Vibez Bistro Bar, River Valley: Modern spin on Thai food and a great bar to boot

There’s no shortage of fun dining and drinking options in the River Valley Road area but it’s always exciting when a new one opens its doors. Vibez Bistro Bar immediately intrigued us with its eclectic menu and stylish interior.

cafe interior

Vibez sports what they term ‘industrial chic’ décor. It is sparse and elemental, completely devoid of bright, distracting colours. The walls are (sparingly) punctuated by fittings and works of art, both in the minimalist style. This chilled-out, back-to-basics setting is perfect if you need a place to kick back after the bustle of the office.

vibez exterior

Modern Thai made healthy’ is how Vibez advertises itself but that description hardly scrapes the surface of this ambitious dine-and-drink destination. The core is certainly Thai fusion given its takes on ravioli and ceviche but the menu features vegan, vegetarian, and Indian fusion dishes, too.

vibez bar

You can also trot over to the bar for a curated list of fine liquors, wines, and original cocktails. Take your pick from dozens of non-alcoholic drinks, including teas, coffees, and lassis (smoothies).

cocktails

The ever-popular Summerfizz (S$9.30) range is available in Strawberry mint or Thai basil mint flavours.

Vibez is avowedly pro-Earth and their menu embodies the philosophy that food nourishes both body and soul. That is evident from the emphasis on healthy choices such as plant-based meals and Keto options. You can also see it in the inclusion of fresh ingredients, carefully sourced to reduce the process’s carbon footprint.

wall menu

You won’t find a single grain of highly-processed white sugar, MSG or table salt in the dishes and drinks they prepare. They are replaced with natural condiments such as raw cane sugar and sea salt.

What I tried

The Vibez head chef hails from Isan, where some of the most popular Thai dishes originate.

Maintaining this focus on healthy eating is particularly tricky since she isn’t a fan of static menus; she is constantly drawing inspiration to update the fare. One dish that has survived several menu purges is Vibez’s fan-favourite Keto Bowl (S$17.30S$24.30). They are available in both plant-based and non-plant-based options but all are gluten-free (GF).

ahi tuna salad

I sampled the Sesame-encrusted Ahi Tuna (S$22.30), which is served with Nuyolk poached egg, green peas, and salsa. I found the tuna to be absolutely scrumptious but cauliflower rice is an acquired taste that I have no intention of acquiring. 

olive rice

Instead, the dish that blew me away was the vegetarian Thai Olive Organic Rice (S$16.30), described in the menu as: Isan-style fried rice with green mangoes, onions, chilli padi and impossible meat. I’ve always found olive fried rice to be dry, both literally and figuratively so my first impression from the description was, “Sounds like a boring ‘healthy’ dish.”

I have never been happier to be so wrong!

‘Flavourful ‘is the first adjective that comes to mind when I reminisce about each mouthful, followed by ‘moist’ and ‘fragrant’. The green mangoes add an unexpected crunch that really elevates this dish to superstar level. I am trying hard not to gush but it was by far my favourite and I highly recommend it.

spaghetti

The ‘spicy’ in Vibez’s Spicy Basil Vongole (GF) (S$18.30) is a well-earned description for this dish of stir-fried flower clams in Thai basil sauce. It was the hottest thing that I tried and came in a massive serving, too, so chilli-heads should put their tongues on the line for it.

ceviche

Vibez also offers a Thai Ceviche (GF) (S$14.60) of sashimi ahi tuna cured with lime that’s paired with Thai vinaigrette. The sauce is the heart of this Thai fusion dish and complements the cold sashimi perfectly. I have to admit I didn’t expect to come across such a tasty ceviche in a Thai-centric bistro, and it is a great example of fusion cuisine done right.

fermented sausage

Thai Fermented Pork Sausage (GF) (S$18.30) features housemade premium sausage with sea salt in leafy lettuce wrap, served with toasted peanuts, chilli padi, and mint leaves. The soft Isan-style sausage and crunchy fresh lettuce work well together to create an interesting range of textures. Meanwhile, the heat of the chilli padi and coolness of the mint leaves highlight and intensify each other on your tongue.

paneer

The Paneer with Cashew Nuts (S$17.30) is a vegetarian dish of stir-fried cottage cheese in (vegetarian) oyster sauce. It follows the trend of pairing firm with soft in adding cashews to the airy paneer cubes. I would have preferred the sauce to have completely infused the cottage cheese but it is still a fun and filling main.

prosecco

A cold one from the bar is a welcome counter to the spiciness of Thai food. Stella Artois and Franziskaner pints start from just S$8.90 during happy hours 3pm – 7pm. Vibez has just debuted a Pomegranate Blizzard Cocktail (S$18.30), pictured above, that should take the edge off just about anything.

bar

Vibez has curated wine by glass, from the great whites like Chablis and Sancerre to organic Malbec and beautiful Bordeaux, all starting from S$16. Their Thai-inspired cocktails like Phraya Colada and Siam Sling use ingredients such as lemongrass, Thai basil, and ginger with honey or coconut sugar.

I was too stuffed to try the dessert menu but it features regular Thai fixtures such as Mango Sticky Rice (S$13.90) and also international favourites Affogato (S$10.30) and waffles – Hot Waffles with Double Scoop Vanilla + Berries Compote (S$14.30).

Final thoughts

I left Vibez content in stomach but slightly confused. It wants to do so much – Thai, Italian, Indian, vegan, gluten-free, Keto, alcohol, lassi, Save the Planet! – and that’s commendable because it does so many of those things so well.

thai dishes

My conclusion is that it’s perhaps the best place for a group of friends, each of whom has their own cuisine and dietary preferences or limitations. Come to Vibez and satiate everyone’s appetite at once instead of tapau-ing back from different places.

Expected damage: S$30  – S$60  per pax

Make reservations at Vibez Bistro Bar here.

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Price: $ $

Vibez Bistro Bar

207 River Valley Road, UE Square #01-57, (Facing Mohamed Sultan Road), Singapore 238275

Price

Vibez Bistro Bar

207 River Valley Road, UE Square #01-57, (Facing Mohamed Sultan Road), Singapore 238275

Telephone: +65 6983 3655
Operating Hours: 11:30am - 10pm (Tue to Thu), 11:30am - 10.30pm (Fri & Sat),  11:30am - 10pm (Sun), Closed on Mon
Telephone: +65 6983 3655

Operating Hours: 11:30am - 10pm (Tue to Thu), 11:30am - 10.30pm (Fri & Sat),  11:30am - 10pm (Sun), Closed on Mon
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