The Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong is the InterContinental Hotels Group's latest property to open in Singapore. Ever since my stay at the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong, I have been eyeing this property (since they are both located side-by-side) and therefore when I finally got the opportunity to head down to check out the Baba Chews Bar and Eatery, I was definitely excited to see what was in store for me.
Baba Chews Bar and Eatery (or more common known as just Baba Chews) is the latest addition to the culturally-rich Katong neighbourhood. The all-day dining destination features a different menu across different periods of the day and it is housed in the former Joo Chiat Police Station. Head Chef Alvin Leong and his culinary team serves up a selection of dishes that can be found across the Straits of Malacca with some modern interpretations.
Baba Chews Bar and Eatery feature a beautiful space and even though I love the look of it, the tiles definitely do stand out the most. The restaurant caters to a new generation of diners with an intricate balance of fun and familiarity. If you are staying in Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong, breakfast will also be served at this location. Outside of breakfast hours, an all-day dining menu is offered while a family style Dinner Menu (which encourages more sharing between diners) is served in the evening.
There is also a small bar area that is located within the restaurant and from the number of occasions that I have visited this place, the seats do get filled up pretty quickly so make sure you get in early to watch as your cocktail gets masterfully concocted in front of your very eyes.
The dinner started with a Salted Egg Kaya with Blue Pea Chiffon - this salted egg kaya (which is slowly gaining popularity over the internet) is not for sale unfortunately (at least at the time of writing) and you can only enjoy this in the restaurant. I love how light the chiffon was but more importantly that salted egg kaya was just simply delicious and I can think of a number of things it could potentially go well with.
As part of the media tasting, I was served a Baba Platter which from what I understand, is not offered to the public. However, every single component of this platter can be ordered separately - the Chilli Crab Cake is definitely one of the most interesting one. Instead of getting your hands dirty, you can now enjoy a different take on this Singaporean dish in one bite. I did not particularly enjoy that man-tou substitute but I thought that the crab cake and chilli crab sauce was ingenious. The other component which I thought was really good was the Otak Siew Mai which seemed a little gimmicky at the start but it was so simple and delicious.
Pong Tauhu a less-commonly known Peranakan soup is one of my favourite dishes sampled at Baba Chews Bar and Eatery. This comforting homemade soup stock was served with pork meatballs and bamboo shoots. The soup really reminded me of a quality prawn noodle stock without the grease and it is definitely crave-worthy especially on a rainy night.
I really enjoyed the mains at Baba Chews - every single one of them that was served that night but some more so than the rest. In my order of personal preference:
- Barramundi Goreng Chilli - I love spicy food and even though this looks really intimidating from the photo above, the heat is actually quite minimal. You can't go wrong with a pan-fried sea bass fillet that is moist on the inside and coated with delicious sambal chilli on the outside really.
- Beef Short Rib Rendang - This is definitely a close second for me - the fork-tender beef (seriously, you have to try it for yourself) is stewed in a rich gravy of coconut cream, spices, palm sugar and tumeric leaf. The result? A immensely creamy and flavourful rendang that goes perfectly with white rice.
- Sambal Sotong Petai - If you are not a fan of petai (sometimes known as the stink bean), you might not enjoy this as much. It is worth noting that there are a number of dishes are rotate on a daily basis and are therefore not in the permanent dinner menu. This sambal sotong petai is one of such dishes so do not freak out if you do not see it on the printed menu - look out for the specials in the restaurant!
- Chap Chye - While I am generally a huge fan of nonya chap chye, I thought that it was slightly salty so even though the flavours were good, the saltiness was too much for me.
Durian-lovers will definitely have to give the Kueh Durian here a try - it was so good I came back a few days after to have seconds on my own. This is a variation to the ever popular kueh dadar but it is filled with homemade durian mousse and shredded coconut that has been cooked in gula melaka instead. That gula melaka icre-cream that is on top of those pandan crepes is also something to behold - just make sure to eat them before the crepes otherwise some of the flavours may be lost to the overpowering durian mousse.
I really enjoyed my dinner at Baba Chews Bar and Eatery - the prices were decent and what you would generally expect to find in a restaurant but the execution of the dishes that I have sampled were all done really well.
This was an invited media-tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.