(This F&B establishment had since ceased operations.)
Peranakan dishes are probably the most traditional of fusion food. Unlike now where fusion food normally means East meets West or vice versa, Peranakan uses spices commonly used by Chinese, Malays and others to create something that tastes familiar, yet uniquely in its own taste. There are not many Peranakan restaurants around, but one of those that I am a familiar with is Chinta Manis which is located at King Albert Park near my Alma Mater, so it was quite a surprise for me to see them again at Novena Square.
I believe this outlet is newly opened; it wasn’t included in their name cards and the interior decor seems relatively new too. The rustic wooden furniture gives a seemingly old charm, yet somewhere that had kept up with times with the blue mosaic tiles that screams Peranakan too.
(Sambal Kang Kong)
The Sambal Kang Kong was quite a large portion for $5. They were crunchy and was just salty enough, though not really spicy I would say.
(Chicken Rendang Nasi Lemak)
The Chicken Rendang Nasi Lemak was a busy looking plate with Nasi-Lemak rice Chicken Rendang, Otak-Otak, peanuts, Ikan Bilis, Achar, cucumber, egg and beansprouts. There was a light flavour of coconut milk in the rice, making it rather fragrant though not strong enough to last after you are done with the spoonful. The Chicken Rendang is cooked in curry and lemongrass, which is very evident in the dish. The achar was also zesty from the juices of the pineapples, which was a pleasure to eat. The chilli was salty though, which isn’t the typical sweet chilli served with Nasi Lemak
(Nonya Mee Siam Supreme)
The Nonya Mee Siam Supreme is a dry version of the Mee Siam we are fond of. Even without the broth, the noodles absorbed the flavour of it’s spices and the prawns were fresh too.
The Chicken Pongteh was a dish that involved chicken and potatos, with fermented soybean in it’s broth. It’s extremely homely in it’s taste, and was heart-warming especially on a rainy day when it was hot. Tasting very near to a recipe that my late-grandma used to cook, the only gripe was that there wasn’t much meat on the chicken, which was a bit of a pity.
If anyone were to ask me about my impressions of Chinta Manis, it would definitely be how the food just feels cozy. It doesn’t strive to be a place that serves out restaurant-grade food, but rather somewhere to go if you ever yearn for a home-cooked meal that would be able to melt your soul. For those who are keen to visit, be sure not to miss out on the Peranakan kuehs they serve there after your meal too!
238 Thomson Road