Billing itself as “the house of salad”, Applegreen falls somewhere between an American diner, a fine-dining healthy-eating boutique and an Italian franchise. It looks like the latter, with white, clean walls and light wood tables. It’s functional, unfussy, and with little touches of cosiness.
Appetizers consist of some American classics, such as the Potato Boat (a stuffed potato with cheese, apple-wood bacon and sour cream, $68), and buffalo wings (covered in hot sauce and a blue cheese and celery dressing, $68), and some Asian standards, such as Thai lettuce wraps (chicken strips, carrots, cucumber, and noodles, $78), and spicy Ahi tempura roll (seasoned with green onion, ginger, garlic and spicy soy sauce, $78.)
The made-to-order guacamole with homemade, warm tortilla chips ($78) was super fresh and generously portioned. Though chunky and robust, it was slightly under seasoned, as were the tortilla chips, and needed more lemon to cut through the oiliness of the fruit.
A huge variety of salads, both warm and cold, are on offer. The Steakhouse salad is a 6oz US prime rib-eye, served with a base of mixed greens, red onions, blue cheese and Italian dressing ($128). The IKA salad, (house greens, deep fried spicy squid, tomato, cilantro), was delicious, its gutsy lime and peanut Thai dressing offering taste that the starter perhaps lacked. The greens were slightly clumped together with a second dressing that they didn’t need, and so appeared wilted. But this was hearty, honest and full of flavour.
If you want to eat light, choose the Salad Cart – customers are given a dim sum-style order form to tick, specifying the leaves, meats, vegetables, cheeses and dressings to create a tailored dish, ($88 half portion, $148 full portion). This is a welcome option for those who want their salad healthy and light.
For those not in the mood for salad, there are a number of pasta dishes to choose from, (try Lousa Dirty pasta, with Cajun Jambalaya with seafood, spicy sausage and chicken, $108), and also steak, miso salmon and shrimp dishes, ($132-$228).
The cubed chocolate fudge brownie with good vanilla ice cream ($28) is perfectly judged, light but satisfying, at once chewy and crunchy. To top that, unlimited refills of fresh squeezed lemonade, soda, iced tea (all $28), hot tea ($18) and rather disappointing Columbian coffee ($28) are available.
Applegreen provides genuine service, fresh produce and a flexible, exciting menu. Good for a quick lunch or a mid-week evening meal, Applegreen combines enough factors to make it a satisfying, and certainly original dining experience. It’s a winning concept, and with more attention to the finer details of the food, could be excellent.