COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Despite the diverse variety of top-notch restaurants and affordable hawker centres scattered across the island, sometimes a home-cooked meal is still the best. That is, when you’re craving a piping hot bowl of hearty, comfort food.
Chef Damian D’Silva gets that all too well. He’s the man helming the kitchen of Folklore, a cosy new eatery that prides itself on preserving culinary traditions and whipping up what he calls “Singapore heritage food”. Armed with treasured family recipes from his Peranakan grandmother and Eurasian grandfather, his restaurant offers an experience that’s steeped in nostalgia, padded with age-old flavors and the aromas of yesteryear.
Coming from establishments like Timbre, Big D’s and Immigrants Gastrobar, Chef Damian’s current venture is nicely nestled in the sleek new semi-budget Destination Singapore Beach Road, a fuss-free hotel sandwiched between Golden Mile Complex and Golden Mile Tower. Without doors or walls to separate Folklore from the tiny hotel lobby, the restaurant feels like a casual space to catch up over home-style food — especially if your family is the type that rarely deigns to spend time in the kitchen.
According to Chef Damian, every dish tells a story — and tucking into his food, we’re struck by the intricate layers of flavor in each bite. Nothing is done with shortcuts; rather, everything is painstakingly crafted from scratch, with a dash of soul. We suggest you round up a couple of friends for a meal here, ’cause you’re gonna want a taste of the entire menu.
Standouts include his signature Singgang ($20), an Eurasian dish of de-boned wolf herring cooked in a non-spicy paste made with chillies, lemongrass, galangal and turmeric; and Beef Cheek Rendang ($32), a slab of melt-in-your-mouth tender meat that’s spiced up with sprinklings of coriander, fennel, cumin and garang masala.
For a refreshing zing to your palate, order the 4 Angled Bean Salad ($12), a zesty plate of 4 angled beans, green mango, red chillies, ginger flower, mint, pineapple and kaffir lime leaves — all that’s tossed with lime juice, sugar and sambal belachan sauce.
Alternatively, Chef Damian’s original recipe of Chilled Tofu with Pidan ($12) works great for dampening the spice — it’s a blend of century eggs, tofu, Japanese pickled radish, pickled lettuce and pickled ginger. If you find your mouth on fire after chowing down on other dishes, these two are good options to keep coming back to so your sinuses can catch a break.
To fill up on carbs, steer clear of white rice and try the Sambal Buah Keluak Fried Rice ($22) — topped with a fried egg and tossed with 4 angled beans, it’s a fragrant dish that will pair well with any other sides.
Other must-tries include Babi Assam ($22), pork belly that’s slowly braised with cinnamon and star anise in a tamarind gravy; Masak Lemak ($14), a bowl of spinach, sweet potato leaves, shrimp and kang kong swimming in coconut gravy; and Peranakan Chap Chye ($16), a rendition of the classic dish made with pork and prawn stock, glass noodle, shiitake mushroom, white cabbage, and black fungus.
But no matter how close to bursting the buttons on your pants are, you still have to make room for dessert here. We promise it’s worth the extra calories.
Definitely go for Kueh Kosui ($6), a plate of steamed, wobbly tapioca chunks with gula melaka covered in grated coconut, or Kueh Bengkah ($10), addictive slices of baked tapioca cake that are beautifully charred on top, giving each bite a crunch that contrasts well with the chewy tapioca and the creamy vanilla ice cream.
Folklore is at L2, Destination Singapore Beach Road, 700 Beach Rd, 6679-2900. Daily noon-2.30pm, 6pm-9.30pm.