Located off the entrance towards Sentosa Island and directly opposite St. James Powerstation is HarbourFront’s latest hotel – Bay Hotel. Opened in February this year, the hotel features a flagship Indonesian restaurant called Rumah Rasa where authentic ibu-esque flavours come alive in Chef Sharifah’s creations. For a tantalizing family spread of dishes like Paru Goreng and Udang Petai Belado to a creation of Ayam Panggang that is smoky sweet and tasty, this is a good pit stop for that hearty cuisine you wished you indulged in.
I really don’t know what is off with the weather this year, and it’s just getting way too hot for a normal day in May. However, once I stepped into Rumah Rasa, I ordered a glass of Soda Gembira ($6) which is more like Bandung mixed with Sparkling soda water. Refreshing and sweet, a great way to chill off the lunch.
To begin the meal, I had the Soto Ayam Madurah ($6), which I give my take to be a clear slightly oily chicken broth with chunks of meat inside, topped with a handful of beansprouts and celery pieces. It is a little light in flavour and not as intense or savoury. The potato croquette (I still insist it’s a potato cutlet, at least that’s how I’ve been calling it since young) is a nice touch to make the dish a bit more hearty. Nasi Kuning ($2), rice dyed with spices and yellow tumeric is available to accompany the dishes.
The first main which arrived was the Rendang Sumatra ($10), where whole beef chunks were simmered in a mild yellow curry . Richly flavoured with a tender fragrance and juices bursting into the mouth, this is one dish that will make my day anytime as those heartwarming dishes you will want to have by an open fire. Rendang is always good.
Notably, my favourite dish has to be the Paru Goreng Belado ($8). Now, don’t get carried away by thinking the fiesty red topping is going to burn your tongue, instead it is only deceptively hot and it lends a mere touch of spice to the deep fried pieces of beef lungs. Crispy and succulent, this is always a delight for me.
The Tahu Telur Surabaya ($8) is also of notable mention. While the dish itself is naturally on the oilier side, it really makes up for whatever thought with its purely indulgent flavours and textures. Crispy egg whites swirled about an assortment of beancurd and topped with generous julienned vegetables and a toss of crushed peanuts, only to be further drizzled with a light sweet sauce that does not overwhelm the tastebuds. A yummy assortment!
I have no idea why the Sayur Lodeh ($8) appears under the Salad section of the menu, but regardless of where it appears, this is one option for guests to order. I found the flavours to be lightly dressed in coconut with more emphasis onto the natural flavours of the vegetables. Not as robustly intense like what I would prefer, this is one Sayur Lodeh that would appeal to guests looking for some vegetables to accompany the meal though it didn’t hit the notch for me.
A thumbs up from me goes to this wonderful creation of Ayam Panggang Berkakak Jakarta ($14). Grilled chicken with the restaurant’s special spicy sauce makes this a very appetizing dish to share. I particularly enjoyed the sweet fragrance from the brown sugar glazed over the chicken skin before grilling, as it really lent a set of caramelized intensity uniquely paired with the savoury meat. It can do without the sauce, but then again, the sauce does create a new dimension of flavours to enjoy the chicken with.
This is probably one dish you would not want to order during lunch time before heading back to work as the pungentness from the petai beads will probably impress your co-workers in a slightly different manner. Still, the Udang Petai Belado ($12) employs the use of fresh prawns, the not spicy chilli and a good spread of stink beans for your fancy. Good if you want to have some seafood, paired with one of the most unique beans in the world.
However, for something a little more traditional, there is the Ikan Bakar Rumah Rasa ($28) to go for. Charcoal grilled red snapper topped with the house’s specialty sauce, this dish is delightfully fresh. Slightly salty with a hint of dried prawns immersed throughout, and not to forget the fragrance of garlic, this is a tangy offering to pair with the Nasi Kuning.
Banana Fritters ($8) a.k.a. Goreng Pisang is served in pieces of 4 here with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. The fritters are light and crispy, each piece delicately fried, though the pairing with ice cream is certainly a novel idea of a traditional Indonesia restaurant.
For something refreshing to end, there is the Es Cincau Atap ($6). Grass Jelly with Atap seed in sparkling soda water is a clear way to wash off any heaviness on the tastebuds, though I really think it could do with more grass jelly, more sweetness and more atap seeds.
But for a clear winner in the desserts arena, go for the Es Chendol ($6). Fresh coconut milk with kidney beans, grass jelly immersed in the house’s make of Gula Melaka, this is a sweet and alluring dessert to really end the entire Indonesian meal experience with. I really enjoyed the unique sweetness of the gula melaka found in this restaurant, though I reckon it is more flavoured like the Gula Jawa instead.
Chef Sharifah Zaharah bte Syed Yaakub
It was a delight meeting Chef Sharifah and experiencing her creations! Chef has a long history in the culinary arena, with experience from Raffles Hotel and St. Regis before coming over to Rumah Rasa to head the kitchen.
Me, Chef Sharifah and Hewlett
Photo Credit : Hewlett
In all, Rumah Rasa is definitely a nice representation of its name – the House of Taste. With a unique selected offering of traditional Indonesian fare together with a couple of desserts that steal the limelight, this is one restaurant that looks to set itself into the heartwarming cuisine scene in Singapore. Though the decor is a little sparse, it has only been less than two months since their opening. I also hear that even more delights might be added to the menu, and I look forward to see what else Chef Sharifah has up her sleeve.
Thank you Publicist PR for the invitation
Bay Hotel Singapore
50 Telok Blangah Road
Opposite St. James Power Station and VivoCity
Tel : 6818 6681
Walking distance from HarbourFront MRT Station