Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dinner at ONAKA Restaurant & Wine Bar, Alexandra Retail Centre {ARC}

ONAKA means "stomach" in Japanese but don't be fooled by the name, this restaurant doesn't sell just Japanese or Japan-inspired food, rather a whole range of Asian culinary cuisine merged with modern Western influence, using only wholesome and selective organic ingredients. In fact, ONAKA stands for "Optimum Nutrition And Kitchen Arts".

I'm a real foodie and have eaten at many restaurants that make me go weak at the knees with it's exquisite food, but not many have inspired me to want to make a change in my food choices and habits. ONAKA Restaurant & Wine Bar certainly has.
ONAKA specialises in Creative Conscious Cuisine, which is essentially the art of taking notice, and enjoying the unique aroma, flavour, taste, texture, selection of ingredients, presentation of the food, and understanding it's nutritional health benefits. It is not about counting calories, but rather to eat consciously in balance and moderation.

It is about making healthy food tasty, and tasty food healthy. A lot of thought goes on behind the scene to make sure ingredients, method of cooking and presentation follows their philosophy. Take the first dish above. It certainly looks like maguro sashimi with tobiko, but it's not! It's actually Watermelon Sashimi {!!} with agar agar tobiko. Genious! About 50% of the menus is vegetarian with a special focus on low gylcemic, glueten-free and vegan options and this dish caters to the vegans. I've seen many vegetarian Chinese mock meat dishes, but not one for Japanese sashimi. Absolutely love it!

The Asian Hummus is full of proteins, and flavoured with Asian condiments, hazelnut oil, extra olive virgin oil, sesame oil and topped with loads of delicious olives. One of the best appetizers I've tasted thus far.
As I sat there happily eating the food and listening to their Head Chef, Jason tell the story behind each dish, I was truly inspired to say the least, to make sure I make healthy eating a stronger focus in our family as well. We are what we eat, and we owe it to ourselves to make sure we don't just stuff junk in.
The restaurant is committed to using all-natural and selective organic ingredients without artificial additives, chemicals, colourings, flavourings, MSG and trans-fat. That night during dinner, I tried a lot of their signature dishes such as the Tofu & Avocado Salad {refreshing Asian twist to the Greek salad}, Pear & Salmon {beautiful pairing with the soft-boiled egg}, Duck Confit Pancake {so crispy and yummy with the orange caramel sauce!}, Roasted Mushroom Soba {roasted mushroom ragu & 100% buckwheat soba} and my absolute favourite, Maritime Barley Risotto {made with barley instead of rice so even healthier}.

Price-wise, I'd say it's mid-range and pretty affordable for the amount of quality, thought and preparation that goes behind each dish. Many of the signature dishes are also featured during the weekday Happy Executive Set Lunch {S$18} for a 2-course meal and a drink.
There is no children's menu, and not much space for children to wander about in the restaurant, but during the weekends children below 7 years of age dines free with every 2 paying adults for the Family Brunch on weekends {valid Sat & Sun 10am - 4pm}. The restaurant is fine with cooking special orders off the menu for kids too.

I definitely want to go back with the boy again because he's such an conscientious eater and would be sure to appreciate ONAKA's philosophy.

ONAKA Restaurant & Wine Bar, Alexandra Retail Centre {ARC}
460 Alexandra Road, #01-32 ARC
Tel: 6270 2012
Mon to Fri: 11.30am - 10pm {Last order 9.30pm}
Sat & Sun: 10am - 10pm {Last order 9.30pm}, Brunch menu 10am - 4pm

* Disclosure: The review was due to an invitation from ONAKA Restaurant & Wine Bar. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.


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Jay Jay said...

I would never have guessed it was watermelon sashimi!

mail4rosey said...

What a unique concept for dining. I've never seen anything like it, but it sounds fascinating and the pictures make it look delicious. :)

Ai Sakura said...

Jay Jay: same when I first saw it haha

mail4rosey: yup, I hope you get a chance to try it or something similar one day :)

Wine in Singapore said...

Nice sharing with us. We really enjoy it.

Red Bordeaux wines said...

Wow, this restaurant has delicious foods. My mouth is watering after seeing all these plates.