Indocafe CNY 2016 Review: Peranakan-Inspired Lunar Celebration

INDOCAFE_cny (1 of 14)

This Lunar New Year 2016, perhaps try something different, like sophisticated yet homely Peranakan cuisine at a gorgeous colonial white house like Indocafe.

Enjoy the company of your family away from the usual hustle and bustle of city life, where you reunite together under a building rich with Singapore heritage.

INDOCAFE_cny (2 of 14)

Tucked away just away from the populous Orchard Road, Indocafe white house, is a colonial bungalow from Singapore’s past, a stark contrast from the glitzy and shiny buildings just across the street.

This makes Indocafe an extremely special place, to celebrate your family’s reunion whilst ensconcing yourself in a wonderfully rich architecture, indirectly also celebrating Singapore’s harmony thus-far.

INDOCAFE_cny (3 of 14)

Lined with dark oak tables and decorated with antiques, one would feel as if he/she has stepped into a time machine for the interior greatly resembles that of an old affluent home setting.

Indocafe is spacious enough to accommodate families while also allowing each one to have their personal space and intimate conversations without having to interrupt others. Not to mention, their grand antiques plus Chinese New Year decorations may just aptly put you in that joyous celebratory mood.

INDOCAFE_cny (4 of 14)

This year, we’ve been invited to Indocafe’s Celebration of Abundance and have been given the opportunity to taste their Prosperous Menu, for 3-4 pax at $288++.

For starters, we were given traditional prawn keropok with an array of dipping sauces in vintage porcelain. The sauces were simply toothsome, a rich red belacan chili, an appetising side of a-char and a sweet prawn paste like sauce. Although seemingly homely, they were definitely special and not what you can find outside easily.

An impressive start to our meal indeed.

INDOCAFE_cny (5 of 14)

Glorious Prosperity Yu Sheng with Baby Abalone

Yu Sheng is paramount in every reunion dinner but you probably had so many of the same kinds you probably don’t even think this rigid traditional dish can have any kind of interesting variation. This is where Indocafe has outdone themselves.

Indocafe’s Glorious Yu Sheng definitely has the usual traditional ingredients as a foundation that we can’t miss out on but they included their own magical touch by adding buttons of baby abalone and fresh balls of dragon fruit to play up the zesty taste of Yu Sheng while still maintaining the traditional ingredients as the star.

INDOCAFE_cny (6 of 14)

Taking a bolder step, they also added Peranakan curry into the Yu Sheng. Now that sounds highly suspicious doesn’t it?!

Curry and Yu Sheng..?

Odd? Definitely. Good? Definitely.

While I was apprehensive about this combination, it turned out wonderful. The creamy and slightly sour curry contrasts with the sweetness from the Yu Sheng, balancing out the entire taste.

Usually, Yu Shengs are overly sweet and they get too heavy to finish but thanks to Indocafe’s additional gravy, their yu sheng was satisfyingly different.  Cutting down on the sugary ingredient or plum sauce would make this yu sheng extremely enjoyable.

INDOCAFE_cny (7 of 14)

Prawn Roll, Chive Dumpling & Kuah Pie Tee with Baby Abalone

The next dish was a few popular Peranakan fried snacks lined so neatly atop a plate, I was compelled to eat it as neatly and ladylike as I could. The chive dumpling on a little pool of sweet chili sauce had a crispy skin wrapping around generous tasty stuffings of meat and chives.

The Prawn Roll or Ngoh Hiang was delicious, with thin crisp beancurd skin tightly packing subtly seasoned prawn fillings. The Kuay Pie Tee cup was fragrant and flavourful but could do with more crisp and the stewed radish inside was rich with mushroom and dried shrimp stock while the baby abalone gave it even richer flavour.

INDOCAFE_cny (8 of 14)

King Crab Claw with Dry Scallop, Hashima & Bamboo Fungus

This cloudy broth is so intensely drunk on scallop and seafood flavour, each spoonful gives you an explosion of underwater flavours. Interestingly paired with a dollop of Hashima, this soup is great for people who enjoy rich flavours like in Peng Cai or Buddha jumps over the wall.

INDOCAFE_cny (10 of 14)

Pork Knuckle Braised with Premium Sauce, with Yam & Xiao Bai Cai

Oh this sauce is some premium quality indeed. The Braised Pork Knuckle looked sturdy but was so tender and juicy on the inside, with a visible layer of collagen many people adore.

The thick slices of yam were soft and creamy with a mash starchy consistency, with its natural sweetness balancing out the heaviness of the sauce. Although a dish we can find in many places, it was executed and balanced well.

INDOCAFE_cny (9 of 14)

Five-Spice Roasted Chicken with Garlic Ginger Dip

The portion of the chicken was reduced for our tasting purposes only so the CNY dinner would probably have a larger portion. That aside, this chicken had crispy and fragrant skin that thankfully, wasn’t too oily or over seasoned.

The garlic ginger dip was really good, like our chicken rice ginger puree sauce. The meat however might be considered dry for some.

Usually for the Prosperous menu, a Red Garoupa with with Spicy Nonya Sauce is served, but it’s replaced today by the Five-spice chicken.

INDOCAFE_cny (11 of 14)

INDOCAFE_cny (12 of 14)

Wrapped Vegetables with Dried Oyster & Black Moss Braised in Red Fermented Beancurd with Abalone.

This dish was like a pescetarian style Peng Cai, with a generous bed of vegetables and black moss in a pool of flavourful fermented beancurd broth with a huge juicy abalone and oysters.

The broth tasted similar to the soup with its rich seafood base. Hence this dish is overall very flavourful and would go better with white rice perhaps.

INDOCAFE_cny (13 of 14)

Ee Fu Noodles with Seafood & XO Sauce

The main source of carbohydrate for this CNY set, the Ee Fu noodles definitely made sure to shine. It kinda reminded me of Pad Thai with the sweetness of the dish and the texture of the noodles. This plate of noodles is a smaller portion again for tasting purposes so don’t worry you’ll get a bigger plate of this and trust me a bigger plate of his delicious noodles will do good.

It is sufficiently flavoured without coming across as too overpowering, the noodles kept us constantly picking at it eagerly despite being stuffed already. Also, the dark bits on top might look like nothing but they are very tasty he bi hiam (fried shrimp paste chili), that complements the noodles.

INDOCAFE_cny (14 of 14)

Dried Longan with Sweet Potato, Barley &  Glutinous Rice Ball

Basically the holy combination of Cheng Tng, Tang Yuan and Sweet Potato, this bowl of harmonious sweetness did no wrong at all. The Cheng Tng soup was satisfyingly sweet and had ample logan and red date flavours infused in it.

While lotus seeds, barlet and flakes of white fungus gave the soup more bite. The tang yuan/ glutinous rice balls were cooked till the right resilience, it didn’t break easily neither was it still undercooked. Biting into it, molten sweet peanut sauce flows out effortlessly to fill your tongue with nutty sweetness.

I’m pretty sure Singaporeans are already familiar with these desserts so ultimately it is just the wonderful combination of Cheng Tng, Tang Yuan and sweet potato executed skilfully using quality ingredients hence, making this common dessert so special.

So what are you waiting for? Come on down to Indocafe to celebrate familial harmony in an idyllic setting with food we hold close to our hearts and heritage. With gorgeous sight to sooth your minds and hearty food to soothe your bellies, sounds like a fulfilling reunion no?

Other than the Prosperous Menu, there is the Opulence set menu also for smaller families of 3-4 at $248++.

For larger families, they have the Fortune Menu (5-6pax: $468++, 8-10pax: $788++)  and Bountiful Menu (5-6pax: $548++, $888++), both with 10 dishes, some of which have been covered in the review above.

For more information about IndoCafe’s Chinese New Year menus and takeaway, visit

IndoCafe – the white house: 35 Scotts Road, Singapore 228227 | Tel: 67332656 | Website