Peranakan restaurant Godmama in Funan is known to serve up some delicious modern takes on Nonya cuisine. But most won’t realise it also offers cocktails concocted by an award-winning bartender.
Tucked away on the fourth floor of Funan is Godmama, a 60-seater Peranakan restaurant that recently opened up when the newly-revamped lifestyle shopping mall was unveiled to the public last month. It’s the concept of co-owner Christina Keilthy who left her corporate role for her maiden foray into the F&B industry to offer the delicious gastronomic legacy of her family to the rest of Singapore; she wanted to preserve, for example, the egg skin popiah that her mother and godmother was known for. So when Keilthy found fellow like-minded Peranakans Fredric Goh and F&B consultant Derrick Chew, she jumped at the chance.
Godmama was the result, a modern restaurant marrying heirloom recipes from two different Peranakan families that’s given a modern, casual twist.
But Keilthy held an ace up her sleeve. She happened to be the mother of award-winning bartender Ronan Keilthy, who plies his trade at pioneering cocktail establishment 28 HongKong Street. She managed to wrangle her son – as any persuasive mother would – to concoct a few Peranakan-themed cocktail recipes for her newly-opened eatery.
Proudly Peranakan cocktails
There may only be four cocktails on this menu – which is still four more than pretty much every other Peranakan restaurant in town – but each of them is a reflection of Peranakan heritage. You can’t be more Peranakan than the butterfly pea flower, so the gin and tonic that is the Peranakan Blue ($22++) – which uses Singapore’s own Brass Lion gin, and turns vivid purple when yuzu tonic is added to the mix – is culturally appropriate. It’s also very refreshing and helps to wash away the heat of the day (or from co-owner and chef Fredric’s housemade sambal).
Then there’s the Berries Merah Saga ($20++), a pisco-based highball that employs a Singapore-made berry tea – a blend from apple pieces, red berries, rosehip and hibiscus petals, among others – that’s fruity and strangely energising for a cocktail. For something stronger there’s The Emperor of Melaka ($22++), essentially a rum Old Fashioned that eschews the usual sugar for gula melaka, and garnished with a smoked cinnamon stick for additional complexity when you stir that in your drink.
Likewise the Nenas Knows Best ($22++) is a spirit-forward punch that employs both a pineapple rum – pineapple is a big thing in Nonya cuisine – as well as mezcal; it’s strong, loud, and assertive – like most Nonya matriarchs.
Oh yes, and be sure to partake from their snack menu – you’ll almost never the chance to have cocktails with Peranakan food anywhere else. Try the Ngoh Hiang ($11.90++), the five-spice infused roll chockfull of shrimp and minced meat, or even just Emping Keropok ($6.90++) crackers that you eat with the afore-said house sambal. For a serious case of the munchies, the All-Star Egg Skin Popiah ($6.50++) from the dinner menu is a must.
We can’t be too sure, but we think Godmama is probably the only venue in the whole of Funan that offers cocktails, or at least proper ones. It sure is the only one with cocktails created by an award-winning career bartender that have a chance to go up against the best from cocktail bars around town.
Address Funan Mall, 109 North Bridge Rd, #04-07, Singapore 179105 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 10am to 10pm Sundays to Thursdays; 10am to 12mn Fridays and Saturdays