The boutique Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong opens in Katong Square. Drawing inspiration from the Joo Chiat neighbourhood in Katong, the design of the hotel features an appealing colourful mix of elements related to the Peranakan and Eurasian communities. The hotel restaurant is housed in a separate single storey block and has the playful name of Baba Chews. With its witty name, Baba Chews Katong Square informs that it serves Peranakan food and pays tribute to philanthropist Chew Joo Chiat, the King of Katong who married a nyonya.
Housed in the block of the former Joo Chiat Police station facing East Coast Road, Baba Chews Katong Square is beautifully decorated. Against a backdrop of white walls with black trimmings and monochrome patterned tiles, splashes of colours are provided by the chairs and the wall mural made of mosiac tiles. Going into Baba Chews evokes feeling of being in an old school elegant Eurasian house with Peranakan furnishing.
Baba Chews is a eatery as well as a bar. An elegant bar dominates the dining area and there are dining tables and bar tables catering to a varied clientele as well as cosy corners for afternoon tea. In addition to local coffee, the Katong Square features blends by Common Man Coffee Roasters.
The menu is fairly extensive. The usual hotel dining items are available including Western food like salads, sandwiches, steaks, pasta and hamburgers, and local dishes like satay, laksa and char kway teow. Thery have a kids menu. There is separate Peranakan menu offering the nyonya staples. Random pages from Baba Chews’ menus are below.
We went to Baba Chews for dinner and ordered the nyonya standards – kueh pie tee ($13), ngoh hiang ($12) and nyonya chap chye ($12) to go with plain steamed rice ($1 per bowl). GST and service charge would be added to the bill.
Fruits-infused water was served without request. A complimentary basket of crackers was served with sambal sauce and a sauce of different nuts which tasted a bit like satay sauce.
There was no over the top decorations but each dish was elegantly presented. The kueh pie tees were nice. The fried cup shells were thick enough to hold everything in without breaking yet sufficiently light and crispy. The filling of braised turnips and fried bean curd went well with the sambal provided.
The chap chye was of the expected standard. The taste of the humble mixed vegetable stew was greatly enhanced by adding a bit of sambal. The ngoh hiang was a disappointment. The texture of the filling was too smooth, lacking bite and crunchiness. It was also too salty for our liking.
Fortunately, our dinner ended on a sweet note. The Kueh Durian ($12) was most enjoyable. Durian mousse and grated coconut cooked with palm sugar were tucked inside pandan crepes and topped with a scoop of gula melaka ice cream and drizzled with a coconut cream sauce. Aside from the bits of strawberry (which we supposed were meant to add colour for decorative purpose) everything combined well to produce a sumptuous dessert. A nice hot cup of coffee tarik ($3.50) rounded off our dinner nicely.
Overall we like Baba Chews Katong Square. In the taste department, there is room for improvement. The chef was happy to hear our feedback and said they would make adjustments to their dishes after listening to different customers. The service was friendly and professional. We thought the prices were reasonable and we really like the decor and the ambience. We are tempted to do a staycation at Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong so that we can see how the rooms are decorated and also to see what Baba Chews offers in the mornings as early as 6.30 am.
Overall Rating: 4 TOP
Baba Chews Bar and Eatery
86 East Coast Road
#01-01 Katong Square
Tel: +65 6723 2025
Opening Hours: 06:30 – 22:30