I am so happy to hear about the opening of Folklore at Destination Singapore Beach Road because the brainchild behind it is non other than Chef Damien D'Silva. Having tried his food when he was at Timbre+ and getting to know about his culinary philosophy, I am excite to know that I once again have the opportunity to find Singapore heritage dishes at his new restaurant - Folklore, which is like a losing art in Singapore.
4 Angled Bean Salad 3.5/5
4 angle bean is an ingredient seldom used in Chinese cuisine and the only time I had it was from a nasi padang stall. While it is rather tasteless, it has a nice crunchy texture. At Folklore, the 4 angle bean is made into a salad which has a fruity refreshing finish with a hint of spiciness. The 4 Angled Bean Salad ($12) is tossed in a mix of green mango, pineapple, green and red chillies, ginger flower, kaffir lime leaves and dried shrimp. It is then dressed in a sweet sour, sambal belachan sauce.
Chilled Tofu with Pidan 3.5/5
The Chilled Tofu with Pidan ($12) here is different from either the Japanese or Taiwanese version. The tofu is actually mashed up together with the century egg and topped with pickled radish and slivers of scallion. I personally prefer the century egg taste to be more prominent in the execution.
Babi Assam 4.2/5
I have tried babi pongteh but Babi Assam ($22) is new to me. The pork belly is slow braised in a tamarind gravy with cinnamon and star anise until tender. It is then fried before serving. It is actually not spicy at all. In fact the pork belly comes with a sticky coat of sweetness.
A long lost Eurasian dish of wolf herring is the Singgang ($20). Wolf herring is a fish that is rarely used in the kitchen nowadays due to the numerous fine bones in it, making it a tedious chore for the chefs. Chef Damian painstaking de-boned the wolf herring and cooked in a non spicy paste which tasted like our local otah.
Sambal Juliana with Fried Brinjal 3/5
Among the dishes I had, the Sambal Juliana with Fried Brinjal ($14) probably is the least standout. The sambal was rather weak and it failed to add shine to the brinjal
Masak Lemak 3.5/5
The Masak Lemak ($14) is one of those dishes that I couldn't really put my finger to it whether I enjoyed it or not. The spinach, sweet potato leaves and kang kong are cooked in a lightly spiced gravy enriched by fresh coconut milk. I felt like I was having a bowl of prawn mee soup without the noodles. Or rather a plate of sambal kang kong but someone spilled a bowl of soup into it. In conclusion, I think I just didn't like how my vegetable is cooked in such a way.
Sambal Buah Keluak Fried Rice 4.5/5
The highlight at Folklore has to be Sambal Buah Keluak Fried Rice ($22). I first get to know about Chef Damien when I saw him on TV cooking the dish. It is understand that he created the dish back in 2001 and it is available either spicy or non spicy. In fact, the dish has gotten into the menu of many peranakan restaurants nowadays. I like the fact the it also comes with a fried egg and an extra serving of buah keluak paste at the side.
Hati Babi Bungjus 4.2/5
The name of the dish, Hati Babi Bungjus ($18) comes about because it looks like a pig's heart. Accordingly to what I know this is a Perankan dish usually cooked during ancestor offerings. It is made up of minced pork and liver marinated with coriander, tamarind, soya sauce and shallots, wrapped in coul fat then grilled. served with pickled mustard leaves and sambal. Somehow I find that it tasted like lor bak but in a ball shape.
Peranakan Chap Chye 4.5/5
Not to be missed is the Peranakan Chap Chye ($16). The classic nonya chap chye is braised in a pork and prawn stock until all the flavour has been absorbed by the ingredients. I enjoyed that the vegetables still have a slight crunch to them.
Oxtail Stew 4.5/5
Worth ordering is the Oxtail Stew ($26) that is cooked the traditional way with potatoes and carrots. The oxtail is cooked to a beautiful fork tender in a robust gravy, that is rich and thick. This will go very well with a plate of steamed rice.
Baked Custard with Gula Maleka 3/5
The Baked Custard with Gula Malacca ($12) is a Spanish inspired dessert called Koka. Chef Damian uses freshly squeezed coconut and made it into a pudding, served with gula melaka. I find that the texture too watery to be called a custard. I joking mentioned that it should be served in a glass like a milkshake. Taste wise it is sweet and nice but then I could not really trace any coconut in it.
Kueh Bengkah with Ice Cream 4.2/5
For dessert, I would highly recommend the Kueh Bengkah with Ice Cream ($10) and Kueh Kosui ($6). Even feeling stuffed after the heavy meal, I still cold not resist helping myself to the traditional nonya kuehs. I have to admit Chef Damian makes some of the best kueh bengkah and kueh kosui I have ever eaten.
Kueh Kosui 4.5/5
Once again it is good to have Chef Damien back cooking his heritage dishes. These are dishes that are hardly available on the menu nowadays. Dining at folklore is not just about enjoying good food prepared from scratch but also about preserving and propagating Singapore culinary heritage.
Note: This is an invited tasting.
Destination Singapore Beach Road
(Beside Golden Mile Complex)
700 Beach Road
Tel: +65 66792900
Nearest MRT: Nicoll Highway (CC Line)
Daily: 12pm - 230pm, 6pm - 930pm
1) Alight at Nicoll Highway MRT station. Take Exit A. Take the overhead bridge to Beach Road. Turn right onto Beach Road.Walk to destination. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]