We happened to be in the east so we thought we'd go to East Coast Road to have some Peranakan food at Kim Choo's Kitchen.
Stepping into the tiny 30-seater restaurant is like stepping into a Peranakan friend's home for a meal. It's just so homely and quaint. This shop is housed in a beautifully restored Peranakan shophouse. The first floor comprises a restaurant and a stall selling Nonya kuehs, cookies and dumplings. The second floor contains a museum / heritage home full of exquisite Peranakan paraphernalia.
We started off with some Nonya Chap Chye ($6 for small), a vegetable medley of cabbage, carrots, clear vermicelli, fried beancurd stewed in fragrant fermented bean paste. This was better than Ivins' version as the gravy was richer than Ivins' slighter "limp" version.
The Bawan Kepinting Soup ($12 for small) was unexpectedly delicious. The fermented bean paste soup, with freshly handrolled meatballs of crabmeat and minced pork, silvers of crunchy bamboo shoots, smooth slices of topshell and abalone mushroom was unassumingly delicate yet rich.
The Nonya Ayam Curry ($8 for small), with juicy chicken thigh pieces and Dutch potatoes in a thick creamy gravy was spicy and rich.
We also loved the Egg Omelette ($8 for small), with diced prawns and assorted vegetables. This was fluffy yet chunky and thick.
The only slight disappointment was the Babi Pongteh ($8 for small), with bamboo shoots, shitake mushrooms and pork, which was a little "weak". Lean cuts of pork was used instead of the traditional version with fatty pork belly. The tau cheo (fermented bean paste) used wasn't very rich either. Ivins' version of this Nonya staple is definitely better. That said, the pork was soft and tender.
A little note about the service here: Although I've heard some rants about the bad service here, I enjoyed great service here. The waiter who served us was such a charming little boy. He wasn't the most efficient of the lot but he was funny, cheeky and had a cute personality. He really made us feel right at home.
Kim Choo's Kitchen
109/111 East Coast Road
Tel: 6741 2125
Open daily from 10am to 10pm