so dinner at Naive did happen and boy was i glad i finally went there. It was a plus coz i was happy to share the meal with Dad and Mum. I'm glad the day's decision went on well all the way.
what struck me about Naive was it's signage when it first 'established' its presence in Katong. it caught my attention one day when i was on the way to work in bus no. 16 and was intrigued by what this new place in katong is for. so i searched the web and couldn't find any info. I thought it was a graphic design firm coz it didnt look very foodie. so another day i walked pass, i realised it was selling food. i thought it was either coz the food sucks as such no one talked about it or, it's too new and people are unaware about it.
anyway, it's quite hard to miss it especially since they put up a big banner citing 'WE ARE OPEN'. the colour of the banner is red and the words white. against a background which i thought was almost white and i realised it isn't really the case coz they painted the building in stripes and shades of different greens and creams. i love the colours very calm and soothing just like the food.
so i shall cut the crap and go down on the food. i ordered 5 dishes for the three of us. 6 if you include the olive rice.
the first thing which arrived was a small mortar of white and black sesame seeds with a wooden pestle. this was termed the 'BLOSS' ceremony - Blessing of the Sesame Seeds. Mum did the grinding and she seemed to enjoy it lots. i say, it's a damn unique start to having food. kinda like a prayer, but instead of words, it was an action performed. makes it so much more symbolic!
i did my research in HGW and found out that if you mentioned HGW prior to ordering you get a 1 for 1 main course. means you pay the price of 1 main but you get 2 instead. So i ordered 'Enchanted Forest' and 'We Em-brace'. it was really worth it and of course you pay the price of the more expensive item.
what hit me about these two dishes, the monkey head mushrooms used to cook these dishes have zlich taste of mushroom. i didn't even think that i was eating mushroom.
The cubes in 'Enchanted Forest' tasted like chicken breast meat to me. they added broccoli (love it that it's still crunchy and fresh), wolfberry and fa cai. there's a bit of 'tang gui' too! i'm not sure what the sauce is made of, but it's better than oyster sauce man! As for the cubes of mushrooms, there was a bit of coating of corn flour if i am not wrong and it was stir fried first before the sauce was added. this coating enhanced the taste of the mushroom and it was good!
for 'We Em-brace' it has a bit of soup. this time the mushroom tasted a bit like fried fish to me. it's not exactly the melt in your mouth kind but a bit chewy. i can't really describe the taste, maybe it's a little more like frog leg? hmm.. the dish came with chinese cabbage and wolfberries too.
i also ordered 3 side dishes. I am a sucker for lotus root with peanuts, so i had to get 'Peaceful Plant'! And it was delish! question in my mind was, gee.. without meat, how did the liquid which came along with the lotus roots and peanuts taste so wonderful! it tasted like lotus root pork rib soup but even better. it has a slight minute tinge of spiciness which was really pleasant and made it even more appetizing! I couldn't stop drinking the soup and i don't know how long they cooked this dish. somehow, the lotus root didn't turn soggy and it was still damn crunchy but also soaked up the essence of the soup and the peanuts too! i am also a sucker for food which requires chewing and not those nuah types. oh one thing though, i had a rude suprise when i bit on a piece of spice i can't remember the name though.
the other side was the 'Black and White'. It was braised mushroom in cinnamon sauce served with steam buns (2) and guess what, it actually tasted like KONG BA BAO without the kong ba (fatty meat) but it was good enough and tasty even. who would know that such combination could also be so darn heavenly!! whoooo!
we had the battered organic oyster mushroom too. the batter i'd say is damn shiok! it has a savory tinge to it. very fragrant and light. eaten together with the accompanied sauce which i am pretty sure there's passion fruit in the mixture, it's a wonderful combination and a definite must try. Eat it when it's hot too!
our rice was called 'Oliver Twist' and initially expected it to be an overpowering taste of olive, but OMG! It damn fragrant. didn't even taste the olive at all. in it i think they added finely chopped mushrooms too! i think i can eat two bowls of this rice if i didnt order so many dishes!!
the next thing i must recommend is this drink 'Sour Power'. I love sourish stuff too! This drink is good. it came presented in 3 layers. the bottom most is the sour plum mixture or whatever you call it. then came a layer of lemon and the top most is the bubbly, it's probably soda water. it's damn nice and damn big. drink until you full ah! So it's pretty worth it actually!
i'd recommend this place to everyone. got to try it and be surprised! in total i spent $68 hmm, may sound expensive for vegetarian dish, but i think it to be ok. i think monkey head mushrooms are not cheap right?