Damian d’Silva’s latest culinary adventure is all-day dining affair Rempapa, offering an eclectic spread of heritage and traditional flavours some of which come in fun twists.
Damian d’Silva’s latest culinary venture, Rempapa, is named after the godfather of Singapore heritage cuisine himself. Rempah, of course, refers to the spice mixtures commonly used in cuisines in our part of the world, and papa is simply an endearing term for d’Silva’s guiding influence on especially local Eurasian, Malay, and Peranakan cuisines over the years. Not quite eponymous, but close enough.
Rempapa is a partnership between the MasterChef Singapore judge and OUE Restaurants – the group behind fine-dining restaurants VUE, Takayama, Hashida, and Shisen Hanten, and casual concepts Chatterbox and Délifrance, among others – and comes after his time at Restaurant Kin in Straits Clan.
His new all-day restaurant is a literal showcase of everything the man has come to be known for, a custodian for Singapore’s heritage eats. But it also offers d’Silva a creative outlet to explore familiar favourites in modern ways so as to reach a newer, and younger, audience.
Dinner sees classic D’Silva signatures offered, such as his ground-breaking Buah Keluak Fried Rice – which he made famous at his long-defunct Immigrants Gastrobar in Joo Chiat – as well as Babi Pongteh and Baca Assam, the latter two of which are dishes he learned from his grandparents. Other comforting dishes with a tradition include the refreshing Kendondong Salad, while the Chicken Curry and Sambal Sweet Potato Leaf is a taste of good home cooking.
Then there’s brunch and tea time at Rempapa, where d’Silvia flexes his creativity in order to appeal to a wider audience. You’re looking at the likes of Stir-fried Chee Cheong Fun, essentially Penang-style fried kway teow but using the steamed rice rolls instead, or Rempapa’s Pork Chop Curry Rice, their twist on the local scissors-cut curry rice favourite.
For a glimpse of where d’Silvia thinks local heritage food may be heading, look no further than Rempapa’s bar snack menu. Yes, he envisions a time when Eurasian and Peranakan dishes can be reinvented as bite-sized finger foods that can go with your favourite craft beer or cocktail.
Of course, Fried Nonya Fish Cake and Ayam Kalasan – that is, chicken wings that’s braised in coconut juice before being flame grilled – already make great bar snacks. Then there’s Limpeh Sliders, which is shredded beef rendang served as mini burgers, or Chi Pao Kai, the deep-fried paper-wrapped chicken once massively popular decades ago but today almost-forgotten.
Make sure you avail yourself to the Nonya desserts on hand; the Kueh Kosui is among the best we’ve had this part of town.
And while most traditional heritage restaurants offer a limited beverage programme, Rempapa bucks that with one that’s forward-looking. Beer lovers would be surprised to find a couple of craft beers on tap, while a slew of Asian-inflected cocktails is a hat-tip to Singapore’s growing reputation as a cocktail destination.
Address 2 Paya Lebar Road, #01-01/02/03, Park Place Residences at PLQ, Singapore 409053 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 10.30am to 10.30pm Mondays to Fridays; 9.30am to 10.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays
Tel (65) 9459 1603