Folklore, positioned next to the lobby of Destination Singapore Beach Road, is often teeming with hotel guests checking in/out, or lounging around. But we’re not here for the ambience. It’s all about the boldly flavoured food by Eurasian-Peranakan chef Damian D’Silva. His background means that you’ll get to sample painstakingly prepared heritage dishes, many based on his own family recipes. His grandmother is Peranakan, and his grandfather is Eurasian.
Grab one of the tables surrounded by kopitiam-style chairs or request a comfortable booth seat if it’s not too crowded. Soon the pleasant waitstaff will flit over to take your orders.
We visit on a Friday night, and the place is relatively full with local families and tourists. Thankfully, the dishes don’t take too long to arrive. What stands out for us is the signature sambal buah keluak fried rice, which has a good dose of spiciness and punchy flavours. Just as delicious is the beef cheek rendang – the large pieces of meat are braised for hours until fork-tender and infused with layers of warm spices.
So far so good. We had the chap chye before on previous visits, but this time, it falls short of the usual robust flavour. Other dishes, however, are
on point, including the golden brown ngoh hiang filled with chunks of prawns, water chestnuts and minced pork, as well as the piquant garang assam comprising fresh succulent red snapper and soft brinjal, steeped in a gravy with the perfect balance of spiciness and sharpness. If you like, there are also Eurasian classics such as oxtail stew with potatoes and carrots, and singgang (non-spicy dish of wolf herring) to be had.
To round off the meal, a must is the pillow-soft kueh kosui coated with freshly grated coconut, and the classic sago gula melaka laced with thick coconut cream. This is a good place to bring overseas guests for a taste of Singapore’s heritage food, if you don’t mind the no-frills and functional setting.