If the lush scent of toasted spice or sizzling Southeast Asian rempah doesn’t lure you in, the inviting charm of Folklore’s modern, yet warm and classy 1960s kopitiam-esque design will.
Located on the second floor of Destination Singapore Beach Road, the humble restaurant exudes nostalgia—from its traditional dark-stained bentwood chairs and its intricate Peranakan tiled table tops, to its thoughtfully constructed menu, which showcases the depth of Singaporean cuisine. Executive chef Damian D’Silva, a veteran on Singapore’s F&B scene, is the genius behind Folklore.
Marking the establishment’s first anniversary, chef D’Silva is introducing a new lineup of heritage dishes that are adapted from precious recipes passed down through the generations of his family and friends. In the spirit of Folklore, each dish presented is one that is close to his heart, and is prepared in the traditional way—arduously made from scratch (no short-cuts allowed) and cooked with a whole lotta’ love and soul.
Many of the new menu items take influence from Peranakan, Eurasian, Chinese, Malay, and Indonesian cuisines. Ambiler kacang with pork belly ($16), for example, is a Malay-influenced Eurasian dish made with a rempah of chilli, spices and fresh aromatics like galangal, turmeric and lemongrass, which is slow-cooked with pork belly and finished with tender long beans and a touch of tamarind juice for bite. To showcase chef’s strong Peranakan roots come dishes such as prawn sambal with petai ($26), a well-loved family recipe of spicy Peranakan-style sambal cooked until fragrant and sautéed with fresh prawns and pungent royal beans; and ikan assam surani ($30), an intricate sweet and sour dish of baby threadfin cooked in a paste of shallots and fresh turmeric, combined with meticulously hand-sliced shallots, garlic, chilies and lemongrass.
Chef D’Silva’s sayur lodeh ($16), a classic Malay vegetable dish cooked in thick coconut gravy, is made in a more traditional style with the additions of young jackfruit and seasonal sukun—appropriately known as bread fruit for its somewhat dense bread-like texture, although its flavour is more similar to a potato. The incredibly tender and juicy ayam goreng ($24 for half chicken)—a fried chicken recipe borrowed from his grandfather—appears to have combined cultural influences with its Malay-style marinade of galangal, shallots, coriander and dried spices, and its accompanying Chinese-inspired chilli sauce flavoured with garlic, ginger, coriander and a fresh burst of calamansi lime. Additionally, a sour plum dipping powder gives a complementary sweet and sour twang to each bite of the moist and crispy chicken.
Aunty Zainab, a beloved family friend, is the inspiration for a number of the Indonesian dishes, such as sotong masak sambal belado (market price), a flavourful dish featuring fresh squid gently cooked in a tangy sambal of tomatoes, chillies, limes, and citrusy lemon basil leaves; and opor ayam ($24), a hearty non-spicy dish of poultry cooked in a wet-spice blend with ground cumin and coriander, further elevated by the addition of creamy coconut milk.
In addition to the revamped Folklore menu, Chef D’Silva is launching a weekday set lunch special for two through the entire month of August, in celebration of the nation’s 53rd birthday. Each week of the month will feature one of Singapore’s five culinary traditions—Chinese, Malay, Indian, Peranakan and Eurasian. The lunch sets change weekly and will include a traditional dish, a dessert, and a locally-inspired beverage with enough for two people to share.
Last week’s set featured Hakka-style, melt-in-your-mouth, braised pork trotters with mooi choy, or preserved mustard greens. The upcoming line-up includes nasi minyak with fragrant lamb rendang and sayur lodeh (6 to 10 August); tender dry goat curry with briyani and flavourful dhalcha, a kind of Indian stew (13 to 17 August); nasi ulam, a classic Peranakan rice dish including prawns, wolf herring and a variety of herbs (20 to 24 August); and Eurasian birthday noodles (27 to 31 August), egg noodles with pork tenderloin, prawns, bean sprouts, and julienned fried egg in a pork and prawn broth.
The National Day menu is available at $30++ for two persons during weekday lunch (12pm to 2.30pm) for the month of August.
Folklore, 700 Beach Road, Level 2. Tel: 6679 2900