Restaurants located amidst an abundance of greenery are positively an endangered species in Singapore, with high-rise buildings sprouting endlessly, as are the number of restaurants in the city.
Poison Ivy Bistro is serenely located adjacent to Bollywood Veggies in the Kranji countryside enclave. It is a deep drive into the remote area, but definitely worth the distance.
Make yourself comfortable in the rustic, homely indoors and enjoy air-conditioning after a tour around the beguiling farm.
The bistro turns into a boisterous atmosphere as soon as groups of family stream in. The crowd is especially overwhelming on weekends!
The natural lighting that illuminates the entire space is perfect for food photography! *WINKING at my foodie friends
Grab a seat outdoors if you’d like to get closer to the idyllic greenery.
Tables are adorned with edible tableware where you can feel free to snip off various greens and herbs such as rosemary, lemongrass and dill to pep up your meal.
Owner of Poison Ivy Bistro, Ivy Singh-Lim, demonstrates how we can utilise the lemongrass from the “edible tableware” by simply adding trimmed pieces of it in hot water. Cover it and leave it for a few minutes and there you have it –lemongrass water.
Jasper sipping on piping hot lemongrass water!
Lemongrass is proven to help cope with headaches, fever, a bad night’s sleep; it eases anxiety, stress and cramps, improves the digestive system and blood circulation, in addition to many other benefits.
I heard lemongrass makes a good mosquito repellent; I can now decipher the act of anyone sticking a few stalks in their pockets, like how a chain of garlic is used to ward off vampires in fictions.
Beverage Menu –Farm Brews
Fig Tea (hot/cold) – $2
The Fig Tea is available both hot and cold – whichever best suits your mood – and arrives unsweetened. The colour of the drink is derived from fig leaves and red sugarcane, au naturel.
Aloe Vera (left picture; $3), Lemongrass Tea (right picture; $2)
Aloe Vera has to be my personal favourite; it is the sweetest amongst the three (oh yes, I have a sweet tooth!) and you get cubes of Aloe Vera for your chewing pleasures.
Beers and wines are available.
Apart from the alcoholic drinks, the food menu is completely Halal, and in strict absence of pork and lard.
Its food menu isn’t extensive, but there are sufficient choices to please everyone. Its menu comprises of breakfast foods, starters, mains, finger foods and the indubitable veggies.
Talented Cordon Bleu Chef Lynn Ee runs the kitchen seamlessly; drawing inspiration from the farm and what’s available for harvest, she designs the menu with the approval of Ivy’s taste buds.
Farmer’s Platter, for two ($10 per person)
To get a gastronomic overview, you can start things off with the Farmer’s Platter that features downsized portions of (almost all) the dishes –a diversity of flavours and textures in a single tray.
We also had a bowl of brown rice to accompany the mouth-watering dishes. To my surprise, after years of avoiding brown rice for its uncanny appearance, I have eaten more brown rice than I have ever eaten in my 24 years of living. It actually pairs perfectly well with the dishes!
I’ve never been a fan of Tau Pok, thus you’ll never catch me ordering anything with Tau Pok. As I tasted Poison Ivy’s interpretation, I can actually appreciate the thoughtful execution of the dish, likewise the vibrant colours from pineapple slices and chilli that lend piquant flavours to the dish.
Deconstructed Grilled Coconut Chicken
You would be expecting a whole lot of greens on your plates when you’re at a bistro that is situated amongst the gardening terrain – like myself, who was initially half-hesitating making the trip down due to the fact that I dislike eating my greens – but fret not, because carnivores are certainly not short-changed at Poison Ivy. In fact, there are more meat dishes on the menu than the actual greens, well complemented by farm-fresh ingredients in the cooking process.
Spinach & Kang Kong
You read about my deep-rooted aversion to the greens. Well guess what? I finished my veggies this time round! Can I get a round of applause?
The Spinach & Kang Kong is an excellent example of farm-to-table fare; the fresh greens remain vividly green after delicate cooking, retaining its crunch without tasting anything close to raw.
Warrior’s Chicken Curry
The Warrior’s Chicken Curry is a healthy version of curry with no addition of coconut milk. The curry is thickened with a variety of spices that delivers a nice kick to the taste buds without a burning sensation.
For those in search of comfort food, you will find yourself digging into this uncontrollably.
Bolly Banana Curry
The Bolly Banana Curry is one-of-a-kind, starring South American plantain harvested from their very own garden. Bollywood Veggies is the only farm in Singapore that grows plantains, a kind of banana with the texture and consistency of potatoes The mildly spiced curry clings onto slices of banana, well penetrated with flavours.
Bite-size pieces of fish are battered and fried, and meticulously tossed amongst vegetable pickles in an engagingly frisky sauce. Poison Ivy sure has a way of getting me to eat my vegetables!
Moringa leaves are lightly coated with chickpea flour, and deep-fried to an exceedingly crunchy texture. Highly addictive, I warn you. It is my favourite item on the platter –and it is green!
Facts: The nutritional value of the Moringa tree lies primarily in its leaves, and roots; they are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin C.
I love eggs, and I love my Otah thick and whole. With Poison Ivy’s Otah Omelet duo, I can have my cake and eat it too.
Apart from the items available on the menu on a daily basis, there are daily specials that are highly dependent on what’s available for harvest.Generally, all the mains cost $6 each for regular portions.
Rojak Flower Chicken (half-portion)
The Rojak Flower Chicken is a daily special that is considered as another authentic dish from the exemplary kitchen. The chicken is tender and steeped in a mild, addictive sauce.
Jackfruit Lemak (half portion)
Highlight: The Jackfruit Lemak steals the show. The stew commingles the sweet and the savoury, with soft and juicy pieces of jackfruit immersed in a creamy coconut milk sauce. Slightly lacking in the visual department, it is more than compensated for in its tremendously decadent coalescence of flavours.
Bollywood 3-in-1 Dessert ($7.50)
–Banana Bread, Kueh Bingka (Baked Tapioca) and Kueh Kosui (steamed tapioca flour with palm sugar)
The Banana Bread is soft, moist and isn’t too sweet. The best part is, they warm it before serving. Very comforting to dig into! I like!
Must-have: The Kueh Kosui is the best in Singapore. Confirmed. It is a unanimous favourite! It is so, so soft, appropriately sweet and not too chewy or sticky –it is splendid in every possible way.
I’m not a huge fan of Kueh Bingka in general, due to the lack of sweetness, but I enjoyed the slightly firm and starchy texture that doesn’t stick to your teeth.
Note: At Poison Ivy, only cash is accepted. No credit cards. Which means prices stated on the menu is what you will pay for –no additional service charge or tax.
Poison Ivy is an absolute gem, with affordable and delectable fare. Harvesting their own crops definitely gives Poison Ivy an edge over many restaurants that claim to embrace the freshest of ingredients. It doesn’t get any fresher than this!
Despite its rural location, the establishment is squeaky clean, supplementing the warm and friendly service for a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Break away from the hectic city life and expose yourself to a diverse range of unique creations from the kitchen.
Poison Ivy Bistro
Wednesday through Sunday and Public Holidays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Closed for a fortnight each year for Lunar New Year