With National Day just around the corner, there’s no better way to celebrate the nation’s birthday than by tucking into hearty local favourites.
Available from 7 August to 7 September 2014, Fullerton Bay‘s The Clifford Pier presents a carefully curated menu of Peranakan favourites such as ayam lodeh (chicken in coconut curry), kong ba bao (caramelised pork belly slices in a soft bun) and Hainanese steak with white rice, all in collaboration with award-winning local chef, Shermay Lee.
Digging deep into her roots, the chef and owner of her eponymous cooking school created eight dishes, all of which were derived from handwritten recipes passed down to her from her grandmother and author of the famous Mrs Lee’s Cookbook. Three dishes on the menu were cooked from unpublished handwritten recipes that Shermay recreated for this period only.
If there was a beauty pageant for restaurants, The Clifford Pier would be one of the top contenders. With its high ceilings, hanging chandeliers and lush carpets, the restaurant’s interiors reminded us of a charming chapel suitable for weddings and other grand ceremonies.
What’s even more breathtaking was the view. Despite how it wasn’t situated atop a skyscraper, the glass doors of the restaurant gave a panoramic view of the Marina Bay landscape that left us in awe and we reckoned it would do the same for anyone.
We started out the eight course meal with a Chinese favourite (or Cantonese to be more specific): the kong ba bao. Served with a perfectly soft-boiled egg in a flavourful garlicky soy gravy, these tender Kurobuta pork slices tucked into fluffy white buns were so tasty, we were tempted to get our hands on more.
As we progressed down the menu, we were headed towards a more Malay or Indonesian side of the Peranakan spectrum. The first of the Malay dishes was the Nonya chicken curry with roti jala (lacy egg pancakes). We loved how Shermay used coconut milk in the curry instead of just mixing it with water, giving it a richer and more intense flavour. What’s great was that the spiciness from the dish was just the right amount, so as not to distract from the flavour of the roti jala.
Another dish we couldn’t help but lap up was the ayam lodeh. Served with a humble bowl of white rice, this dish was highly fragrant and really warmed our stomachs and hearts.
Indeed, the range of dishes on this menu felt like we were transported back into the time of our grandparents and reminded us of the family dinners we used to have as kids.
With some of the restaurants in the Singapore food scene moving towards more Western flavours, this menu is definitely a refreshing departure from what we normally get. We were thoroughly impressed by the rich flavours and story presented through each dish. Whether you’re a Singaporean or not, it’s easy to find comfort in these dishes because they are bounded with so much history and heritage to them.
From 11 to 12 August 2014, The Clifford Pier will also be hosting the oldest collegiate a cappella group in the United States, the Yale Whiffenpoofs. The group will be performing their repertoire of traditional Yale songs, original compositions and hits from every decade both during afternoon tea and dinner sessions. For more information, visit www.fullertonbayhotel.com.
The Clifford Pier, 80 Collyer Quay Singapore 049326, +65 6597 5266, email@example.com.