Folklore Singapore is all sharing the island’s story through food. The restaurant celebrates Singapore heritage food and the role it plays in cultural harmony in our multi-ethnic nation. The brainchild of Chef Damian D’Silva, its menu constitutes a nostalgic homage to the food he grew up with as a child of Eurasian-Peranakan parentage. Here you can experience exquisite heritage cuisines that reflect the major racial cuisines of Singapore which are made from scratch, without shortcuts or compromise.
Dine at Folklore makes you feel like being a guest at one of the local family dinners. Bottles of in-house-made sauces and mixes, along with giveaway recipe cards encourage home cooking, furthering Chef Damian’s ardent advocacy of preserving and propagating Singapore’s culinary heritage. He believes that every dish holds a meaning, some significance, to the culture it belongs to. Every dish tells a ‘story.’
Folklore offers delicacies from family recipes passed down for generations as well as dishes adopted from neighbours and friends of the family. Each is cooked in the traditional way with lots of love. Stocks are slow simmered, ingredients hand-cut and ‘rempah’ (spice mix) pounded in a mortar and pestle. The eye for propriety and the rhythms are of a bygone age.
Some of the recommended dishes include Singgang ($20), a long-lost Eurasian dish of wolf herring, deboned and cooked in a non-spicy paste. Although it possessed sweetness of meat, wolf herring had lost its traditional popularity with chefs, because its numerous fine bones made de-boning a terrible chore. Despite this, Chef Damian has ‘resurrected’ the use of wolf herring for this dish.
Another must try is Mulligatawny ($14), an Anglo-Indian dish of shredded chicken and spices in a chicken broth with a faint accent of tamarind. Also superb is Hati Babi Bungkus ($18), a Peranakan dish cooked during ancestor offerings, and popular in Malacca and Penang. ‘Hati babi’ refers to its resemblance to a pig’s heart; it is minced pork and liver marinated with coriander, tamarind, soya sauce and shallots, wrapped in caul fat then grilled and served with pickled mustard leaves.
Pork Leg with Salted Vegetables ($16) features pork trotters and salted vegetables slowly stewed till meltingly tender, with a hint of heat. This dish is Eurasian but has ‘equivalents’ in Peranakan cuisine where the duck replaces pork leg as well as in Chinese cuisine as well. Then there’s Sambal Buah Keluak ($22), a laborious dish where the pulp of the Buah Keluak nut is extracted by hand one at a time, with the sambal and minced pork taking 2 hours to cook. Chef Damian also serves the Sambal Buah Keluak Fried Rice ($22), a signature dish he created in 2001.
Peranakan Chap Chye ($16) was one of their best dishes which was inherited from Chef’s Peranakan grandma. Made with pork and prawn stock, the vegetables are braised until the medley of ingredients has fully absorbed all the flavours of cooking.
End off the meal with Baked Custard with Gula Melaka ($12), inspired by a Spanish dessert called Koka. Chef’s creation sees the pudding made with coconut freshly squeezed by hand, and served with Gula Melaka.
Chef Damian plans to launch a promotional menu every 2-3 months featuring specials. He will be kicking off with a series of lunch and dinner heritage dishes in conjunction with the a la carte menu.
Through Folklore, he hopes to inspire a new generation of chefs and home cooks whose palates are primed to appreciate the making of dishes from scratch. For beginners, a selection of freshly made sauces, bases and mixes has been made available as encouragement to create traditional dishes in one’s own home. Guests can leave with complimentary recipe cards that teach how to use them.
It’s all part of the unfolding story: one man sharing his passion and talent, inspiring the next generation to embrace and care about Singapore heritage food, and in their turn, work to produce moments of happiness and warmth, and cultural harmony through cooking. Chef Damian knows it’s as simple as sitting down to a meal at the family table. It’s not a pipe dream; it’s Folklore.
The restaurant is located within Destination Singapore Beach Road, a new hotel managed by the Park Hotel Group. If you are looking to sample its menu, please see the full information below for your planning. You can simply click on the book now button to make a reservation.
Address: Singapore Beach Road 700 Beach Road, Level 2 Singapore 199598 | Opening Hours: 12pm – 2.30pm (Last lunch order 2.15pm) & 6pm – 9.30pm (Last dinner order 9.15pm)
Folklore seats up to 100, and is open daily for lunch and dinner. There are 80 seats inside the restaurant and 20 outdoors.
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