If you are craving for some Peranakan food, here’s a suggestion you can try.
Situated in Claymore Connect that is, well, connected to Orchard Hotel, The Peranakan reeks strongly of Straits Chinese culture, from its décor, food offering and ambience.
To be frank, N and I knew nothing of this restaurant. We just happened to see the advertisement along the escalator out of the NTUC at Claymore Connect and was seduced by the photo depicting a vast array of Peranakan goodies, offered under the restaurant’s new Super Sedap Peranakan High Tea Set.
At S$35++ per pax in a weekend, I was really hoping the food was worth it; I could easily fill myself to the brim at Straits Café in Rendezvous Hotel at the same price and be much gratified. However, we were trying to have high tea for lunch, so pardon me when I was a bit sceptical of the choice!
Like mentioned, the décor was as Peranakan as it could be, including the hard wooden chairs, or the heavy porcelain bowls and wooden chopsticks, or the wallpaper spread with nostalgic nonya patterns. Just by being in the restaurant itself, I felt more Peranakan-ish than Straits Café.
The high tea set came with a pot of coffee each (as a semi coffee connoisseur, I’d say just take it with a pinch of salt). Right after that, we were both served a small bowl of Dry Laksa.
Most Dry Laksa you find on buffet catering menus or food court felt like the noodles were soaked in laksa gravy and then drained of the gravy before serving. The Dry Laksa from The Peranakan, however, tasted like the real deal, where the noodles were slow-cooked in laksa gravy till the gravy boiled off. In Chinese description, the noodles were “入味” (well-seasoned).
I thought that the rest of the high tea items would be served individually like the laksa, so imagine my surprise when the staff appeared with a HUMONGOUS plate (tray might be a better word) topped with all sorts of bite-sized nonya goodies.
We were like kids being thrown into Disneyland, surfing through every item and gaping in awe at Kueh Pie Ti, Ngor Hiang, Durian Pengat, Bluepea Rice…
The “crown jewel” was Kueh Pie Ti (though some might argue Durian Pengat), a crispy biscuit cup filled with seasoned cabbage and topped with a prawn. By the time I finished taking the photos, the gravy had seeped through the biscuit cup, but it remained light and crispy nonetheless. The Durian Pengat was very rich and overwhelmed every of my senses with every mouthful.
As for the Ngor Hiang, it didn’t taste quite like those I had in hawker centres (even different from those that I had from established names in Chinatown). There was less of the ngor hiang spice, and more of the flavour from the meat. The combination of the crispy, deep fried beancurd skin, tender meat and crunchy water chestnut bits made this a multi-layered tasting sensation.
Half of the items were savoury, and the other half were mostly cakes that I didn’t even know the names of. All were nice on its own, whether topped with coconut gratings or dipped with Gula Melaka sauce (it wasn’t exactly Gula Melaka, which was plain sugarish, but it had a more kaya-ish texture). In fact, the Gula Melaka sauce was so good, I licked the bowl clean after gorging down the rest of the food!
There are also other food items on its menu that can be ordered a la carte; in fact, N and I seemed to be the only ones who ordered the High Tea set during lunch time. And speaking of lunch time, the place was barely full while we were there. This made me think that The Peranakan is a good place for a short gathering of friends and families.
After dining, one can also shop around for authentic Peranakan items like the Sarong Kerbaya or little trinkets adorned with Peranakan designs. You can even get teapots (and sets with cups) or vases there! They were displayed in nostalgic wooden cases, so I wonder if those cabinets were for sale too… hmmm…
Since it is situated in the Orchard shopping belt, tourists staying in and around Orchard Road should pop by for a taste of local cuisine, without the sweat and crowd! What’s more, if you can also buy some stuff back as memorabilia at the shop!
442 Orchard Road
Level 2 Claymore Connect