Under the slogan, ‘Eat Good, Feel Good, Be a Food Rebel,’ the menu offers a good selection of salads, sandwiches and ‘Hot Rebel Meals.’ The kitchen continues the trend for lunch bowls with their signature Buddha Bowls – choose between the Chicken Protein Bowl (hormone-free chicken, homemade hummus, avocado, pumpkin and Tahini dressing) or the Vegan Sweet Potato and Chickpea Bowl (beetroot, quinoa, tofu, avocado and Tahini Dressing) for a filling and healthy pick me up. Catering to customers with certain dietary restrictions, all dishes are clearly marked as either vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free or nut-free so if you’re looking for somewhere to kick-start a new eating regime, this is the place. Elika is dedicated to making the menu as interesting as possible, knowing the often negative connotations of healthy eating. Meat and fish (hormone-free, anti-biotic-free and sustainable) is readily available and due to her love for spicy food, some dishes bring heat as well as health – try the Chilli-Padi Chicken sandwich for a delicious spicy kick. Other notable dishes include her gluten and carb-free Zoodle Bolognaise (Zucchini) and the simple but well-executed Barramundi with Asian Sesame Greens. And if you’re craving a juicy burger, you’re in luck – the Rebel Chicken Burger offers a thick juicy patty blended with Asian herbs and spices and served with crunchy sweet potato fries.
Those looking for a sweet ending can feast on a selection of fruity snacks including a refreshing mango chia seed coulis. If eating like this is a rebellion, then we’re all for it! We met up with her to find out more.
NS: What caused you to leave the corporate world and embark on a new path?
EM: I became very ill whilst in my corporate job and when I went to see a doctor that specalises in functional medicine it became apparent that I had a number of ailments, ranging from insomnia, adrenal fatigue, an inflamed liver and unbalanced hormones that were due to high levels of stress and fatigue. When I looked at how I needed to improve my health I realised nutrition was a large part of it but there were also many others pillars, such as my career that was creating an imbalance for me and affecting my health.
NS: Had you always dreamed of opening a restaurant or was this a totally unexpected outcome?
EM: Opening a restaurant was a complete surprise to me! I’ve always been a massive foodie, loved cooking, tasting local cuisines whilst travelling and watching programmes such as Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. The vision came about when my clients stated quite clearly that there was nowhere to eat the food I was recommending. Then it was a case of finding the right people to help me create that vision and overcoming the fears of all the risks involved!
NS: How has your training in nutrition, exercise and health molded the concept of Food Rebel?
EM: I believe in meeting the individual where they are in their health journey. So I would never recommend a client on a highly processed diet to go for an all-out vegan juice cleanse! It’s just too drastic. So I brought that concept to the cafe by ensuring the menu has clean, unprocessed meals with quality sourced ingredients but our customers can get anything from a house-made burger and sweet potato fries to a vegan Buddha bowl.
NS: What does Kitchen by Food Rebel do differently? Who are you hoping to attract?
EM: Kitchen operates inclusively but still is able to provide gluten-, dairy- and refined sugar-free meals. The cafe offers nothing that contains refined sugars and we use organic ingredients wherever possible or practically necessary. We are looking to attract those that would like to create a healthy lifestyle and are looking for education and a haven to eat meals that taste amazing but have no hidden ingredients inside. Typically our customers fall into five main areas: vegans, vegetarians, those looking for clean meat, those with food intolerances (eg gluten or dairy) and athletes with dietary requirements.
NS: Singapore has seen a shift towards healthier eating in the past couple of years – why do you think this is so?
EM: I read recently that as many as one in three Singaporeans might know someone in the next five years with cancer. People are starting to realise that they don’t want to be reliant on pharmaceuticals to resolve recurring symptoms. Many are going back to their roots with methods such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Naturopathy and are getting results. It’s not just about people leading sedentary lifestyles and consuming too much sugar. Weight-gain is a real problem but there are many other health issues caused by unhealthy diets that are only now becoming apparent. Singapore’s rich history in local cuisine has possibly meant we’ve been slower to move towards healthier choices but we are now starting to see a change.
NS: What can we expect on the menu at Kitchen by Food Rebel? What are your best sellers?
EM: Expect a range of organic and gluten-free grains in our dishes such as Buckwheat Porridge with Cashew Butter and Thai Infused Quinoa Salad. We serve fresh customised smoothies and Low-Carb and Gluten Free options such as the Zoodle Bolognese. Or try our nutrient dense Buddha Bowls or the giant hormone and antibiotic-free Rebel Chicken Burger with Sweet Potato Fries. Our dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free cakes also sell well in the afternoons, especially now we serve freshly-ground Fair-trade Nomad the Gallant coffee. Customers can also buy products that sustain a healthy lifestyle at home, like our house-made Peanut Butter and Hummus jars.
NS: What are your plans for the restaurant in the near future?
EM: We would like to extend our opening hours and increase our range to include organic wines. We are located in the CBD and we understand that professionals still want to unwind after work, so if we can offer them a healthier alternative then why not?
NS: How do you start your average day? Is breakfast the most important meal?
EM: Definitely breakfast is the most important meal! It stabilises sugar levels meaning you don’t go running for the quickest energy source, typically a processed snack such as a bread bun and it ‘breaks’ the ‘fast’ that your body has been going through whilst sleeping. My day starts with a large jar of warm lemon water before I take up my daily morning meditation. I try to have my breakfast within one hour of waking and it’s definitely my favourite meal. Typically it’s a green smoothie with a scoop of vegan protein powder. The cafe opens at 8am so if I’m not exercising in the morning I try to get there early to have our Rebel Breakfast of avocado, soft scrambled free-range eggs and spiced chickpeas, washed down with a Turmeric Latte.
Kitchen By Food Rebel, 28 Stanley Street,
tel: 6224 7088, foodrebelsg.com
With its soothing Asian-inspired design and selection of deeply calming