Lauded as one of Singapore's most skilled executors of Eurasian-Peranakan cuisine, Chef Damian D’Silva bursts back onto the culinary scene with Folklore, his new restaurant at Destination Singapore Beach Road (managed by the Park Hotel Group).
This Lunar New Year, Chef Damian whips up a very special, and elaborate, heritage 'Tok Panjang' feast, prepared true to his Peranakan maternal grandmother's recipes—it'll be like dining in his family's home. Combining the Hokkien word for 'table' and Malay term for 'long', a Tok Panjang (literally "table long") is a showcase of a Peranakan household's best dishes, usually only done for special occasions.
Folklore's Chinese New Year 'Tok Panjang' is available for dinner from 15 February to 2 March 2018 from 6pm to 9.30pm daily, priced at $68 per adult and $28 per child (12 years old and below). Chinese New Year set lunches are served at $18.80 per person. Note that a la carte menu will not be available during this promotional period.
There are too many delicious dishes on Chef Damian's 'Tok Panjang' lineup that'll be fighting for both your attention and stomach space, so my advice is to definitely pace yourself.
Starting with the soups, dive straight for the soulful Itek Teem, an extremely flavourful stew of fall-apart-tender duck with salted vegetables, enjoyed with a tangy lemon sauce dip. For those who prefer a lower level of saltiness, the Bakwan Kepiting of succulent balls—a mixture of crab, prawn, pork and fresh bamboo shoot balls patiently hand-smashed till the perfect texture—swimming in a rich prawn-pork soup.
Peranakans do not have Yu Sheng. Instead, their festive must-have is a Peranakan Prawn Salad, poached prawns on fresh Chinese lettuce leaves, topped with a seemingly modest chilli plum sauce. It is as bright and tangy as it is refreshing, from the addition of lemon juice, but the dish is also madly spicy.
Rather than the deep, rumbling heat I'm usually accustomed to in Peranakan cuisine, this was a mouth-watering burn—piquant yet strangely addictive—that lingers, lingers and lingers. It had some of the diners on our table to the point of (almost) tears, so get ready a glass of milk if you're worried about this spice challenge.
Other must-tries—aside from the generous Otah, his hearty and homely Babi Pongteh, and the deeply umami Peranakan Chap Chye—are the popular Grandma's Chicken Curry, perfumed with spices like cinnamon, star anise and cloves, featuring Chef Damian's homemade curry powder, and his excellent Ayam Buah Keluak.
An extremely labourious dish that involves extraction of the nut 'meat', frying with lard till moist and intensely chocolatey, then stuffing it back into the Keluak shells, chef's masterful, slow-cooked-to-perfection rendition is a rich and earthy dish that'll have you making reservations for a return visit.
Address: Level 2, Destination Singapore Beach Road, 700 Beach Road, Singapore 199598
Tel: +65 6679 2900 / +65 9021 9700