Raffles Place has a new health eatery and I raced to fill my stomach with it! Founded by two extremely fit people, Lean Bento is located on the second floor of the Arcade (opposite the money charger, Loo & Ng) and boasts guilt-free bento meals at amazingly low calories. No more than 460 kCal per bento set. Sounds like a winner of all the healthy eateries RP has got going for her. But is victory clear?
The eatery is upfront about all the kcal, protein and carbohydrates contained within a set. It is also extremely proud of its hashtags (#HIGHPROTEIN #LOWCARB #LOWFAT #LOWCALORIE #EATCLEAN #EATLEAN #GLUTENFREE #PEANUTFREE). Quite frankly the first two hashtags alone caused me to sail past the bakeries in the Arcade with ease, and head straight to the cafe to nourish my body. Who needs low nutritional carbohydrates when a 500 kCal lunch awaits me? This afternoon I got myself a High Protein Honey Mustard Chicken Bento for $11.90. However my 447 kCal lunch eft me baffled. Because I swear I did not eat any chicken.
First up, the tiny but spacious cafe boasted a sleek interior. The clean feel of this place and friendly service staff made me all warm and fuzzy inside. Those display cabinets were actually heated. Yup, those high-protein muffins on the top shelf were served warm!
But I am going to come right out and say I have very mixed feelings about this place. Within my seemingly simple bento set, I had so many likes and dislikes. The branding, labels and nutritional information are amazing, for sure! Who does not like transparency especially when nutrition is involved?!
My lunch boasts more protein than carbohydrates –> fabulous! Less than 600kCal for lunch –> YES! I await those abs or the day I look remotely similar to the fit owners.
Inside my bento set, there were many different components –> super fun! For an ADHD-eater like me, this was great. I was kept entertained until the very end.
But that’s when my mixed feelings came in. Some of the side dishes were executed to perfection. Check out the runny yolk of the semi-boiled egg. Gorgeous, isn’t it?! The green Japanese seaweed pickle, delicious! Those yellow cubes surrounding my main are eggs! A la Japanese Tamago-style. Them and the cubed carrots were great!
Now moving on to the dislike bit. Naturally at just 447 kCal, gravy or any other delicious seasoning will be lacking. The set felt very clean. Neat brocolli and cauliflower will take some getting used to. But the gloopy sticky brown rice and mushrooms, what’s up with that? The rice did not sit well on my tongue. But the biggest problem was the “chicken”, which by the way are the three coin patties studded with mustard seeds.
Here is a close up intersection of the “chicken”. No, it ain’t chicken breast or thigh as can be found elsewhere in Raffles Place. It was three patties that did not taste anything like chicken. They tasted… processed and… fake. In fact, I am still having difficulty digesting it. Two hours after lunch, I am still burping out the smell of the patty. Sorry, TMI.
I want to like Lean Bento. With the transparent nutritional information, eating healthily in Raffles Place never seemed easier. But when the menu says chicken, I expected a piece of chicken breast. I don’t understand why a “chicken” patty was used in place of a real chicken part that can be so easily found?!
Having said that, my friends thoroughly enjoyed their Salmon bento. I think I will stick to that the next time. And those forever-warm high-protein muffin… Desserts at unbelievably low calories, I will be back!