undertone with kaffir lime leaves. The breaded portobello adds a good contrasting crunch, while the arugula, sprouts and cherry tomatoes balance with their fresh flavours.
Cheng insisted that we ought to try the Crab Kerabu (S$25) made with organic Jasberry rice, crispy softshell crab, crab meat, kaffir lime and toasted desiccated coconut. Fret not my vegan friends, the non-meat alternative is the Portobello Garlic Jasberry Rice Bowl ($19), and is served with mixed mushrooms, crispy enoki and grilled pumpkin. What's special about this dish is the Jasberry rice. It looks very much like pulut hitam (black glutinous rice) at first glance, but it is more like brown rice with a dark purple hue. I love it so much that I cooked Jasberry rice for dinner on the same day, thanks to Cheng for gifting me a packet to bring home.
If you are in the vicinity of Wheelock Place, I highly recommend the newly remodelled Cedele for your next dining experience. The new menu now has a good balance of vegan and non-vegan options, and easily caters to all dietary requirements.