Icehaus' concept was inspired by icehouses built in the pre-refrigerator era (hard to image, we know). These were buildings that stored ice to keep produce fresh throughout the year.
Situated at the crossroads of the Kampong Glam, Little India and Bras Basah Bugis cultural districts, interior designer Andre Fu crafted the restaurant to reflect the intimate shophouse-filled alleyways in the viscinity. Made up of monolithic white Carrera marble and a mustard yellow colour scheme similar to the hues found in Indian and Malay handicrafts, the space was gorgeously sun-lit when we paid it a visit (a welcomed respite for any desk-bound office worker).
Catering towards health-conscious diners, Icehaus recently introduced itself as a do-it-yourself (DIY) superfood salad lounge. Open for lunch on weekdays ($18), diners can tuck into a buffet spread of superfoods such as kale and quinoa, as well as hearty soups and lean proteins (shredded chicken, tuna, and ham). We're pretty into clean eating during mid-day here at Her World. You don't feel sluggish from an incoming food coma the way you sometimes would after a heavy plate of hawker fare. But the trouble with standard salad servings is, we tend to wrestle with hunger pangs later during the day. So a major plus point at Icehaus was being able to pile on as many leafy greens as we wanted.
The set up's great for picky eaters who want to have control over what goes on their plate too. Don't like olives? No problem. From tart pearl onions to deep-red-purple enchives, from grilled red peppers to crunchy broccoli, there were enough colours and textures to play with. That kept us from finding mealtime monotonous. But we're still keeping our fingers crossed for new additions because we take pleasure in the freedom of choice.
In line with sustainable vegetable farming, some of the greens are brought in from a patch in Cameron Highlands. Drizzle your bowl of tasty and nutritious goodness with power-packed flax seeds and chia seeds - full of fibre, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants - plus spoonfuls of olive oil and sherry or balsamic vinegar.
Lunch came with free-flow Andaz Ice Tea and pandan syrup that you can stir in for a hint of local flavour. Concocted with a blend of Singapore breakfast tea and citrus fruits, it was a tad too fragrant for our liking, but don't let us stop you from giving it a go. The black tea is touted to be a good source of antioxidants and pandan leaves are known to possess detoxifying and healing properties.
What we did like was the smooth and creamy cauliflower soup with a dash of pepper. It might seem plain but it was so comforting. Our bodies had no idea how many servings of vegetables were easily guzzled down. The soup differs daily. Cream of mushroom, roasted tomatoes and pumpkin are just a handful that have graced the countertops. Best mopped up with slices of bread. Options include rye, baguette and sourdough. Get one of the lovely chefs on standby to help toast them for that extra crisp and crunch.
It's almost criminal how a place can encourage clean eating and offer dessert available for order. Then again, what is a balanced diet if not a bowl of vegetables in one hand and a slice of cake in another? Or in this case, ice-cream on a stick. We couldn't resist indulging in a little treat. The Andaz Cendol Pop ($10) was created in collaboration with Masterchef Singapore judge Bjorn Shen of Neh Neh Pop - the ice-cream popsicle-making extension to Middle Eastern cafe-restaurant Artichoke.
The sugary delight is constructed using gula melaka coconut ice-cream and red bean caramel, coated in pandan white chocolate and toasted coconut shreds. Rich, sweet and reminiscent of thick satan (coconut cream), there's no denying that it's the coconut-milk iced dessert reimagined. Also on the menu is the pandan chiffon cake ($14). The Singapore signature gets a wicked update with a decadent pandan glaze over the familiar spongey chiffon.
For dinner ($28), the salad lounge features additional premium chilled seafood such as smoked salmon and tiger prawns. The cheese station is also expanded to include Comte cheese, Brie and Fourme d'ambert. Wind down with unlimited glasses of the Wine of the Month, sustainable, biodynamic, organic or vegan wines. It's only another $30.
One of five restaurants that make up Alley on 25, each of the neighbouring dining fare is based on a different cooking method. Smoke and Pepper specialises in modern-Asian barbecue grub prepared over open-fire charcoal grill (think: beef skewers and grilled chicken), whereas Auntie's Wok and Steam is influenced by Sze Chuan techniques and dishes out ma po tofu. Icehaus is working with the other shophouses so that no matter where you sit, the superfood salad lounge experience remains accessible.
Reserve a table at andazsingapore.com or call +65-6408-1288.
Andaz Singapore, 5 Fraser Street, Singapore, 189354, opening hours: 10.30am - 10pm