There are no famous chefs at Indigo Blue Kitchen at Shaw Centre, opened and operated by the Les Amis Group. The restaurant is a concept inspired by the childhood memories of the chairperson of the group, Desmond Lim, growing up in his Peranakan grandmother’s kitchen.
I wish I can be so petulant too and rich enough to just anyhow anyhow open a restaurant. I have lots of memories too.
Also: their grammar on their website is wrong: “Inspired by fond memories of a Peranakan boy growing up in his grandmother’s kitchen, Indigo Blue Kitchen is a tribute to and rediscovery of flavours of a bygone era.” Er… the Kitchen cannot be inspired by the fond memories. It should be “Inspired by fond memories of a Peranakan boy growing up in his grandmother’s kitchen, Mr Desmond Lim….” Fire the copywriter please.
To cut a long story short, the restaurant uses Lim’s family recipes, with his cousin Gloria Teo as consultant.
The signature of the restaurant is their nonya popiah (4 rolls, $32) but since there were only two of us and we wanted to sample more food, we got the platter for 2.
Everything on the plate is spectacular. The kueh pie tee is a little different from elsewhere: the shredded turnip, usually white, is dark here and I suspect they use soy sauce, making it taste like chap chye on its own. But together in the cup, with coriander and prawn (they give 2 prawns sliced into half, so it looks like 4), it tastes more savoury and interesting than the usual.
The otak-otak has a fantastic texture with chunks of fish (traditionally the fish is Spanish mackerel but I didn’t ask what fish they use here). Spices are interspersed between the chunks so that this otak has a layered spiciness.
The ngoh hiang is also excellent: extremely crispy skin and the pork they use is full of fats, and fats = umami. The tenderness of minced pork contrasts the crispy skin.
They offer four types of fish here (Ikan Batang, Barramundi, Ikan selar, and ikan kurau). And you can ask them to cook in any three styles: chilli garam (chopped chilli), chuan chuan (fermented soy bean with chilli), and house style (spicy kicap manis).
We wanted the barramundi ($28.50). The menu recommended it to be done in either chilli garam or house style but the waitress recommended chilli garam or chuan chuan. Since chilli garam is very spicy, we opted for chuan chuan and the waitress reduced the spiciness for us.
Perhaps it was a mistake, removing so much spice that the sauce just tasted sourish (tamarind?) although the fish was cooked admirably well.
They use Australian beef brisket and shin for the beef rendang, and braise it until the meat is super tender. Although it is super tender, the spices are not concentrated enough.
The chicken buah keluak is nice, but nothing extraordinary.
We were too full and cancelled our order for dessert, their signature apom ($14).
On the whole, the starters are impressive, but when it comes to the mains, they are run-of-the-mill. Not terrible, but not fantastic; you won’t complain, but there isn’t much to compliment. I suppose if the restaurant holds the concept of a family meal, then it is suffice.
We paid $116 for two persons.
Indigo Blue Kitchen
Shaw Centre #03-09/10/11, 1 Scotts Road, Singapore 228208
Tel: +65 6235 3218
12pm – 3pm, 6.30pm – 10pm, closed Monday<
Price / Value: 6/10
Decor / ambience: 6.5/10
You may be interested in…
–Folklore, Beach Road: Eurasian-Peranakan Food that is Different from the Rest
–Whole Earth, Tanjong Pagar: VERY SMELLY, Expensive But Excellent Food at the Only Vegetarian Restaurant to Be Awarded by the Michelin Guide
–National Kitchen, National Gallery: Michelin Stars for Singapore’s National Treasure, Peranakan Chef Violet Oon?
–Indocafe The White House, Newton
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.