Food Scoops: Restaurant Kin At Straits Clan Launches Chef Damian D’Silva’s New Heritage Dishes
What’s Buzzing? Opened since late 2019, I first visited Restaurant Kin when it just opened and revisited recently as the restaurant introduces many new dishes on the menu. Chef Damian D’Silva (also judge of Masterchef Asia) new menu spots “new” heritage recipes, many more than 100 years old.
What To Expect? My absolute favourite from the new menu is the Pork Knuckle Debal (S$68), a dish inspired from leftover meats from Christmas feasts by Damian’s granddad. This modern version at Kin uses roast pork, smoked pork knuckle and potatoes, and the best part for me is the well-loved Eurasian spicy stew here, the Curry Devil which goes absolutely well with rice.
Prawn lovers will relish in the King Prawn with Dry Sambal (S$48), prepared with a Malay recipe of Indonesian heritage. It is not too spicy, though the unique presentation is for this dish is that only dried chilli is used to make the sambal.
The Cuttlefish Kang Kong (S$20) looks and tastes like rojak! This vanishing hawker recipe dish is a mix of cuttlefish, kangkong, pineapple and deep-fried dough fritters tossed in a flavourful sauce made of fermented shrimp paste, sugar and calamansi.
If there is one dish I overate, it is the Ayam Kalasan (S$38). This is another Malay dish of Indonesian heritage, where whole chicken thigh is slow-simmered with coconut water, candlenut, lemongrass, blue ginger, and then deep-fried and served with sambal. Very crispy skin along with the succulent chicken meat, and don’t forget the sambal for that extra kick!
Another 100-year-old recipe from Damian’s granddad’s kitchen is the Daging Sambal Hijau (S$42), prepared with a unique crisp green chilli sambal made with green chilli, candlenuts and shallots, cooked with beef that is marinated for 24-hours in cumin, coriander and fennel. Garnished with fresh green chilli slices, it may not be the prettiest dish on the table but packs a different type of spicy flavour from the other dishes. The green chilli slices are not that spicy thankfully.
Nangka Rendang (S$28) is one dish unheard of for me but that is unsurprising considering the fact that chef tasted it some 50 years ago. It is a vegetarian rendang of young (un-ripened) jackfruit slow-braised for 7 hours with a mix of coriander, fennel, cumin and garam marsala in coconut water.
For desserts, go for the Assortment of Kuehs (S$25/3 types, 4 pcs each) – Apom Berkuah (Nonya-style pancake); Serang Semut, a unique Malaysian cake from Made of burnt sugar, condensed milk and flour; and Pulot Tai Tai, Glutinous rice cake with kaya.
The Kueh Kosui is an obligatory order as well, as I have raved about it in my previous review.
Good aside, there are also new cocktails, featuring classic ingredients found in local heritage cuisine. Expect the likes of Chilli Padi (S$18), a tequila-based cocktail boosted with calamansi and green and red chilli padi; Curry Leaves & Banana (S$18), a mix of dehydrated banana, fried curry leaves and bourbon. Alternatively, go for the refreshing tonics, highballs and coolers such as the Mugicha Highball (S$18), a concoction of roasted barley kombucha, Japanese whiskey and shiso, which complements the spice-forward dishes.
L1 Straits Clan Lobby
31 Bukit Pasoh Road
Tel: +65 6320 9180
Monday to Saturday: 12pm to 2:30pm, 6pm to 9:30pm
Closed on Sunday
Ranted by The Ranter