Welcome to Da Bao Diaries, a column dedicated to what Time Out Singapore's editors are eating and drinking at home till we can visit our city's restaurants and bars once more. Da bao is a Singaporean colloquialism derived from Mandarin that refers to having a meal to go instead of dining in at an establishment.
When the circuit breaker started, I – like many of you – had lofty goals to exercise more and eat better. Unfortunately, "I'm going to run every day" and "I'm going to eat more greens for dinner", got quickly replaced by "I'm too tired to step out of the house" and "I'm just going to grab chicken rice from the coffeeshop". And after 56 days, I'm left wondering where all that time that could have been channelled to more productive pursuits went.
While I did manage to incorporate some running into my routine, taking control of my diet more challenging. I was constantly tempted to order in fried food, desserts and bottled cocktails – which are all great in moderation – but not so much when you're trying to shed a couple of kilos.
Enter SPRMRKT's new vegetable-forward menu that actually makes healthy eating a joy. I would choose its hearty dishes like the cauliflower rice ($24) with halloumi over regular fried rice any day. The florets are finely chopped and have the texture of cous cous but it's the extra virgin olive oil and capers sauce that makes this dish sing. The same sauce makes an appearance as an accompaniment to the hamachi collar ($32). The generous hunk of fish is unctuously decadent, especially when dipped in that magical caper oil – but it's still a low-calorie way to get some protein in.
For those that aren't as bothered with hitting your macros, the café's staples like avocado toast ($17), eggs Benedict ($18) and spaghetti with prawns ($28) are also available for takeaway and delivery. And if you find yourself missing boozy weekend brunches, throw in a couple of its natural fruit sodas (also available spiked) to complete your meal. After all, we're all doing our best to get through this – diets and becoming the most perfect version of ourselves can wait. Live a little and indulge.
HOW TO ORDER Place an order vis the E-SPRMRKT, which offers everything from the restaurant's food and drinks to groceries like grains and microgreens as well. The restaurant offers islandwide delivery at $10 when you book directly through its platform, but it's also available on Deliveroo, foodpanda and GrabFood. For takeaway, WhatsApp or call the respective SPRMRKT outlets in Dempsey Hill and Cluny Court during operating hours.