Monday, May 7, 2012

Rumah Rasa: Indonesian cuisine

Its not always one can find good Indonesian food in Singapore...especially more upmarket establishments where one can bring clients for a meal. Rumah Rasa at Bay Hotel sounds like one such place...though the decoration is more homey, it is still in a nice hotel...right across the link to Sentosa.

This is an invited review

Recently opened with the hotel...some 2 months ago, this restaurant is spanking brand new. The chef in residence is Sharifah, who had cut her teeth at SATS, Raffles Hotel and St Regis before being appointed chef at Rumah Rasa. She prefers to make everything from scratch, all the spices and rempah used are he own concoction, so you won't get the same taste anywhere else.

Well, we were there for a media tasting...with 3 other bloggers. And we had a good time chatting about blogging, food and life. So on to the food...of course we started with drinks...

A special rose water with milk and soda. Interesting twist to the traditional bandung we get everywhere here in Singapore.

Surprisingly refreshing...the efferverscence of the soda perked up the mild drink. Nice.

I also had the lemongrass drink...also uplifted with a gassy soda

Quite a nice pairing. The lemongrass was obviously home made in the house kitchen, and a bit spicy with a good bite.

As a tasting event, we had a lot of food...almost the entire menu. As the restaurant is quite new, many of the dishes were still in development, and there plans to expand the menu. But let's start with a ubiquitious Indonesian dish...tahu telor

Not as crispy as I had expected it, but the flavour was powerful. Eggy, with a nice blend of smoothness and creaminess provided by the tofu...and the sauce was a killer. Wonderfully piquant, aromatic, sweet, and spicy. Magnificent sauce. Loved this dish...if only the eggy bits were a bit more crisp.

We also had a bowl of soup...the equally representative soto ayam

Very nice...the soup was thick, very fragrant, with the characteristic dry shredded chicken strands to provide texture. The small pegedil by the side was a nice touch.

Chickens Ayam Korma...or a typical Indonesian mild spicy stew

Chicken was very tender, spices were mild, light, but very present.

The Ayam Pangang...or barbecue chicken was also quite nicely flavoured with seasoning and kichap (dipping sauce) which was unique.

Sea bass, roasted in a banana leaf and spices was next

Cooked nicely through, as is common in Indonesia, the spices were nice and fragrant. The fish fresh.

One of my favourites for the afternoon was the beef rendang

Here the hard effort of Chef Sharifah's own blended spices shine. The beef was sinewy, a little tough to the bite, but simmered for long enough to render the meat a beautiful beefy texture and aroma, coupled with the magnificent spices of the dry-ish gravy. Very good. The style is totally different from the tender, almost mushy beef rendang at Peramakan which is my reference standard for the rendang rempah...but as satisfying.

We also had some prawns with petai

Another winning dish for me. The prawns were large, succulent and fresh. The chilli sauce just enough flavour interest to pick up on some tanginess and acidity. And the beautifully fragrant petai completes the dish for me.

The sayorlodeh, another ubiquitious Indonesian dish

A bit ordinary...the soupy bits a bit dilute. But otherwise nicely cooked.

Dessert was an East Meets West...goreng pisang (banana fritters) with Vanilla ice cream and chocholate sauce

The banana fritters were excellent. Solid, crispy crust on the outside...and within the yielding sweetness of a soft, well ripened cooked banana. I would have preferred the added juxtaposition if the banana fritters were piping hot to contrast to the smooth texture of the ice cream. But even cool, the melding of the two textures was awesome.

We also had a chendol...entire concoction smooth, rich. The gula melaka provided a richness only palm sugar and coconut milk can provide.

A bit unusual this...the red kidney beans had a tad of tangyness I had not tasted elsewhere. And the

Overall, a nice place for Indonesian cuisine. We need more high end restaurants offering Indonesian food...with its rich diversity and choice options for the discerning diner. Rumah Rasa is a start in that direction. I hope to see it grow its menu, offering one person meals, set meals, and perhaps more exotic Indonesian cuisines found pan Indonesia. Great effort, and worth a visit, especially considering the reasonable prices.

With thanks to Dennis She of Publicist PR Communications for invite.

Rumah Rasa Indonesian Restaurant

Bay Hotel

50 Telok Blangah Road

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