November 25th, 2015

Sunnies

Food Invite: Gourmet & Guilt-Free Indulgence @ Artisan Boulangerie Co.

Hey everyone!

Any cafe lovers out there?

I'm sure many of us are fond of cafe-hopping and admittedly, I'm one of them.

Before I got busy with my work and blogging life, cafe-hopping used to be one of my favourite activities over the weekend and I enjoy exploring a new cafe each time with my friends.

I love cafe food but I know that many of them are unhealthy and fattening. As indulging as it might be, it hasn't been great for my waist line.




But... what if you have a cafe that satisfies your cafe-hopping indulgences without the guilt?

I'm talking about Artisan Boulangerie Co. (or 'ABC' for short), a cafe that serves delicious and healthy gourmet food. I've always thought that healthy gourmet food will generally be overpriced but surprisingly, those served in ABC are priced similarly to the food in a regular cafe.




Two Saturdays ago, Sis and I were invited by nutritionist, Ms Hannah Mulryan as well as Nikhil from The Zest Group for a food tasting session at ABC, specifically at its Asia Square outlet.

This was an exceptionally special food tasting session for me because not only did I get to try a series of healthy dishes, I also learnt how to maintain a healthy diet at the same time.

I enjoy fitness and love to work out but when it comes to food, I don't exactly watch what I eat. Sure, I cut down on snacks and I stop consuming fizzy drinks but I've never actually, you know, gone on a diet or count my calories. The cold-pressed juicing diet that seemed to be the in-thing nowadays will definitely backfire on me.

Hannah introduced me to the 5-2 diet which involves normal eating for 5 days and consuming less than 500 calories on the other two days. Now, this sounds very doable because I don't have to resist cravings for long periods of time or even starve myself. Eating less than 500 calories for the remaining 2 days may sound daunting but there are actually many filling and nutritious meals out there that are under 500 calories. Read here if you want to browse through 150 family dinners under 500 calories. :)




ABC has outlets around the central part of Singapore and prior to this invite, I've already heard about this eatery. I just never thought about visiting it because from the sound of its name, I've always assumed that it would be a very atas (i.e. high class) place where you would burn a hole in your pocket after a meal.

Nonetheless, it's actually a very popular eatery that tends to get packed during the weekend and is reasonably priced for its quality of food and portion. Based on first impression, people might think that ABC only sells gourmet bread and all-day breakfast meals but they also serve other Western mains such as pasta, burgers and regular meat dishes.



I was glad to be at the Asia Square outlet because it's probably one of the few ABC outlets that are not packed during the weekend.

That's also because they cater more to the corporate crowd during weekdays so the outlet becomes a quiet and cosy place for chilling over the weekend.




ABC has a large variety of beverage choices, namely coffee, tea, organic drinks, fruit juices, smoothies and even alcohol.

I was recommended a glass of Kale Cucumber Apple ($8.50) to accompany my meal. I know veggie drinks aren't exactly many people's thing and it wasn't for me initially but if you never try a drink like this, you never know.

Kale is one of the healthiest veggies around and it's known to help reduce cholesterol and also lower the risk of cancer. It has a strong and largely acquired taste (you either like it or you don't) so thankfully, the taste was evened out by the blend of cucumber and apple. It's a very refreshing drink that is definitely healthy and worth a try.




Every meal comes with a complimentary basket of baguettes which you can pair with the butter provided on the side.

I actually prefer to dip my baguettes in a nice warm bowl of soup or curry. Mmmmm... yummy.




More kale for you? Yes, please!

I actually really like the taste and texture of kale so my eyes glistened with delight when Power Kale with Pecans ($10) was brought out for sampling.

Topped with a generous amount of apples, tomatoes, cranberries and pecans, they certainly added lots of flavour and crunch to this salad dish. I tried 2 salads and this was definitely my preferred one.

Speaking of kale, you can make kale chips by adding olive oil and salt to raw kale before oven-baking it. They're actually really tasty and makes a guilt-free snack!




The other salad that I tried was the Organic Quinoa & Fennel ($12).

The green lentils tasted so strong that I couldn't actually taste the quinoa (or perhaps quinoa doesn't have much of a distinct taste after all). That said, I felt that the salad went very well with the Balsamic glaze.

I've also discovered a new found love for quinoa after realizing that it makes a good replacement for white rice. Quinoa fills the stomach like rice but it contains less carbohydrate which is mega awesome. You know how people are now afraid to consume too much white rice because it is apparently fattening too? Try replacing with quinoa so that you need not starve yourself and you consume less carbs at the same time. Kills two birds with one stone.




Lemon Vinaigrette for the Power Kale with Pecans and the Balsamic Glaze for the Organic Quinoa & Fennel.

I prefer the Balsamic Glaze over the Lemon Vinaigrette so I decided to drizzle the former on both salads.




Miso Salmon Fillet with Linguine ($22) was absolutely delicious and flavourful. Although the pasta was cream-based, the dish itself wasn't overwhelmingly creamy so it sat very well with me. Besides, the pasta used was gluten-free so thumbs up for the health factor!

I'm a fan of salmon so I might be a tad biased here but I really adore this dish to bits. Hannah told me that one should eat oily fish such as salmon around once a week because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is apparently good for the heart and brain.

This sounds great for me but for those who aren't a fan of oily fish, fish oil supplements work well too.




We also tried the Lentil and Quinoa Veggie Burger ($16) which really surprised us in terms of taste and texture.

See the patty lodged between 2 burger buns? It's a lentil-quinoa-portobello mushroom patty blend that looked and felt somewhat like a meat patty.In terms of taste, it may not be a perfect imitation of meat but it tasted amazing on its own plus it is healthy so I had no complaints.

It's definitely a great dish to try so I would encourage all you meat lovers to lay off the meat for a while, try something new and be surprised. Oh yes, the sweet potatoes on the side were yummy and crispy too!




Saving the best for the last, we had our ultimate favourite dish - the Roast Chicken Breast ($19) which really changed my perception about the taste of chicken breast.

Now, I've never fancied chicken breast because those I've eaten were dry and bland so I either waste them or I don't eat them at all. However, this was one of the recommended dishes by The Zest Group so I kept an open mind when trying this.

And I was so glad I did. This was by far the most tender and tasty chicken breast I've ever eaten and it's also hormone-free which was major plus points for the health factor. The caramelized onions generously sprinked all over the chicken breast also intensified the flavour of the dish, making it really palatable. It was even better when the dish came with another of my favourite - roasted potatoes. Needless to say, Sis and I totally helped ourselves to this dish. It was also my first time eating so much chicken breast.




Oh yes, this mushroom gravy that was used to complement the chicken breast is worthy of mention too.

This gravy was very addictive and I mean, who could resist those huge and generous chunks of mushrooms inside? It's a gravy but I don't mind drinking it like soup. Can ABC have a mushroom soup that models after this please? It will definitely attract the mushroom lovers out there.

In sum, this is an awesome cafe and I recommend everyone to visit. If you want to indulge in good food without breaking the bank, I'd suggest indulging in a cafe that sells premium healthy food.

Thank you Hannah and Nikhil for hosting us. It was great learning about healthy eating from both of you. :)

For more information about Artisan Boulangerie Co., you can visit their website here.

Artisan Boulangerie Co. @ Asia Square
12 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 2
#01-02, Singapore 018961

Opening hours:
Weekdays from 8am to 10pm
Saturdays from 9am to 3pm


Disclaimer: Reviews are based on personal experiences.