Fabulous beef lasagna and fish & chips at Appetito stall, Alexandra Village Food Centre

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It was supposed to be just another quick drop-in at a random hawker centre recently for me and my partner for an early dinner. We were heading to Ikea Alexandra next to stock up on candles, and this place was just across the street. After walking around awhile wondering what to eat, we decided on this particular stall called Appetito.

The food took some time to come, but when it did, oh boy, were we pleasantly surprised by how good the food was. And considering the hawker centre prices, it was not just good but fabulous.

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Bert chose the Beef Lasagna. $7. Look how nice the presentation is with just a bit more effort. The plastic dish was nicer than the usual hawker centre plate with its pretty geometric design. The extra effort on a great visual from the stall owner was much appreciated.

Bert is an Italian who doesn’t normally eat Italian when we eat out here, because he says it normally sucks, or it’s overpriced or both. He prefers to cook his own Italian food, and goes for local fare or other dishes when we do eat out. That day however he decided to give the lasagna from this stall a try, since it was only $7 so not too depressing if it turned out terrible, and also because he hadn’t had lasagna for some time (it’s a labour-intensive and time-consuming dish that he tends to prepare only for special occasions).

He really liked this one, to his great surprise! He said its filling was delicious and rich, the beef sauce was really good and the portion was decent especially for the price. Who would have thought: it was a hawker centre stall that ended up making this Italian happy, and with a difficult dish like lasagna too, not some quick pasta dish. No mean feat.

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I chose the fish and chips (the fries came in a separate bowl which I didn’t photograph). I forgot how much it costed. I think the same vicinity as the lasagna. $6.50 or $6.80 or something like that.

I had never gotten such a nicely presented good ole’ fish and chips plate! I mean just look at the creativity and effort for this humble dish! Suddenly it’s not some humble dish but some ooh-la-la fancy thang; so pretty! With that artfully smeared tartar and mustard sauce and all, so cute; way beyond what is expected from hawker centre fare. For some reason I was just so moved by it, hand on heart. It’s so lovely when business owners put in such effort for their customers. And the fact that this is from a hawker stall, not a cafe or hotel restaurant or whatever, well I was just touched. Because, I don’t know, I guess in a way it could mean people like him believe people who may not be able to eat out in nice restaurants deserve nice things, too? *shrugs* Which would make the effort he put in on the food he serves such a lovely gesture, not just a work thing.

And Oh My God, it certainly tasted as good as it looked. The fish was so delicious. It was hardly breaded. It was all fish. I loved this so much. Damn I need to go back tomorrow.

 

The hunk of VeganBurg

I read on Makansutra (via Yahoo!Singapore) last week that VeganBurg opened a new outlet at Marina Bay Financial Centre. But of course that’s not the main reason why I’m putting that news here. It’s more for the eye candy pictured below.

Cute couple at the launch of VeganBurgs’ 3rd outlet. Source: VeganBurg’s facebook. Click photo to go there.

Certainly the above attraction reminds me of the store openings of Abercrombie & Fitch stores, like the one in Hongkong I recently noted here. But unlike A&F, there was a girl model as well to greet visitors, although she was modestly dressed. As Makansutra’s writer Catherine Ling noted, her outfit was ‘tame even by Singapore standards’.

I too was thinking of the lettuce bikinis from PETA, like in the photo below.

‘Lettuce Ladies’ handing out vegetarian hot dogs. Source: The Peta Files. Click photo to go to source.

But as Ms. Ling wrote:

However VeganBurg denies that their campaign was inspired by the PETA “Lettuce Ladies” who wore lettuce leaf bikinis to promote veganism.

“No, we’re not trying to force people into vegetarianism,” says their spokesperson Katrina Lugartos. “We just want people to give something new a try, if they haven’t tried it before. Even eating vegan just once a week is fine.”

I don’t understand that. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with taking a leaf from the Lettuce Ladies idea, and how doing so would indicate trying to force people into vegetarianism. Oh well.

As for VeganBurg itself, I have tried it, I’m happy to say. Because I’m an ‘aspiring vegetarian’ LOL. Like since forever. It’s so damn hard! Nah, that’s just an excuse. Another excuse is that my partner is such an excellent cook and he cooks pretty often and he’s a hardcore omnivore. But when I eat alone it’s almost always vegetarian.

Anyway some months ago I came across its logo or advert I think while looking at the website of the Vegetarian Association of Singapore, and I was immediately curious and excited about it. A vegan burger joint, wow! In early April I dragged my partner to try it. We went to the one at Raffles Place, at the building called Golden Shoe Carpark.

That branch at the Golden Shoe Carpark is not exactly easy to spot. Look out for this signboard. Photo by me.

We balked at the prices a bit. Higher than regular burger sets at McDonald’s and Burger King. Naturally so not surprising. However it does remind me that all this ‘awareness’ about things like animal cruelty and environment, well that’s mostly the ‘domain’, the hobby of ‘people with money’, isn’t it? Regular blue-collar folks like myself want to care, but for most it’s like, “Shit, I don’t have time for all that tree-hugging, I can barely make ends meet with the prices of regular food and other expenses these days!” LOL

Anyway, I think we ordered the mushroom burger as a set meal. By itself the burger costs $7.85. The set comes with a drink ($3.50), non-soda I think so that’s healthier, and fries ($3.80). The set with all three items was $11.85.

Remembered to take a pic only after gobbling up half the food.

Oh those brown balls at the top left are like the Malay/Indonesian ‘bergedel’ (mashed potato balls). I remember they were very delicious, but also remember they were expensive at $3.80. Probably not many pieces in the portion then.

Overall a nice experience. And I like the simple and cosy ‘modern country’ decor.

No, I don’t have a super memory. This shot is how I ‘remember’ the prices of the food LOL