Indocafé – The White House
35 Scotts Road
6733 2656 | thehouseofindocafe.com
Did you know that buah keluak, the black nut frequently featured in Peranakan dishes, was poisonous? Neither did we. The nuts of the wild keluak tree, which is native to Southeast Asia, are first boiled, then buried in ash and banana leaves and left to ferment for 40 days to expel their poison.
It doesn’t stop there. To prepare Indocafé’s signature ayam buah keluak ($24), the chef has to crack a small opening in each nutshell, mix shredded chicken with the black paste it contains, and stuff it all back in before braising it with chicken. The result? A divinely nutty, thick gravy with fall-off-the-bone chicken.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Indocafé, the latest Peranakan restaurant to pop up on our radar, boasts an extensive list of Nyonya dishes – a mishmash cuisine with Chinese, Indonesian and Malay influences – and drinks ranging from wine to the famous kopi luwak ($48). Ask chief sommelier Danny Chan for wine-pairing suggestions .
The kid in you will have fun assembling your own kueh pie tee ($10) by scooping the shredded turnip filling into pastry cups and topping it with homemade chilli sauce.
For us, the silver pomfret seafood pangang ($40), lightly grilled to seal in its freshness and served with barbecue sauce and mango sambal salsa, was the star of the night. The juicy tiger prawns seafood assam nanas pedas ($32) in spicy pineapple gravy deserves a mention too.
In true Peranakan style, spices are plentiful, so we chose a refreshing passion fruit mojito cooler ($12) and a chendol panna cotta ($12) – coconut pudding and red beans with gula melaka on the side.
Adjacent to it is a casual café that serves coffee and snacks and has a daily cultural performance at 3.30pm.
Must-try dish: Ayam buah kelauk, if you’re a Peranakan first-timer