The neon orange shophouse caught 14K’s and my eyes and since the interior is dark and sexy like us, we were drawn into it. We love how the modern decor of the restaurant compliments the old shophouse.
Donoma is roughly divided into two areas, the bar and the dining area.
The bar area is designed to accommodate groups of different sizes. Big groups can sit on the sofa or at the tall long table with bar stools while smaller groups can sit at the bar counter, a small square table or along the sidewalk outside the restaurant on very comfortable rattan chairs.
Many business-women and men drop by the bar for a drink or two after work, mostly suited up in executive ties and suits. We saw two American men and a Singaporean lady entertaining a Japanese businessman here. The quietude of the place makes the bar very ideal to chillax. The first time we were there (we were there several times), it was playing jazz and oldies, which was tasteful. If you’re nearby and thirsty after a hard and hot day or if you want to hook up a rich angmoh, drop by. The place is very comforting.
So when we were there for the third time, we decided to try the Indonesian food. They just revamped the American food menu to an Indonesian one. And I think it’s a very smart move for two reasons: (1) there are very few halal food around Chinatown area and (2) the beautiful and chic decor with copper tables and gold lighting fits the Indonesian food. There is a selection of cheap rice and noodle sets for only $8.
We ordered Berkedel (fried mashed potato, $3), Soto Ayam Kudus (clear chicken broth, $6), Beef Rendang ($8), Ikan Goreng (fish, $12), and 2 jasmine rice ($1 each). We found all the food (except the soup!) to be a tad dry and bland. My experience with Indonesian food is limited but the beef rendang wasn’t as spicy as I’d like it to be and the berkedel isn’t the local Malay version that we’re fond of. Here, berkedel is simply fried mashed potato.
However, the pricing is incredible. Where else can you find in CBD area the price of food like this in such a nice restaurant?
Out of 6 desserts, Es Durian ($6) is the only choice for dessert for me because seriously, anything with DURIAN is a win. The menu says, “Fresh Durian served with crushed ice and condensed milk.” The menu isn’t lying. It was really very fresh durian, not those durian paste from durian chendol at kopitiams. It even had the skin on, so you can really taste the durian, and they use very good grade of durian. I thought the “condensed milk” tasted more like almond milk, which went very well with the bittersweet durian. This dessert is like durian without seeds. You know how I know this is good? I blew my durian breath at 14K and he wanted to slap me. You either hate or love durians.
The service is run by a one-man show. Although he’s friendly and attentive, I wonder if he could manage with the bar/restaurant full, since the place is split into three areas, the walkway, the bar and the dining area.
Overall, I think this is a very romantic and quiet place to hang out for inexpensive pre- or post-prandial drinks. Come with your boy- or girlfriends. No GST, no service charge. We love the ambience and will return to this nice cosy little nook for drinks if we are near the area.
55 Keong Saik Rd
T: 6221 8143
(close on sunday)
Rating: 3.000/5 stars