True Blue Peranakan Restaurant (Michelin Bib Gourmand)
True Blue Cuisine is a true blue Peranakan Restaurant. The restaurant is situated next to the Peranakan Museum at Armenian Street and the restaurant itself is a mini museum. The restaurant is like a well-preserved home of an old Peranakan family – full of furniture with intricate carvings, elaborately decorated doors and windows, old photos and an array of interesting artifacts. Even the main entrance is like that of a typical nyonya house – with plants everywhere. Chef owner, Benjamin Seck (also referred to as Baba Ben) started True Blue Cuisine with the assistance of his mother, Nyonya Daisy Seah, who had a reputation for good authentic Peranakan dishes – so traditional authentic Peranakan food can be expected at True Blue Cuisine.
The dining hall of True Blue Cuisine is not very big. There are a few tables with crisp white linen and a few booths with marble-top tables. It is elegant yet it feels homely and cosy.
The menu is fairly straightforward. All the nyonya staples are there. The staff may also recommend some dishes not listed in the menu. Our server also took pains to explain to us that the restaurant would charge for almost everything. The Longan Tea was charged at $4 per person. Plain water was $1. The keropok (prawn crackers) served as appetizer was $4. Plain white rice was $4 per person. All those prices were before adding GST and service charge. If we remembered correctly from a previous visit, they would also charge you for the sambal chilli. Well, at least they told us about the charges up front.
We started with the guava salad ($18) and Kueh Pie Tee ($20). The fruit salad was dressed with a local sauce with a hint of lime and brown sugar and topped with crushed peanuts. It was zesty, tasty and refreshing. The Kueh Pie Tee was fine but at $2 for a cup, we had expected something a little more special.
Next we had the Bakwang Kepiting ($10 per bowl). The chicken and crab meatball in a clear tasty soup was classic nyonya comfort food. It was very good.
We ordered a few other dishes to go with rice. We had the Sotong Hitam or squid in black sauce ($20), Assam Prawns ($18), Chap Chye ($15) and the Beef Rendang ($18). The portions were small. The Assam Prawns dish consisted of 3 medium size prawns.
True Blue Cusine’s Chap Chye was a dry version. The simple braised mixed vegetable dish was quite well done and flavourful. The Beef Rendang was tender with intense flavours and very spicy. It was well stewed to yield a rich and buttery bite. The rendang was the best dish for the night.
We enjoyed our dinner at the True Blue Peranakan Restaurant. The food, on the whole, was good and we especially liked the beef rendang. The service was excellent – courteous, efficient and attentive. The setting was quite unique and atmospheric. It would be a great place to bring foreign guests. We like almost everything about True Blue Cuisine except their prices. Good things come at a price but we think that at True Blue everything is truly too pricey.