New restaurant serves Peranakan and local cuisines in elegantly refurbished colonial-era police station
September 24th, 2016
Recently opened in the colourful Katong neighbourhood of Singapore, Baba Chews Bar and Eatery references the Straits Chinese heritage of the area’s early residents. A culinary mashup of Chinese, Indonesian, Malay and Eurasian influences, Peranakan cuisine highlights local spices and ingredients to create distinctive taste profiles. Set within the elegantly refurbished colonial-era Joo Kiat police station, an adjunct of the Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong, Baba Chews offers an inviting new all-day dining and drinks destination. In addition to a buffet breakfast, the cafe serves an all-day dining menu, set lunch and dinner menus and weekend brunch. The well-priced dishes are complemented by gourmet coffee, culinary-influenced signature cocktails and a full bar service. Bright and uncluttered, the stylish interior melds contemporary sensibilities with nostalgic Peranakan-design motifs to create a casual atmosphere for comfortable dining and refreshment.
Design The spacious Baba Chews interior comprises a series of interconnected dining spaces opened up from the original floor plan. At the centre, seats at the large rectangular bar counter offer a casual option, while an adjacent compact outdoor terrace is another option in the evenings. The retro-chic aesthetic is enhanced by heritage elements such as the pressed metal ceilings, patterned tiled flooring, dark brown leather banquettes and colourful soft furnishings.
Cuisine Head Chef Alvin Leong elevates familiar local dishes with a modern sensibility, whilst respecting the spices and flavours of traditional recipes. Foremost among his standout dishes is the Ayam Buah Keluak Burger with a grilled chicken patty enhanced with local Buah Keluak sauce, pickled spicy vegetables achar style, and multigrain ciabatta buns. Other flavourful dishes to try include the Chilli Crab Cakes; Sambal Stingray; and Nonya Laksa – while favourite local desserts include the Kueh Durian and Nangka Cheesecake – both of which highlight the fragrant flavours of the durian fruit.
Beverages Highlighting the bar service, signature cocktails take inspiration from Peranakan culinary flavours with some intriguing combinations – typified by the Chews Laksa which reconstructs the essence of the spicy dish in a well-balanced combination that includes white rum, laksa-infused foam, pineapple juice and coconut cream. Also notable are Katong Sling – a tweaked derivative of the iconic Singapore cocktail – made from Courvoisier VSOP, apple juice, lemon juice, apple honey syrup, with Fernet added for a spicy accent.
Baba Chews opens daily from 6:30 am with last kitchen orders at 11:30pm. Daily Happy Hour promotions between 5 pm and 8 pm offer special deals on drinks – and check the Facebook Page for details on menu specialties and events.