Ayesha's Kitchen and Passion Cafe, Tung Ann Building

The row of open-air eateries along McCallum Street is one of our regular lunch haunts. The food here, together with the ones lined outside Shenton House, is possibly one of the cheapest around the CBD. They serve mostly local food here, but I think you're much better off ordering only from the Malay and Indian food stalls. The Chinese and western food here is really quite mediocre. A word of caution though, the lack of air-conditioning and sardine-packed tables will ensure you get back to the office a sweat-soaked mess on blisteringly hot days. Unless you're lucky and catch a steady breeze through.

Despite its no-frills appearance, it's a full-service eatery though. The second your butt hits the chair, you'll be inundated by staffers asking which cuisine you want, and have up to 3 different menus, setting out the Indian, Malay, Chinese and western cuisines available for order, on your hands. You can order any dish from any stall and they'll place your order for you and deliver it piping hot right up to your table.

One of our favourite dishes here is the Ayam Penyet ($5), a juicy piece of hulking meat lightly battered and fried. This is lipsmackingly good, with thorough marination and tender moist meat. But the piece de resistance has gotta be the fiery sambal chilli. It's AWESOME. Don't let its honeyed sweetness fool you at first taste, because the heat hits you half a second later. The runny nose and churning stomach will be worth it though, it's that good.

The Ayam Penyet ($5) with steamed white rice to help quell some of the burning heat of the sambal.

The Fish Penyet ($6) was an unusual dory fillet version of the fried smashed chicken. I liked it very much, even if it was dripping in oil. Fat and moist, this was sumptuous. The fact that it was HUGE was a major plus point.

A couple of the nasi padang dishes are worth supplementing your meal with, like the Sauteed Spinach ($1.20) for its simple homecooked factor. This was lightly fried with onions and garlic for a subtle sweetness and heat.

The Sayur Lodeh ($1.50) was really quite commendable. The curry was rich, robust and creamy, and vegetables wilted just right.

The Beef Rendang ($2.50) wasn't too bad but it would have been a lot more tender with a couple more hours on the stove. That said, the rempah spice paste was heady, with a rich nutty overtone. It was so good my colleague wiped this clean off.

Ayesha's Kitchen
141 Cecil Street
#01-01 Tung Ann Association Building

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