Monday, December 14, 2009

Exclusive: Christmas Spread at Vege Sensation

Over the weekend, the VegVibe team was exclusively invited to witness firsthand what Vege Sensation had to offer on its Christmas menu.

We were of course delighted to accept and so, armed with camera and laptop (an
d appetite), we proceeded to their location at Upper Serangoon close to midnight (to avoid the crowd). Chef James and proprietor Telson welcomed us with eagerness and ushered us to our seats.

We waited with anticipation for a short while before 3 exquisite dishes were whisked out of the kitchen - the Mock Fish in Lemon and Mango Sauce, the Mock Steak in Pepper Mushroom Sauce and the Mock Chicken in Pepper Sauce. All 3 looked as though they came right out of a top-notch, high-end boutique kitchen and we were rather blown away by the professional presentation of the dishes.

Chef James revealed that the dishes were inspired by French cuisine and he wanted to give his diners the elegance and standard befitting the grandeur of Christmas. He described how he spent the past month experimenting with the dishes and perfecting them and then allowed us the freedom to shoot away.

Whilst we were enjoying the visual spectacular before us, Chef James' 'partner in crime', sprang out of the kitchen with a delicious-looking dessert of brownie dripping with liquid chocolate. We continued to take more photographs and then sat down with the dynamic duo - boss and chef - to ascertain if the food tasted as good as it looked. Telson then explained that the brownie should be eaten cold and duly disappeared with the brownie dessert with us looking at it longingly.

Indeed, the dishes were simply amazing and we savoured them as if it was Christmas day already. The Mock Fish with Lemon Sauce had the hint of 'fishiness' that is typical of the original version and the sourness of the lemon and sweetness of the mango in the sauce complimented the taste of the mock fish excellently.

Next up was the Mock Steak in Mushroom Pepper Sauce and whilst we were not fans of sweet-tasting 'meat', it was easy to see why those who loved it would enjoy this dish tremendously. The mock steak pieces were sliced thin and we felt that thicker pieces might do it justice further. The sauce tasted slightly like curry and the savoury flavour complimented the sweetness of the mock steak well.

Finally, we sampled the Mock Chicken in Pepper Sauce which was easily the best dish of the 3 in our opinion (unsurprising as Chef James' strength is in mock chicken dishes). The texture of the meat was frighteningly close to the 'real thing' and the taste was out of this world. Although the sauce for the mock steak looked similar to one in the mock chicken, they were in fact very different. Tasting nothing like curry, the sauce complimented the texture and taste of the mock chicken with no hint of soya (the mock chicken is made using soy protein). In fact, the mock chicken dish was so delicious that we forgot to take a cross-section shot!

All 3 dishes were grilled with BBQ sauce, French herbs and a touch of vegetarian beer, which together gave that smoky flavour and created the authentic experience. Finally, once we had savoured every bit of the dishes, Telson rushed back into the kitchen to grab the brownie dessert for us. He revealed that he had a passion for baking and the brownie creation was his and not Chef James'. As we bit into the choclaty decadence, we were rather impressed with Telson's handiwork.

Obviously saleable, we assumed that the brownie dessert was part of the Christmas Set Meal and began enquiring on their pricing strategy. We were thus shocked when Telson informed us that the Brownie dessert was especially for us and was not meant for sale yet. Unfortunately, no amount of persuasion on our part was able to convince him otherwise and he was certain that the brownie dessert needed more work before it could be offered for sale.

Nevertheless, he reassured us by sharing that diners who were visiting Vege Sensation on Christmas Day itself would be treated to a cookie if they ordered the Set Meal. The set meal will be made up of one of the 3 dishes together with the soup of the day, a champagne-like mocktail and an ice-cream dessert. Telson displayed that vegans were never far from their minds when he added that sorbet will also be available as an alternative - and duly ran into he kitchen to get us some!

The home-made lemon-lime sorbet was wonderfully refreshing and was a fantastic encore to an incredible meal. We chatted for a while more with Telson and Chef James before we reluctantly bade goodbye and left.

No doubt a great offering from the ever-reliable Chef James and commendable Vege Sensation, the Christmas Set Meal will be available from 21st December to 27th December and is priced at $24.80 for the Mock Fish in Lemon and Mango Sauce, $26.80 for the Mock Steak in Mushroom Pepper Sauce and $28.80 for the Mock Chicken in Pepper Sauce.

Vege Sensation is located at 530 Upper Serangoon Road (Tel: 62857525) is open from Sunday through Saturday from 10:00am to 11:00pm and from 11:00am to 2:00am on Fridays and Saturdays, with extended operating hours on Christmas eve to 1.00am.