Last Updated: June 7, 2019
Cafes these days tend to be slightly monotonous in terms of offerings and ambience. Qi Philosophy Cafe, on the other hand, puts a fresh spin on healthy living. With a focus on health and wellness, they strive to offer healthier options while retaining the flavourful taste that people love.
Located at SkyTerrace@Dawson, they take up the first floor of an HDB flat.
With transparent glass panels for loads of natural light to shine in, it gave off a very calming and open vibe. Surrounding them are loads of greenery, with a cute herb garden located right outside. They even get some of their herbs from there!
There isn’t a visible signboard, but their logo is written nicely on a blackboard, decorated with vines and leaves.
The seating area is well-spaced, furnished with metal chairs and wooden tables. It was a simple yet practical use of space, lending the area a sense of calm. There is also an open area meant for yoga classes and event purposes. They even have customers who host celebrations in their space too!
Choo San, the owner, shared with me how she strives towards a holistic approach to life. Most of the cafe offerings are recipes she created on her own, based on her experiences as she used to live in several countries such as Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.
They are all centred around the theme of healthier eating, where her foods are lower in sugar and high in whole grains. Most of her foods are local produce or from neighbouring countries to ensure that they retain their freshness.
We kickstarted our meal with Fruit Sodas (S$4.80) under Choo San’s recommendations. They aree housemade fruit purees that are topped with soda water and mint. With four different fruits to choose from, we went with Soursop and Kiwi.
I preferred the Soursop Fruit Soda as it was more distinct in flavour due to the sweetness from the flesh. There was a subtle tanginess, which complemented the fizzy soda water. They were incredibly generous with the amount of flesh given, which added a nice creamy texture to the drink.
The Kiwi Fruit Soda was more muted in taste, albeit the same huge dollop of fruit puree given. Nonetheless, the drink was refreshing and the mint stood out more in this one.
The first main that arrived was the Roasted Salmon With Garden Vegetables (S$15.80). It was very aesthetically plated, and the vibrant colours were an appetising sight.
As I cut into the salmon, I was pleased that it was cooked just right. Flaky yet tender, the fish was buttery and smooth with a subtle sweetness. The fish itself was flavourful, but the marinade further elevated the taste with a touch of saltiness.
It had a light char on the skin which added an element of crunch to the dish.
The medley of roasted vegetables were tri-coloured peppers and eggplants. They were appropriately soft and packed with flavour from their natural sweetness.
The salmon lay on a bed of cauliflower mash, a great way for those who prefer a low-carb complement. Texture-wise, it resembled the creaminess of mash, although more could be done in terms of taste.
I felt that it lacked the butteriness and flavour that mash potatoes typically have. It tasted like pure cauliflower, which wasn’t bad for me as I personally do love cauliflower. However, I could see people finding it a tad too jarring, and the addition of herbs and seasonings would be better.
We also got a side of Cranberry Brown Rice (S$3), which was essentially brown rice topped with cranberries and pumpkin seeds.
This was definitely an upgrade from plain brown rice. Brown rice tends to be firmer in texture with a distinct nuttiness as opposed to white rice. The cranberries gave a touch of sweetness which went really well together, while the pumpkin seeds added a nice textural crunch.
The next dish we got was the Qi Roasted Lamb Burger (S$16.90). They make all their patties from scratch, and there’s even a vegan patty available, made with mushrooms and black beans.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this as I’m not a huge fan of gamey meats. However, this was a good lamb patty. It was thick, yet tender and easy to slice through. Topped with a slice of cheddar cheese and spicy coriander green chilli sauce, it gave a little kick that further brought out the taste and helped to mask the subtle gaminess present.
The patty was a mixture of lamb and vegetables, such as carrot and celery. While this gave it a softer texture as compared to normal patties, I didn’t mind it as there were textural contrasts from the vegetables and the bun.
It was a buttery brioche that was soft and fluffy, with a nice glazed on top.
I was definitely impressed with the burger itself. It came with a side salad and sweet potato fries. Unfortunately, this was served limp and could do with more seasonings as well.
We also got Healthy Basmati Nasi Lemak (S$10.80), which is one of Qi Philosophy Cafe’s signature dishes. The healthier tweaks were the use of basmati rice that has a lower glycemic index (GI) , and the chicken was roasted instead of deep-fried.
The portion was pretty hefty, with a huge slab of chicken atop the bed of basmati rice. I liked how the rice was aromatic with a distinct coconutty flavour. It went well with their sambal, which was well-balanced between sweet and spicy.
The addition of caramelised onions and ikan bilis was a plus, but the highlight was definitely their rendang, which was rich yet not too overwhelming.
Unfortunately, the chicken was a tad dry and tough. I found myself slathering it with the rendang sauce in an attempt to add moisture. It is a good attempt on trying to healthier a local delight nonetheless.
The last item we got was a new dish that was not officially up on the menu yet. Choo San shared with us how she plans to incorporate healthier versions of local delights. This bowl of Prawn Noodles (S$14.80) takes the cake in terms of plating.
Served on a wooden board, the broth is contained separately in a pot.
The broth itself is made without pork or lard, as with everything on the menu as well. While I must admit the taste was slightly less robust than what I’m used to, it was still good.
It was lighter on the palate, but relatively rich and savoury. They swapped out the usual yellow noodles for pasta, which I have to admit, required some getting used to.
However, the prawns were huge, a vibrant orange, and already deveined, which was great. I appreciated that it was fresh and crunchy with a subtle sweetness.
Qi Philosophy Cafe is definitely a nice change from the usual cafes we have that have saturated the market. If you have been searching for a quiet cafe where you can indulge in some serenity amidst our bustling and fast-paced lifestyle, this may be the place for you.
They also have a very extensive menu, from all-day breakfasts to wraps and open-faced sandwiches, handmade burgers, salads and warm bowls, a plethora of other healthy mains, and even sides and desserts. There’s definitely something for everyone here!
Expected damage: S$4.80 – S$16.90 per pax
Our Rating: 3 / 5
Qi Philosophy Cafe
93 Dawson Road, Sky Terrace@Dawson, #01-02, Singapore 142093
93 Dawson Road, Sky Terrace@Dawson, #01-02, Singapore 142093