FOOD REVIEW: Genius Central Singapore — The epicentre of all things entrepreneurial, nutritious, and inclusive

Nurzatiman
·Lifestyle Contributor
·7-min read
Interior (PHOTO: Genius Central)
Interior (PHOTO: Genius Central)

SINGAPORE — Though probably not deliberate, the setting up of Genius Central Singapore at Far East Square last year while in the thick of a pandemic has further cemented their objective of being the kind of place where you feed your body with all things good, nutritious, and beneficial.

The aim here is to move well away from wasted calories and towards the whole your-body-is-a-temple philosophy, which, in many ways, fits perfectly into a zeitgeist abuzz with medicinal cures, vaccines, and a thirst for any semblance of normalcy—you know, given all the kerfuffle 2020 has thrown.

The thing is, I understand entirely what Genius Central is trying to achieve within their cavernous space that fits a mind-boggling 150 diners. Still, I reckon a physical visit down would better cement everything I’m trying to say here—though I’ll certainly try. Genius Central Singapore is a hospitality and F&B brand under the Entrepreneur Resorts Ltd which prides itself as the world’s leading groups of Entrepreneur resorts and beach clubs.

They are big on all things co-; co-work, co-learn, co-give, and co-live. It’s a concept driven by the desire to house aspiring entrepreneurs together, giving them a space where ideas can incubate, ruminate, and take flight. It’s a big and tall ask, but when a business entity is driven mostly by purpose rather than profit, customers take notice, and things tend to fall beautifully where they may.

Popcorn Chicken (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)
Popcorn Chicken (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)

Genius Central Singapore joins the ranks of Genius Cafe in Bali, Indonesia with similar motivations of entrepreneurship, education, and wellbeing while providing a space for a new generation of self-starters who thrive on a network of like-minded individuals and a need to strike a perfect work-life balance. Here, in Singapore, it starts with a breathtakingly colossal space segregated into areas that cater to the type of interactions you want to have.

On one end, there’s a table with high stools where your opposite neighbour sits but less than a meter away from you, on the other, a space focused on dining, filled out with plush sofas and intimate lighting, perfect for a dinner out. In the middle of this endeavour, long communal tables take up the bulk of the square footage, which, at any time of the day, is often filled with people in all manners of work—some in pursuit of academia, others, professionals negotiating contractual terms or balancing budgets in anticipation for a hopefully better 2021.

As you can imagine, it’s quite a unique dining experience dining, if you’re here just for some good grub—grub that at first glance is clearly meant for the health-conscious crowd, but not too exclusionary to be a deterrent for the aspirational. The Popcorn Chicken (S$9++) is a wonderful example of this, made with organic chicken that I’m certain has been brined because this plate of snack is flavour and juiciness in every bite.

Paired with the bright house-made paprika mayo, it is the kind of thing that finishes too quickly with absent-minded snacking and also because it's fried chicken, and who can say no to that?. It is, of course, gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free as the menu will tell you—welcome information that also exemplifies their mission at being gastronomically inclusive. Very 2021, might I add.

Happiness Bowl. (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)
Happiness Bowl. (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)

My journey here of putting only good things into this temple of a body continues with the Happiness Bowl (S$18++) which, if its name is any suggestion, is sure to make you happy—especially if you’re straight off an Evolve MMA class in the building next door and is starving for some good proteins to replenish all that energy exerted.

Here, it comes with a dramatic roasted butternut squash with traces of char on its surface that’s subtly sweet with a resistance that proves it has not been cooked down too much so as to lose all nutrients. It comes surrounded by fistfuls of mixed mesclun, cherry tomato salsa, spiced corn salsa, avocado, organic black rice and the most heroically pickled cucumbers. It’s the kind of thing you eat when you are filled with regret for polishing off five pints of beer and a bowl of chips last night. This makes for good redemption.

Creamy Mushroom Pasta (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)
Creamy Mushroom Pasta (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)

Elsewhere a Creamy Mushroom pasta (S$17++) comes loaded with portobello and button mushrooms. While those with a low tolerance of dairy might fear such plates of creaminess, here, this luscious creamy sheen comes not from milk, but from a cashew sauce made by soaking cashews in water, and then blitzing the water-logged nuts until it’s the creamy consistency of yoghurt. Vegans would thoroughly enjoy this although I wouldn’t protest if there’s a touch of acidity to cut through the richness slightly. Yes, that’s how convincing this non-cream iteration is.

The Pumpkin Ricotta Pizza (S$20++) features the same roasted butternut squash from previously. Here, it comes with caramelised onions which I thoroughly enjoyed with its bold overtones of sweetness that comes from a patient and laborious chef who must have laboured over a stove, eyes ever watchful lest these onions burn. It pairs nicely with the ricotta and mozzarella cheese and is an easy choice for comfort food. That the dough is great for vegans is just cherry on top. I do suggest having this quickly while it’s hot and gooey, instead of letting it sit around like I did as the cheese tends to firm up when left exposed for too long.

Kichdi (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)
Kichdi (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)

Because I’m a sucker for the unexpected and unusual, I decided to try the Kichdi (S$16++), a bowl of yellow mung lentils cooked with curry leaves and Indian spices for a bouquet that’s quite intoxicating and exciting for this food writer. This comfort food from India is unique in that it is served mixed with organic basmati rice for a texture similar to porridge, though not entirely.

If you’ve eaten Dhal, this would be familiar, with a flavour profile that’s equal parts herbaceous and aromatic—almost like eating a Briyani if I were to draw a parallel. I would recommend this only if you have a penchant for dhal and curries, although a true blue food connoisseur would hardly let unfamiliar flavours get in their way of trying food outside of their usual palette.

Desserts at Genius Central Singapore serve not just to satiate the sweet tooth, but also comes, as expected, with ingredients that your body will love. I had a square of Organic peanut butter slice (S$8++) that is a layered dessert of organic peanut butter, pitted dates, and cashews on a base of desiccated coconut. It’s the kind of guilt-free dessert that I can get behind with a beautiful balance of flavours and texture—the latter, from the slightly sweetened desiccated coconut. It makes for a satisfying mid-day snack that won’t hit you with the dreaded sugar high.

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Organic Peanut Butter Slice (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)
Organic Peanut Butter Slice (PHOTO: Zat Astha/Yahoo Lifestyle SEA)

I have a nagging suspicion that Genius Central plays down their robust and extensive food menu only for fear of not being able to cope with the demand when the crowds throng the establishment for a slice of generous, well-cooked food. Or perhaps there’s a fear of the space losing its soul as a meeting place for the like-minded.

But I doubt there’s anything for Genius Central to worry. With a space that sits 150, surely the entrepreneurial hive of great thinkers can find common ground with food and health enthusiasts who are on the hunt for the next best food option in Singapore. And with a menu like this, there’s nothing stopping Genius Central for being the epicentre for all things good, innovative, and delicious.

Website | #01-01 Amoy Street Far East Square, S049949

Mon to Thu: 8am – 8.30pm

Fri to Sat: 8am – 9.30pm

Sun: 8am – 4pm

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The best places to recycle your old clothes in Singapore

IMC Group Asia COO Romell Song on the entertainment scene in 2020 – “The industry was virtually at a standstill”

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INTERVIEW: Rachel Ling, Regional Asia Manager of Lyre’s — “It’s no longer a stigma to go to a bar and not have alcohol”

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