Well, The Arch Restaurant Singapore is close to that in someways, but yet different.
Elegant and somewhat un-Peranakan came to mind when I first saw the restaurant. Well, it's located an old house alright, but it's glass windows makes one to believe it's serving Western food rather than the Nyonya dishes.
Maybe the only indication that this is a Peranakan restaurant is its menu outside.
Anyway, I tried the food for dinner and find this restaurant rather unique - and yes, it is Peranakan food, with a twist of fusion. Quite impressed, I set up an appointment with the owner, Mikel, to know more bout his ideas that went behind.
And speaking to the owner, one can only get more impressed.... for firstly, Mikel doesn't come from a Peranakan family. Instead he is more Hokkien but has been interested in food all the while, cooking at home when young.
He even went to Hawaii to be trained. But he never used that skill, though he did help his former company to set up a food business overseas.
But on his own, when Mikel came back, he used his engineering background... going into the industrial business, helping his family all along. And when the business 'stabilised' (which to him, usually takes 3 years or so), he starts doing another business - but all these while none are related to F&B.
Then someday, his brother who owns a restaurant in UK mentions that he would like to expand to Singapore - and invited Mikel to be part of it. Already settled in his many businesses, it was the ripe time to engage him.
So, this food businessman came up with the idea of something local, with a twist - hence the Peranakan food which to him is very Singaporean (even South East Asian).... and the setting is meant to serve businessmen from the world over, who wants to try local dishes in a good setting.
With that in mind, he work out the menu with his main chef - coming up with fusion Peranakan food... appealing to a new generation of non Peranakans too.
One of the unique dishes is his buah keluak (the black beetlenut) - which by the way is the prized Peranakan dish. Rather than stuffing the nuts contents back into the nutshell, he actually cooks them with the gravy, making it a thick and rich buah keluak dish.
Another unique dish - the laksa goreng (fried laksa!). It was my first time hearing it... and this dish is the best seller! Oh btw, his prices are reasonable despite the 'atas' (upmarket) setting :)
I next ask him about his future plans, and he mentions - rather than going expanding its 'width', he is expanding in 'depth' - ie rather than more outlets, he wants to expand in more in this outlet itself, eg. catering and at the same time to introduce more 'lost recipes' which even the true blue Peranakans misses!
It's a good chat with him, an inspiring food-preneur.I left the meeting somewhat inspired by his entrepreneurial skills and passion of keeping the heritage alive.
Now, here's the good part - Complimentary Dinner!
Mikel is giving away a meal for 2 - serving his best selling laksa goreng + a special dish + 1 authentic Peranakan dessert, worth S$50.
All you need to do, simply tell Mikel what you would like to see more in Peranakan restaurants - namely this Arch Restaurant.
So, foodies, grab your chance! :)
*Contest ends 28 March 2009.
*This is open to everyone - whether you are from Singapore, or visiting from Malaysia (or anywhere else)... Peranakan or not :)
32 Seah Street,Singapore
Tel: +65 68373132
Open: 11am to 3pm, 6 to 10pm daily
*Mikel is the brother to Singapore's 'Ah Beng' - Sebastian Tan.
*This feature is part of the Talented Malaysians & Singaporeans segment.