** LATEST UPDATE (8th Feb 2014) **
CERA is now permanently closed and won’t be taking anymore orders or opening a new outlet in the near future.
** UPDATE (19th Dec 2013) **
CERA is now officially closed and looking to relocate in 2014, with the intention to return as a VEGAN restaurant. In the meantime, Chef Beat is still accepting orders for vegan cakes.
Going green? This little bistro tucked away in Upper Thomson serves delectable ovo lacto vegetarian fare and some vegan options can be found on the menu too.
The talented chefs will entice your tastebuds with their amazing creations! You’ll never look at vegetarian food the same way again – even non-vegetarian converts will be impressed!!
Opened on 23rd July 2013, CERA is the product of a friendship between two chef friends, Beatrice Wee and Sam Chan, a dinosaur and their passion for food, drinks and fun!
The colour theme from the interior to the staff uniforms is green (an obvious choice as it’s the favourite colour of one of the chefs) and black. Hand-painted dinosaur motifs can be found along the walls and you can even meet CERA the triceratops at the cake counter. Don’t worry, she’s a herbivore and won’t bite! 😉
Here’s a look at what’s available on the menu (there are many interesting items for one’s taste buds to explore!):
Low-fat milkshakes are currently on offer for a limited time only! There are even flavours like pistachio and chendol!!
Orders are to be placed at the counter and the food will be served to your table (remember to take the number stand with you after payment). We were served with organic mineral water whilst waiting for our food to arrive.
Here’s what we had…
Real Mushroom soup – Light yet flavourful, served with a dollop of mascarpone and Cera’s special mushroom garlic toast.
I found it to be a concentrated blend of mushrooms which was flavourful and it was indeed light as there weren’t any dairy products in it apart from the mascarpone. My personal preference is to add cream (unhealthy) or milk to western-style mushroom soups but nonetheless this was still good.
Dirty Potato soup – Made with potatoes and their skins for an interesting touch. Served with Cera’s special garlic toast.
Don’t worry, there’s no dirt in this – the potato soup has a spicy kick to it and is different from most versions that I’ve tried.
Chendol Milkshake – Hmm…never imagined having chendol as a milkshake flavour. You can taste the fragrance of the gula melaka (i.e. palm sugar) but it is essentially a drink and doesn’t come with the ingredients typically found in the dessert. Not bad…
Orange Chocolate Milkshake – Full of chocolatey goodness, it feels like you’re indulging in a yummy orange chocolate bar except that it is in liquid form. This milkshake also contains bits of grated orange peel which gives it that zesty fragrance.
Pink Guava Juice.
Roasted Bone Marrow – Potato bone marrow stuffed with mushrooms and mascarpone, drizzled with pesto.
An interesting dish which certainly resembles bone marrow and I’m impressed with the chef’s creativity. The bone part is actually potato hollowed on the inside so that it can be stuffed with mushrooms. This is further enhanced with a dash of chilli oil and edible flowers which look too pretty to be eaten.
Century and Salted Egg Pasta – Spaghetti with century egg sauce and salted egg, finished with chilli oil caviar and pickled ginger. Served Chilled.
This almost immediately caught my eye on the menu but I was initially a little hesitant to order it when I saw the word “chilled” as I’m not a big fan of cold food (especially if it’s going to be my main course). Anyway, I still went ahead to order it and found that its temperature wasn’t as cold as I had imagined it to be and I felt this dish was very appetising and refreshing. There was a perfect harmony of the century egg sauce, salted egg and the pasta which made it a gastronomic delight.
Carnivore Burger – A lentil, chickpea and mushroom patty topped with fried egg, bacon, sauteed onions and tomato chilli jam in a gougere bun. Served with fries.
This was good and the patty was delicious! I could taste some curry spices in it. The fries were done just right and tasted great too!
Curry Fries with Pumpkin Ice Cream – Hmm…it seems to be the trend these days to have ice cream with fries but I must say that the pumpkin ice cream complemented the curry fries quite well. However, you’ll need to eat fast else the ice cream will melt, in which case you can always use it as a dip!
Truffle Fries – This was my favourite!! The fries were evenly infused with truffle oil which made every bite very fragrant and absolutely delicious! I will definitely order this again!
Cai Tow Kway – Cera style black carrot cake with garlic confit, silver sprouts, chye poh, 55 degree egg and tomato chilli jam.
The correct way to eat this is to pour out the contents of the egg onto the rest of the ingredients and mix them (warning – it may not be a pretty sight when you are done…LOL). This dish is of a slightly different style from the ones you can find at the hawker centres or food courts. I found the carrot cake to be a little too sweet for my liking.
Green Mac and Cheese – Arugula pesto, cream sauce, sauteed mushrooms topped with parmesan and mozzarella gratin.
Yummy with a capital Y! This dish may not look like much but it was a delightful combination of the macaroni with the mushroom bits, sauce and gratin which really warmed my heart and my stomach! The salad had an interesting dressing which tasted of raisins.
Matcha Mango Silk – This panna cotta is a combination of soymilk infused with green tea accompanied by mango sauce and roasted strawberries.
Matcha is known for its bitterness but this matcha panna cotta was well complemented by the mango sauce and strawberries which helped to strike a flavour balance in this dessert.
Z Crème Brûlée – Baked egg custard with a hint of ginger and a touch of lime under a crisp film of burnt sugar. Dig in to reveal our special berry compote. Served with a buttery sable stick.
I must admit that I ordered this without reading the full description of it on the menu (see above) and was pleasantly surprised when I reached the middle and found the berry compote! I thought the crème brûlée tasted of lemongrass and was really pleasing to the palate. The egg custard was smooth and the crispy layer of caramelised sugar added an extra crunch to the dessert. Loved the sable stick which was light and fluffy with a lovely buttery fragrance – I could eat a few more of these and I think the biscuit will go well with ice-cream too.
If you are just dropping by for a light snack or meeting friends over tea, there are also a selection of cakes and ice-cream which are available at the counter.
The cakes looked really tempting, especially the eye-catching peanut butter & jelly Rainbow Surprise which the 3 ladies at the next table raved about, but I was stuffed and couldn’t eat any more! Oh well, there’s always next time…
There are also cupcakes, which come in a variety of delicious flavours. I’ve eaten these previously at two different friends’ wedding receptions and they are really good! The icing is not too sweet and cupcake is soft and fluffy.
Ice-cream lovers can eat your fill without feeling guilty. Low-fat vegan ice-cream is available here in an assortment of flavours. If you can’t decide on which flavour you want, you can ask for a sample to help make your choice.
Posing with Chefs Beat and Nikki in their green & black uniforms. I’ll let you in on a little secret…one of the chefs is so dedicated to this place that she even has CERA inked on her arm! 🙂
VERDICT: This place will most certainly give other vegetarian joints in Singapore a run for their money. I’ll definitely be back to sample the other offerings on the menu (and in case you’re wondering – no, I’m not vegetarian).
MUST TRY: The pasta dishes, truffle fries, desserts and the cakes!
Come, drop by for a bite! You won’t be disappointed!!
…and Cera the dinosaur might probably agree with a “ROAR!!!”