Talk about making money hand over fist. That’s what Sophie’s “New Green Pasture Cafe” on the 4th floor of Fortune Centre seems to be doing.
It’s a tiny little place with a wall of shelves, a counter behind which Sophie n helpers do the cooking and about three tables. The room is smaller than a HDB one-roomer. A doorway opens into a 2nd room which has more tables. A few more tables line the perimeter of the cafe and those who eat there are eating in the common corridors of passers by and what have you.
I’ve been visiting this cafe since around 1995 when I began going back to the Waterloo Street Kwan Yin temple during a strange health crisis in my life. However, at that time, it was more like a shop than a cafe n the 2nd room (ie the next shop space) wasn’t in existence.
Don’t remember eating there back then but went there on the recommendation of Richard Seah’s The Good Life (a now defunct health and food lifestyle magazine) to buy some expensive but tasty sesame oil.
More recently, a friend who moved her office to the building introduced me to Sophie’s cooking. And while I’m not entirely enamoured by the food, it’s good and cheap enough and the environment while nowhere near Ritz Carlton is pleasant enough.
Indeed, one of the tastiest morsels is about Sophie: my friend whispers what a great business woman she is; how she had let the place out to some other party and then took it back to run the business herself. This includes dine-in, take away, retail of ingredients/food stuffs that run the gamut from vegetarian to macrobiotic, and even cookery classes, at $50 a pop, for a minimum 4 lessons. She’s never looked back since and expanded to the shop next door.
Not sure how much of this info is true but the redoubtable Sophie, always wearing a perky tho incongruously out of place cap, is there dishing out the food with a few dour faced helpers whose ages range early 30s to perhaps late 70s.
The cafe is never actually packed but any time I’ve eaten there, there’s always been a steady stream of customers coming in in ones, two, threes or more. They are of all nationalities, with many kweh-los and Indians to boot.
This isn’t bad considering that it is tucked away on the fourth floor and there are other “vegetarian” cafes of all persuasions from the 1st floor, up to the 2nd and 3rd floors.
Perhaps it’s popular precisely because it’s away from the maelstrom of human traffic that sweeps thru the 1st floor of Fortune Centre, at the corner of Middle Road and Waterloo Street where the Kwan Yin Temple and a well-known Hindu temple sit a few minutes’ walk away.
I don’t know when the no-name cafe became Green Pasture Cafe and when I looked last week, it’s become New Green Pasture Cafe.
The food is passably tasty: brown rice, salads, vegetarian sushi, and other vegetarian concoctions. If you don’t take Sophie’s set which comes with a watery soup, you have to pay $1 (donated to the Singapore Vegetarian Society) for the same watery soup which you have to serve yrself from a large pot. It’s also self-service for the napkins, cutlery and the extra bowl or plate.
If truth be told, I can’t tell one dish from another; even the “liu char fan” (whch is Thunder Tea Rice supposedly famous among the Hakkas and is the Wednesday set as a regular once told me) is strictly distinguishable by the fact that the set comes with an emerald green soup, made from heaven knows what.