When I first heard of BABBA, I thought they were just another establishment trying to make it in the food scene with the false promise of authentic Peranakan food. However, after two visits, I can assure you, this is the spot of the year. Why two visits? Because they are a transformative eatery: café by day, restaurant by night. Pretty unique, huh?
Right off the bat, you’d be greeted by block letters that spell out, “B A B B A” placed against an off-white brick wall with heavy minimalistic influence. “A lovely IG-worthy spot,” I thought to myself.
Upon entering, one will find rattan chairs, wooden fixtures, Terrazzo stone tables, overhanging plants, and decorative round lamps. Not forgetting the large window frames which allow ample natural light in; a view that instantly reminded me of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks.
I decided to split my visit over two days to avoid overeating and made my way down late one morning to have a go at the dishes off the brunch menu. Where their dishes supposedly come with a traditional twist.
I ordered the Kicap Glazed Chicken Wings (S$14 for six pieces) and Chilli Crab Loaded Fries (S$16) for starters. And let me tell you, I was immediately blown away by both dishes. The former wasn’t too sweet and soggy, retaining its crispy skin and the latter was well-balanced and incredibly addictive. Bonus: they also mash fresh crab meat for the loaded fries.
Moving on to mains, I had the Homemade Kaya Butter Toast & Eggs (S$12), Dry Laksa Pasta (S$26), Cod Fish & Chips (S$24), and Steak & Fries (S$32).
I usually avoid having kaya toast at restaurants due to their hefty price tags however, the one at BABBA is highly justifiable. Over here, they use Brioche buns that are toasted to golden brown perfection and filled with generous slabs of homemade kaya and French butter. As a huge laksa lover, the aromatic Dry Laksa Pasta was the kind of ready-to-go meal I’d come back for in a heartbeat.
Moving on to the other fish dish, the Cod Fish & Chips was firm on the inside and crispy on the outside, making it easy to eat. However, the tartar sauce that came with it was a tad bit bland. The winner for me is easily the Steak & Fries which is essentially a 450-days, grass-fed ribeye served with a side of paprika fries and mesclun salad, topped with a creamy homemade rempah butter. However, the boring dish was made into a star due to the addition of the homemade rempah butter and smokiness from the fries. I’m not sure what is in the butter but this is one juicy piece of meat, I see myself coming back for as well.
Dinner showcases a rather authentic Peranakan fare. I had the Kueh Pie Tee (S$17), Beef Rendang (S$28), Crab Omelette (S$24) and Babi Ponteh (S$26).
Personally, the dishes off the dinner menu have a homely feel to them and are something I’d have again if I was craving a comforting Peranakan meal. A special shoutout goes out to the folks at BABBA for whipping up quite possibly one of the best Babi Ponteh I’ve tasted in ages.
Lastly, their Homemade Banana Cake (S$13) that comes with a side of coconut sorbet, salted gula Melaka sauce, and chopped almond bits. As a non-dessert lover, this dish easily became my favourite due to its mild sweetness and robust flavours.
If you’re a kueh lover, BABBA also has a spread of freshly-made kuehs on the menu (while stocks last).
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Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
15-9 Jalan Riang, Singapore 358987
15-9 Jalan Riang, Singapore 358987