Sunday, January 20, 2008

Good O'Times

Whew! Preparing for weddings is tiring! Yesterday saw my sister, cousin and moi rushing around like chickens with their heads cut off to settle the bridesmaid gowns, what with the wedding 2 weeks away! We practically swept half of Orchard road in the span of 3 hours, so when we finally got to my auntie's resto, it was with much relief that we plonked our tired butts down to settle in for dinner.

I've been anticipating this since I came back. Many people might not know this, but my auntie is a chef and owns a Nonya restaurant now. Her cooking is so darn good that whenever we see her, we go "Sa-yeeeeee, when are you cooking your so-and-so dish again?" Sometimes I think all that whining and imploring from her bratty nieces must drive her nuts. *chuckle* I am so so glad that she's finally decided to venture out and indulge others with her awesome culinary skills. Secretly, I'm even happier cos now I can drop by whenever I feel like it and I will be guaranteed a satisfying meal.

Her Nonya restaurant is tucked away in Changi Village, located at the eastern end of Singapore. The interior decor is very simple, modern and cozy. Red and blue batik seats and tablecloths accentuated by dark wood add a touch of Nonya flair. Stepping in, you are pleasantly greeted with a beautiful orchid screen, made courtesy of another auntie of mine who is extremely talented with her hands and owns the beautiful Vanity Faire Collection. Her materials are all imported and every piece is handmade by her, so her clients can be sure they are not being shortchanged on quality. In addition to this, the woman also does accessories, flower arrangements and practically everything that can be handcrafted under the sun. Geez, we are a family of talents! :)

Sitting down, my auntie quickly assumes the position of a ladyboss and recommends the dishes to us. Several little dishes of spicy sambal belcan with fresh lime were placed in front of us. The heady fragrance has me salivating already and I almost want to take a spoonful of the pure chilli.

The arrival of the appetizer (Babi Chinchalok) has everyone eagerly picking up their chopsticks, but their enthusiasm was soon dashed as I stopped them in their tracks so I could take photos. I chuckled inside as I caught brief glances of everyone's hungry and slightly annoyed looks. All that shopping must have made them very hungry. The starter was very very good. Slivers of soft pork belly, shredded eschallots, crunchy veggies, crushed peanuts, chilli and sprigs of fresh corriander were tossed in an exciting tangy, sweet and salty sauce. The sourness helped whet the appetite and set the stage for the next few courses.

The kueh pie tee was the next to arrive. The flour cups were fried to a perfect crisp and stuffed with a juicy turnip concoction. Omg. Seriously one of the best kueh pie tees I've ever had.

Now on to the main courses. The Babi Sio arrived steaming hot in a claypot. The pork was very tender and sweet, and dished over fluffy white rice, this was very more-ish. I helped myself to a bit of fresh green chilli too and found that the sauce accentuated the natural piment-y flavour.

The stir-fried sotong in squid ink was also very tender and non-rubbery as squid sometimes can get. With everyone stuffing their faces, the table was actually quiet. Quite the extraordinary achievement for my family.

If fish head curry wasn't so laden with calories, I'll eat it everyday! I must have spooned 3 parts of the thick, aromatic liquid to every 1 part rice. It was so, so, so delicious. I dub this the Queen of Curries and myself, the very faithful servant.

You know how sometimes seafood can be fried so well that you just want to crunch through the whole animal, bones and all? This deep-fried pomfret was just that. Jas was even picking the head of the fish. And a pomfret has a very small head.

Oh this has gotta be one of the die-die-must-try dishes - jackfruit (nangka) curry! You wouldn't even know you're eating jackfruit! The jackfruit is slowly boiled over a low heat and soaks up all the amazing flavours from the spices. It is melt-in-your-mouth tender. I can't believe jackfruit can taste this good in curry!

Of course, if you know the owner of the restaurant, you can be expected to get some perks. Ours came in the form of stick-to-your-ribs-good beef rendang. The meat was soft and tore away easily. Ecstacy is me.

Just when I thought my tastebuds have already been spoilt silly, in comes dessert. We had da mai and pulu hitam, both drizzled with coconut cream, and soft tapioca balls rolled in steamed grated coconut. They were all delicious, but it was the tapioca that really blew me away. It was pillowy soft, light and complemented the sweet coconut shavings so well. A perfect ending to the meal!
Gotta try it to believe it! You won't be disappointed! :)

Good O'Times
Block 5 Changi Road
Singapore 500005
Tel: 6542 2382

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