Roots Kitchen Bar, a welcome addition to the neighborhood where you can find anything and everything, except a for good solid European fare with an amazing ambience to boot. Roots has thankfully filled in this gap for us.
This humble restaurant prides themselves with serving quality food at casual dining prices, in return for the effort you take to visit them, as they are located off the streets where them hipster cafes congregate. With the opening of the downtown line, they are made MUCH MORE accessible, as this restaurant is literally a stone’s throw away from Rochor MRT station. Now, you don’t have an excuse to not visit them after this review. 😉
Roots are named so because they believe in going back to the ROOT of doing everything great with food – fresh ingredients and back to the basics style of cooking. With passion.
You wouldn’t miss them if you are looking for them intentionally. But I think I’d just walk right past them if I’m looking for somewhere to grab a bite in this area, because it looks dark dark and a “kitchen bar” sounds atas and expensive. HAHA!
You can actually park outside their restaurant! Don’t be like us, stupid stupid park far away. HAHA!
A really simplistic exterior. But I can’t say the same for its interior.
This place blew me away when I realized how cosy and pretty its interior looked. I loved the warm and homely ambience. A perfect place for a date, but not photography.
This was where we took pictures of our food because natural lighting. I can imagine myself having a tai tai moment in this area.
They’ve also got power points available and FREE WIFI, just for you guys!
The counter where my GINSENG coffee was being prepared.
To me, the ambience of this place may have hinted something about an overpriced menu. Well.. You’ll see it’s quite the contrary.
Nothing above $25 and only 3 dishes above the $20 price tag. NETT PRICES, mind you. They are already more affordable than 90% of the cafes out there. They have a variety of drinks and booze as well.
So, how did their food actually fare?
What caught my eye from the drinks menu was their GINSENG COFFEE ($7), and of course, we got a glass of Explodingbelly’s standard drink – Iced Mocha ($7) too.
I was promised that this wasn’t as bad as it sounded. HAHA. I wasn’t quite convinced because we all know how strong the flavor of ginseng is, I still tried it nonetheless because WHERE COULD YOU ACTUALLY FIND GINSENG COFFEE? Verdict? They were right. Roots has managed to balance the flavors of the ginseng with coffee so well, the taste wasn’t overwhelmingly pungent, yet there were subtle and comfortable hints of it with every sip. I, for one, am not a fan of ginseng, but I enjoyed this A LOT.
The iced mocha was great as well, because of its acidity profile. I personally like it slightly more acidic and bitter. This was great.
2. Egg and Truffle Mousseline, topped with Caviar ($4)
This sounded too good to be true. Truffle, caviar all at $4 NETT? No way.
Okay lah, but for the price, don’t assume anything much. The truffle taste was honestly a little faint. It’s just like a chilled version of a steamed egg with mushrooms at the bottom. I liked this though, because it’s like having chawanmushi in an egg shell, with a hint of truffle. Do try it, after all it’s just $4 per pop.
3. Wild Mushroom Soup ($12) and Roasted Tomato Soup ($12) – not serving portion.
Amongst the 2, this was my favorite, because mushrooms. I loved how “mushroomy” this tasted and our tastebuds detected some taste of truffle. After all truffles are a kind of mushroom right, that probably explains the taste. This was amazing, and we loved the added crunch given by the hazelnut added into this!
If you’re looking for something appetizing to whet your palates, get this tomato soup. Tangy with a slight spicy kick. This would definitely awaken your tastebuds and leave you wanting for more.
After trying these soups, it’s no wonder why Derek (their manager) made us have this even though we didn’t order any soups. They were so impressive, I can see myself ordering this on my return visit!
4. Loaded Sweet Potato Fries ($15)
Being suckers for sweet potato fries, this caught our attention, and hey they even have stewed pork added into the mix, and CHEESE. OKAY. ORDER.
While this was yummy to us, we thought this did not quite pass off as “Sweet Potato Fries”, because the baking of these fries with its cheese made the fries mushy at the bottom, creating a sweet potato mash, rather than fries. The fries has lost its crispness, and this may not be quite welcomed by individuals who actually like sweet potato fries, BUT not sweet potatoes. You know, always got such weird people one. Like me.
Okay lah, but I liked this and I thought the mix of ingredients were quite creative, just that I’d liked it better if my fries were crisper!
5. Porcini Mushroom Rice ($20)
It’s like a mushroom risotto, except slightly mushier. I LOVED THIS because mushrooms (again). This was just a creamy mess of mushrooms with juicy mushroom chunks. Perfect for a fungi lover, like me. I couldn’t stop picking at this, even though it was not my order. HAHA!
Now, now, just look at this. JUST. LOOK. AT. THIS.
6. London Broil ($24)
I’d have really wanted to order their pork rack, because I heard it was a WHOLE RACK. However, as usual, I was trying very hard to watch my diet (uhh.. lies), I went for the leaner london broil instead.
Flank steak was used in this one, and it was surprisingly flavorful and not chewy at all! It was in fact pretty tender, and I liked how the puree and red wine jus went together so cohesively with the proteins. However, I didn’t like the “ROOTS” on this plate as they tasted wayyyyy too raw and in sync with their brand – a very earthy taste. I don’t like it. I had a good time devouring the generous portions of flank steak though.
7. Banana Bailey ($10)
Banana and bread – I’m sold. Hearing that they actually used toast from an old school bakery was a greater draw, because old school breads ARE DA BOMB.
Wow. The bread was so fluffy and soft, and EVERYTHING went so well together with each other. The bananas, nutella, bread and THAT bailey cream. I’d have liked the bailey cream to be cold or be kinda like an ice cream for that hot-cold combination, BUT this was good enough for me. WAY better than I expected it to be. Wow.
Located at a very unassuming place, with an unassuming exterior, yet with that great price and quality food, Roots Kitchen Bar has the mark of being a hidden gem. We enjoyed all of our dishes there, despite the minor misses in some of the dishes. I was really impressed at how affordable their dishes were with that kind of quality. It’s a place I would return, again and again and again.
If I were to be asked for a place for a meeting or in need for a place to impress, Roots Kitchen Bar comes at the top of my list. Now, with the opening of Rochor MRT station, there’s no reason why you should not visit Roots if you love quality food.
How to get there?
30 Dickson Road
Monday to Sunday: 11am to 11pm
Closed on Tuesdays