It has been a very long time since I’ve come across excellent Peranakan food that would make me want to come back for more. Lunching at Daisy’s Kitchen really brought back memories of the dishes my family cooks from time to time, and I must say that I am really pleased to find a Buah Keluak dish that uses Spare Ribs as the main ingredient and not chicken. However, the real deal comes with Daisy’s awesome Black Ink Sotong. With a velvety alkaline ink sauce tinged with the flavours of sour assam, this is one dish that is a must order any time I visit the restaurant.
Appetizers came in and a dish of Belinjau crackers came up with some servings of Sambal Belachan. The Emping Belinjau ($2) was lightly bitter in nature with a slight sprinkle of salt all over. Made extra tasty with the belachan, this was a good starter to placate the hunger pangs.
The Otak Otak ($8) was decently meaty and a little rich in spiciness. Not overtly creamy or intense in flavour. But decent.
When I had the Petai Sambal Ikan Bilis ($10), I thought this was a nice side dish as a snack. The ikan bilis, crispy and savoury with a coating of slight sweetness, was nicely paired with the mild flavours and aromatics from the stink beans. Excellent.
However, the keynote of the lunch was really the Black-Ink Sotong ($12). The portion size is quite generous with a wonderful viscous black sauce ladled all over. And notably, the squid is firm and lightly cooked through, retaining its whole shape with minimal shrinking. It was a pleasure marrying the musky sea flavours of the squid together with the rich assam alkaline heavy black ink. A sensational experience and flavour to remember. So good, that I took away a serving at the end of the lunch for dinner and tried creating it over the next few days. (Of course, to much needed improvement)
Many Peranakan restaurants in Singapore serve up a concoction of Ayam Buah Keluak but seldom is it to my liking. In my family, my grandmother and father always prepare the Indonesian Black Nut dish with a good load of Pig Trotters, Bacon Back Bone, Spare Ribs, and the occasional chicken together – making their serving a giant feast by itself. I found the rempah paste used in Daisy’s kitchen to be quite similar with noticeable thickness and smooth flavours from the Keluak itself and what I guess would be a good use of Buah Keras, Serai and lots of onion. The Keluak in this dish however, is still mixed with minced meat and not the pure natural variant which I am more used to. Still, it was an excellent dish and I found the use of spare ribs with their soft bones to be a mouthwatering combination altogether. And I also took home 2 serving of this for dinner, with extra nuts!
The two soups of Itek Tim ($5/pax) and Bakwan Kepiting ($5/pax) were not too bad. I’d go for the Itek Tim over the Bakwan anytime as the flavours were more pronounced and in a crisp sour note.
Daisy’s creation of Ngoh Hiang ($8) comes created with a ingredient spread of pork, prawn, onion and water chestnut wrapped together in a beancurd skin. It is meaty and juicy, with a clear crunchiness from the water chestnut. I vividly remember making my own Ngoh Hiangs after a cooking session with Chef Malcolm Lee of the Candlenut kitchen, and still fondly thinking about the crunchiness created from julienned carrots as a sweeter alternative.
Assam Prawns (Market Price) was an interesting dish for me. I learnt to cook my Assam Prawns in a different manner by shelling each prawn and then quickly stir frying it in a lemongrass and onion rempah. Daisy’s version however has the prawns either well grilled or pan fried to achieve a crispy shell, later on quickly infusing the flavours with the tangy juices all over. I should find some time to recreate this dish as well!
The Sambal-stuffed Fried Fish ($12) is a familiar sight to me as it is a dish I cook almost every other day (minus the sambal though, as I seldom prepare the chilli paste). The drizzle of the fish oil over the fish together with a dash of light soy sauce all over made the dish extra tasty, and the sambal was the kick to the fleshy meat.
The Chap Chye ($8) was okay for me. =D A great vegetable side dish anytime.
Desserts for the day, Pulut Hitam ($3) and Bubor Cha Cha ($3).
This was my first time having Bubor Cha Cha with a mix of Gula Melaka within. Sweet and luscious with the decadent palm sugar mixed together in a rich coconut gravy.
Aunty Daisy and Me!
Dining at Daisy’s Dream Kitchen was a delight in itself. This dish are all prepared with a loving personal touch, lending a great warmth and comfort to the food. I’ve enjoyed the Sotong Black and Babi Buah Keluak so much that this will definitely not be the only time I’m there. I really look forward to my next visit, and perhaps be inspired further in recreating the experience at home.
|Daisy’s Dream Kitchen
517 West Coast Road
Reservations : 9113 4552
Opens From :
Take bus 78 from Clementi Mall and stop after BLK 513