At a corner of the 3-month-old Bay Hotel, Rumah Rasa has been quietly spicing things up. A gradual aroma of Indonesian cuisine discreetly lures dinners from the not-too-far-away Vivocity.
In your attempt to search for the hotel lobby, you may find yourself in the halal-friendly restaurant instead. In the background, a faint but distinct traditional Bali tunes greets your presence, and in the foreground, the sincere waitpersons do likewise. The 100-odd seater serves up American buffet breakfast for hotel guests in the morning and for the rest of the day, the in-house menu takes over.
Settling down in the cosy, minimalist eatery, we silently applaud our bravery to take on Indonesia grub despite the unforgiving weather.
Leave your white rice diet at home and embrace this yellow twin instead. The sunshine-coloured rice was plain seductive, and a spoonful of it revealed the light fragrance of turmeric spice it harnessed. In the back of our palates lingered a subtle coconut perfume, further boosting the action of out salivary glands. We like it the way it is.
A tall fortress of golden-hued tofu stood proudly before us, screaming for immediate attention—–We obeyed respectfully. Our eyes were momentarily glued onto the flowers of fried egg flanking the tofu like a second skin, with fireworks of shredded carrots and cucumbers beautifully culminating the dish with a character. The tofu and egg amalgamation were amazing when eaten together with the moat of potent sweet spicy dark sauce, the balanced flavours and texture hit all the right notes. We brought the fortress down within minutes.
This Acheh style mutton stew may not render a good impression aesthetically, since the brownish-green colour did not do a great self-introduction. However, one mouth of the mutton stew was all it took to punch the negativity out of us. The stew was immensely infused with the robust flavours of herbs and spices and the mutton meltingly tender, less the gaminess. We found so much oomph in this bowl alone. Sorry vegetarians, we’re still dreaming all this wonderful curry.
For those who eschew spiciness, do not allow the fiery red facade to mislead you: The tangy-sweet sambal Belado cooked with calamansi and tomatoes was harmless, despite the tough front it portayed. The petai beads represented morsels of green gems amidst the flaming backdrop, and were still as notoriously piquant. On the other hand, the tiny sea creatures were surprisingly fresh and juicy, and swimming in the red sea seemed to enhance the oceanic flavours even more thoroughly. We say these crustaceans were so delish you can even eat it with their shells on. No, we’re serious.
Our banana fritters came in a trio piled against one another with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce sharing the same plate space. As we moved our utensils in gusto, the gratifying crunch of the crisp exterior pleasantly shattered the tranquility of the restaurant. The vanilla ice cream complemented effortlessly with the not-too-sweet banana and there was a self-destructive tendency to finish the multi-textured decadence alone. We almost did.
The all-day dining (till 430am, mind you) Indonesian restaurant unquestionably has some culinary muscles to flex, though there are a few hits and misses in the menu not mentioned above. Oil must be cheap because this artery-atrophying affair made our hearts skip a few beats. To a minor extent, inconvenience do set in as the restaurant is situated on the outskirts of Vivocity. Besides, being on the ground level also equals to missing out on some worthy panoramic view of the surroundings. Nonetheless, the warm, friendly crew and reasonable prices will surely be your motivation when the crave for spices strikes up.
P.s. Much thanks to Dennis She of Publicist PR Communications and Rumah Rasa for the warm invitation.
The food pictures are through the courtesy of local food photographer, Edmond Ho.
Bay Hotel Singapore
50 Telok Blangah Road
Opening hours: 0630 till 0430