Love Handle is not an unfamiliar name to diners around the island.
Once part of a multi-concept casual diner in the same location called 8ash, the interiors have been refreshed to make way for Love Handle as the sole concept. Yet instead of simply serving plant-based burgers like they used to, it has now transformed into Asia’s (and Singapore’s) first plant-based butcher with a dine-in deli.
Yes, that means you can even get slices of “brisket” cut and weighed in front of you.
Love Handle’s retail arm is split into three different sections: Raw Meats, Marinated and Prepared Meats, as well as Condiments and Dairy.
If you’re still thinking about the brisket we mentioned earlier, it’s quite literally a piece of “meat” that’s hanging on hooks in the display case. Crafted from scratch by the team, it’s made with seitan (hydrated gluten) and seasoned with their own blend of spices to recreate the smokey flavours of a traditional brisket.
Apart from their own creations, Love Handle also offers a curated range of plant-based meat from other leading industry brands such as Impossible, Tindle, Omnimeat and more. But they’re not your regular off-the-shelf products either; they’ve taken it one step further by adding their own marinades to the meat alternatives, all of which are made fresh daily. The Tindle Chicken for instance, is marinated in a savoury, spicy mix so all you’ve got to do at home is sear it on a hot pan and you’ve got yourself a cruelty-free, seasoned addition to your sandwich — no pre-cooking needed.
Everything here is vegan, even if their press release doesn’t say so. You’d imagine that establishments are jumping on the vegan/vegetarian bandwagon now that just about everyone is going green. According to co-founder and CEO Ken Kuguru, the heart of Love Handle is to serve delicious food. The fact that it’s vegan should be secondary — a pleasant surprise, if you will.
On the topic of some vegetarians and vegans being resistant to plant-based meat alternatives, he also mentioned while they are still very much welcome to dine at the restaurant, he recognises that Love Handle leans more towards to the crowd who is trying to make that switch to being more cruelty-free in their diet, as a way to enjoy “meat” in a different context.
The kitchen is helmed by Chef Addis Tan, formerly of The Garden Club, HRVST and 8ash. Here, he and the kitchen team will be serving out a neat menu of meat-free dishes for all-day dining.
Burgers are to be expected, of course. Traditionalists — although can we really call them traditionalists at this point? — can opt for classics like the Philly Cheesesteak, crafted with Green Rebel steak slices and plant-based cheddar, or the Double Cheeseburger, fitted with a smashed Impossible patty.
As the diner is, of course, Asian at heart, you’ll also be able to find local favourites with a greener twist, such as a dry mee sua, topped with a generous serving of Love Handle’s own ginger soy chicken mince. While it’s a little saltier on the palate for those who are used to more nuanced flavours, we found that it still went down well superbly with a can of Brekeriet’s Sour & Salt beer.
Love Handle is located at 8 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069788 for dine-in and takeaway. Diners who want to get some of the meats and condiments from the butcher can do so online here or at the store.
(Hero and featured image credit: Love Handle)