The Place I admit that I don’t really have Indonesian food in Singapore often, especially when we are faced with so many cuisine options around us. When I heard that an award-wining Indonesian restaurant from Kuala Lumpur (yes, Malaysia) is opening in Singapore at TANGS Plaza in Orchard Road, it somewhat piqued my interest to check it out. Meet Dancing Fish, a concept opened since 2010 in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, which opened its first overseas outlet at the space of the now defunct Island Café in TANGS.
The space of Dancing Fish is not quite the traditional Indonesian look I was expecting. Instead, it is very contemporary looking with subtle touches of batik on the walls which is classy. There is a long communal table, along with semi-private dining space at the back of the restaurant.
The Food I initially expected the dishes to be very spicy since it’s Indonesian cuisine but it turned out to be quite manageable. Starting with one of the signature dishes, the Chicken Satay (S$12) here is quite unlike our hawker stalls as it only uses chicken thigh meat with a very plump serving. It is well-grilled with that slight bit of char, where the chicken meat is juicy as well.
The Gulai Pucuk Paku ($13) is a surprise for me. It looks like a simple vegetables in curry dish but turns out to be full of flavours. Pucuk Paku is a type of fern vegetables and it has soaked up the essence of the delicious curry here, which is not at all spicy. It is best to go along with some Nasi Wangi Putih (S$3, free-flow White Rice) or the Nasi Berempah Kuning (S$3.50 per bowl). I will recommend the more flavourful yellow rice!
If you love your prawns, you will enjoy the Udang Masak Lemak Chilli Padi Nenas (S$33), where you get huge prawns in the coconut curry. The prawn flavour is fresh and it is another good dish to have it with some rice.
This is one of my favourite dishes here, the Bebek Goreng Bali (S$26). This Balinese roasted duck is huge and good for sharing. The duck meat is flavourful and relatively moist, and it was almost irresistible for me to reach out for more of the crispy duck skin. It seems like Bebeks, or ducks, has its own character in different parts of Indonesia. The ones I had at Surabaya by Bebek Sinjay took on a more spicy note, while the Balinese version is crisp and dry – or at least those I had tried.
Here comes the signature dish, the Dancing Fish with Dabu-Dabu (S$37). The tilapia fish here is fried to a nice and beautiful bent shape and it is also a surprise to me that this is a locally sourced live fish which explains the freshness of the fish meat. I like the golden crisp texture, and it helps that there’s not much bones so it makes it a lot easier to enjoy. Have it along with the Dabu-Dabu source, a type of spicy sauce originated from North Sulawesi in Indonesia.
The last savoury dish I tried is the Buntut Belado Enak (S$36,), beef oxtail cooked with chilli. The oxtail meat is very tender, well marinated and filled with good proportion of fats. The overall taste is elevated when taken with the bits of chilli, which looks intimidating but it is surprisingly quite mild.
For desserts, I tried the Sweet Potato with Coconut Scrappings, Palm Sugar and Vanilla Ice Cream (S$10). It is quite a heavy dessert due to the sweet potato, so it is probably good to share this out. The colours of the presentation are really vibrant though!
Rants While the prices of food is relatively reasonable for a prime location in town, I thought that the beverages prices can be moderated. S$9 for one of its signature basil leaf soda is comparatively expensive as opposed to the Chicken Satay.
Will I Return Again? I was surprised by the good quality of the dishes at Dancing Fish in general. The flavours of the dishes are robust, while the space is quite lovely to dine in. That said, I feel that it is also more of a communal dining option as most dishes are best enjoyed in a group of three to four persons ideally. With its excellent location in town, I am already putting this as a good recommendation to dine in Orchard Road.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Dancing Fish Signature
310 Orchard Road
Level 4 TANGS @ Tang Plaza
Tel: +65 6339 1048
Monday to Sunday: 11:30am to 10:30pm
Ranted by The Ranter