Veggie Cottage is a cutesy place that bears an uncanny resemblance to an Ikea showroom. From the name to the all-white walls and furniture, from the gurgle of water to the small plants in teapots on each table; as I crossed the threshold, the anaemic niceness of everything gave the distinct impression that this place may lack oomph. It all seemed a little too… Feminine.
And now, with the benefit of post-prandial hindsight, I think my judgement is fair. Veggie Cottage is certainly homely, but it’s imitation homely. It evokes an idea of provincial Europe that is as quaint as it is trite. Inside it feels like a cross between a library and a yoga studio – a space that encourages you to retreat rather than engage, to be stifled rather than stimulated. Oooh… Con-tra-ver-shul.
On the plus side, the menu is wide-ranging, wholly vegan, and predominantly Western (although a small selection of local dishes is also available). You can opt to have your food avec or sans onion. What I liked most about VC was the polite insistence that everybody clears away their own plates; a small act of humility that struggles to gain traction in Singapore.
Whilst the tortilla chips looked and tasted good, the portion was very small. The avocado dip failed to make much of an impression. Too much mayonnaise and too little avocado made it look and taste bland and creamy. The addition of chopped onion helped to bolster the taste and texture, but the overall impact was marginal. Some citrusy notes (or even just coriander) would have helped.
The burger comprised a bun, patty, lettuce and mayonnaise intermixed with some sort of chopped radish. The patty was succulent and juicy, and reminded me of those used by VeganBurg. Overall, however, the burger was (again) bland and creamy, and would have benefitted immensely from having a signature flavour. As VeganBurg has recognised, vegan patties are largely tasteless, so they dress them up with interesting flavour combinations: cracked pepper; teriyaki, barbecue and satay sauces; pineapple rings; mushrooms. If VC followed suit, this burger could be a winner. The chips (fries, whatever) were excessively oily but well-salted. Flavour, yes!
A signature dish, and for good reason. The mock fish patties were very good – the infusion of seaweed evoked the flavour of the ocean in a natural (not artificial) way, whilst the judicious use of oil replicated the fattiness of fish well. The batter was crunchy and satisfying. The accompanying salad (lettuce and red cabbage) was beautifully fresh and colourful, but could have done with some vinaigrette or other dressing. The tartar sauce was a disappointment – it lacked any sort of tartness, and tasted borderline sweet. Gherkins, capers, lemon juice, parsley, anything would have helped inject some much-needed zing into it.
A well-baked muffin with a nice and light consistency and a moist (almost lava-like) inside. MiKa found the taste a little flat, and thought that the cocoa had been substituted with carob. After the creamy blandness that had preceded it, I was just happy to taste some flavour. Any flavour!
A rather muted experience all-round. The flavours were heavy and limited, and I left feeling slightly dissatisfied. Everything about Veggie Cottage is nice, but it’s a little too nice for my liking. It lacks an edge, a hook, a really good reason to return.