Last Updated: February 19, 2020
Nestled along Keong Siak Road is Afterglow, a quaint little cafe that will surprise you with its creative and Instagrammable plant-based menu.
Everything on its menu is made out of plants—yes, that includes its sauces, patties, and even its cheeses. And just in case you’re thinking that a 100% plant-based menu is dry or boring, Afterglow’s out to prove you wrong.
Riding on the rising trend of the #eatclean movement, Afterglow opened in 2013 to cater to customers who were looking for a greener and cleaner alternative for their diets.
Using produce sourced from local farms and food artisans, Afterglow crafted a 100% plant-based menu that included inventive dishes such as flaxseed nuggets, rice bowls, burgers with veggie or bean patties, and more.
Not only that, but it’s also one of the only restaurants in Singapore to have raw items in its menu. That means all its ingredients are in its most natural and raw stage, and hasn’t been processed, cooked, or altered from its natural state at all.
The minute I stepped into Afterglow, I noticed that there was a comforting smell of baked bread, roasted hummus, and toasted cashews.
The area was dimly lit, with most of the light streaming in from the floor-to-ceiling glass doors, and filled with metal tables and chairs. With paintings and decorations filling the entire area, being at Afterglow made me feel as if I was right at home.
The first dish I ordered was an appetiser—the Afterglow Kimchi Avo Rolls (S$14), which is Afterglow’s take on a regular sushi roll.
Instead of sushi rice, it used ground almonds, and the kimchi was made in-house. It was topped off with fresh avocadoes, chilli flakes, and sesame seeds.
This keto-friendly dish made for a fantastic appetiser. The kimchi was tangy and zesty, while the fresh avocadoes added a well-needed creaminess to each bite.
I could immediately tell that it didn’t use regular sushi rice because the ground almonds had a grittier texture. It was a refreshing change from the regular sticky sushi rice that I was used to, and I loved that it was a carb-free alternative.
I was super excited to try Afterglow’s Cuban Burger (S$20), which was made with a Cuban three-bean patty that included kidney beans, black beans, and butter beans. It came with romaine lettuce, cucumber slices, purple cabbage slaw, guacamole, and tomato salsa, with a cauliflower ‘mac & cheese’ side.
I picked the brown rice bun, which had been toasted on the outside for a crispy touch. You can also choose its bread bun or lettuce wrap.
Surprisingly enough, the three-bean patty had a springy and meat-like texture that reminded me of minced meat. It was juicy and rich, with a slightly smoky aftertaste, and paired well with the fresh lettuce, cucumbers, and creamy guacamole.
My only gripe with this dish would be that the brown rice patty was more mushy and soft than I’d like it to be, and it stuck to my teeth and gums pretty easily.
The cauliflower ‘mac & cheese’ side is actually cauliflower baked with a cashew sauce and topped with dehydrated almond ‘cheese’. It definitely piqued my interest—I mean, vegan cheese that’s actually made of almonds and cashews?
While it didn’t strike me as creamy cheese in the beginning—it was more like grated nuts—the taste started growing on me after I continued to take a couple more bites. While its texture reminded me of shredded parmesan, the taste was nutty and fragrant, and together with the baked cauliflower, each spoonful melted quickly in my mouth.
The Rice Bowl Of The Day (S$16) came with red and brown rice, three different kinds of mushrooms—oyster, shimeji, and shiitake—edamame beans, bell peppers, pineapples, eggplants, alfalfa sprouts, and was topped with a cauliflower purée sauce.
This was by far my favourite dish out of the entire menu.
While I initially thought everything would taste too green, the creamy cauliflower purée combined everything together to produce a warm and comforting dish that had just the amount of earthiness, tanginess, and freshness that made me constantly go back for more.
Last but not least, I tried a raw dish from Afterglow’s menu—the Raw Crispy Lasagne (S$22), which came with zucchini sheets, crispy dehydrated cherry tomatoes, marinated baby spinach, shiitake mushrooms, ‘minced meat’ that was made of walnuts, cashew cream cheese, and pesto.
I initially thought it would be too ‘green’ and raw, but the raw lasagne surprised me with its crispy freshness. The zucchini was sliced really thinly, and its icy coolness was refreshing and appetising.
Most of the dish’s flavour came from the pesto and dehydrated tomatoes, which added a touch of umami saltiness to each bite.
Afterglow changed my perception of vegan, vegetarian, and raw dishes. Using local ingredients, the team at Afterglow has a real talent when it comes to adding a burst of colour and flavour to each dish.
If I’m craving something clean and healthy, I’ll definitely come back to Afterglow for a satisfying and filling meal.
Expected Damage: S$14 – S$30 per pax
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 3 / 5
24 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089131
24 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089131