Rejoice Han Yi Vegetarian fans! Han Yi (previously located at Tai Seng) has renamed itself as the Boneless Kitchen and relocated to Jalan Bukit Merah occupying what was previously Mahaprajna. When I first reached there, I still saw the Mahaprajna sign on top of the shop unit and thought that Boneless Kitchen is located elsewhere at the block. After some fanatic searching up and down the HDB block, I finally realised that the Boneless Kitchen is now occupying the Mahaprajna shop unit. As you can see from the below photo, you can easily miss the eatery as the current signage is not clear and does not indicate that it is vegetarian. Maybe Boneless Kitchen should clearly state in its Facebook page that it was located next to Nature Vegetarian Catering.
The reception desk in Boneless Kitchen reminds me of what they have at Tai Seng. A simple desk from which customers can order from and clearly see the kitchen operations from. There are several big tables within the eatery and 2 small tables outdoor which is quite suitable for small group gatherings. There are not much decorations to speak of within the eatery as the eatery is just getting started this week.
We praise Boneless Kitchen for the speed of fulfilling customers orders in our previous review. And we are happy to see that the efficiency has continued at Boneless Kitchen. Though the eatery enjoys a steady stream of customers during the peak lunch period, they are able to deliver the orders quite quickly which is excellent!
Though we do not claim to be the authority on Korean vegetarian food, we dare say that we are now slightly more knowledgeable and wiser on the cuisine after our trip to Korea last year. After so much talking, you must be very eager as to what Boneless Kitchen has to offer. Let us dive straight into the reviews of the dishes we have eaten.
Korean Army Stew
At first glance, the Stew looks like the sweet and sour Mee Sua we have reviewed before. Even the noodles and ingredients are about the same down to the sliced mock duck meat and Korean rice cake. The key difference lies in the soup which is based on Kimchi cabbage and cheese giving it a thick texture almost like milk. The soup is not as spicy as it looks and we love it! Also the serving is now bigger than what it used to be.
Sweet Potato Noodle (Japchae)
Japchae is a Korean dish consisting of sweet potato noodles (called 당면 in Korean) stir fried in sesame oil with thinly sliced carrots and mushrooms, flavoured with soy sauce and sweetened with sugar. It is usually served garnished with sesame seeds and slivers of chili. We have no issues with the sweet potato noodles which looks and tastes like a thicker version of the Chinese bean threads (东粉). However, the taste is dominated by the sesame oil with a slight peppery sweet tinge which tastes weird to our local taste buds.
Our Korea trip experience has taught us that Korean vegetarian food is not really spicy. Also, the Korean Army Stew and Sweet & Sour Mee Sua from Boneless Kitchen has confirmed that view. Hence we are pleasantly surprised by the spiciness of the Kimchi Stew. You can literally see the green and red chilli in the soup. Moreover, the soup is a generous mix of seaweed, kimchi vegetables and sweet potato noodles which goes well with the rice.
Bibimbap (with curry paste)
Bibimbap literally means “mixed rice” in Korean. The popular Korean dish is usually served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with season vegetables and gochujang (chili pepper paste). Previously, in our review, we wondered aloud why the ingredients are so mildly flavoured that some will consider bland. Then we realised during our overseas trip to Korea that this was deliberately done to preserve the natural flavours and the cuisine itself also acts as an avenue of cultivation for Buddhist worshippers. I prefer Korean bibimbap to the traditional Chinese claypot rice. The usage of soy sauce makes the rice stick to the claypot and difficult to scrap especially if you do not like to waste food and want to finish every drop of rice. Also the ingredients are fresher and not overcooked. However we think that more curry paste should be provided.
Curry Baked Rice
Boneless Kitchen also serves a limited menu of vegetarian Italian dishes such as baked rice and spaghetti. The baked rice takes a while to come to our table. This is a good thing as it means that the baked rice is prepared on the spot rather than just taken out of the freezer. The baked rice comes with a thick layer of cheese sprinkled with Italian spices. The baked rice itself has a good balance of curry flavour and diced potatoes. Sadly the serving is slightly smaller than what we have eaten elsewhere.
Moving to Jalan Bukit Merah is a bold business move for Boneless Kitchen. Earlier in our review, we wondered aloud when it will actually move out of Tai Seng as it is an industrial estate. True to our prediction, Boneless Kitchen has decided to move out probably due to the popularity of its Korean vegetarian cuisine. Situating next to an established vegetarian eatery should work in Boneless Kitchen’s flavour as it is very unlikely that Nature Vegetarian Catering will expands its menu to include Korean food and Boneless Kitchen will gain visibility among Nature Vegetarian Catering‘s customer base.
We really like the Korean Army and Kimchi Stew from Boneless Kitchen. In fact, we recommend that you order these two dishes at the same time and share them among yourself as the flavour of the soups are delicious and totally different. Han Yi will extend its menu to Italian food in the coming weeks. And you can bet that we will continue to report the quality of its dishes when Han Yi is ready to serve up more dishes.
You can find out more about the operating hours and location of Boneless Kitchen here.
The Boneless Kitchen is located at Jalan Bukit Merah which is quite far away from the nearby Queenstown and Commonwealth MRT stations and Bukit Merah bus interchange. You will have to take a bus from the MRT stations and bus interchange to reach Boneless Kitchen.