Baba Chews Bar & Eatery – New Peranakan Dinner in Joo Chiat
Joo Chiat is a Peranakan enclave where there are many colourful Peranakan terrace houses that have been conserved. Some of the best food on the island can be found here, including the newly opened Baba Chews Bar & Eatery, located within the former Joo Chiat Police Station.
As part of Hotel Indigo, the restaurant offers a great range of all-day dining options that include an All-Day Dining Menu, a family style Dinner Menu, as well as a Weekend Brunch Menu for ease of food choices throughout the day. But you definitely should not miss the Peranakan dishes that are available during dinner.
Specially prepared by Head Chef Alvin Leong, whose experience started since his early days as a self-taught cook from Malaysia, he is not a Peranakan but does pretty good Peranakan dishes. For a start, the soups were excellent. Pong Tauhu ($9) had huge meatball studded with bamboo shoot in their homemade prawn broth. Served piping hot, Itek Tim ($11) wasn’t too salted even though the duck soup was cooked with salted mustard leaves.
Iberico Pork Ribs Pongteh ($25) was slow-cooked for 12 hours to get that softness; while Beef Short Ribs Rendang ($25) is a a hearty classic made with short ribs stewed in homemade ‘Rempah’. I thought both dishes were on the sweet side during our day of visit.
Fish Head Curry is tasty with soft and tender red snapper and a curry that is slightly sour with tamarind. Chap Chye ($12) is stewed with fermented beans and still retains the crunch. We also ordered Telur Dadar Cincalok ($10). The presence of cincalok was, unfortunately, missing in this omelette.
Ending off the meal on a fun note, diners can look forward to a range of decadent sweet treats like the Kueh Durian ($12). Inspired by the traditional “kueh dadar”, the pandan crepe comes with homemade D24 durian mousse and shredded coconut cooked in palm sugar. Topped with gula meaka ice cream, this is my favourite dessert out of the list.