Eating habits have, over the past few years, changed, as diners get increasingly health conscious. The average office employee is now opting for healthier food, such as wholegrains and fresh produce.

One establishment that’s meeting this demand but with an innovative twist is Grain Traders. The local eatery, which set up shop at CapitaGreen in 2015, serves delicious grain bowls — or Hero Bowls, as they’re called — which can be chosen off the menu or customised.

The Hen’s Nest features chicken breast, smoked cauliflower and zucchini with broccoli pesto. Photo: Grain Traders

Grain Traders’ food philosophy can be described in three words: Balanced, thoughtful and progressive. The eatery believes in “upholding the integrity of natural ingredients, treating them with respect, and creating a balanced meal composed of whole grains, vegetables, proteins, homemade sauces and toppings,” said co-founder Javier Perez.

This means all dishes, including all dressings and toppings, are made in-house without any refined sugars or oils added. Additionally, all ingredients used are freshly delivered to the outlet each day.

Worth noting is the way the kitchen prepares its animal protein. For instance, salmon is first sous-vide for a carefully timed 25 minutes to preserve its nutrients and flavour, and thereafter gently chargrilled. Meanwhile, pulled pork is marinated for a full 24 hours before being slow-cooked in the pressure cooker. To some, the extra effort may seem extravagant, but Grain Traders believes it is what makes its food wholesome and tasty.

The Mawashi, with its generous helpings of tuna tataki, is a hot favourite. Photo: Grain Traders.

Apart from daily bowls, Grain Traders also has a selection of sweet treats by glutenfree bakery, The Whole Kitchen. The idea of introducing desserts started as a way to encourage people to indulge in a little sweet treat while still maintaining a balanced diet.

This nothing-but-the-best approach to its food has made the eatery popular among the working crowd it serves. Hot menu favourites include the Seedy Business — a generous mix of pineapple kimchi, roasted chickpeas, supergreens and more — as well as the Mawashi, which has lots of tuna tataki and cucumber pickle with furikake on soba noodles.

Innovation sets it apart

To stay competitive, Grain Traders believes in constantly innovating its dishes, coming up with novel, seasonal creations every month and switching up its menu frequently.

“Each element on the menu has been thoughtfully prepared without compromise and with much creativity and care,” said executive chef Gisela Salazar Golding, who created the menu by incorporating influences from Asian and Western food cultures. For instance, the Coconut Curry sauce was based off her experience living in Cambodia. She also draws inspiration from her home region of Venezuela, evident in dishes such as the Polenta Eggs Rancheros, a Puerto Rican goodness of polenta cakes, mixed bean pico de gallo, guacamole and salsa verde.

Another interesting product is the apple kimchi, which marries the antioxidant properties of the humble green apple and the gut-boosting bacteria of kimchi to create a dish that produces the perfect combination of sweet and sour flavours. The result is a tangy mix of spice and crunch — a good accompaniment with every bowl.

Big plans for the future

Grain Traders has done well enough since its first launch, but has no plans to rest on its laurels. Co-founder Sharon Lee shared that the company intends to set up shop worldwide within the next five years, starting with the United States and Indonesia.

Besides growing the Grain Traders name, it also hopes to spread the brand’s belief in creating a space for people to “feel at home, nurtured and inspired to go against the grain — beyond the ordinary”.

“We will focus on sharing stories about how Grain Traders fits into and enhances the lives of our wide variety of guests, as well as collaborate with artists and causes we believe in and support,” added Mr Perez.

Grain Traders is located on Level 1 at CapitaGreen. Opening hours are from 8am to 8pm on weekdays.

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