The hype: An all-new independent concept from a Sichuan-born restauranteur, Ganglamedo marries vegetarian cuisine with the exotic intrigue of Tibetan culture. Ironically, Tibetan cuisine is known to rely heavily on meat; here, the focus is a fusion style of east-meets-west that abandons meat entirely, prioritizing health and wellness instead.

The vibe: The shophouse that once housed Selfish Gene Cafe is completely unrecognizable, now outfitted with warm hues of gold and umber, and ornate finishings that bring to mind a spa retreat in Bali. The overall attention to detail in the oriental decor is impeccable, right down to the porcelain lotus soup bowl. Complete with soothing instrumental music and secluded, cozy booths, Ganglamedo creates a space in bustling Tanjong Pagar that is nothing less than exquisitely zen.

The food: What sets Ganglamedo apart from regular vegetarian-only restaurants is the fact that it completely does away with mock meats—and instead focuses on serving natural, plant-based foods in their most original forms.

While there’s an a la carte menu, a more rounded option is to choose between two curated set course menus ($49.90 and $88), their only difference being a limited edition soup. The Naqu Cordyceps Double-Boiled Soup ($68) uses premium whole Cordyceps imported from Tibet that is so rare, only 10 bowls are available for lunch and dinner a day; so call ahead to reserve. Here, bamboo fungus is used as a textural substitute for fish maw—just before the soup is served, the chef adds dashes of truffle oil for a fragrant finish. The whole process takes five hours.

Other intriguing starters include the chewy Sesame Mochi Bread with Mayo ($8), Fried Spinach Pancake ($12), and the Dry Toss Cordyceps Flower ($12)—a fiery but clean-tasting take on mala.

Up until now, you’d almost forget that this is a vegetarian establishment. The main event at Ganglamedo is the hotpot soup; each table comes fitted with personal cooktops. Every Pure Vegetarian Hotpot in Tibetan Style ($35) arrives with an assortment of (nothing but) seasonal vegetables, which is probably when you start to remember that there are no marbled meats here for your indulgent dipping. Thankfully, that’s saved by the flavorful soup bases, available in Tomato, White Pea, Hot & Sour and Mushroom (which comes infused with Tibetan teas).

For dessert, we have only one stellar recommendation: the Winter Pumpkin Cake ($5), a muah chee-like treat coated with cereal confetti we could pop for days.

The drinks: Freshly brewed Tibetan teas brewed by Chinese tea master He Zhong Hong—either the classic Tibet Tea ($20 per pot) or the Buckwheat Tea ($5), a rich savory blend of grains.

Why you’ll be back: We’re torn between the beautiful decor and well-executed food as our top reason for a return; either way, Ganglamedo brings a concept that’s genuinely fresh and enjoyable even for those who can’t survive without meat.