Restaurant Review: The Peranakan at Claymore Connect L2, Singapore 238879

October 17, 2020

I'm guessing most of you (including me) think that Orchard is basically ION, Wheelock, Wisma and Taka but if you take a bit of a walk down toward Palais Renaissance, there's more than meets the eye. Specifically, The Peranakan restaurant at Claymore Connect, opposite Orchard Towers at Level 2. Established since June 2016, it is helmed by Chef Raymond Khoo and the only Peranakan restaurant in the vicinity. I'm so grateful and blessed to be invited to review the food there so I could discover this gem of a cultural gastronomy in such a convenient and comfortable location (as opposed to traipsing around in Katong). 


Right off the bat before getting to the food, the restaurant is actually surrounded by a small shop and gallery space (which is open for high tea and private events) so it's not just food you're ingesting, it's culture and heritage. Peranakan culture is such a unique blend featuring predominantly Chinese and Malay influences. For foreign visitors and local friends alike - there's a lot in there to learn about here.


The gallery has various artefacts and antiques on display that would warrant at least 15 minutes to browse through at the minimum. 


The long table is perfect for hosting larger parties and events, esp. when we get into Phase 3 and more than 5 are able to dine-in! 


The main dining area is well-lit with a comfortable vibe to it despite its decor, which you can see is very pretty.


OK so before we get to the food though, I also wanted to share that The Peranakan is not just a restaurant, but also a social enterprise with its community projects funded by earnings and donations. They donated meals during Circuit Breaker to healthcare workers every day - no easy feat at a time when most people were staying in - and I got to know Chef Raymond through volunteering at The Saturday Movement, which distributes bread/fruit to the disadvantaged at Lengkok Bahru and helped shift the Sungei Rd Thieves Market vendors to their new shop, among other things. You can help directly by donating on their website menu/order page while ordering some delicious food for pick up or delivery (via Oddle - $50 min. spend)!

The Peranakan Restaurant Singapore menu

Now on to the food... We had the Tok Panjang LKY (S$48 per pax, min. 2 pax to order) set which is basically a sampling of 13 iconic Peranakan dishes and desserts (like a best-of album compilation), handed down from generation to the next. One thing to note is each family will have slightly different renditions of the dishes and this is Chef Khoo's family legacy.


As part of the Tok Panjang set, diners can choose between the Bak Wan Kepiting (S$9), which is a rich bamboo shoot broth that contained crabmeat chunks and bouncy pork/prawn balls or Itek Tim (S$9) which is the steamed duck and salted vegetable soup. Both was really good (esp. since it was a cold rainy evening) but if I am forced to choose, I'd pick the paradoxically light and rich seafood-bamboo soup only because it is not something you get every day. 


By the way we also learned that there's a Vegetarian / Vegan version of most of their dishes too using plant-based meat replacements like Omnipork and faux meat. How cool is that? It's already difficult to find good vegetarian food in Singapore... and here's they managed to do that with Peranakan cuisine. Double props. I think one of the most distinctive features of this cuisine is the heavy use of aromatics and spices - without getting into the hot spicy territory, except for maybe this sambal belachan (bottled for sale, S$2) here which packed a kick.


For starters, there's a Kueh Pie Tee each (S$20 for 10), along with the crowd favourite that evening - the tangy Nasi Ulam (S$17), which where ulam stands for salad. So it is actually not fried rice but rice tossed with raw herbs, vegetables, minced fish and salted fish. It was so appetising and moreish we couldn't stop having it. There's also the Prawn Ngoh Hiang (S$15) which was alright but not outstanding. 


For the mains, there are 5. First, the fried fish aka Ikan Goreng w/ Sambal & Kichap Manis which I don't think is on the ala carte menu. Erm, I don't really eat fish with bones due to a childhood phobia, but it seemed tasty. 

There's also these mains - I enjoyed the Nonya chap chye (S$15) the most, though both the pork satay (S$19) and beef rendang (S$19) was sooo flavoursome with their gravy and begging for a side of white rice. 


The star of the show was the Ayam Buah Keluak  (S$22) where the precious insides from 2 of the mysterious nuts were taken out, blended into a paste with other ingredients and then stuffed back in to the shell. A special spoon was provided for us to dig out the inky goodness that tastes almost chocolatey. A little bit goes a long way in flavouring some white rice, but the taste is quite intense and not for everybody. 


As part of the Tok Panjang set, there's also a Chef's 4-Dessert Platter served together with a hot cup of Lemongrass Pandan Tea to round off the meal with APOM. Hur hur, pun intended. The Apom Bokwa (S$15 with durian and banana pengat) is the name of the rice flour pancake served with banana pengat sauce that we learned is actually a very rare dessert that not many make nowadays. The set also had Pulot Enti Durian Puree (S$6.50 but I think we got the premium D24 Durian Pengat priced ala carte at $8.80 instead) and Kueh of the Day, the Kueh Bingka (S$8) which is tapioca cake. In the background we see chunks of gula melaka in their original form. Presentation A+!


This is the Pulot Enti Kelapa (S$5) - the pretty blue pea glutinous rice with grated coconut gula melaka topping which I also enjoyed very much with the hot lemongrass tea.


Of course fans would also know that Chendol is a Peranakan specialty and this one is drenched generously with gula melaka to lend the rich caramel flavour in the shaved ice, red beans and pandan jelly, so we had to try it as well outside of the set :P


It won't be anything but a resounding two thumbs up for The Peranakan for the quality of food, service and dining ambience. Do check them out as soon as you have a craving for Peranakan food and support their business and community efforts with your wallet. At the same time remember to let more people know as well! Check out these promotions as well for October 2020.


The Peranakan

442 Orchard Rd, Level 2 Claymore Connect, Singapore 238879
Fridays to Wednesdays 11.30am to 9pm (Closed on Thursdays in October)
Reservations via theperanakan.com or call +65 62624428

Thanks to Chef Raymond again for inviting us to feast in your lovely restaurant!

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