Saute-san, City Square Mall: “The Kimchi Cream Spaghetti had me clamoring for a second plate”

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Saute-san, a plant-based, vegetarian restaurant located in City Square Mall, appeared as the next restaurant in my to-visit list and was quick to dispel any stereotypes that I might have with regards to meatless food. I used to think that alternative, vegetarian options like ‘mock meat’ were always going to be inferior to its authentic counterpart in terms of taste, but boy, how embarrassingly wrong I was.

Truth be told, I have always thought that all vegetables were meant to be consumed as how they were—in their natural, leaf-like form, with perhaps a dash of dressing at most. After I recently tried my very first meatless rendang, however, it completely shattered a wall in my mind and left me amazed at how versatile vegetables can be in cooking. With a renewed, inquisitive spirit, I brought myself to the outlet, ready for an experience that will surely be pleasantly surprising to me.

What I tried

Saute-san prides itself in it’s plant-based menu as their way to introduce an earth-based, natural diet to everyone. Not only are their dishes meat-free, but they also do not use garlic and onions in any of their cooking, with a strong emphasis on the fact that the dishes are not meant to mimic how meat tastes.

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A glass of warm water welcomed me at the start of my dining experience, and was quickly followed by Saute-san’s interpretation of the classical hawker favourite—Orh Luak (S$13.90).

The traditional oyster is substituted with straw mushrooms, which lay within the egg omelette, doused in Saute-san’s special chilli sauce. The mushrooms are juicy, with a mild taste that does not overwhelm your taste buds as compared to the stronger, copper-like flavours of fresh oyster.

The egg and sauce in this iteration come together beautifully for a balanced, well-rounded Orh Luak dish which is also, to my utmost pleasure, not as oily as your typical hawker version.

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Elsewhere, a Teriyaki Unagi (S$8.90), arrived as two pan-fried King Oyster mushrooms, dressed to look like a grilled unagi. Glazed in glossy teriyaki sauce and sprinkled with white sesame seeds, it would be hard to see a difference to the real McCoy upon first glance.

The teriyaki came forth with a slight tinge of acidity, which cordially complimented the bitterness of the mushroom. Unfortunately, the mushrooms, when chewed, is a far cry from real and tender unagi, as I found myself gnawing away tirelessly, trying to break it apart with my teeth. But it’s nothing a little R&D can’t solve.

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My fork gravitated towards the Kimchi Cream Spaghetti (S$14.90) next—a bowl of al dente pasta laden with sliced mushrooms and a dash of oregano, slathered in a thick, creamy kimchi sauce which had me clamouring for a second plate. This sauce is as authentic as it gets, with mild undertones of sourness and salt that is synonymous with the flavours of traditional kimchi.

The cream, made with plant-based milk, is delightfully light and, unlike traditional cream-based sauces, does not make for a quick full stomach.

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Saute-san’s Japanese Tendon Salad Rice (S$18.90)—a variety of wild mushrooms, enoki, lotus root, sweet potato and brinjal fried in tempura batter, doused in teriyaki sauce and served with traditional Japanese rice—were an absolute treat. They were crispy to a fault and made for a delightful, juicy side with the sticky rice.

Saute Mala

A spicy, steaming marriage of mala and tom yum soup—loaded with Chinese cabbage, tofu, kelp, Shimeji shiitake and enoki mushrooms—came to us next as our last main dish, by the name of Mala Tom Yummy Stew with Rice (S$14.90). The soup was thoroughly fiery and had us sweating within minutes.

It is an equal mix of the sourness of traditional Thai tom yum, paired with the numbing, spicy sensations of mala. This proved quite a rush especially after the previous dishes that were more subdued in nature.

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Luckily for us, the Honey Citron Tea (S$4.30) and the Iced Matcha Latte (S$6.40) came to our rescue to soothe our burning tongues—the former a refreshingly sweet and cool beverage with slightly bitter undertones from the grated orange slices, while the latter, made with soy milk, came with a gentle, buttery matcha taste.

Final thoughts

Needless to say, Saute-san appeared to me as a vegetarian’s oasis in the middle of a dense shopping mall—its green and wood interior, decorated with live plants by the windowsills, enough to attract passersby like butterflies. It’s hard not to feel one with nature in this restaurant, which gives life to the saying, “you are what you eat”.

The restaurant is a poetic union of definitive flavours from Thailand, Korea, China, and Japan—with lesser additives and prepared with plant-based ingredients. The next time you’re around the area, why not try a different approach to your meal and go for a plant-based one at Saute-san—you can thank me later, I’m sure.

Expected Damage: S$25 – S$35 per pax

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

Saute-san

180 Kitchener Road, City Square Mall, #03-23/24, Singapore 208539

Price
Our Rating 5/5

Saute-san

180 Kitchener Road, City Square Mall, #03-23/24, Singapore 208539

Telephone: +65 8788 4284
Operating Hours: 11am to 10pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 8788 4284

Operating Hours: 11am to 10pm (Daily)
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