The Place Before you start reading further, here’s the main take-away from this review – Peranakan Inn is my worst ever dining experience in Singapore. It’s not just that the food here was average at best, but the service was by a huge margin, the worst I have encountered. Peranakan Inn is part of the House of Peranakan group of restaurants, including House of Peranakan Cuisine at Frankel Avenue and House of Peranakan Petit at Tiong Bahru.
We were thinking of a Peranakan restaurant in Katong and found this old Peranakan restaurant while researching online, which has not many reviews given that it has been around since the 1980s. Located along East Coast Road right beside Chin Mee Chin, the whole restaurant is like a throwback to the 80s, with old marble tables and retro looking tiles. Perhaps I should have gotten a hint from their lack of desire to excel as a clear indication of what’s to come.
The Food The menu is a simple two page with the usual Peranakan dishes like Ayam Buah Keluak and Assam Fish Curry. The prices on the menu has two sections – Small (2-3 pax) and Medium (4-6pax). As there were three of us, I specifically told one of the staff who took our orders that ALL our orders were small and she acknowledged it. There was no order slip given to us after we placed our orders. The hot dishes all arrived at about the same time, good to note the attention to such details.
The Bakwang Kepiting (S$8.50/small) is a classic Peranakan minced pork soup dish. This was decent but I thought that I had a better rendition at the nearby Baba Chews.
The Ikan Otak Otak (S$4.50/piece with minimum two pieces) was tasty. It wasn’t spicy but was flavourful nonetheless.
The Ayam Buah Keluak (S$12.50) is a dish I always order in any Peranakan restaurant. The sauce lacked the punchy notes even though the chicken meat was tasty. There were three Buah Keluak nuts served for my order, which lacked in terms of flavour as compared to the ones I had previously. Overall, this dish was disappointing.
The Chap Chye (S$10) is probably one of the better dishes we ordered.
As for the worst dish, it has to be the Assam Fish (S$8). For the serving, the three of us didn’t even finish as the fish was very tough to even stomach. Was it even fresh?
Rants So the worst part shall be ranted here. Our bill came and I was shocked that we were charged the prices for the Medium-sized portions for all our dishes, except the Otah which we had two pieces. I clarified with the lady staff who took our orders and she claimed that Small wasn’t enough for us – although she has clearly acknowledged all my orders to be Small sized during the orders. My eyes literally rolled when I heard her reply, didn’t the menu explicitly states Small portions for 2-3 pax, or was my eyes playing tricks on me?
When this happened, the next natural escalation is to speak to the only Peranakan lady in the restaurant, who seems to be either the lady boss/supervisor/manager here. She came over to our table, and I explained the possible misunderstanding in our orders and wanted to clarify if there was anything amiss but she simply retorted “But you all finish the food?”. Did she expect us to waste the food served, or should we have known that the portion served was in fact Medium-sized? Before leaving us to foot the bill as-is, she mentioned that her staff did not understand our earlier orders, and suggested we should just pay the bill – surprised that the staff could have got all the mains selections right, and yet the sizes totally wrong.
Before I left, I wanted to take a picture of the menu (as it wasn’t available online) and managed to snap the first page, before the Peranakan lady swiftly walked over to me and knocked me away and snatched the menu. And her comment, “You already eat finish, no need to take picture!”.
Is this guilty conscience? Throughout my whole clarification with the restaurant, no one bothered explaining on the misstatement of our bill, nor were they apologetic or even display any basic form of customer service. Perhaps since there’s no service charge here, I shouldn’t expect any form of service?
To simply put, it was a scam and we left feeling cheated.
Will I Return Again? This is by far the most ridiculous experience I ever had in any restaurant in Singapore – why did I even bother visiting here?
Taste bud: 3/5
Hole in the pocket: 3/5
Overall Experience: 0/5
Peranakan Inn & Lounge
210 East Coast Road
Tel: +65 64406195
Daily 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm
Ranted by The Ranter & The Rantee