What: After a very popular guest stint last year at The Fullerton Bay Hotel, Peranakan chef and heritage cuisine expert Philip Chia will be back at The Clifford Pier from 26 March to 13 April 2018 with both new and well-loved offerings from his collection of recipes.
What to expect: Peranakan staples such as his moreish Nyonya Chap Chye ($16 a la carte) and Ayam Buah Keluak ($28 a la carte, also available on the set lunch and dinner menus) return to Chef Philip’s slightly expanded lineup, though the biggest change from previous is that some of his dishes will also be available on The Clifford Pier’s Heritage Dinner Buffet (available Sat and Sun only)—which is considered a steal at only $68 per person.
Highlights: This is the sample appetiser medley platter we had at the preview featuring Ngoh Hiang (Five-spice pork rolls in beancurd skin) and Nyonya Egg Prawn Salad.
After a madly spicy Prawn Salad I had previously, I braced myself before having a taste of the Nyonya Egg Prawn Salad. Rather than a piquant spiciness, Chef Philip's version melds together traditional Kong Th'ng peanut candy into a bright, sweet-sour dressing for a pleasantly nutty finish.
The stellar Itek Tim ($22 a la carte)—duck soup with preserved salted vegetables and tomatoes, served piping hot—is a must-have, so it’s good to know it’s available on both lunch ($35 for 2 courses, $39 for 3 courses) and dinner sets ($68 for 4 courses).
For mains, give the Babi Tohay (braised pork belly in red rice yeast with lemongrass, shallots and garlic. $30 a la carte, available on set menus) a try.
Said to be a “forgotten” dish from the ‘50s, the dish—prepared with fresh cincalok that has been fermented with brandy for a week—visually reminds me of Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken (Hong Zao Ji) but its flavour profile is more complex and deeper. The tender pork belly and savoury brandy-infused gravy had us wolfing down our rice.
To seal the deal, we were treated to chef’s Kueh Bengka Ubi (baked tapioca cake) and eye-rollingly satisfying Durian Pengat enjoyed with Gula Melaka ice cream and generous sprinkles of Sasagoon—a forgotten Peranakan treat of grated coconut and rice flour executed in a copper pot till caramelised and crumbly-crisp.
Guest Chef Philip Chia’s upcoming Peranakan promotion at The Clifford Pier, The Fullerton Bay Hotel is available from 26 March to 13 April 2018, for both weekday set lunch and dinner, and weekend dinner buffets. For more details, please visit www.fullertonhotels.com/the-fullerton-bay-hotel/dine-on-peranakan-at-the-pier.html.
This was an invited media tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.
The Clifford Pier
Address: Lobby, The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, 80 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049326
Tel: +65 6877 8911/8912