Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Peranakan – Straits Cuisine At Its Finest [MEDIA INVITE]

The Peranakan

The recent revamped of the shopping centre beside Orchard Hotel, now known as Claymore Connect has unveiled a new peranakan restaurant, named The Peranakan. The Owner / Chef behind this is Executive Chef Raymond Khoo, a peranakan and well experienced Chef whom for the first time open a restaurant true to his root.

Part of the Outdoor Seating

For him, The Peranakan is about cooking peranakan food according to Chef Khoo family recipe.

Mini Peranakan Shop

Peranakan Tea Set

Located in the 2nd floor of Claymore Connect, the restaurant is easy to spot from far away. It is bright, glamorous and proudly displaying a true heritage of Peranakan culture. The furnitures, the batik table covers, wallpapers, cutleries and the overall presentation just showcase the Peranakan heritage. I actually think, The Peranakan looks more like a Peranakan Museum than a restaurant.

Part of Dining Area

Part of Dining Area

First two items that welcome you at the table are prawn roll and the sambal. The prawn roll is crispy, pack the flavours of hae bee hiam (fried dried prawns with chilli) and definitely a good start to it. The sambal itself is spicy, delicious and addictive according to LD.

Prawn Roll and Sambal

Nasi Ulam Istimewa ($17). This is a traditional dish of rice mixed with raw herbs, vegetables, minced fish and salted fish. According to the Chef Khoo, the preparation of this dish is just tedious as the julienne herbs will only remain fresh within 30 minutes before its oxidise. The Nasi Ulam here is aromatic and bursting with the freshness of herbs flavour, especially the lemongrass. The rice is al-dente texture that you normally found in Chinese fried rice, however the fish and salted fish dissipate in the background. Overall, it remain a good dish, can be eaten on its own though I prefer a more even spread of fish and salted fish.

Nasi Ulam Istimewa

Sotong Masak Asam ($19). A tender and springy squid cooked in tamarind and palm sugar and starfruit. The original recipe uses Buah Belimbing Bulih, however it is difficult to find in Singapore. A well balanced between sweet and sour dish that will wake up your appetite.

Sotong Masak Asam 

Kaki Babi Pong Teh ($19). Pork leg slow cooked for six hours with sautéed onions and fermented beans. This is the first time I tried this dish using pork knuckle. The meat is succulent, packed with collagen from the skin of the pork leg. Although it was cooked over a long period, there was still some springiness in the meat instead of mushy and soft. The gravy is slightly sweet, with a touch of fermented beans.

Kaki Babi Pong Teh

Ayam Buah Keluak ($22 – including 4 pcs of buah keluak). The signature of peranakan dish, the thick pieces of chicken is tender and absorbs the gravy well. It might look unappetizing, however it is pretty delicious.

Ayam Buah Keluak 

Buah Keluak, known as the truffle of the East can be considered an acquired taste. At The Peranakan, the team took additional steps in the preparation of Buah Keluak. They took out the fillings, blend it, and put it back into the shell before cooking it with the chicken. Resulting a smooth and creamy texture buah keluak, instead of the traditional coarse texture. After this process, each buah keluak will contain two times the amount of normal fillings. If you order this dish, the service staff will provide you with a special spoon to dig into the buah keluak. LD loves this dish, especially the buah keluak as she described as creamy truffle with a chocolatey taste.

Buah Keluak Spoon

Nonya Chap Chye ($15). One of the most recognised and favourite peranakan dish, a must order when you are in peranakan restaurant version. The version here has a lighter flavours with crunchy cabbage, accompanied with sliced shiitake mushroom and tang hoon. Although it is good, I prefer mine to be cooked a bit longer and with more robust flavour.

Nonya Chap Chye

Bendeh / ladies finger with chinchalok ($12). One of LD's favourite dish of the night. She loves the crunchy bite of the lady finger together with the chinchalok plus the sambal that they served (a familiar home-cooked dish in her grandma's & mom's cooking). Watch out for the spiciness from the sambal, as she finished her Soursop with biji selaseh drink ($8) quite fast after having this dish.

Bendeh / ladies finger with chinchalok

 Soursop with biji selaseh drink

Satay Babi Sum Chan ($19). Well this is not your typical satay because there is no peanuts in the sauce. Instead it contain pork belly cooked with different type of herbs over 3.5 hours and the gravy looks like peanut sauce. The meat is tender, succulent and my favourite word fatty. I always love my Sum Chan (Pork Belly), so this dish definitely sits well with me as my 'rice thief'.

Satay Babi Sum Chan

Ngoh Hiang Prawn ($15). The version here is well fried with crispy exterior texture, while moist and juicy inside. There were prawns, mince pork and diced water chestnuts; which goes well with their chilli and thick sweet sauce. There is a traditional liver version, but we did not get to try it this time around, we will go and try the next round as LD says it is the version that her family are used to.

Ngoh Hiang Prawn

We also tried the soup Itek Tim ($9) and Sup Bakwan Kepiting ($9). Like the Chap Chye, the duck soup is on the light sight. Very subtle, like missing the OMPH from the salted vegetables. Meanwhile the crab soup is a must try here. The broth is clear, yet robust. While the crab ball is springy, with a slight chewiness and you can taste the crab flavour in it. You can add additional ingredients such as sea cucumber or other item to the soup, I just don't think that it is necessary.

Itek Tim

Sup Bakwan Kepiting

Just when we are almost full, the desserts served looks so tempting that we cannot stop tasting. Pandan Gula Melaka Cake ($6.50) and Pandan Gula Melaka Cake with durian ($8). The Peranakan version of Pandan Chiffon cake, drizzle with aromatic Gula Melaka, topped with roasted coconut shavings. The chiffon cake is soft and moist, provided a good base for gula melaka and roasted coconut shavings.

Pandan Gula Melaka Cake

The durian version is topped with homemade Malaysian durian blend. The texture of the durian blend is smooth, creamy, almost like thick syrup type without any fibre which commonly found in durian pengat. A good topping for the Pandan Cake as it works in unison with the fragrant gula melaka.

Pandan Gula Melaka Cake with durian

Pulot Enti Kelapa ($5) and Pulot Enti Hae Bee ($6.50). This is de-constructed version of one of my favourite snack made from glutinous rice, cooked with blue pea flower. The Pulot Enti Kelapa is the sweet version of the dish, where the topping uses mixed of gula melaka with coconut shavings. Meanwhile the Pulot Enti Hae Bee is the savoury version, with the same topping uses for the prawn rolls. Both are equally good, it just depends on which version you prefer. I like the sweet one, while LD like the savoury one.

Pulot Enti Hae Bee

There is also Pulot Enti Durian ($6.50). First time I tried this version and my taste buds just can't adjust to the combination of durian and glutinous rice. A little bit too much for me.

Pulot Enti Durian

Pineapple Tart. It looks like the one that I used to have in Indonesia during the Chinese New Year. The fillings is fully covered by the pasty and some slits are made to the pastry to create the pineapple effect. The fillings slightly subtle and I prefer more buttery punch in the pastry.

Pineapple Tart

A must try here is The Peranakan Pot of Malacca Milk Tea ($6.50). It is thick, solid and silky smooth. Reminds me of the Traditional Hong Kong Milk Tea. A good ending to the meal.

The Peranakan Pot of Malacca Milk Tea

Overall, within the short period since its opening, I can say that The Peranakan is one of the better Peranakan Restaurant in Singapore. The price is slightly on the high side, but it is relative to the location and ingredients used. So if you are a fans of peranakan food or looking to try it for the first time, The Peranakan should come into consideration. Cheers!!

Thank you very much to Chef Raymond Khoo and The Peranakan Team for the tasting invitation.

Food & Drink: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 9/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50

The Peranakan
442 Orchard Road
#02-01 Claymore Connect @Orchard Hotel
Singapore 238879

T: +65 6262 4428
IG: @theperanakansg
OH: Daily 11.00 – 22.00
Peranakan High Tea 11.00 – 17.30 Daily
Weekday $24++; Weekends $28++ (Min 2 pax to share)


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