As a dietitian, I don’t promote raw food eating exclusively as there are many benefits to cooking foods. However, there are indeed nutrients that are retained better when raw, and I feel it is something that Singaporeans can try to incorporate more of in their diet (as it’s typically a somewhat Western concept that many Singaporeans are averse to).
With the clean eating movement, Afterglow by Anglow is a raw food vegetarian restaurant offering inventive dishes made from scratch with a farm-to-table concept. Afterglow’s founders Carmen Low and Lionel Ang, created the menu in consultation with Czech nutritionist and raw food advocate, Adela Stoulilova. All the dishes are heat-free, sugar-free (although of course there is still sugar found naturally in fruits etc), and apparently using pink Himalayan salt and bamboo salt to substitute table salt (however as I tell all my patients, all salt contains sodium! Luckily the dishes here are bursting with natural seasonings rather than saltiness). The Singaporean couple lived in Shanghai for four years and became proponents of vegetarian raw cuisine because of the endless food scandals in China. Read more about their story here. I also found a recipe from Carmen that looks amazingly good for a raw matcha cashew tart that they will apparently be rolling out soon.
The woody interior of the place reflects its natural raw philosophy well and I liked the relaxed and unpretentious vibe. The candlelit tables lit up a nice glow (pun intended) to the restaurant Unfortunately the light was very dim on the night I visited, making for terrible photography!
The Raw Zucchini Linguine with Walnut ‘Meat’-balls ($20) is made with Spiralized Zucchini, Dehydrated Cherry Tomato Sauce, Almond Crumble Cheese and Walnut, Shitake & Dates ‘Meat’-Balls
Other than the ingredients listed on the menu, I could see bites of woodear fungus as well as the shiitake mushroom marinated with hints of sesame oil. The tangy and umami tomato sauce infused throughout to coat the thin strands of juicy zucchini, while the walnut meatballs were well-seasoned enough to be able to conceal the astringent phytic acid taste and a close replication of real meatballs. It was a delight to eat and a unique experience from typical wheat pastas.
Our dessert was the Raw chocolate salted caramel fudge ($12.50), with Raw Avocado and Raw Cacao Fudge, Rich Tahini Layer, Vanilla and Medjool Dates Infused Walnut Crust
This is the highlight of the meal: the fudge tasted amazingly good yet clean, with a fair bit less saturated fat than its original (yes, I think it is slightly healthier, although still a sugar bomb!) – you wouldn’t even be able to tell it was avocado inside, because the chocolate and date taste was so intense. Yet it provided the creaminess of typical fudges, without the heavy feeling in the stomach like regular cream mousses do. The tahini layer lent a rich tone to the dessert, while the crunchy walnut crust provided textural contrast to the silky goo fudge. This was not in the ingredients but I could taste some coconut oil inside as well which lent a beautiful fragrance. Big thumbs up from me! However for non sweet-tooths, this dessert may be on the sweet side (from the dates).
To keep things interesting, the waiter took the initiative to inform us that there were seasonal specials that are chalked on the board, including the crispy raw lasagna ($22++, which differed from the regular raw lasagna in that it has an additional crispy layer from dehydrated tomatoes and macadamia cream cheese) and the coffee cheesecake ($15++, made from cacao beans and coffee). There is a bar serving alcoholic drinks too.
One thing I adored about the place was its heavy focus on nuts: a very good source of protein that most Singaporeans miss out on. It was interesting when I heard the lady next to me complain to the waiter “Hmm well I don’t eat nuts, so there’s not much I can choose from!” (I saw her eating some salad afterwards). Sometimes I go to vegetarian restaurants here and wonder “how is this a balanced meal! There is no protein! Mushroom with salad is not protein!” but rest assured that most of Afterglow’s dishes seem to have that covered. Another thing is that, as it is a raw food eatery, expect food to be served cold!
Service was authentic, polite and not intrusive; the waiter topped up our glasses of water consistently throughout the whole dinner without any reminder.
I liked the concept of Afterglow by Anglow even before I stepped in, and after having tried it I can attest it’s a place with good whole foods that indeed leaves an afterglow to your memory. The prices are steep but if you’re feeling like a treat after indulging in processed foods, this may be an option to consider. I’m personally feeling inspired to re-create some of the dishes myself considering how none of them require cooking (I need to get a blender though!)!!
See Afterglow’s menu here.
(Prices not inclusive of service charge)
Afterglow by Anglow
24 Keong Saik Road
Phone: 6224 8921
Operating hours are 12pm – 11pm (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday) , 5pm – 11pm (Tuesday) 12pm – 12am (Friday and Saturday)