As its name outright suggests, SaladStop! is yet another deli-style establishment dispensing a variety of greens for convenient chomping on the go. Diners can choose from a menu of pre-customized items (including salads, wraps and quinoa bowls) or build their meals from scratch, after which all selected ingredients are whisked off to the chopping board for a whirlwind "slice 'em, mix' em, pack 'em " extravaganza. From one single eatery at Marina Square founded by father-son pair Daniel and Adrien Desbaillets (both Swiss-born Singapore residents) in 2009, SaladStop! has since rapidly expanded to more than a dozen outlets over the past decade and is also presently operating franchises across Asia.

Sampling and thoughts:

Being in the mood to curate sumthin', we communicated to the counter attendant an intention to craft our very own quinoa bowl. Main design parameters include choosing a leafy or cabbage base alongside 7 toppings from the basic/premium range, as well as one dressing option from the Asian/Western selection. So it was $9.50 for a considerably-sized receptacle of red and white cabbage garnished with corn niblets, sliced onions, cherry tomatoes, orange slices, soba noodles, potato cubes, carrot sticks plus a drizzle of pesto basil sauce. To our slight amusement an oddly freckled breadstick (compliments of the store we presumed) crowned the abundantly colorful contents seen swirling within; then again whether these are capable of properly charming the palate, we were soon about to find out.

Build Your Own Quinoa Bowl ($9.50)

Bad news abound: this rainbow melange in a barrel turned out to be god awful nasty. Dull and uninspiring, not to mention it felt like we were chewing hay the whole time. A drought so severe baby, we began to suspect if measly pelts instead of reasonable squelches were expressed from the dressing bottle. The potato cubes had a profoundly raw quality in them, meanwhile the bitter quinoa seeds made us crave Skittles like never before. What Soba noodles? Few pathetic strands of green buckwheat happening as an afterthought hardly count yo. The only tiny consolation.....salads slightly yummier than cardboard must be uber healthy yes?

Imposing the death sentence verdict then and there seemed downright tempting, however rationality appealed to the better angels of our nature..... thus the benefit of the doubt granted in the form of a "retrial". Second time around we swung by their Marina Bay Link Mall branch - a decently spacious noshery compared to the virtual shack takeaway previously patronized at Ngee Ann City's Takashimaya Food Village.

Took a gamble on the 'Sabai Sabai' warm mixed grain platter, which according to an overhead poster panel mounted on its premises extols the said signature creation : "Warm lemongrass chicken thigh, crushed peanuts and fresh herbs make this feel like a Thai holiday in a bowl!" Wow Thai shit? Okay fingers tightly crossed, here we go.

'Sabai Sabai' ($13.80)

While it didn't invoke the slightest association with the land of smiles in our opinion, we managed a few grins. 'Sabai Sabai' was well above average flavourwise - juicy sweetness throughout permeated by a spicy tang not unlike the local Malay Rojak dish, except perhaps for unexplained hints of something medicinal lurking deep inside. The chicken thigh meat however wasn't sufficiently tender, add to that supplies of both crushed peanuts and pickled cucumbers were fully depleted when we placed our orders at 4pm. Talk about someone's chopping board which ain't looking clean either........

'Iron "Wo" Man' ($12.80)

On account of not entirely filled tummies and being momentarily shackled by inertia, a decision was thus made to stay put and try the peculiarly designed 'Iron "Wo" Man' (baby spinach, feta cheese, roasted pumpkin, raisins, toasted almonds and raspberry vinaigrette). Frankly we weren't enthused by what appeared to be excessive foliage crammed into swoop whiteware, but chose to probe beyond the boring leafiness anyways since it's already paid for. What do ya know, our taste buds reaped surprisingly pleasant dividends; scattered almond crunchiness, firm pumpkin flesh combined with salty and creamy dairy produce drenched in syrupy goodness delivered in more ways than one.

In light of what transpired during our visits, a revelation confronts: eating at Saladstop! are largely hit or miss affairs. Which consequently calls into question the food chain's basis for adopting premium pricing strategies. Put things simply, it doesn't quite make sense to pay more for inconsistencies in quality of fare served.

Fanatical herbivores who do not desire torturing their wallets over a smidgen of extra delectability would therefore be better off finding someplace else to graze.

Note: Prices subject to change without prior notice. Kindly clarify with restaurant before visiting or ordering.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved. Photographs and write-ups featured on this page represent the original works of The Food Dossier unless stated otherwise. No copying or reproduction is permitted without seeking prior explicit consent.

Score: 6.1/10


Editor's Note: SaladStop! has shuttered its operations at Takashimaya and Harbourfront Tower 1.


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