Riding the new wave of Peranakan cuisine in Singapore – a period of self-discovery, reinterpretation and invention in terms of culinary culture in the Little Red Dot – Indocafe is perfectly positioned (in more ways than one) to push the envelope when it comes to showcasing the ways that Portuguese, Dutch, British Malay, Indonesian and Chinese influences have played their part in the famously tasty food of Singapore. Located in a handsome colonial-era building – ‘The White House’ – up on Scotts Road in Newton (easily reached from the cosmopolitan action of Orchard), Indocafe is the ideal destination for diners wanting to understand the intricacies of Peranakan cuisine.
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Wonderful dining experience and I have put this place for return visits in the near future.
Felt pampered by the attentive serving staff and the calming "spa-like" background music really perks up our appetite! There were a total of 5 adults. We ordered all its starters: Signature Kueh Pie Tee, Ngoh Hiang and the Otah Klasik - served like Chawamushi (2 orders after we finished the first one in less than 5 mins). The other yummy dishes like Organic Ayam Buah Keluak, Wagyu Beef Rendang, Sambal Sotong and Udang Assam Pedas (King prawns with assam) were all superb Peranakan cuisines! We "squeezed" our tummy for its desserts - Chendo Panna Cotta, homemade ice-cream (coconut and vanila flavour) Guli Jelly and Bubor Cha cha. It was our first visit but will surely return for more.
Peranakan culture was initially a literal (royal) marriage of two cultures – that of mainland imperial China and what came to be known as the Straits of Malacca – initiated by the union of Princess Hang Li Po of the Ming Dynasty and the sultan of Malacca. This paved the way for waves of migration from China into Indonesia and Malaysia, with of course the intermingling of culinary cultures a vital consequence. Here in Singapore, the widespread ‘genre’ of Peranakan cuisine is particularly influenced by the island city-state’s proximity to Indonesia, and it’s this particular set of ingredients, flavours, textures and aromas that Indocafe champions at its beautiful Newton restaurant, a heritage building along Scotts Road that itself tells a complex tale about Singapore’s modern history.
Penang otah, pulot hitam and bubur cha cha. If these terms mean anything to you – if indeed they get you excited and hungry – then you’re already familiar with Peranakan nyonya-style cooking! And you’ll be pleased to know that Indocafe lists these three dishes among their signature favourites, given a fine dining twist while never betraying their roots. We almost envy the uninitiated, though, for discovering the heartlands of Singapore’s most iconic ‘indigenous’ cuisine is an extraordinary experience. We recommend booking a table at Indocafe’s Newton restaurant and opting for the Peranakan a la carte tasting buffet to sample a wide range of delicacies, or wading into the extensive a la carte menu. Indocafe also lays on a high tea in the British tradition, with the chief exception being that you’re in for a Peranakan fusion kind of afternoon!