Old Bibik's Peranakan Kitchen Review : Casual Old School Peranakan Dining



When you are at Joo Chiat / Katong, you have to try Peranakan Food.

There are Peranakan restaurants peppered around Katong. On East Coast Road, you can find the House of Peranakan Cuisine and Baba Chew. 

On Joo Chiat, you have Chilli Padi Nonya Restaurant, Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant and last but not least, Old Bibik's Peranakan Kitchen.

Koon Seng Colourful Peranakan Houses


If you are visiting the famous colourful Joo Chiat Peranakan houses, you would most likely end up at Old Bibik's to complete the Peranakan Experience. Among the restaurants at Joo Chiat/Katong, this is the closest one to the Peranakan houses. Located along Joo Chiat Road, it is just a 2 mins walk away from the houses.


Old Bibik's Peranakan Kitchen
Old Bibik's Peranakan Kitchen

Old Bibik's Peranakan is located on a row of  'updated' terraces that is built in between the older shophouses. While the terraces are newer than the shophouses, they look like they were circa 1980s architecture.  Nonetheless, when you enter Old Bibik's, you would feel like you have stepped back in time. 



It is an open-air restaurant that takes a page out of the 80s. With round marble tables, crafty wooden chairs in a room clad with plain tiles, the old-school vibe is evident in this set-up. There is even wooden signage at the entrance with the Chinese characters老娘惹 that literally means 'Old Nyonya' to add character to the place. 

Interestingly, there are lots of travel photos on the wall. We learn that these are taken by the owner who is an avid traveller and photographer.  As ambience is as important to food for us, the first impression was a positive one. 



The Food   

Old Bibik's Menu
A little disclaimer to start off the review.

Before this meal, Peranakan food has been a mystery to us. We probably have not eaten enough Peranakan food to judge the authenticity of the dishes. So instead of defining the food, we tasted as authentic Peranakan, we decide to opt for a taste test instead.



Our meal for the day is a selection from their most popular dishes section on the menu. Unlike the usual food presentation, Peranakan dishes are not exactly known for being visually appealing. At first glance, the dishes presented does look like what one would prepare at home. As they say, looks can be deceiving and we found that out once we took the first bite.

Ayam Buah Keluak (Nut-Free) $22
Ayam Buah Keluak


When this dish came, it was not exactly a treat for the eye. This dish is Chicken braised in Kepayang with Tamarind & Karrir leaves. This is a traditional Peranakan dish that is best eaten with rice. It comes in a nut or nut-free version. It is also said to be one of the favourite fishes of Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew. 

As this was the first time I am having this dish, I thought I was initially eating beef. The meat was so tender that it literally melts in the mouth. While the gravy may be a tad thick for some, we think it was cooked to perfection. The wife who had tried the same dishes in two other Peranakan restaurants proclaimed that this is the best dish.  This dish is best eaten with rice and chilli. Speaking of chilli, this place serves one of the best belacan chilli we had for a while.

At $22 for this dish, it may seem pricey, but it is totally worth it.

Signature Beef Rendang ($17)

Signature Beef Rendang

Rendang is not curry.

If you are expecting a spicy dish, the Signature Beef Rendang is not. Instead, it has a bittersweet taste that added flavour to the tender beef. While it does not come close to the Ayam Buah Keluak, it does stand on its own. This is a thick and flavourful dish that would delight those who prefer more kick in their dishes.

Jiuhucha ($16)

To balance the two heavy meat dishes, we decide to balance ou with the Jiuhucha.  This dish reminded me of popiah but instead of popiah skin, you have lettuce as wrapping.

The dish is made up of hand-cut turnip strips with dried cuttlefish, giving it a slight crunchiness to eat a bite. It is deceiving addictive and one could not stop eating after the first bite. 



Verdict


Overall the bill came close to $70 inclusive of 2 drinks. It is not the most expensive meal but we reckon that it is not exactly a meal one would eat every day. Alternatively, one could opt for the more affordable rice set that is priced from $11.90. The rice set is served with steamed white rice, fried egg, achar and sambal belacan chilli. That would be more economical, especially if one eats with the family.



There is also an interesting Dine and Earn Reward Points where you will be awarded 1 point for every $10 spent. Earn 5 points and you can redeem desserts such as Pulut hitam or drinks for your next visit.



Overall, we love the old school atmosphere and the rich food. Given that we already have points, we would probably be back to try out the 1 person set meal and redeem our Pulut Hitam for the next visit!






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Ranking Disclaimer
The ranking is based on 5 stars. Rankings are based on personal experience and may not reflect the same as what others may have experienced.TWD is not liable for any experiences by the reader at the establishment.

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